Aromatherapy, the use of essential oils from plants for healing has been used to relieve stress and pain for thousands of years, we asked leading aromatherapist and certified Reiki practitioner Tomomi Horie the top 5 essential oils for today’s modern lifestyle, her recommendations are fascinating.
- Appetite Control
Essential oils by themselves will not induce weight loss but they can help to support and be a comfort through a change to healthy lifestyle. Everyone is different and the amount of weight gained or loss will depend on such things as an individual’s metabolism rate, their genetics, their ability to exercise and their overall health.
Research shows that appetite and the sense of smell are closely connected. In fact, studies have found that our sense of smell actually triggers feelings of fullness before our stomach does. According to Dr. Alan Hirsch, MD, head of Chicago’s Smell and Taste Treatment and Research Foundation, when you inhale an essential oil, it’s molecules directly affect the “satiety center” in the hypothalamus, a portion of the brain that regulates our feeling of satiety, or fullness after meal.
Peppermint (Menta x piperita) – Peppermint is an excellent mental stimulant, and as a digestive it is unsurpassed. Research in the U.S. and Japan has shown that peppermint improves alertness and stimulates the brain without affecting the heart rate. Peppermint essential oil has been researched and shown to reduce appetite and cravings – a key component to weight loss when uncontrollable cravings can derail even the most determined individual. In a recent study by Dr. Bryan Raudenbush at the Wheeling Jesuit University of West Virginia, it was discovered that individuals who inhaled peppermint oil over 2 week period consumed on average 3,000 less calories per week than those who didn’t use the peppermint. Not only that, the peppermint users reported a feeling of being satiated when inhaling the peppermint and didn’t feel deprived by their reduced caloric intake.
Appetite Suppressant Blend
– Peppermint (Mentha x piperita)
Put 1-2 drops of Peppermint essential oil to tissue or cotton ball. Inhale before each meal to curb appetite.
- Anxiety and Depression
Lavender (Lavandulaangustifolia)– Lavender is generally regarded as the most useful and versatile essence for therapeutic purposes. When W. Gray Walter, PhD, and his associates started to record the CNV brain waves in the 1960s, they found that the most sedative scents tested (in order of effectiveness) were Lavender, Bergamot, Marjoram, Sandalwood, Lemon, and Chamomile. Modern-day aromatherapists regard these scents as among the most emotionally balancing, specifically helpful in the treatment of depression, anxiety, headaches, and strain from overwork. Lavender is one of the most popular fragrances to alleviate stress and, as a result, has been extensively studies. EEG readings show that lavender oil increases alpha waves when the scent is inhaled for only three minutes. Alpha waves are associated with relaxation, focus, meditative state, and increased drowsiness.Preliminary Japanese studies indicate that lavender’s scent affects the autonomic, sympathetic, and parasympathetic nervous systems as well as adrenal glands. Quite a few studies on lavender show the scent alone helps counter insomnia, depression, mental stress, anger, and anxiety and improves one’s mood and memory. It even reduced aggressive behavior of elderly people with Alzheimer’s. It was shown to work in a manner similar to sedative drugs such as diazepam, but without the drug’s intensity or side effects.The most effective application route for decreasing anxiety and slowing an overactive mind is inhalation.
Anxiety and Depression Blend
– 5 drops Lavender (Lavandulaangustifolia)
– 5 drops Sandalwood (Santalum album)
– 2 drops Bergamot (Citrus bergamia)
Blend essential oils well in a clean dark colored glass bottle. Put 1-2 drops on a tissue and inhale for a few minutes. Use freely to calm the nervous system.
Good quality sleep can impact our overall health and our lives. Insomnia can be caused by psychiatric and medical conditions, unhealthy sleep habits, specific substances, and/or certain biological factors. Research has shown that sleep helps to regulate our hormones and recharge the body’s immune system which protect us from infection and disease.
