The constant buzz of daily life can sometimes be overwhelming, with stress and anxiety taking a toll on our mental health. Luckily there are some simple ways that can help us combat such feelings. Aromatherapy, with the use of pure essential oils is one. Essential oils are made from certain parts of plants like leaves, barks and rinds. They can be used with diffusers, or can be added to the bath, shower, or mixed in to skincare. Research shows that some can be helpful with relieving stress and anxiety, as well as aiding with issues such as muscle pain, nausea and skin concerns such as acne.
Essential oils can be diffused neat, however should not be applied straight to the skin without first being diluted. Practitioners internationally recommend a 2% essential oil dilution. Before taking you through some popular oils and their benefits, we need to acknowledge some great carriers. Moisturisers can be used for dilution, however if you want to keep your aromatic experience all natural, here are a couple of oils that can be used.
Coconut Oil is one of the best choices for use as a carrier for essential oils as it has its own anti-inflammatory properties also serving as a fantastic skin moisturiser. Use a high quality cold pressed oil in conjunction wit essential oils like lavender (calming and relieves pain) and bergamot (anti-inflammatory). Best used as a body moisturiser, as it can clog pores with use on the face.
Jojoba oil is most valued for its moisturising, antibacterial and oil-controlling qualities. Its chemical composition very closely resembles the human sebum, making okay to use on body and face. It will not clog pores, so it is the best choice for people with acne prone skin. For the face, use with peppermint oil (for antiseptic properties) or tea tree (anti-acne), however make sure to dilute appropriately.
Frankincense is made from the resin of the Boswellia tree. It is largely grown in the dry, mountainous regions of India, Africa, as well as the Middle East and has a woody, spicy smell. It is a renowned mood booster as it stimulates the part of the brain that controls our emotions.
Rose oil is the essential oil extracted from the petals of various types of rose. Studies have shown that rose oil can ease pain, as well as having relaxing properties, decreasing anxiety and stress. Mix a few drops in to a carrier oil before adding to the bath or mix in a couple of drops into your moisturiser for a calming effect to the skin.
Lavender oil is derived from the lavender plant. It can be applied to the skin or breathed in through aromatherapy. It is beneficial in eliminating harmful bacteria, relieving muscle spasms and soothing inflamed skin. It has also been proven to encourage relaxation and deep sleep.
Bergamot oil is a cold-pressed essential oil extracted from the rinds of citrus fruit. It is endorsed for its soothing use as an aromatherapy treatment, fighting stress and reducing pain and inflammation. Use with a diffuser or in a bath to quieten a busy mind.
Peppermint is an aromatic herb in the mint family, a cross between spearmint and watermint. This oil is great for settling an upset stomach, fighting nausea and can also be used topically for muscle or head aches.