Aromatherapy for Everyday Mental Health Needs
While it is important to seek help for your mental health through counseling, therapy, holistic practices, and other techniques, there is also a technique that involves the use of essential oils from plants to heal your mental health called aromatherapy. The oils can be inhaled, massaged in your skin, or in rare cases by mouth. These essential oils are concentrated extracts from roots, leaves, plant blossoms, or seeds. Some essential oils are for physical healing, such as swelling or an infection, and others are for emotional healing like enhancing relaxation.
Aromatherapy has been around for 6,000 years in which Chinese, Indians, Greeks, Egyptians, Romans used them in cosmetics, drugs, and perfumes. French chemist René-Maurice Gattefossé discovered the healing properties of lavender oil after applying it to a burn he got from a laboratory explosion. He analyzed the chemical properties of the essential oils and used it to treat burns, skin infections, gangrene, and wounds in soldiers during WWI. In the 1950s, beauticians, massage therapists, doctors, nurses, physiotherapists, and other health care providers started using them as a source for healing.
Aromatherapy works when the smell receptors in the nose communicates with different parts of the brain and serve as storage for emotions or memories. During your appointment, a practitioner will ask about your medical history and symptoms as well as what kind of scents you like. You can breathe in the essential oils from a piece of cloth or indirectly through vaporizers, sprays, or steam inhalations. You can also apply diluted essential oils to your skin during a massage.
Bergamot is a citrus fruit from a bitter orange tree. This scent can be helpful towards restoring the hypothalamus to a state of calmness. Lavender scent can slow down fast brain activity and replace it with slower alpha brain wave activity. Rose Geranium scent can balance hormonal levels as well as give a soothing sensation to the entire central nervous system. Ylang Ylang scent can improve your confidence, mood and self-love and can act like a mild remedy for depression. While there have been studies that have proven that aromatherapy works, it is important to know that you should not rely on these aromas too much and to still see your doctor and go to therapy. Remember that these essential oils will not cure your conditions and should be used more as an additional source to boosting your mental health.
Castle Craig Hospital is a landmark of addiction and mental health treatment in Scotland, serving the UK, the EU, and patients from all over the world. Our commitment to long term abstinence has created a successful program of clinical and complementary therapies for mind, body, and spirit. Serving over 10,000 patients for more than 25 years, the Castle Craig model is proven in changing lives. Call our 24 hour free confidential phone-line for information: 0808 231 7723. From outside the UK please call: +44 1721 788 006
Page last reviewed and medically fact-checked | July 27, 2021