Responding to stress is something people naturally do to help regulate the body but staying in a constant state of stress will eventually have negative health effects. Cortisol, also known as the stress hormone, is part of the body's natural response to stress but when released at high levels it can impact our overall quality of life.
Aromatherapy is a gentle tool that can trigger the relaxation response. This has many health benefits, including healthy cortisol levels and heart rate, decreased blood pressure, improved digestion and balanced blood sugar levels.
That is why it’s important to make time for yourself every day, even if that means stealing just a moment here and there.
The use of essential oils can provide a harmonious and calm space for you to stop, contemplate and focus. Aromatherapy is often used to lift our moods and there are certain essential oils that can also have a positive effect on our nervous system.
Essential oils can be used in a diffuser or in the bath as part of your skincare routine. It’s also great for massage and first aid. Diluted and used safely, they can be a wonderful addition to your daily routine.
Always consult a qualified Aromatherapist before using oils and they will guide you on appropriate dilution. Check for allergens such as almond oil and wheatgerm oil. Be cautious with sensitive skin and always dilute your oils before applying a base or carrier oil.
Mood Lifting Essential Oils
Cypress has a woody yet sweet aroma and is often referred to as a warming and uplifting essential oil. It’s a beautiful choice when you’re craving some comfort.
Neroli is extracted from the blossom of the bitter orange tree and is widely used to calm and refresh an anxious mind.
Rose is widely known for its beauty and does not disappoint with its floral aroma. This refreshing essential oil supports wellbeing with calming and uplifting properties.
Sweet orange is extracted from the peel of the orange and has a refreshing and uplifting aroma that can energise the mind and lift the spirits.
Ylang ylang is an uplifting floral aroma that can nourish our wellbeing through its calming properties.
A perfect relaxing bath
If you are looking for something to ease sore muscles, or even something to rid you of the worries of the day, soaking in essential oils can be very therapeutic.
You can include essential oils into your bath routine in many ways. Add a blend to some bath salts to detox or add to a SLS free unperfumed bubble bath for a super soak. For a truly indulgent skin- loving bath, combine your essential oil blend with some moisturising oats wrapped in a muslin cloth.
Here’s one of my favourite recipes…
How to make your own aromatherapy bath salts
You will need:
- 1 cup of Epsom, Pink Himalayan or Dead Sea Salts. Salts like Epsom are full of minerals which draw toxins out from the body. They balance the body and support detoxification. Allow some time after your bath to relax and hydrate yourself with water.
- 4 drops of Frankincense essential oil. This resinous oil will ground and root you. It will help your mind relax and support you if you feel anxious or easily panicked. It can also calm the breath.
- 3 drops of lavender oil - always a favourite of mine! This is a lovely oil to use at the end of the day, just before going to sleep.
- Rose petals will nurture and protect you, connecting you with your heart. It will soothe the mind. It’s also beautiful for the skin.
- Candles (optional)
- Mix the ingredients into a warm bath and add some rose petals and enjoy for 20 minutes. Allow some time after your bath to relax and hydrate yourself with water.
- If you don’t have a bath create a foot spa instead and enjoy the essential oils that way. It’s equally relaxing to soak our feet.
- After your bath or foot spa, massage your face with two drops of rose or neroli in a base of apricot oil. This will lock moisture into the skin, nurturing and comforting, whilst soothing the mind.
These simple rituals can support our wellbeing and allow for that much needed space.
Kelly Horne is an Aromatherapist in West Sussex. She runs a successful practice Revive Therapy and creates bespoke blends for individual needs. She also co-runs a Complementary Therapy School, Sussex School of Natural Therapies and teaches to Diploma Level.