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Friday, June 15, 2007

Using Essential Oils for Mild to Moderate Depression

Mild to moderate depression is a common reason for choosing complementary and alternative therapies. Natural remedies are an excellent choice for treatment, as they tend not to have adverse long-term effects that can occur with many pharmaceutical preparations. A wide range of conditions can lead to feelings of depression and a pervasive outlook of negativity. Moreover, once in a state of depression, patterns can arise that make relief all the more difficult to find. Using the brilliant aromas of essential oils for uplifting the psyche and spirit is becoming more widespread because of their broad, safe, and dramatic effects. While the oils themselves may not directly affect the underlying cause of depression (though they may, if the cause is health-related), they can help individuals break free from depressive cycles - they may provide the impetus to 'get off the couch', so to speak, and begin creating long lasting change.

Clinical research has shown that natural, pure essential oils stimulate multiple regions in the brain, including those controlling endocrine, immune, and limbic (emotional center) functions. Essential oils have a direct and profound effect on the deepest levels of the body, emotions, and psyche. Through inhalation, essential oils have a strong and immediate influence. Passing through the capillary beds of the sinuses and activating the olfactory nerves, the oils' vapor, produces direct and powerful effects - the most immediate being on the emotions. Our emotions and our sense of smell have very strong ties - perhaps more than with any other of the other four senses. It is said that your body will react to a smell on a physiological level (excitement, sedation, etc.) before you can even think about it!

In both Naturopathy and Ayurvedic Medicine, essential oils are considered to enhance the flow of essential life force (the 'Chi') and brighten mental clarity and luminosity. In Traditional Chinese Medicine, essential oils in general are medicines for the Shen, the spiritual essence that resides in the heart. Used consciously, essential oils positively enhance mental and emotional states. Further, the medicinal properties of essential oils, through their ability to support healing of the physical body, can also be of great benefit to the heart and mind. A study on the effect of aromatherapy on pain in patients with arthritis found that receiving massage with essential oils significantly decreased both the pain AND depression levels.

Following are some oils that have a reputation for positively affecting Chi and Shen, directly influencing the state of the psyche and emotions. These oils can be used alone or in combination in a diffuser (nebulizers or cold-air diffusers are best), or in aromatherapy massage, thereby inhaled and absorbed through the skin concurrently.

Bergamot (pressed from the peels of bitter oranges) has a strong reputation for its ability to uplift the mind and emotions. In terms of Chinese medicine, this is a direct result of its smoothing the flow of liver-Chi, the liver being thought of as the seat of the eternal soul. Bergamot has the ability to both relax the nerves and invigorate the spirit; it is suitable for many types of depressive states. Sweet orange, a close relative, works in a similar fashion, with a slightly sweeter aroma.

Neroli, distilled from the flowers of the tree producing the Bergamot fruit, also regulates the Chi - and like Jasmine oil, inspires a feeling of comfort. Neroli is called for where the depression is a result of nervous and emotional exhaustion. Neroli also assists in retrieving and releasing repressed emotions. Neroli is additionally indicated for individuals who, in order to escape from emotional pain and suffering, cut themselves off from their feelings and senses.

Chamomile is wonderful to use when the depression manifests in a moody, irritable, dissatisfied outward expression - generally 'cranky' - associated with stagnant liver-chi. This flower oil is earthy, rich, and grounding with subtle uplifting qualities. It is best used in a blend with other oils, subtly enhancing the depression-relieving effect.

When depression is of a Fire (overly aggressive) nature, it often involves an imbalance of (or distinct lack of) joy and love - the root emotions of the heart and mind. Joy is an extension of spiritual essence's innate sense of harmony and perfection, an experience of emotional and spiritual well-being. Rose oil may have a profound effect on this state, and is thought the premier heart opening aromatic, bringing joy, uplifting and restoring balance.

The needle and wood oils are particularly appealing to men. Fine grades of Spruce, Fir and Pine needle oils, Juniper Berry, and woods such as Cedarwood and Sandalwood are both grounding and uplifting. Diffusing these oils alone or in combination creates a welcoming, relaxing atmosphere, and many find these aromas help motivate them in completing otherwise arduous tasks at home or in the office.

What follows are a few recipes for uplifting and releasing depressed emotional states - use your intuition to find the right one. Most often in the therapeutic use of essential oils, the oil or blend you find most attractive will be the one that serves you best. Experiment, explore, and have fun!. These blends may be used in a diffuser or in a massage base at 5% concentration (unless where a carrier oil is indicated) - blends with carriers are intended specifically for aromatherapy massage.

For opening the heart: 1 part Rose 3 parts Sandalwood 1 part Sweet Orange or Bergamot; also 3 parts Jasmine, 1 part Ylang Ylang, 1 part Sandalwood. For brightening, refreshing and uplifting: 3 parts Bergamot, 1 part Ylang Ylang, 1 part Grapefruit; also 2 parts Bergamot, 2 parts Clary Sage, 1 part Frankincense; also 3 parts Bergamot or Sweet Orange, 2 parts Clary Sage 2 parts Frankincense; also 1 part Lemon 1 part either Jasmine or Neroli. For nourishing or 'comforting': 1 part (Roman) Chamomile 1 part Vanilla 10 parts in the carrier oil of choice. For uplifting and softening with a floral and earthy aroma: 1 part Neroli 1 part Vanilla 1 part Orange 1 part Sandalwood; also 1 part Chamomile 1 part Bergamot 1 part Helichrysum.

