Things like high levels of stress, anxiety, and depression are issues that are affecting many Americans' overall quality of daily life. The best option for someone struggling with their mental health is to reach out to their doctor, who will likely recommend therapy and perhaps prescribe medication to help alleviate symptoms. This is what is referred to as traditional treatment, and for many, it is very effective.
While traditional treatment methods recommended by a doctor should not be replaced with more holistic methods, this doesn't mean that there aren't still more holistic things you can do to supplement the traditional treatment. One method you might want to consider trying out is aromatherapy.
What Is Aromatherapy?
Aromatherapy is the practice of using essential oils for therapeutic benefits. If you've heard people talking about essential oils and aromatherapy before, you might have felt a little bit skeptical about whether this practice truly does anything. While it may work for some people better than others, it is still worth a shot to see if it benefits you. While it may have been discussed more frequently in the last decade or so, aromatherapy is not at all new. In fact, it has been around for centuries and has been used by many different cultures around the world. Knowing about aromatherapy's long history may make you feel more intrigued and open to trying it.
There are several different ways that you can utilize aromatherapy with the use of essential oils. Some essential oils can be applied directly to the skin, while others need a carrier oil to go with them to ensure they don't cause irritation. You could also put a few drops into your bath water and breathe in the scent for a greater sense of relaxation.
One of the most common ways that essential oils are used is through a diffuser. There are a lot of different variations of diffusers available for purchase featuring different features. However, you don't need something really fancy to experience the same effects.
Diffusers are easy to use. You simply fill them with water as described in the instructions. You then put a few drops of an essential oil of your choice into the water. When you turn on the machine, the water comes out as a fine mist and the oils are dispersed into the air as water droplets that you can then breathe in.
What Does Aromatherapy Help With?
You can use essential oils for a great number of things. Some people use them to help get over a cold and breathe better when suffering from congestion. Others may use them to help alleviate pain from a headache or to help provide them with a burst of energy to wake them up in the morning.
Perhaps most commonly, essential oils are used to promote relaxation and provide relief from anxiety. Some other conditions essential oils can be used to treat include dry mouth, trouble sleeping, nausea, and low appetite. Some mothers choose to use certain oils on their children to help them calm down or focus better in school.
While each essential oil carries with it its own unique benefits, there is also something to be said about scent and memory attachment. Consider what types of scents tend to soothe you when you're feeling upset or anxious. Maybe it's the smell of a loved one's perfume, the salty air associated with the beach, or a particular meal cooking that you associate with happy memories. These are the things that immediately put us at ease when we smell them.
With aromatherapy, you can actually train your brain to associate the scents of different essential oils with different thoughts or emotions. For example, if you apply or diffuse a certain essential oil right before bedtime, over an extended period of time, your brain will begin to associate that smell with it being time to get ready for sleep. This could help allow for better quality sleep, which can really help improve your mental health.
Which Essential Oils Are Best for Mental Health?
There are a lot of different essential oils out there to choose from. You may have to try several different ones to determine which works best for you and which ones offer fragrances that you enjoy. When it comes to mental health, some of the following oils might be a good choice:
#1. Lavender: Lavender is great to help you relax when you are feeling anxious or stressed. It's also a great oil to put into bath water or use when you are trying to fall asleep.
#2. Lemon Oil: Lemon oil has been known to provide energy and boost one's mood.
#3. Cedarwood: Cedarwood is known for being able to reduce stress levels.
#4. Chamomile: Chamomile may be able to help prevent depression and alleviate inflammation.
Aromatherapy is likely not going to take away anxiety completely on its own, but it is a good thing to try in addition to traditional treatment. For someone who is on their recovery journey, they know that being able to ward off stress in productive ways and maintain strong mental health is essential in order to prevent relapse. If you haven't tried aromatherapy already, consider giving it a shot. At The Ho Tai Way, we have helped many women improve their mental; health and achieve long-term sobriety. If you're ready to begin your recovery journey, call us at (714) 581-3974 today. We will be happy to answer any questions that you may have.