It's that time of year when faculty, administrative staff, and students of all ages from grade school to PhD candidates come back from summer break. I work at an Ivy League university by day and have relished the quiet days over the summer when most of the students and faculty are not around. I've worked in higher education since 2005 so I am keenly aware of the academic cycle and the challenges and stresses it brings each year. No matter where you are in your academic studies or carrier, you will surely encounter varying levels of stress.
Stress is one of the most popular reasons people turn to aromatherapy -- that's how I started using essential oils in 2011. Aromatherapy and stress management systems can help people identify their sources of stress and responses so that they can begin to peel back the layers in order to understand the physical manifestations of stress. Everyone reacts and responds to stress differently and it can be triggered by anything, but one you get to know your stress responses then you can learn how to navigate them.
Incorporating aromatic products as a basis of support helps to "click the reset button" on stress triggers and responses. It may be helpful for some to mindmap their stress to visually map out stress triggers, responses, and physical manifestations. When you creating a visual map to help you connect the dots between the stressors in your life, you will peel back the layers and decode your triggers, allowing you to redesign your body and mind’s responses to stress. This is an interactive approach to visualizing all of the stressors in your life and how they relate to each other. This can serve as a visual reminder to help you identify and become more self-aware of the stress in your life.
The goal of incorporating aromatherapy along with mindmapping your stress will help you to redesign your overall reactions and responses by rewiring our brains through the incorporation of aromatic products into as a mechanism to stave off stress and to overwrite responses and physical manifestations.
Aromatherapy Inhalers are a great way to target acute stress responses. They are discrete and easy to use, remove the cap and gently inhale into each nostril when feeling stressed, anxious, nervous or to feel more grounded and present throughout the day. Aromatherapy Inhalers work best when used regularly. Visit our Aromatherapy Inhalers shop.
Stress can manifest in different ways trouble sleeping, nervousness, irritability, difficulty concentrating, digestive issues, excessive thinking, comfort eating, and retail therapy. Using aromatherapy inhalers gives you a direct inhalation experience as opposed to passive diffusion through typical aromatherapy diffusers. We don't have to be held prisoner to stress anymore.
Aromatherapy, among other complementary alternative medicine practices are just that - complementary. These practices are not meant to replace traditional medical practices and treatments entirely. Body autonomy is crucial and we will all have different needs and course of treatment. I was diagnosed with a Circadian Rhythm Disorder - Delayed Sleep Phase Type a few months ago. While there are numerous essential oils used for sleep and relaxation, in my case, there is no combination of essential oils that can and will help me sleep. I've tried diffusing them, using rollers, and balms with no luck. Now this does not mean that essential oils do not work for sleep - they just don't work for me. My course of action was to work with my sleep doctor, sleep therapist, and sleep psychiatrist to incorporate prescription sleeping pills with Cognitive Behavioral Therapy for Insomnia and Sleep Phase Therapy. This is perfectly okay and I am now sleeping a full eight hours a night for probably the first time in over 20 years. This is a chronic disorder and one that I will always struggle with. Most likely, I will need to take prescription sleeping pills long term.
If you are committed to natural holistic living and practices, common sense and risk assessments are crucial because in some cases, you can end up doing more harm than good. I have to take prescription medication for my sleep disorder, ADD/ADHD, high blood pressure, and because of my history of depression. There are plenty of essential oils that I can use to complement those traditional treatments, but I cannot rely on them 100% and remain healthy and functional at the same time. Essential oils can be uplifting and psychoactive, but for those with chronic and severe depression, anxiety, panic disorders, mood disorders, and personality disorders they cannot be used as a stand alone treatment. I can use all the essential oils in my house (and there are over 200 of them) and it is not going to treat suicidal depression. I will leave that to the medical professionals.
Now to address the elephant in the room, essential oils and herbal remedies are NOT a substitute for vaccines, they do not function in the same physiological way. Yes, many essential oils and herbs have antibacterial, antifungal, antimicrobial, and antiviral properties, but they are not going to provide the same level of protection as vaccines or other traditional medical treatments. Essential oils are chemicals, yes they are derived from natural plant material, but it is their chemical properties that give them their therapeutic benefits.
