Illumine Blog - How to use aromatherapy to overcome stress

How to use aromatherapy to overcome stress

April 20, 2019 0 Comments

Every April is Stress Awareness Month which encourages all of us to open up about it. It's really helpful to not only share experiences but to also share ways we've found to overcome it. Whether it’s financial stress, overworking, family pressures, or having too much to get done, many things have the ability to get our stress hormones overworking and blood pressure rising. It would be easy for me to simply say - light a candle to overcome stress and ease anxiety but I've dug a little deeper to reveal everything you need to know about aromatherapy and healing from stress.


How stress affects our body

Stress hormones are very powerful and produce instant changes including:

  • heart rate increase
  • slowing of the digestion process
  • muscle tension
  • fast and shallow breathing
Stress hormones give our bodies a "fight or flight" response which is great when you're on the run from a pack of wolves,  but not so helpful when you're late with deadlines, your child is sick and money worries are overwhelming. But there are simple things you can do to relieve anxiety and to stop stress from even occurring in the first place. And one of those ways is inhaling natural smells through your nose.

Olfactory stress relief

Put very simply, aromatherapy releases a natural scent that enhances wellbeing. Here's how. Have you heard of the olfactory nerve? The word 'olfactory' comes from the Latin 'olfacere' to smell, and it's via the olfactory nerve that the healing starts to happen.

Aromatherapy uses essential oils from plants which are highly concentrated. The aroma comes from volatile compounds inside the plant and it's these aromatic molecules which interact with sensors in your nose. When you inhale the vapours from essential oils the molecules enter the nose and stimulate olfactory receptors there. Via these sensors, the oils have an effect on the systems of the body that help you to overcome stress.

Aromatherapy and the limbic system

Essential oils positively impact the part of our brain called the limbic system which helps control our emotions and behaviour. The nerve cells inside your nose connect directly to the brain and cause the limbic system to release wonderful natural chemicals that make you feel great. 

Scents cause the limbic system of the brain to release neuro messengers including serotonin and endorphins. These produce effects of relaxation and happiness. This part of the brain is connected to other areas of the brain, such as the areas that control heart rate, blood pressure, breathing, memory, stress levels, and hormone balance. This is why certain scents can reduce stress levels, slow down the heart rate and even reduce blood pressure. 

Using Aromatherapy to release stress 

Inhaled essential oils reduce anxiety, and interrupts the stress response signals to the brain. Essential oils can be added to a vapouriser, diffuser or to hot water for steam inhalation. You can also use an aromatherapy candle like ours or use aromatherapy massage oils. Whatever you prefer.

I'm obviously going to recommend a scented candle, but that's not only because it's my product. If you don't want to spend time learning about measurements and carrier oils and all of that, then a simple candle or spray will be readily prepared at the optimum dilution. 

Aromas to overcome stress

When an aromatherapy candle or essential oil diffuser is burned it releases a gentle constant stream of vapour into the air. We then inhale these and they enter the bloodstream. Picking the right essential oils is the key to tackle stress with aromatherapy.

Here are 12 natural aromas that smell divine and also promote stress release and an improved mood. Each of these scents are signature scents in the ILUMINE candle range:

  1. Basil Oil (Gemini) - this oil has a deeply calming effect and can help with emotional distress or anxiety. If you want to feel mentally strong, try this scent.⁣ ⁣
  2. Camomile Oil (Cancer) - this oil is amazing for deep relaxation and a good night's sleep. The sedative effect helps alleviate anxiety and stress.
  3. Jasmine Oil (Leo) - this oil is a fabulous mood lifter. It increases focus, healthy brain activity and can counteract stress with more happy hormone release.
  4. Geranium Oil (Libra) - this oil helps to balance and regulate emotions, lifting your mood, providing a soothing balm for anxiety and stress.
  5. Vetiver Oil (Capricorn) - use this amazing oil during traumatic times to help restore calm. It can relieve panic attacks, a racing mind, irritability and insomnia.
  6. Neroli Oil (Aquarius) - this oil and energy restorer. It is excellent at reducing anxiety, anger, and tiredness and lifting depression.
  7. Melissa Oil (Pisces) - this oil soothes anxiety, depression, and nervousness and brings with it a sense of lightness and joy.

Support to help you overcome stress

There can be times in our lives when stress becomes too much to handle so I wanted to finish off this blog by providing some places to go to for help if you're struggling. Never suffer on your own - always talk to friends and family whenever you can. A problem shared can do a whole heap to make us feel better. 

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