Roman Chamomile (Chamaemelumnobile) – Roman Chamomile is an ancient herb that possesses sedating and relaxing properties, and gives great immune support and balance. It is known to be especially helpful in combating insomnia and offers deep rest to the nervous system. Medieval monks built raised “healing beds” in their gardens so invalids could lie upon chamomile to relieve emotional depression. Using calming and relaxing essential oils before your bedtime can help you fall asleep faster and stay asleep until your intended wake-up time.
Restful Sleep Blend
– 3 drops Roman Chamomile (Chamaemelumnobile)
– 4 drops Lavender (Lavandulaangustifolia)
– 2 drops Sweet Marjoram (Origanammarjorana)
Directions: (choose one)
1) Blend essential oils into 1 oz. unscented lotion or Jojoba oil. Apply to your chest, feet and neck before bed.
2) Blend essential oils well in a clean dark colored glass bottle. Add 1-2 drops to a tissue and place inside your pillowcase to help you fall asleep.
- Tension Headaches
Essential oils have been used to relieve stress and pain for thousand of year. They may help relieve minor headaches, improve your mood and may play a part in helping to reduce the need to ingest pain medication. Headache is a symptom of stress, illness, or unhealthy lifestyle such as not eating or sleeping properly. When essential oils are massaged into the body, they are infused into the bloodstream. As they enter the circulation system, they act as a natural painkiller.
Rosewood (Anibarosaeodora) – Rosewood eases headaches and fights colds, fevers, nausea, and many types of infections. Rosewood is one of the highest natural sources of linalol (as is Ho Wood). Due to its high content of linalool, this oil is thought to be deeply nourishing and supportive to the immune system. Rosewood is a deep sedative.
I’ve had some great experiences using essential oils for tension headaches. I love using Trauma oil as my favorite carrier oil for headache blends. Trauma oil is an herbally-infused oil blend that combines Olive oil (first pressing), Calendula flower (Calendula officinalis), Arnica flower (Arnica Montana), and St. John’s Wort flowering tops (Hypericumperforatum). You might feel immediate relief!
Tension Headache Blend
– 3 drops Rosewood (Anibarosaeodora)
– 4 drops Peppermint (Mentha x piperita)
– 5 drops Lavender (Lavandulaangustifolia)
– 1 drop Eucalyptus (Eucalyptus globulus)
Blend essential oils into 1oz. of Trauma oil or Jojoba oil. Apply to the back of your neck, throat, and temple as soon as tension begins. Repeat this application three to four times daily for a few days if needed.
- Premenstrual Syndrome (PMS) and Cramps
If you experience PMS, you are not alone. You may experience both physical and emotional imbalance during or prior to the menstruation. During this time, even women with mild PMS symptoms may experience difficulties in personal and social life. The researchers found that the hormonal substances called prostaglandins can cause PMS and menstrual cramps. Certain prostaglandins called PG2 can be responsible for all common PMS symptoms, including headaches, bowel changes, nausea, breast tenderness, joint pain, and water retention, and they may contribute to moodiness, irritability, and alcohol cravings.
Clary Sage (Salvia sclarea) – Clary Sage provides powerful therapeutic properties for women’s cycles, often related to the hormonal imbalance, menstrual cramps, menopause, PMS, postpartum blues, and so on. For depression associated with PMS, nothing is better than Clary Sage, but you can also try Neroli, Jasmine, and Ylang-Ylang. To relieve menstrual cramps and headaches, you may try Cypress, Geranium, Roman Chamomile, Lavender, Marjoram, and Rose. These are all wonderful remedy especially for women’s health.
PMS Relief Blend
– 2 drops Clary Sage (Salvia sclarea)
– 4 drops Cypress (Cupressussempervirens)
– 3 drops Geranium (Pelargonium graveolens)
– 2 drops Roman Chamomile (Chamaemelumnobile)
Blend essential oils into 1oz. Jojoba oil. Apply to the abdomen and lower back.
For Menstrual Cramp
– 4 drops Clary Sage (Salvia sclarea)
– 6 drops Roman Chamomile (Chamaemelumnobile)
– 5 drops Lavender (Lavandulaangustifolia)
Blend essential oils into 1oz. carrier oil (Trauma oil and Jojoba oil are my favorites). Apply to cramped area every hour as needed.