Again this comes down to risk assessment, while you might feel that your family is doing just fine without vaccines because you have your essential oils and herbal remedies, you absolutely have to consider the risk you pose to others, especially those who are chronically ill or immunocompromised - like cancer patients undergoing chemotherapy and radiation, children or adults who have had organ transplants who will be on anti-rejection drugs for the rest of their lives, anyone with immune disorders like HIV/AIDS, and of course infants who are too young to be vaccinated. When my nephew became critically ill at 6 weeks old, if he was exposed to measles or other preventable diseases it would have caused even more critical health issues or killed him. That is a viable risk and one that needs to be taken into consideration.
The point I am trying to make as an aromatherapist and herbalist is that they are not a 100% cure all meant to replace traditional medical practices. I would love for that to be true and to not have to take prescription medications or to see my doctors all the time, but that is not my reality and never will be. Use common sense and assess the risk, not only for yourself, but for your family, and for those you come into contact on a daily basis. Peoples lives may depend on it.
I recently was diagnosed with severe Obstructive Sleep Apnea and just got my CPAP machine. The first thing I thought was "Oh No! Can I use my diffuser and sleepy time oils if I am using a CPAP machine for Sleep Apnea???" My sleep study showed that I stop breathing every TWO minutes and wake up 22 times an hour without knowing it, so the CPAP machine is extremely necessary.
I've been diffusing various combinations of essential oils for rest and relaxation over the past year and love it. But, with a CPAP mask covering my face at night, I was wondering if it was still worth it to diffuse my night time oils - the short answer is yes. The CPAP machine pulls air from the room and both are placed by my bedside so it shouldn't be a problem. I can also diffuse oils prior to going to sleep with the CPAP mask on too.
Given my sleep issues and that I was flying from the east coast to west coast and adjusting to the time change, I figured that I would bump up my sleep roller game and had great success using my Mega Sleep Roller. I applied it to my temples, behind my ears, back of the neck, and on my feet.
I've been on vacation in Seattle and wanted to give the low down on what essential oils and rollers that I brought with me for the journey. I didn't have to worry too much about sunscreen and sunburn remedies since we were doing anything involving too much time out in the sun.
Since I live on the east coast and there is a three hour time difference (and I suffer from insomnia) packing sleep related oils is crucial. I made a mega sleep roller, which helped relax me during the 6 hour flight and helped keep my sleep schedule mostly normal all things considered. I also brought most of my sleep and relaxtion oils to diffuse at night. I brought the Orb USB diffuser since it is smaller than the Dewdrop diffuser.
I packed the following oils and DIY products:
My daily essential oil routines sometimes change, but I thought that I would go over how I use them on a daily basis.
In the morning, I apply my moisturizer and then do my makeup and get ready for work.
Once I get to work, I use various combinations of essential oils in my diffuser.
I wear different scents mixed with a carrier oil in a roller bottle. My emotional state has been in flux most centered on grief and sadness and some feelings of anxiety. These particular oils provide an uplifting aroma and help get me through the work day.
I have a couple other rollers I keep in my purse for emergency use in case I feel some head tension coming on or need an energy and focus boost to get over and through the late afternoon wall.
I tend to take baths and showers in the evening because I find them relaxing. I use my own DIY foaming body wash, sugar scrubs, and relaxing bath oils. Occasionally, I will switch out my sugar scrub for clay masks or Himalayan Salt Scrubs. I also use my own homemade bath bombs, which reminds me that I need to make another batch soon.
My night time routine is pretty intense. After I take a bath or shower, I apply moisturizer and an under eye serum for dark circles on my face. I also use a belly firming cream on my abdomen and stretch mark cream on my hips, lower abdomen, and thighs.
I am currently on a sleep restriction regime to help with insomnia and find myself puttering around my office/studio doing things until midnight so I usually have my diffuser going with various combinations and have been digging a mixture of mint oils with citrus ones.
Once I am ready for sleep, I diffuse oils that help to promote relaxation and sleep. I use a Sleepy foot rub. Then its lights out for me
Owner, Restorative Aromatics and NAHA Certified Aromatherapist Level One. This blog focuses on aromatherapy education and other essential oil related topics.