Aromatherapy for Emotional Support

by Mary Ellen Dorey

zen basalt stones and orchid. focus on the orchid

The value of aromatherapy for emotional support has been documented in multiple studies, and major hospitals around the country such as Cleveland Clinic, Mayo Clinic, Allina Health Systems and Texas Health Resources utilize it as part of their patient care regimen.

The most commonly recognized essential oil associated with calming is lavender. Lavandula angustifolia is an adaptagenic oil, meaning that when the body needs calming, it calms, and when it needs energy, it energizes. Lavender is also antiseptic, anti-inflammatory and antidepressant.

According to ScienceDirect.com, in studies on mice, lemongrass (Cymbopogon citratus) has been shown to sedate and reduce anxiety and convulsions. Another researcher observed a 40 percent decrease in sympathetic nervous system activity (responsible for raising blood pressure and heart rate) from the inhalation of rose oil or patchouli oil.

Another study looked at anti-anxiety effects of neroli, or orange blossom essential oil, compared to Xanax and found that not only did inhalation of neroli reduce anxiety, there were no side effects that occurred with Xanax such as sleepiness, memory problems and blurred vision. Additionally, there were no withdrawal symptoms that occur with discontinuation of Xanax.

To use essential oils for emotional support, inhale directly from the bottle or put a drop or two on a cotton ball and inhale. A diffuser can be used for for 15 minutes per hour. A palm blend can be made from a good quality seed or nut oil such as coconut, sweet almond, grapeseed or jojoba to apply onto the skin. Use enough oil to fit into the palm and add one drop of essential oil. Apply to wrists, back of the neck and shoulders or feet. When working with essential oils, remember that less is more. Overdoing it just wastes it and could be too strong for the body.

Mary Ellen Dorey is a clinical aromatherapist, reflexologist, natural perfumer and owner of Dorey Aromatherapy and Reflexology, in Plano. For more information, visit DoreyAromatherapy.com. See ads, pages 28 and 41.

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