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Reducing Stress With Aromatherapy

By Frances Black

The word 'stress' is used incessantly. It has become part of our everyday language. But what does it really mean?

To be suffering from stress means being in a state of high tension which can eventually be the precursor of a more serious physical or mental illness. Stress is more often known as 'nervous tension'. What we mean when we talk about a stressful situation is one which is putting pressure of us that we are not able to cope with it. This state of stress us becoming so common the medical profession has now acknowledged its seriousness by convening many symposia and congresses on the subject. It is now recognized as a serious threat to our health. It is a potential killer and we must pay attention to mastering it before it masters us.

How aromatherapy can help

Aromatherapy acts on the nervous system, which is our most subtle system and the one that is most easily disturbed in the modern world. The nervous system is one which we have no control over such as the beating of the heart. Aromatherapy massage automatically relaxes the recipient by working on pressure points on either side of the spine which function like a series of little power stations to produce energy. In this way a state of relaxation can be achieved.

The essential oils used during the massage of the face and body have a double action. Firstly, they work by scent and secondly they are absorbed through the skin into the bloodstream. They are powerful allies in the fight against stress. Choose essential oils for their calming and rebalancing properties. Such oils are bergamot, chamomile, lavender, marjoram, neroli, orange, petitgrain and vetivert. These are to be used either in a single essential oil preparation with a vegetable oil such as jojoba, soya bean, sesame, St John's wort or wheat germ, or in a combination of two or three essential oils again with a vegetable oil.

Taking an aromatherapy bath three to four times a week using relaxing essential oils can be very beneficial in reducing stress. If time doesn't permit a bath, a footbath can be helpful or sponge yourself down with a wet towel to which 1 drop of essential oil has been added. In addition, a single drop of vertivert (which is known as the essential oil of tranquility) will release a great deal of tension when applied anti-clockwise to the solar plexus. This should be performed morning and night.

It is also good to set aside one evening a week where a light meal is eaten, followed by an aromatic bath and early to bed either reading or listening to music. This will help recharge your batteries. An oil diffuser in the bedroom can help relax you. Try it with calming oils such as bergamot, chamomile, lavender or neroli. A herbal tea can be useful before bed, try lime blossom, lemon verbena, melissa, skullcap or marjoram.

A good diet can also help you deal with stress. Avoid red meat, white flour and products made with it, sugar, processed foods and to limit the amount of fat eaten. Try to eat wholesome, natural food where ever possible. Meditation can be helpful for some. Even 15 minutes set aside each day to relax and unwind can be beneficial.

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