How Can Aromatherapy Help with Mental Health?
Aromatherapy is often referred to as a holistic therapy, taking into consideration a person’s and their needs as a whole rather than a more medical approach looking solely at the symptoms of the illness. Aromatherapy is based on the use of natural products to help soothe and calm the mind, these are often made from essential oils. Some people also call aromatherapy essential oil therapy and these terms will both be used in this article.
Many people who are looking for more natural and holistic ways to manage their wellbeing take an interest into the use of essential oils. That’s exactly why we’ve written this article and likely why you’ve clicked on it.
From the off, it’s important we get one thing clear. We don’t advocate aromatherapy as the sole treatment to manage mental health issues. Everyone is unique which means how you treat a mental health condition or manage your own wellbeing will also be unique. Some people will benefit from using essential oils as a way to alleviate stress or reduce anxiety alongside other therapy which might include medication or counselling. Other people might try essential oils and find that it’s not for them. Either way is fine and it’s always good to explore wellness options.
Achieving better wellness from aromatherapy
The use of essential oils dates far back in human history, Ancient Egypt is thought to be the birthplace of essential oils and aromatherapy. Essential oils were both used by the Egyptians for cosmetics, medicines and during the embalming process.
Aromatherapy is thought to work when receptors in your nose are triggered by the different scents. They in turn, send signals through the nervous system to the limbic system which is responsible for your emotions. In limited studies exploring this concept, lavender oil was shown to be effective in helping to reduce pain for people with osteoarthritis of the knee, improve the quality of life for people with dementia, and reduce pain for people with kidney stones. The benefits you will experience will depend on the type of essential oil chosen and the way you administer it.
Essential oils are safe when used as directed. Be sure never to ingest essential oils without consultation first with a doctor.
Essential Oils for Depression and Anxiety
It’s not fully understood how or if essential oils specifically treat depression and anxiety, but there is a growing evidence base of studies that show the use of essential oils helps to alleviate some of the common symptoms associated with the conditions.
Common essential oils include:
- Lavender Oil
- Lemon Oil
- Rose Oil
- Ylang Ylang Oil
- Bergamot Oil
- Jasmine Oil
- Chamomile Oil
Because of the growing popularity of aromatherapy, some products are both over priced and over sold for their effects. Remember essential oils don’t hold scientifically curable qualities, even though some people might swear by them. There are also some stockists that don’t sell truly natural oils and instead use cheaper synthetically made ingredients.
Ways of administering essential oils
Creams, roller bottles, sprays, and diffusers are all good ways of administering your aromatherapy. You can buy pre-made mixtures or you can buy essential oils and make your own. If you’re interested in making your own products Tulip Twins have put together some how to guides to making an essential oil roller ball and a home made massage oil.
How to make an essential roller ball
What you will need:
- 10 ml glass roller bottle
- An essential oil
- A carrier oil
- Gemstone chips or other decorations (optional)
- Small funnel (optional but makes things easier)
What to do:
Add 6ml of your chosen essential oil (we really like lavender or bergamot) into the roller ball bottle. Using the funnel will make this easier than by hand
Add just under 4ml of a carrier oil of your choice, remember to leave enough room for the ball!
How to make your own massage oil
What you will need:
- 100ml glass bottle
- An essential oil
- A carrier oil
- Sticky label or decorations (optional)
What to do:
Add 2.5ml of your chosen essential oil.
Fill the rest of the bottle up with a carrier oil
Complete with your label and you’re ready to go
Choosing a carrier oil
Carrier oils are also natural oils that are used to mix with essential oils to make them easier to ‘carry’ on the skin. Just like essential oils, carrier oils hold some different benefits. We’ve listed some of our favourites below.
- Fractionated coconut oil
It’s odourless, color-less, organic, and gmo-free. Fractionated coconut oil is coconut oil that has been processed in a way that keeps it liquid at room temperature. It absorbs easily into your skin and is clear.
- Jojoba oil
Organic, GMO-free, cold-processed and unrefined. Jojoba oil is actually not an oil, but a liquid wax. It closely resembles the sebum in human skin. Jojoba oil is extremely rich in Vitamin E, which promotes a healthy glowing complexion. It’s great for all skin types (normal, dry, oily, sensitive, and mature). This works well in all roller bottle blends.
- Rosehip seed oil
Organic, unrefined, and 100% pure. Rosehip seed oil is one of the best oils for dry and mature skin. It’s very moisturizing, high in Vitamin C, mild astringent, extremely high in essential fatty acids, and fast absorbing. This works well in all roller bottle blends, but I especially think it’s great in the nourish and calm skin blends.
- Sweet almond oil
It’s organic, food-grade oil. Sweet almond oil is great for all skin types, including sensitive skin and acne-prone skin. It’s one of the gentlest oils, extremely nourishing, rich in Vitamin D, and it’s an excellent emollient known for its ability to soften and recondition the skin.
How to use essential oils to create a mindful moment
While we had Ashley and Nicole (the magic makers behind Tulip Twin’s home-made range) making the guides to making your own roller balls and massage oils we got their best tips on creating a mindful moment.
Tip One: A great way to enjoy aromatherapy is in a bath. Try taking a relaxing bath with some essential oils and a bath bomb. You can even bring a small speaker and listen to some music, a favourite audiobook or podcasts to help you relax and get lost in the moment.
Tip Two: Use aromatic oils in diffusers or sprays around the bedroom and living room to create a nice retreat for relax in.
Both have different uses. For example, if you’re planning to stay in a room for a while, you might want to use the wax melts because the fragrance stays in the air longer than using a spray. The spray scan be handy when getting ready for bed or to use on furniture to neutralise odours to leave a fresh smell.
Some final thoughts on creating your own mindful moment
Everyone is different and every routine will be different when creating your mindful moment. What comes to mind for you when you think of adding aromatherapy into your routine? Are there times of the day when you are more stressed, depressed, or anxious? Do you have problems sleeping?
The best ways to create mindful moments is by being present in your daily life; and that means examining yourself as well. Ask yourself what you really need to create even just a moment a day you look forward to.
You’ll thank yourself!