Essential oils have for centuries now been used by healers and other professions, past and present, for a multitude of reasons. Reasons ranging from usage in rituals and prayers to healing, treating and other medical procedures. Today however, most people are starting to develop a renewed interest in the oils, and particularly for the healing and relaxation purposes.
Many people today suffer from stress, anxiety and tension. Although there are multiple ways to deal with it, you can also simply opt for healthier and more natural solutions such as using essential oils instead of giving in to pills and other foreign chemicals.
By diffusing the oils into the air, you are able to create an atmosphere of relaxation and well being.
What are essential oils?
You have most probably heard of essential oils mentioned once or twice in your life. If you are yet to encounter the oils or anyone using them then here’s a short description. Essential oils are oils that are extracted naturally from various plants in nature. They are mostly organic with little to no additives.
Some examples of essential oils are frankincense, rosemary, peppermint, citronella, lemon, lavender, eucalyptus, cloves, tea tree, cinnamon, patchouli, and chamomile, each with a certain character and with their own purported specific benefits. The list of herbs and oils derived from them is quite a gargantuan one as you will no doubt see further down in the article.
Essential oils for anxiety and relaxation
Essential oils are primarily known for their various potential health benefits which range from soothing allergic reactions, regulating obstructed menstruation cycles, improving body odor, preventing hair-loss, digestion, recovery from persistent colds and asthma and also helping people with breathing difficulties.
With that said, another major use of essential oils is to simply help you relax. If you are extremely stressed or suffering from tensions and anxiety, then essential oils are a natural and healthy way to go about treating yourself.
The instant you start diffusing essential oils into your environment, its molecules immediately start to distribute and spread out in your vicinity. Being dispersed everywhere simply means they can easily be inhaled and absorbed into your body. They quickly get to your blood stream and are transported to your brain and nerves. Once they reach the brain and nerves, these oils start working their magic, calming you down by sending soothing and mood-boosting signals and vibes all through your nervous system. In no time, you may begin to relax and feel a lot calmer.
Essential oils are therefore perfect for use by massage & spa therapists and other relaxation specialists, they can be used anytime during the day, while meditating or before sleeping and also while working as it helps you keep calm throughout your stressful day.
How to use essential oils
Now that you have understood the benefits of these oils, how do you go about using them?
There are many ways to about using essential oils, and it all depends on your purpose.
- Is it simply for the nice scent?
- Is it for the potential cleansing effects?
- Perhaps for relaxation and winding down?
- Maybe for aromatherapy and overall healing?
We’ve discussed how to use essential oils in the home, mostly for cleanliness and the perfume, but here below we go through two main ways of using these oils for overall well-being purposes.
The traditional way of inhaling aromatic scents and vapors is one of the more effective ways of clearing the respiratory tract and relieving sinus problems, especially steam inhalation which we’ll come to in a moment.
One way is to use your hands to directly inhale the scent and vapors of the oils. Do this by either rubbing some drops on your hands and inhale the scent emitted after that, you can also simply breathe deep directly from the essential oils bottle. You can also put 1-2 drops of essential oils on a tissue which you can breathe from deeply whenever you feel like it. Don’t over do it though. We don’t want you to become addicted to these lovely things, as almost all addictions are ultimately detrimental in the long run.
Another way of inhaling these essential oils is by turning them into aromatic vapors through steam inhalation.
- Begin by first boiling around 1 liter of water and pour it into a bowl.
- Dissolve 2 drops of the essential oil of your choosing into the hot water (eucalyptus oil is a popular choice for steam inhalations).
- Proceed then by placing a towel or cloth over your head. Close your eyes and lean your head over the bowl, though be careful not too be too close to the water.
- Inhale the vapors and steam for about 5-10 minutes and then rest.
Diffuse into the air
The second option, which is automated and requires less work, is by using a essential oil diffuser. This may require a bit of shopping where you might have to buy a essential oils diffuser and a set of essential oils. There are many great options out there on the web, most of them quite cheap. One of our favorite ones happens to be the simple yet stylish diffuser by Anjou.
If you’ve manage to tackle that hurtle of acquiring an diffuser, all you have to do is fill it with clean, purified water then add 1-2 drops of your preferred essential oil into it. After switching it on, you can then relax and calm down as the vapors get working! In no time you will definitely be feeling the change in the air.
A few drops into a bath
Our third way of using essential oils, which is also the simplest way, is to place a few drops, about 4-5, in your bath. You can add the essential oils directly to the water or by first mixing the oils with an emulsifier like whole milk to keep the oils from sinking or floating.
Now that we’ve discussed what essential oils are, how they can be used for mental problems like anxiety and how to go about using them. We can now get on to the real goodies of this article, namely the various benefits associated with each herb/flower.
