De-stressing with aromatherapy

Aromatherapy essential oils can be added to baths, massaged on to the body or diffused in a burner. If you buy pure essential oils, they must be mixed with a carrier oil to dilute them. Premixed oils are readily available.

Follow the directions on the bottles and note the cautions indicated. Certain oils should not be used, for example, when pregnant.

Try the top five de-stressing essential oils. All of the following essential oils will work to balance and soothe your body and mind. Mix a few undiluted drops with a carrier oil, such as almond, for a massage or add it to your bath water.

The top five de-stressing oils are:

  • Lavender – balancing, soothing and normalising
  • Geranium – relaxing and uplifting
  • Neroli – soothing and regenerating
  • Chamomile – acts as a sedative and boosts the immune system
  • Ylang-ylang – calming, also an aphrodisiac

You can also use premixed oils that contain rose and frankincense. Adding these essential oils to the bath will take a load off your mind. But make sure that you follow the following guidelines so that you get the full benefit of the essential oils:

  • Follow the instructions on the bottle carefully and only add the recommended number of drops.
  • The bath must be hot, but not scalding or else the oils will evaporate before you've even hopped in.
  • Stay in the bath for about 20 minutes. If you stay in for less, the essential oils might not have time to take effect; if you stay in for longer, you'll just feel lethargic.
  • While you're in the bath, focus on ensuring that your breathing is deep and regular. Inhale from the diaphragm, hold for a few seconds and exhale slowly.

(Health24, updated January 2009)

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