Let's take a ride on a geographic and chronicle path of history. What do ancient Egyptians have in common with the first people in the Far East? It's not a language or religion but the use of essential oils for their well-being. Cleopatra knew it, ancient Chinese doctors knew it, and now it's time for you to know it too – there are a lot of benefits of aromatherapy for stress relief. And since stress plays a significant role in developing many illnesses, it's not surprising that wise people of old times used essential oils in their medical practice. But now, let's skip a few thousand years and see how you can use them today.
Before we get into the benefits, let's talk about the mechanism of aromatherapy. We don't want to tell you to just sip some oil on your skin or under your nose without explaining why. Essential oils have evaporative features that stimulate scent receptors in your nose. Those receptors are actually the first part of complex neuronal connections that lead to different parties of your brain. The most important connection is the one to a limbic system – a complex system responsible for your emotions.
Certain features of the limbic system are closely connected to the hypothalamus. In other words, stimuli that trigger activity in the limbic system also activate certain happening in the hypothalamus. And one of those, which is vital for today's topic, is the production and secretion of serotonin. A so-called hormone of happiness. This production is one of the main benefits of aromatherapy for stress relief. Now, it's not surprising that when you enter a spa (that is practically a home of essential oils), you feel instantly relaxed and happy. The good thing is you can make your spa, at home, with just a few drops of a specific essential oil.
The mechanism we've just described is one of the most common. But it's not the only one. Depending on the substance that reacts to the olfactory receptors in your nose, they trigger different neuro signaling paths. As a result, different substances are released. Some substances trigger the release of melatonin, or dopamine, and therefore influence sleep. This is a huge stress relief (and a good reason for having a foot massage with essential oil before you go to bed).
Others, for example, influence the regulation of the cardiovascular system, whose functioning is essential for regulating stress. A few of them target stress hormones directly. So, you can choose what things you want to improve. Also, a good thing to keep in mind is that there is not just one solution to your problems.
When it comes to the calming benefits of essential oils, lavender oil is one of the most researched ones on the market. Aromatherapy using lavender oil has been shown to have a calming effect on the nervous system, with benefits including:
Numerous medical settings, including dentist offices, critical care units, and pre-operative waiting rooms, have discovered the calming effects of lavender. So, next time you visit your dentist, pay attention to the scents around you. Don't be surprised to find that well-known scent of lavender in their waiting room.
A recent study conducted by scientists in Japan discovered that the aroma of yuzu citrus might reduce feelings of tension and anxiety. It can also slow your heart rate in as little as 10 minutes. Yuzu is a citrus fruit native to East Asia. Its bright yellow color is a welcome addition to many Asian dishes.
Yuzu-yu, also known as yuzu baths, have been a popular tradition in Japan since at least the 18th century. In the winter, stressed-out people float whole yuzus in hot baths. Diffusing the essential oil of yuzu or any other citrus fruit, such as lemon, might be a cost-effective alternative to buying a whole new essential oil set.
The fun fact about yuzu-yu is that Japanese people love to make it, especially when stressed about significant life changes, like selling a home and moving out of it. Of course, you can always rely on pros to make it stress-free and hire some great movers besides making a yuzu bath. Searching for local movers in Brooklyn from your lemon bath can be a perfect combo you'll tell your friends about!
All the things we mentioned are great benefits, but it's also important to note all the risks that aromatherapy brings. Not every oil interacts with your organism in the same manner. Some oils can make your life a paradise. However, using them via scented candles can cause severe damage if applied directly to your skin. Others can cause allergies in susceptible people in different ways. The risks are not huge, and oils are more beneficial in general. But it's always important to figure out the exact way the oil is supposed to be used and use it just like that.
As you see, there are a lot of benefits of aromatherapy for stress relief. Each essential oil, in each of its forms, can help you deal with the dark cloud and a pinch of winter blues. The great thing is you can play a fun little game and try various products containing essential oils. You don't have to take our word for it. Decide for yourself which one of them benefits you the most. See why Cleopatra kept her essential oils under the lock for many years. So, take your nose on a fantastic journey through time and space and find your favorite aromatherapy method you'll enjoy for years to come.