How Aromatherapy Can Help Us Deal With COVID Stress
Most of us think of self-care as enjoying a sheet mask or deep conditioning our hair one weekend. Now a lot of people’s viewpoints have shifted, but mine has not. I’ve always known the importance of self-care and owning a spa during a global pandemic made me ready and prepared for the on slot of client feedback regarding how stressed out they were and what could they do at home when they couldn’t come into the spa.
Don’t get me wrong, I value the time I spend taking care of my skin and hair—but I don’t wait for specific days to care for myself, and I let all of my amazing clients know that too, especially now.
There are small things you can do every day without really thinking of it as self-care, like lighting a lavender candle before work. And every morning, take an extra fifteen minutes to enjoy your coffee in peace with your favorite mug. Another thing I love telling clients about is applying essential oils on your wrists and behind your ears, or investing in a $20 diffuser when you feel anxiety creeping in, which is usually a daily occurrence for most of us these days.
Some people are skeptical, which is understandable. Does aromatherapy really calm you or is it a placebo effect? Here I help lay out just how effective essential oils are at helping remedy stress and anxiety.
The Science of Aromatherapy
There are studies that show aromatherapy has a significant impact on the reduction of stress and anxiety. This makes a lot of sense because of the way that aromatherapy can impact our receptors. Our smell receptors are a part of our nervous system. Our nervous system is connected to and throughout our bodies and is responsible for a lot of our bodily functions.
As far as stress and anxiety, the way aromatherapy works are that there are parts of our brains that control feelings, so any stress that we feel first comes from a thought. Everything from excitement, fear, or sadness can affect our central nervous system, which is why essential oils can have such a positive effect. The effect is almost immediate for most people!
Turning to the use of aromatherapy sends signals to our smell receptors, which signals your brain’s limbic system. The limbic system is responsible for your emotions, memories, and stimulation. Once the signal is received and carried into the nervous system, the calming impact that it has turns down the threat detectors and reduces the stress hormones.
Which Essentials Oils Are Most Beneficial for Stress & Anxiety?
Lavender, chamomile, and clary sage can have a sedative effect on the central nervous system, which can have a calming effect. These oils can help with those that experience anxiety and even panic attacks, which especially helpful for someone like me who experiences both.
There are also essential oils that can lift the spirits too. If you’re having low moods, for example, experiencing depression, you can use essential oils like peppermint, orange, or bergamot to uplift the mood. Wood and root oils can add balance for those who experience anxiety and depression in tandem. There are a few that can have a balancing mood. Sandalwood, cedarwood, and frankincense are good for grounding us, but also help balance for those who might be dealing with anxiety and depression.
Here’s What to Keep in Mind Before Your Next Essential Oil-Infused Purchase
Before you run out and add essential oil-based products to your vanity, integrate essential oils into your life for therapeutic use by diffusers and massage blends. If you’re going to go with candles and body care items, make sure they are made with organic, wild-harvested, or non-toxic essential oils. Here’s why:
You can smell a batch of chocolate chip cookies and get a psychological response. You can smell a lotion that has some diluted lavender in there and still feel good, however you might be breathing in toxins, which can do more harm than good. Aside from the essential oils, all the ingredients in aromatherapy products need to live up to the same standard.
For example, if they mix the essential oil with shea butter, is the shea butter organic? What are they using to preserve it? All of that is really important when you talk about putting it on your skin and being okay with it. As all of these elements can ensure you receive a long-lasting therapeutic response that promotes lasting change.
All and all, aromatherapy has a positive impact on stress and anxiety. Find a scent you like, get comfy, and try it out. Your body will thank you! (We sell a variety of essential oils and aromatherapy gadgets at the Botanica Day Spa boutique. Stop in and shop anytime!)