Various benefits associated with essential oils
As mentioned above, the benefits of essential oils are quite various, and I thought it would be great to compile a BIG list of these benefits. It’s worth pointing out that some benefits has more credibility than others, some are abstract while some are concrete which you will no doubt notice when browsing the list below:
- Allspice – Pain relief (anesthetic)
- Anise – Relaxing effects good for spasms, removes gases
- Arborvitae – Helps you feel grounded and relaxed, overall cleansing, insect repellent
- Basil – Helps regulate menstruation problems, effective relief for sore muscles, enhances mental alertness
- Bay – Antibiotic, antiseptic
- Bergamot – Good for emotional support and great for skin care
- Black Pepper – Helps with blood circulation, antioxidant
- Calamus – Anti-rheumatic, memory booster
- Cardamom – Respiratory problems, improves digestion, diuretic agent
- Cassia – Sexual stimulant, improves digestion, helps against depression
- Cedarwood – Emotional support, insect repellent, skin support
- Chamomile – Relaxing, soothing, improves immune function
- Cilantro – Purifying, improves digestion, supports healthy skin, antioxidant
- Cinnamon Bark – Oral health, supports metabolic function
- Clary Sage – Hormone equilibrium, tension relief, emotional support, PMS
- Clove – Oral health, immune health, heart health
- Coriander – Better skin, relief for sore joints, improves digestion
- Cumin – Cleansing effect, helps with digestion
- Cypress– Gives you energy, great for skin health, muscle tension relief
- Dill – Relaxing effect, better digestion
- Eucalyptus – Cleansing, respiratory problems, skin
- Fennel – Better circulation, metabolism, improves digestion
- Fir (White) – Better breathing, muscles, joints
- Frankincense – Emotional support, skin health
- Galbanum – Decongestant, anti-parasitic
- Geranium – Insect repellent, calming, improved skin and hair health
- Ginger – Pain relief, antioxidant, digestive support
- Grapefruit –Alertness, cleansing, skin health, appetite suppressant
- Hawaiian Sandalwood – Improves concentration, healthy skin
- Helichrysum – Improves your metabolism, healthy skin
- Jasmine – Balances the mood, healthier skin
- Juniper Berry – Stress relief, cleansing, skin toner, kidney/urinary support
- Lavender – Universal oil, calming, stress relief, skin health, headache relief
- Lemon – Energy, stimulating, optimal breathing, improved digestion
- Lemongrass – Relaxing, digestion, insect repellent
- Lemon Balm – Relaxing, stress, tension, immune system
- Lime – Stimulating, energy, detoxifying, improved immune function
- Manuka – Antidandruff and also supposedly useful against venomous bites, fungal infections and bacteria
- Marjoram – Heart health, muscle support
- Myrrh – Emotional balance, cleansing, skin health
- Melissa – Antidepressant
- Orange – Emotional balance, cleansing, purifying, stimulating
- Oregano – Heathy digestion, respiratory problems, cleansing
- Patchouli – Healthy skin, complexion, tension, stress
- Peppermint – Cooling, energy, digestive and optimal breathing
- Roman Chamomile – Stress relief
- Rose – Can help regulate your emotional balance, better skin
- Rosemary – Respiratory support, memory, digestion, healthy hair and scalp
- Rue – Anti-arthritic, helps with anxiety and tensions
- Sandalwood – Calming, grounding, skin health
- Spearmint – Oral health, improved breath, digestive health
- Tangerine – More energy,
- Tea Tree – Cleansing, optimal skin health, improves the immune system
- Thyme – Insect repellent, cleansing, purifying, immune system support
- Vetiver – Relaxing, supports immune system function
- Wild Orange – Antioxidant and energy inducing, emotional balance, overall health
- Wintergreen – Possible helpful emotional effects, relief sore muscles or joints, better skin health
- Ylang Ylang – Healthy hair and skin, relaxing effects
Essential oils are charming. Simple as that. Some are believers while others are more sceptical of their benefits and potential uses. In this overview we’ve decided to be open-minded. If there’s one thing we know for certain with essential oils is that they sure can make us feel good by infusing the air with lovely natural perfumes and thus relax us.
What are you experiences with essential oils? Do let us know in the comment box below!
Daniel Seeker is a lifelong student of the past, present and future. He realized deep relaxations of the psyche when meditating in his hermit cave on the island of Gotland. His writings are mostly a reflection of that realization. Daniel has meditated & done yogic exercises daily for more than 10 years and is studying history and philosophy at Uppsala Universitet. He is currently finishing writing his B.A. thesis in history which explores how Buddhist, Yogic and Hindu texts were first properly translated and introduced to the western world in the late 18th and 19th century.