And for those of you who want to know more…
How Essential Oils Work
Essential oils are natural, organic substances and work in harmony with the natural forces of the body. Essential oils are extremely concentrated. Most of them are at least fifty times more potent than the herb from which they are derived. In her book Aromatherapy: The Complete Guide to Plant and Flower Essences for Health and Beauty, Daniele Ryman states that one drop of essential oil often represents the potency of one ounce of plant material. This gives you an idea of their healing potential – and of the potential hazards of improperly using essential oils.
Why natural oils? Why not anything that smells nice whether it is natural or synthetic? The answer is simple that synthetic or inorganic substances do not contain any “life force”; they are not dynamic. Organic substances are those which is characterized by systemic co-ordination of parts in one whole. Nature has a structure which can not be duplicated. Human beings are able to differentiate up to 10,000 odors through a complex sensory-somatic cascade that instantaneously activates the autonomic nervous system, memory, and emotion through the amygdala and other limbic structures.
There are various methods of applying essential oils and also different dilutions used in aromatherapy. They can be added to a carrier, such as vegetable oil, for example, almond, apricot, hazelnut, olive, grape seed, walnut, sesame or unscented lotion, and then applied to the skin, or they can be added to bath salts, room sprays, or diffusers for inhalation. In his book The Art of Aromatherapy, Robert B. Tisserand states that treatment is not necessarily improved by using a blend of several essences, and if one oil fits the case perfectly no useful purpose is served by combining it with other oils. If there is no one essence which seems to cover most of the symptoms it will be necessary to blend several together, but try to keep them to a minimum, between two and five oils. A safe and effective dilution for most aromatherapy application is 2%, which translates to 2 drops of essential oil per 98 drops of carrier oil, or about 10 to 12 drops per ounce. This is suitable for various types of aromatherapy. There is rarely any need to go beyond a 3 percent dilution for any purpose. In aromatherapy, more is not better; in fact, “more” may cause adverse or opposite reactions. Consistent low doses are safest and the most effective. Essential oils are perfectly safe when used in the suggested dilutions, although applications complicated by pregnancy epilepsy, serious health problems and some medications do call for caution.
Avoid the use of undiluted essential oils on the skin. Essential oils should never be used internally without medical guidance. Keep all essential oils out of the reach of children and animals. Please visit NAHA website to learn more about Aromatherapy Safety Information:
For detail information on what to look for and what to watch out for when buying individual essential oils and aromatherapy products, please visit the How to Buy Essential Oils Article:
The information provided in this article is for educational purposes only, and is not intended to offer professional medical advice or treatment for any disease or condition.We are not responsible for any adverse effects or consequences resulting from the use of any of the suggestions, preparations, or procedures discussed in the article. We recommend that you consult your health care provider if you have any health concerns.
About Tomomi Horie
Tomomi Horie is originally from Japan. She moved to New York City to attend Fashion Institute of Technology, and graduated with a Bachelor of Science Degree in Cosmetics and Fragrance Marketing in 2003. She is a certified aromatherapist of National Association for Holistic Aromatherapy (NAHA) & Alliance of International Aromatherapists (AIA), and a certified Reiki practitioner in the traditional Usui method, an ancient Japanese hands-on and distance energy healing technique. Her services include aromatherapy consultations, custom blending, in-person and distant Reiki healing sessions worldwide for individual, pet, place, event, and situation in the past, present or future. She enjoys sharing her experience and knowledge about safe use of essential oils and aromatherapy. She would love to support people in living at their highest potential and to feel their best. Contact her at: [email protected]
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- National Association for Holistic Aromatherapy, Safety information: http://www.naha.org
- National Sleep Foundation, What causes insomnia: http://www.sleepfoundation.org
- Robert B. Tisserand.(1977), The Art of Aromatherapy.Rochester, VT: Healing Arts Press, 66, 147, 159, 246.