Chapter 2: Benefits of Essential Oils
- The Benefits of Essential Oils for Relieving Stress and Anxiety
- The Aromatherapy Benefits for the Pregnant Mom-to-Be
- The Memory Boosting Benefit of Essential Oils
- Boosting Your Hair Health with Essential Oils
- Essential Oils for Better Skin
The Benefits of Essential Oils for Relieving Stress and Anxiety
Essential oils come from the “essence” of plants. Oil is derived from bark and leaves, roots and stems, and other plant components. That oil is then either applied topically to humans, pets, household items and garden plants for health advantages, insect avoidance, cleaning and other benefits. With more than 300 essential oils currently catalogued and in common use, the wide-ranging benefits of these natural healers are seemingly endless.
Multiple EOs have shown to be very effective for stress-relief. This has a lot to do with how your brain is connected to your sense of smell. When you smell anything, a message is immediately sent to your brain. If you have encountered a specific aroma in the past and you smell it again, your brain pulls out its reference chart to see exactly what your experience was with that aroma.
This is how smelling smoke leads to an extreme stress response, followed by a fight or flight signal transmitted by your brain. Accordingly, some smells, like that of Lavender oil, trigger stress-relief. They cause a production of chemicals and hormones that produce positive feelings and elevate happiness. At the same time, when your brain recognizes that you have inhaled certain anxiety-relieving essential oils, the production of stress-causing hormones like cortisol is lowered.
Put simply, your body and mind are hardwired to respond in very specific ways to different scents and aromas. The following oils have been used for centuries, and in some cases thousands of years, for stress and anxiety-relief.
Lavender oil improves how your nervous system responds, restoring it and promoting feelings of calm and peacefulness. Vetiver essential oil calms your mind and lowers stress levels, and is often used to soothe panic attack sufferers. Ylang Ylang has an uplifting, soothing effect, and Bergamot has been used at least since the Middle Ages to effectively treat depression and boost energy levels.
The Aromatherapy Benefits for the Pregnant Mom-to-Be
Essential oils may be applied directly to your skin, as long as they are diluted significantly with some type of carrier oil. Alternately, they can be diffused into the air and inhaled. This is the most common method of use, since an EO diffuser can be filled, turned on and forgotten, yet all the while it is filling the air around you with natural healing power. A diffuser is “set and forget” easy.
Essential oils and an aromatherapy practice can benefit any number of health conditions, including pregnancy. The specific benefits essential oils offer pregnant women include the following experiences.
Important Note: Consult a licensed aromatherapist before you use any essential oils during pregnancy. There are certain time frames where specific oils should and should not be used, for the best possible pregnancy experience.
Peace of Mind, Stress-Relief
Pregnancy is stressful, whether you are going to be a first-time mom or you are a veteran mother familiar with the process. The incredible hormonal and chemical shifts that go on in the female body during pregnancy can definitely benefit by the calming, soothing, anxiety-ridding powers of essential oils like Bergamot and Lavender.
Sometimes pregnant moms feel a little “stuffy” and congested. This is because their immune system is being tested during this important time and it can become a little weak. If you feel congested and experience other respiratory issues, Eucalyptus oil can help.
Treat Varicose Veins, Hemorrhoids and Swollen Ankles
Those three conditions are the sign of inflammation which is common during pregnancy for some women. Cypress essential oil is usually prescribed by an aromatherapist after 5 months of pregnancy, and can help treat these inflammation-related problems.
Relieve Morning Sickness
Morning sickness during pregnancy, which can happen at any time of the day and not just in the a.m., can be treated with an essential oil blend. Sandalwood, Ginger and Lavender combined with coconut oil as a carrier and massaged into the abdomen often helps with morning sickness symptoms.
The Memory Boosting Benefit of Essential Oils
There are several essential oils used in aromatherapy which can boost your brainpower. You can find yourself retaining information better, recalling memories and never again forgetting aware you left your car keys when you make the following EOs a part of a regular aromatherapy practice.
Basil essential oil offers a refreshing, uplifting, sweet scent. In studies, it has been shown to help you concentrate, especially when there are a lot of distractions begging for your attention. It has also been linked to memory improvement when used regularly. Diffusing basil as you study for a big test or learn something new will improve your retention and help you focus.
A lot of us use coffee to wake up in the morning. Sage is a healthy and side-effect-free coffee alternative that you don’t have to mix unhealthy cream and sugar with. As caffeine is known to make you alert and mentally sharp for a short period of time, Sage can get you going without the caffeine-crash on the back end of the experience. Add with black pepper oil for an extra boost, and to improve your memory.
Rosemary essential oil has a sharp, distinct scent. In multiple studies and clinical trials, Rosemary has displayed the incredible ability to help you remember things that haven’t even happened yet! In other words, inhale Rosemary now, and you stand a much better chance remembering the things you do over the next few hours and throughout the day.
Boosting Your Hair Health with Essential Oils
Did you know you can actually thicken thin hair, stop dandruff and other dry scalp conditions, and give your hair a healthy shine through the use of essential oils? This happens not only with a topical application of certain oils, but also when those oils are diffused into the atmosphere. By the way, because these are natural oils, they are far safer and in many cases more effective than man-made, chemically-based hair care products which often do more long-term damage than good.
One essential oil that is absolutely indispensable because of its well-rounded health-boosting nature is Lavender. A 2016 animal study showed that Lavender oil dramatically improved the number of hair follicles grown on female mice. In other studies, human test subjects have stated that Lavender appeared to grow new hair, as well as make existing hair thicker.
Chamomile oil adds a healthy shine to your hair. It does so while simultaneously making your scalp healthier and stronger, which leads to fewer unhealthy-scalp conditions like dandruff. Clary Sage oil fights inflammation of the skin, as well as oil production. It also is effective for creating hormonal balance and relieving stress, two conditions linked to hair loss in men and women.
Rosemary is another EO that is well known in aromatherapy circles for thickening hair and promoting growth. It is believed that the Minoxidil-like hair growing property of Rosemary is why it is so good for preventing baldness, and treating baldness as well.
Essential Oils for Better Skin
Your skin and hair health are closely linked. This is because your hair grows from your skin. If your skin is healthy and naturally strong, it stands to reason your hair has a better chance at being healthy as well. Because of this, there are some essential oils which are good for both hair and skin health.
Lavender is an essential oil that can truly do it all. It is considered one of the few must-have items in an aromatherapist’s medical bag, because it leads to so many health benefits. As far as the skin is concerned, lavender is as soothing as it is to the mind. A topical application applied to scrapes and cuts helps them heal quickly, and if your skin has been stressed or burned, lavender oil can provide soothing relief.
Chamomile is another oil which loves your skin and your hair. Chamomile essential oil has been used for decades to treat cracked skin and rosacea. You can add a few drops to a warm bath for overall skin benefits, and a localized application is good for treating eczema, acne and any area where your skin has become inflamed or agitated.
Clary Sage can keep you mentally sharp and stop hair loss related to mental stress. For your skin, Clary Sage is an amazing antiaging product. It communicates with your mind and body, and actually slows down the effect of aging on your skin. Think of it as an anti-aging oil. A mixture of Clary Sage with some type of carrier oil like coconut oil can be applied to puffy bags under the eyes, and effectively helps problems with both oily and dry skin.