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Managing Stress: Week 4

by | Nov 22, 2017 | Managing Stress | 0 comments

simple aromatherapy for stress relief

Aromatherapy is the art and science of using essential oils for health and well-being. Essential oils are oils extracted from plants and flowers through a distillation process. Essential oils work in a variety of ways. They can be diluted within a carrier (lotion, cream, massage oil) and massaged into the skin. In this method, they are absorbed directly into the blood stream. Inhalation is another common form of aromatherapy usage. When essential oils are inhaled, olfactory (smell) receptor cells are stimulated. The impulse is transmitted to the limbic system, often called our “emotional brain”. This portion of the brain is responsible for:

  • Memory (Hippocampus)
  • Stress and anxiety response (Amygdala)
  • Emotional reactivity (Thalamus and Hypothalamus)
  • Coordinating smells and sights with pleasant memories (Cingulate Gyrus)
  • Our emotional response to pain (Cingulate Gyrus)

Each essential oil has a different effect on the body. When it comes to stress reduction here are a few common ones.

Relaxing: Insomnia, anxiety, stress

  • Lavender
  • Clary sage
  • Chamomile

Energizing: Mental fatigue, low on energy, low on motivation

  • Peppermint and/or Spearmint
  • Rosemary
  • Lemon/ Other Citrus Scents

Just because essential oils are natural, does not mean that they are safe in every instance. They can be dangerous if not used properly. Here are a few words of caution:

  • Some essential oils may not be safe for those who have epilepsy, are currently pregnant, or breastfeeding. Check with your healthcare provider to see which essential oils are safe for you.
  • If you plan on using essential oils on your skin, do not use without diluting in a carrier. A carrier medium is a base used to dilute the essential oil to make it safer to use. Common carriers are olive oil, unscented lotion, and shea butter. Essential oils are very concentrated so only a few drops will do the trick. Try using 4 drops/ounce of carrier medium. Even after diluting the essential oils in a carrier, test on a small patch of skin to make sure you aren’t allergic.
  • Phototoxicity, or photosensitization, is a reaction caused when essential oils on the skin are exposed to UV light – whether from the sun or from a tanning bed. Reactions can be severe, and even permanent. Here are some of the signs of phototoxicity:
    • severe sunburn
    • blistering
    • changes in the color of your skin
    • edema (swelling)
  • Here is a list of essential oils along with the maximum number of drops allowed per ounce of carrier oil before they will cause phototoxic reactions:
    • Bergamot – 1 drop
    • Bitter Orange – 8 drops
    • Grapefruit – 24 drops
    • Lemon (cold pressed) – 12 drops
    • Lime (cold pressed) 4 drops

This Week’s Stress Management Technique: Using aromatherapy!

Action Item:  There are many ways to use aromatherapy. Below are suggested ways to safely incorporate them into your life. Try at least one, but preferably more, to see how the essential oils affect your stress levels. Choosing the appropriate kind of essential oil can be as simple as smelling it and seeing if you resonate with the scent. Here are ways to use to use aromatherapy:

  • Car diffuser: This connects the cigarette lighter in your car and disperses the scent you add. Just be sure not to use any essential oils that will cause you to relax too much! One of the energizing blends would definitely be more beneficial and safer.
  • Flameless electronic diffuser for home or office
  • Essential oil candles
  • Sprays
  • Roll-Ons
  • Salt/Scrubs
  • Scented cotton ball
    • Add one or two drops of one of the relaxation essential oils to a cotton ball. Place under your pillow at night.
  • Add a few drops of one of the energizing essential oils to a piece of cloth. Carry it with you and breathe into the cloth when you need a little pick me up.
  • Steam Inhalation: Boil 2 cups of water. Carefully, pour the water into a bowl. Gradually add essential oils, one drop at a time. Some oils are stronger than others so you may need more or less. Around 3-7 drops should do, but use your discretion. Inhale the oils from about 12″ away from the bowl. Take a few breaths in at a time. Stop if you notice any irritation or discomfort. Use energizing or relaxing oils based on what you feel you need at the time. Along with stress relief, steam inhalations can also be great during cold season to open the sinuses. Eucalyptus essential oil is great for this.

Next Week, We’ll Discuss how movement can help with stress relief…

See you then!

Please note that the information in this blog is not intended to replace medical treatment or advice.

About Rochelle

Rochelle Redding, M.S. is a wife, mother of four, and the owner and operator of Rochelle Redding Coaching and Consulting Services (RRCCS). RRCCS is a spiritually-based coaching service dedicated to helping women be their best selves and achieve wellness in all aspects of their life. Learn about life coaching services with Rochelle by clicking here.

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Finding Power and Purpose takes the reader on a dynamic journey from darkness, depression, and life-threatening health, to one of healing, self-love and alignment with God’s will.

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