Research shows aromatherapy can help relieve stress and promote sleep.
Posted Apr 28, 2016 by Marlynn Wei, MD, PLLC https://www.psychologytoday.com/au/blog/urban-survival/201604/six-aromatherapy-essential-oils-stress-relief-and-sleep
Scents are powerful— a simple smell can immediately trigger a powerful memory, place, or person. Scents have power to evoke emotions and memories instantly and can directly impact our bodies through our nervous system.
The olfactory nerve gives us our sense of smell and starts from our nose and enters the skull through tiny holes to connect directly to the brain. This nerve sends signals almost instantaneously to many parts of the brain, including the limbic system and amygdala, which are in charge of emotions, mood, and memory. These systems are also in charge of regulating our autonomic nervous system, which can either trigger a fight-or-flight response, quickening our breath, heart rate and raising our blood pressure, or can soothe us through turning on the parasympathetic nervous system, which relaxing our bodies. This theory helps explain why scents can so quickly trigger physical reactions in our bodies and have lasting effects after the scent is gone. Essential oils like lavender have even been shown to interact the same way biochemically that many anti-anxiety medications do on neuroreceptors.
Aromatherapy is a complementary and alternative medicine practice that taps into the healing power of scents from essential oils extracted from plants in order to balance your mind, body, and spirit. Essential oils can be diluted by water and diffused into the air or a few drops can be gently rubbed into acupressure points on the body. Studies have shown that specific essential oils used in aromatherapy can help relieve stress, relax the body, and promote better sleep.
Here are 6 essential oils that can help relieve stress and promote sleep.
Lavender has also been found to help reduce anxiety in many medical settings, such as dental offices, the intensive care unit, and during preparations before surgery.
The scent of lavender stimulates brain pathways, including our limbic system, which is connected to our emotional response and memories. Studies using electroencephalography (EEG), which measures brain waves, and brain imaging using functional magnetic resonance imaging (fMRI) show significant changes during lavender aromatherapy consistent with its relaxing effects.
Lavender aromatherapy is generally safe, except for those with allergies to lavender. If you are applying it regularly on your skin, it’s important to talk to your doctor since lavender can have estrogenic effects, so regular use should be taken with caution, especially in children.
2. Lemon or Yuzu
A new study from Japanese researchers has found that yuzu citrus scent can soothe stress and anxiety and lower your heart rate in just 10 minutes, with effects lasting for almost half an hour. Yuzu is a type of East Asian yellow citrus fruit often used in Asian cuisine.
Five out of six clinical studies, conducted between 2009 to 2013, have found that Bergamot essential oil aromatherapy reduces heart rate, blood pressure, and stress.
4. Ylang Ylang
5. Clary sage
Jasmine essential oil is less well-studied, but does have one study that suggests that the odor of jasmine tea can be calming.
There are many more therapeutic essential oils to explore, including earthy vetiver, Valerian root, or Roman chamomile. While most essential oil aromatherapies have not yet been rigorously studied, many can still have calming effects.
Qualities of essential oils can vary widely based on brand and price and are not regulated by the Food and Drug Administration or any other government agency, so be sure to research the brand and check to make sure the oil is of therapeutic quality and purity.
Please note we:
- used our photos as we were unable to include the photos from the original article, and
- recommend doTERRA Certified Pure Tested Grade Essential Oils.
If you wish to purchase doTERRA essential oils, you can purchase them by going here: https://www.mydoterra.com/rocksaltlamps/#/ and Click on Shop, Select your preferred language and country of residence, Select product to ship from your own country and follow the prompts).
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