Staying indoors is hard work. Whether you’re working from home or self-quarantining, it’s difficult to limit contact and cope with the stressors this virus has brought to our lives. But did you know there are natural ways to help lower your stress? It’s true! Incense, smudge sticks, essential oil diffusers, and scented candles are more than just a fad. They are proven mood boosters.
Benefits of Aromatherapy
Aromatherapy has been used by everyone from the Egyptians to ancient Chinese cultures. It’s the practice of using natural plant extracts, called essential oils, in holistic health therapies. Proponents celebrate the benefits of essential oils for everything from mood-boosting to improving sleep. While most of the evidence is self-reported, there is no doubt it works for people.
The Best Essential Oils
With more than 100 essential oil scents available, you might wonder which is best. The answer is that it depends…on you. Most people find lavender to be soothing, which is why it’s considered helpful to improve your sleep. Peppermint oil is a popular choice for those who get headaches. As a dietary supplement, peppermint may help IBS patients. Clary sage and sandalwood are go-to stress relievers.
Essential Oil Safety
There are many ways to use essential oils in aromatherapy. The oils can be added to a diffuser or a hot or cold compress. You might choose to add a drop or two to your body oils, creams or bath salts for a spa-like experience.
No matter which essential oil you use, do not apply the pure oil directly to your skin. Use oils in a lotion or cream, with a carrier oil such as coconut or olive oil, add to shampoo, or use a diffuser.
If you have infants or toddlers, consult their pediatrician before exposing them to oils. What works for adults isn’t always safe for children.
It’s important to remember that essential oils are not regulated by the FDA. So before you begin, it’s smart to do your homework. Trusted sources such as Johns Hopkins, The Mayo Clinic, and the National Association for Holistic Aromatherapy are good places to begin.
Scent is one of our most powerful senses. It can evoke a cherished memory or brighten our mood. If you have a favorite go-to essential oil, please share it with us.