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Aromatherapy & Depression

Aromatic oils have been used for literally thousands of years in healing; for instance, lavender oil was used in ancient Egypt for healing skin complaints and Eucalyptus oil has been used for centuries to help clear sinus congestion. However, recent research by Dr G Schwartz, professor of Psychology and psychiatry at Yale University, revealed that certain aromas can even lower blood pressure. Some oils have been shown in research to have analgesic (pain reducing) qualities whereas others have been shown to be antibacterial, antiseptic and anti-inflammatory. Clinical trials have shown essential oils to be beneficial in alleviating labour pains, reducing emotional stress, improving circulation, and even in helping patients with mental disorders. (1) The essential oils have a complex action on the body which is still not fully understood. This may be due to the fact that one oil can have hundreds of different compounds. Interestingly, your sense of smell is over 10,000 more sensitive than your sense of taste and researchers have shown how aromas cause a brain reaction, activating the hypothalamus gland, the pituitary gland and the body's hormones as well as stimulating the limbic system (centre for emotion and memory) in the brain.

 

Work carried out by Dr. Gary Schwartz, Professor of Psychology and Psychiatry at Yale University, found that the aromas of some essential oils by themselves affect the nervous system and even reduce blood pressure. The calming and relaxing effect of the essential oils and massage can help relieve accumulated tensions and anxieties.

 

The following essential oils are also beneficial in the treatment of depression as they have properties helping to balance and relax the nervous system:

 

Chamomile - relaxant and calmative
Clary Sage - antispasmodic
Cypress - anti-spasmodic
Lavender - relaxant and calmative
Marjarom - emotional balancer
Rose - anti depressant
Rosewood - calmative
Ylang Ylang - sedative and antidepressant

 

The therapeutic massage combined with selected essential oils makes aromatherapy an excellent aid in countering the effects of stress and inducing relaxation. Massage improves the blood circulation in several ways without putting additional strain on the heart. It helps the flow of blood through the veins and also stimulates the nerves which control the blood vessels. It has the added benefit of relaxing tense muscles and tight connective tissues which may have been constricting blood vessels and thus enabling blood to flow more freely. It is for this reason that soothing massage helps reduce emotional tension, it induces relaxation and calms stress-related cardio-vascular conditions.

 

In fact, massage treatment alone has been shown to be an effective treatment to help patients with depression. In one study conducted at the University of Miami, 52 teenagers hospitalised for depression were split into two groups. For 5 days, the first group were each given a 30 minute massage and the second group watched television. The massage group felt less anxious, more co-operative, had lowered pulse rates and lower levels of cortisol ( a chemical produced under stress) in their saliva.

 

IMPORTANT NOTE: Do not take any oils internally or use on babies under 18 months. Always consult a qualified aromatherapist before using any essential oils to treat a health problem, or if you are pregnant or breastfeeding.

 

(1) Massage Therapy, Adam J Jackson (Optima 1993)
(2) The Complete Book of Massage - Clare Maxwell Hudson Dorling Kindersley 1988 p.18
(3) Massage Therapy, Adam J Jackson (Optima 1993)

1 comment (Add your own)

1. Sania wrote:
there are some who can't stand lavender tho it is great for calinmgLemon and light mint maybe-some citrus can plug some diffusers (or mine got old and thick?)anything really subtle. you don't have to smell it for it to be calinmgI like peace and calinmg' blend but it has strong bergamot and jasmine that may offend some.ylangylang and jasmine are uplifting and balancingReferences :

Thu, November 22, 2012 @ 10:20 AM

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