Why have essential oils for mental health become so popular?
Depression is a form of mood disorder characterized by feelings of persistent sadness, irritability, and emptiness. Depression is a common illness and it is estimated to affect approximately 280 million people globally.
Depression can cause the affected person to suffer greatly in their day-to-day activities be it school, work, and social life. Depression is a serious condition that when intense can be fatal. It is estimated that over 700 000 people commit suicide each year.
Depression comes in a different form which includes, bipolar disorder, postpartum depression, major depressive disorder, psychotic depression, seasonal affective disorder, and persistent depressive disorder.
Here are some of the most common symptoms of depression:
- Loss of interest in activities you enjoyed before
- Increased lack of energy
- Sleeping problems and insomnia
- Feeling hopeless and being pessimistic
- Trouble concentrating and memory issues
- Lack of appetite or overeating
- Withdrawal from people
Several treatments are available for instance, antidepressants and psychological treatments, however, over the recent years aromatherapy has gained popularity as the use of essential oils for mental health and depression due to its effectiveness and fewer side effects as compared to other forms of treatments such as antidepressants.
What are essential oils?
Essential oils are compounds made from plants. They are derived from parts of plants such as barks, fruits, flowers, seeds, or leaves through cold pressing or steaming to produce a unique essence characteristic.
Here are some of the most common essential oils for mental health and depression:
Aromatherapy through the use of essential oils has been in existence for hundreds of years. It was used for religious purposes, perfume, and medicine. Essential oils can be used to relieve headaches, colds, allergies, and pain and boost immunity and moods.
Uses of essential oils for mental health and depression
Aromatherapy has proven to be beneficial in the treatment of depressive disorders through the use of essential oils. The two commonly used methods are inhalation and aromatherapy massage. The other treatments used especially the use of antidepressants can cause intolerable side effects making users discontinue the treatment. Some of the patients will look for other alternatives and will settle for treatment.
DIY uses of essentials oils
You don’t need to visit an aromatherapy specialist because it is easy to use the essential oils in the comfort of your home. Here are some of the ways you can use essential oils:
- Inhale the essential oils directly from the bottle
- Take some milk, honey, or carrier oil and add drops of essential oil. Make yourself an aromatherapy bath and enjoy the relaxation it brings
- Put a few drops of your essential and mix it with your preferred massage oil and enjoy an aromatherapy massage at home
- In a cotton dub, put a few drops of the essential oil and inhale directly
- In your diffuser, put a few drops of essential oil and inhale indirectly
Essential oils for mental health are usually administered into the body through penetration by an aromatherapy massage and inhalation aromatherapy.
Inhalation aromatherapy is where the essential oils go to the blood capillary in the nose and direct to the lungs. It also offers stimulation to the brain through the olfactory bulb where a signal is transmitted to the hypothalamus and limbic system. When the signal reaches the olfactory, neurotransmitters for example serotonin will be released which will work on emotions.
An aromatherapy massage is the use of aromatherapy and massage together. The message has been used for ages in the management of depression. The types of massage used include vibrations and shaking, friction, kneading, petrissage, etc.
Other oils such as olive oil, avocado oil, almond oil, and coconut oil are mostly used together with essential oils during massage. It’s good to always do a skin test to test for any allergic reaction to the essential oils before application.
It’s important to look for the best essential oils since some of the oils available in the market are diluted with a carrier oil, adulterated, or even synthetically made.
Ways to choose the best and high-quality essential oils
- Check the price, if it is very cheap that can be a warning of counterfeit
- Confirm that proper testing has been carried out on the essential oil
- Always go for organic essential oils
- Research the manufacturer and name of the company. Are they reputable?
- Does it have a Latin name? that’s the botanical name of the plants
- Is it labeled? All the relevant information should be well indicated
These are the best essential oils for mental health and depression
- reduce anxiety
- Boost mood
- Reduce stress
- Increase calmness
- reduce anxiety
- reduce stress
- antidepressant effect
- Reduce anxiety
- antidepressant effect
- Reduce stress and anxiety
- boost mood
Other useful ways you can improve your mental health and depression
In addition to using essential oils for mental health, there are some other ways that you can manage mental health right from home.
- Diet and supplements
Eating healthy food will improve your mental health and overall well being
- Nature walk and sunshine
Sun provides vitamin D and having low levels of vitamin D3 can cause depression. Having a nature walk improves relaxation and mood and will have a great impact on your mental health
- Breathing technique
Taking some deep breaths when having low moods and depression can be effective in improving the symptoms of depression.
A few minutes of meditation per day will improve mental health
- Quality sleep
Getting 8 hours of sleep can improve depressive symptoms
Aromatherapy is effective and beneficial in fighting mental health and depression. It is effective in relieving stress, moods, anxiety, and depressive symptoms.
If your symptoms do not improve, it’s advisable to get help from a mental health professional.