Moving from the Summer Wind-Down into Full Force for the Fall
Can you believe that it is already past mid-way through August? This means the flames of campfires are beginning to lose their smoke and sizzle and pencils and highlighters are populating the grocery store shelves. For parents and little ones, this also means that the relaxing days of summer are drifting away and transforming into “the big rev-up” for the new year of school.
Wouldn’t it be great to be able to take this feeling of “summertime cool and collected” into the fall, rather than being frazzled and rundown? Mood has been shown to change with the weather forecast of the seasons, but yours may not have to.
This week, I’ll be recording my interview for the upcoming Anxiety Summit with Dr. Nicola that goes live in September. Dr. Nicola, a compassionate fellow naturopathic doctor, is determined to provide an array of resources for those feeling overwhelmed by the start of school, or, for any other reason. This summit, and others like it, are so needed.
Anxiety and Essential Oils
Anxiety is the most prevalent mental disorder in the United States. It comes in many forms including generalized anxiety, specific phobias, PTSD, and some would say obsessive compulsive disorders (OCD). (OCD viewed as an anxiety disorder is controversial and was reclassified in a separate category in DSM-V.)
Regardless of the name or classification, I am passionate about ending the stigma associated with psychiatric illnesses and the viewpoint that they are simply a matter of “weak willpower.” Those with psychological diseases have an array of underlying factors that contribute to validated brain alterations in cerebral blood flow and neurological differences that are distinct from those who don’t suffer from them. Asking someone to “snap out of it,” is like telling someone with a physical illness to all of sudden “be cured!” Furthermore, it’s shaming.
One of my all-time favorite holistic modalities for mind-body integration is essential oils. With so many constituents in one drop, essential oils can do “so darn much!” Beyond their aromatic scent, they simultaneously balance the body systemically as they modulate biochemistry along various pathways. I recently concluded a series on essential oils for mental health where I discussed how they impact mood and calm our brains as well as have an effect on neurological signaling patterns.
In this summary blog, I review the many ways essential oils can help to build courage and help manage stress and fearful thoughts, even in the midst of holiday and hormone havoc! This makes my upcoming talk about literally sniffing “emotions in a bottle” very exciting.
Essential Oils to Calm
One of my all-time favorite essential oils for soothing is lavender essential oil. In fact, this summary article provides a great overview of this well-loved oil, including mechanisms, dosage, and human trials, on using it for anxiety. In another study which tested the anxiolytic effect of aromatherapy during the first stage of labor, the authors conclude:
It is recommended that aromatherapy could be applied as a complementary therapy for reducing anxiety during the first stage of labor, but methodologically rigorous studies should be conducted in this area. (source)
Although lavender is the most-well known essential oil for its use in anxiety, there are many others that aren’t in the spotlight but are also very calming. I will be reviewing many of their properties and going into more detail on the specifics of using essential oils for anxiety in the summit, so I don’t want to write any more spoilers.
That being said, each person is unique with their own biochemical makeup; therefore, selecting an essential oil that is right for you may mean doing a little detective work with addressing the three main factors. Still, knowing the general actions of them is a great place to start, and maybe end!
Now, I am not claiming that simply inhaling an essential oil will “cure” anxiety.
I have always advocated that the mind-body connection is more than just implementing mindfulness, meditation, or aromatherapy to destress. There are many aspects to be considered in psychiatry when assisting symptom relief. One of the most common and overlooked epigenetic modulator, as well as the most powerful, is social connection.
So, let’s stay connected and end mental health stigma and provide education together!
Please subscribe to my email list for updates on the event and more essential oils and integrative health information. It’s free and it will be great to have you join us!
*Safety reminder: Please be extra sure to check with your doctor if you have a seizure disorder. The Epilepsy Society of the UK lists certain essential oils implicated for their antiseizure effect as well as those that have stimulating properties.
For additional safety and medical information, please be sure to visit my essential oils database. This includes a full category on how to use essential oils safely and potential drug interactions that can occur.
If you and/or your physician are interested in consulting with me to assist with supporting the integration of essential oils safely into a therapeutic protocol, essential oils consultations are available.
This material is for information purposes only and is not intended to diagnose, treat, or prescribe for any illness. You should check with your doctor regarding implementing any new strategies into your wellness regime. These statements have not been evaluated by the FDA. (Affiliation link.)
Disclaimer: This information is applicable ONLY for therapeutic quality essential oils. This information DOES NOT apply to essential oils that have not been tested for purity and standardized constituents. There is no quality control in the United States, and oils labeled as “100% pure” need only to contain 5% of the actual oil. The rest of the bottle can be filled with fillers and sometimes toxic ingredients that can irritate the skin. The studies are not based solely on a specific brand of an essential oil, unless stated. Please read the full study for more information.