With most of us feeling very pressured to complete the myriad of tasks we need to do each day, it’s not surprising that fatigue and overwhelm are common occurrences.
Here’s the thing, despite being time poor, there is not a more important activity you need to prioritise for your ongoing health and wellbeing, than time for daily self-care.
In a state of prolonged stress, our body’s stress responses do not switch off. This causes increases in the levels of stress chemicals and hormones such as Cortisol, Adrenalin and inflammatory cytokines which play havoc with our health and well being.
This can cause us to feel fatigued, pain and tension in muscles, inflammation, headaches, anxiety, disordered sleep, feelings of overwhelm, being unable to cope and difficulty thinking and/ or making decisions.
Over time this continual wear and tear on our body contributes to the diseases of modern life such as obesity, diabetes, cardiovascular disease, arthritis, and even some degenerate diseases of the brain such as Alzheimers’.
We can all imagine some of the situations which lead to chronic stress,
Money: financial stress and strain
Conflict: unresolved issues with co-workers, family, or your ex
Job: fear of job loss, burdensome workload
Health: your own or the health of a loved one
Uncertainty: fear of the unknown, worry about the economy
Family: pressure from your spouse or parents, lack of communication, resentment, or distance
The good news is if we learn to manage our response to stressors and keep our systems regulated our body, mind and spirit can regenerate.
How can aromatherapy help?
Aromatherapy works as a stress relieving therapy because it restores the body and mind to a rest and recovery state, counterbalancing the parts of the brain that produce the imbalance of stress hormones and cytokines and switching off the body’s stress response.
Essential oils interface directly and quickly with the limbic system of the brain; the part that controls emotion, motivation, the regulation of memories and hormones, circadian rhythms, and is generally considered the interface between emotional states and memories of physical stimuli.
When an aromatherapist treats a client for long-term stress, the essential oils they use in the treatment will cause various parts of the limbic system to spring into action, triggering the release of neurochemicals and hormones that will slow the heart rate, regulate blood pressure, and stimulate the immune system.
This last action is very important, because stress causes adrenalin and cortisol to be produced by the body as part of the ‘fight or flight’ response which is essential for survival, but damaging over a period of time. These chemicals suppress the immune defenses making us more susceptible to disease and illness.
Modern science is investigating the interrelationship between psychology and fragrance by studying the emotions produced when odours activate the olfactory pathways leading to the limbic system. Research has now scientifically proven that essential oils can change mood, behaviour and productivity, and have determined which neurotransmitters are released to cause this effect. For example, serotonin produces a relaxing, soothing effect while certain endorphins inhibit pain and increase sexual arousal.
The combination of the aroma of the essential oils and the massage techniques used in aromatherapy massage can calm the nervous system, balance the endocrine system and stimulate the immune system, putting your body into a situation where the stress responses can switch off so that you can deeply recover.
To keep your stress levels under control on a daily basis you can use some simple and effective aromatherapeutic self-care techniques using essential oils. Some include; inhalation, via room scenting, on cotton swab or hankie during meditation, yoga, while exercising, in your skincare or personal care products, in the bath and self massage.
If you would like to learn some stress relieving aromatherapeutic self-care techniques, book for my next Art of Self-Care Workshop here.
If you would like to experience a deep recovery aromatherapy massage from an experienced, caring and qualified clinical aromatherapist, Kim Ellis book here.
Yours in Living Well,