Single oils can certainly be used as well. For depression with negativity, try Bergamot, Chamomile, Helichrysum, Neroli, Orange, or Spikenard. If there is a marked lack of joy, try Rose, Jasmine, Melissa, Patchouli, Rosemary or Ylang Ylang. If over-thinking and worry are causing blockage, try Cardamom, Frankincense, Lemon, Marjoram, Myrrh or Vetiver. For overwhelming regret and remorse, try: Clary Sage, Cypress, or Pine. For inability to cope with overwhelming situations, try: Rose Geranium, Ginger, Juniper or Thyme.

While aromatherapy can provide support in many cases, it may not be the answer for everyone. Seek professional assistance in any case where one is losing the will to live, or any other seemingly impossible situation. Aromatherapy can be used concurrently with other treatments, and is likely to enhance the effectiveness of other antidepressant therapies; one should consult their care giver to ensure there are no contraindications with any prescribed medication.

Essential Oils and Flower Essences - The Basics

Essential oils and flower remedies are often mistaken for one another ? but they are not the same products at all. People who have never used flower essences, for instance, may lift the bottle to their nose to see what it smells like ? and be shocked to learn that there is no fragrance at all, because flower essences have nothing to do with fragrance; their purpose is to transmit the vibrational properties of individual flowers (or a combination of flowers, in some cases) to humans or animals. On the other hand, essential oils, which are used in aromatherapy, DO have fragrance ? and are created for the purpose of extracting or enhancing the fragrance from the flowers. Both kinds of products are natural medicines that share the following similarities:

Flowers (ed. note: 'plants' in general, as many essences and oils are not only from the flowers but other plant parts as well) are the source of their power

Both products are considered ?holistic? ? or part of the complementary and integrative medicine fields ? because they address (in most cases) whole body systems rather than symptoms in isolation

Both hold the ?life force? or Chi of the plant from which it was taken

Both kinds of products are important for their natural healing properties

The main differences between the two kinds of products are:

They work on different systems in the body; essential oils (or aromatherapy) work through the physical (olfactory) system (ed. note: essential oils work on the complete physiology, not just through the sense of smell - different oils will target different body systems), and flower essences work through the electrical (electromagnetic) system.

Essential oils have fragrance; flower essences do not.

Essential oils are generally applied topically (although some food-grade oils may be taken internally ? be sure to check the manufacturers recommendations and instructions before EVER taking essential oils internally, however, because many of them are toxic) (Ananda Apothecary Ed. Note: Yes, some essential oils are 'toxic' when taken internally in large amounts, usually with folks having specific illnesses - Wintergreen, Sage, and a few other oils should be used cautiously whatever the application; many medical aromatherapists around the world recommend taking oils internally, but you must know what you're doing, or get direction from a qualified practitioner! 'Essential Oil Safety' is an excellent text describing all known contraindications of essential oils - available through Amazon.com) ...flower remedies are drops usually taken orally.

There might be circumstances where both kinds of products would be useful, but in most cases you would seek either one kind of product or the other. If, for instance, you were seeking ways to reduce stress and anxiety, you might take a flower remedy for stress and anxiety while also relaxing to a nice blend of essential oils in your bath or through an aromatherapy diffuser. Also, different people might respond better to one kind of remedy vs another; there are people who prefer fragrance ? and others who don?t.

If you are in doubt about which kind of product would be right for you, try both ? and see which one inspires in you the healing response you seek.

2007 Nancy Boyd Learn more her

Nancy Boyd is a Certified Bach Flower Essence Therapist. For more information about flower essences, and to get a free report on the Hidden Secrets of Flowers, visit our web site and Get more information here

The Joys of Cedarwood Essential Oil

Cedarwood oil is able to offer a really powerful variant of alternate medication. Alternate doesn't stand for that it will be utilized as an exclusive option to traditional medication. The elementary benefits of cedarwood oil are that of inducing a calming, relaxing state to those people who utilize it. This oil has a modest flavor, corresponded to other oils, because of that it gets an perfect base for combining additional oils. The clean and light aroma that it does have is fine to get rid of tension and relieving stress, and that's the reason, cedarwood oil is often affiliated with harmony in integrated therapeutic.

For a couple of people this oil can be a skin irritant, so it is most beneficial utilized in dispensers or any additional non-contact process. Cedarwood oil is best combined with additional evergreens or with citrus oils. In fact it has a noteworthy attribute of adding together such apparently contradicting smells like lavender and lemon oil, or gardenia and spruce. That character has founded its reputation for harmony.

Various people use cedarwood oil in several ways, naturally, but in the main, it's best utilized as a base. For instance, one recommended recipe is to combine 15-20 drops of cedarwood oil with 5-7 drops of lavender oil for relaxation and 8-10 drops of grapefruit for invigoration after a day of hard work. Put the blend into a dispenser and savor.

Optionally, saturate a cotton ball in cedarwood oil and place in it a bowl or on a saucer in your closet. The oil is also well known for its power to drive back moths and additional destructive insects, and we believe you'll find its scent rather more enjoyable than mothballs. Like all other essential oils, it should never come to finished piece of furniture, upholstered furniture, or any other fabric, including the dresses in your closet, as it may bleed them unrecoverable.

There's one exclusion to that. If you've a cedar case, or any other cedar panelling, that has gotten to lose its flavor, you may use cedarwood oil instantly to the wood itself, even as you may utilize lemon oil to whatever other piece of bare piece of furniture. Nonetheless, you must allow the case to stand open for two or three days, to be sure the oil has plenty of chance to soaking into the wood. By following this, it does not bleed any clothes you select to put into it. For added peacefulness, you may also line out it with paper, for just a bit more security.

We imagine you will agree that the mild, pleasing aroma of cedarwood adds together balance and harmony to any blend of herbs.

Diane Winter researches and provides information about aromatherapy. Visit also her website at What is Aromatherapy to get further information on How to Get Rid of Your Anxiety by Using Cedarwood Oil and about ideas on creating aromatherapy gift baskets.


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