A Wholistic Look at Mental Health
Oftentimes, psychiatric disorders have their beginning in childhood, or even in utero, and continue through the lifespan. With the alarming rates of people with diagnosed and undiagnosed psychological struggles, when they finally do get addressed, usually it is only at the surface level. (source, source)
If we don’t look at the underlying issues and physical dysfunction of the brain, just as with other chronic conditions, we are only addressing one aspect of a multifactorial problem. Although brain chemistry is an aspect of psychiatric imbalances, it is not the full picture. We cannot effectively “medicate depression away,” or any other mental issue, because there are many factors of brain health. Some of these include inflammation, environmental exposures, genetic predisposition, and childhood trauma. All of these areas need to be considered to fully alleviate emotional and psychological disturbances.
Dr. Amen’s work is an example of a physician who provides a comprehensive look at brain health. His research using brain scans has shown that by looking at the organ in our cranium, we can see patterns that coincide with symptoms of behavioral and psychiatric disorders. His work has validated that people that struggle with imbalances in psychology and impulse control are not “weak willed,” “evil,” or “lazy.” This has resulted in beginning to end the stigma associated with mental illness.
How Essential Oils Impact Anxiety
Essential oils’ profound impact on our physiology as they simultaneously soothe our bodies and minds when turbulence hits makes them one of my favorite holistic remedies for optimizing mental health.
Therapeutic, quality essential oils provide much more than their calming scents that promote relaxation. Essential oils have been shown clinically to effect mood and cognition through a combination of both their aromatic and physical properties. Furthermore, studies have also demonstrated that essential oils modulate brain physiology and functioning through altering brain wave patterns on EEGs. (source, source, source)
I have devoted a whole series on how essential oils influence specific neurotransmitters (source, source, source, source, source). In my primer on this topic, I highlighted a 2018 review article that went into greater detail on the pharmacological properties of essential oils and their compounds’ various mechanisms of actions. You can access more about their biochemistry here.
Perhaps their most sacred quality is that essential oils not only have a profound effect on our emotions, but also our spirituality and relationships. At a time when many feel isolated, terrified, and hooked to news and screens that separate us from true physical contact, I believe these volatile compounds have been bestowed as one of the most powerful yet gentle tools for addressing our overall mental and physical state at the individual and societal level.
I am honored to be part of the 20 experts participating in the Anxiety Summit that runs through October. In my interview with Dr. Nicola, I discuss essential oils for anxiety. I provide examples of some of my favorite essential oils as well as review their holistic properties.
This summit contains many interviews that go beyond treating an emotion with a herb or pill or touting perfect diets that borderline on healthism obsession. Rather, it stresses treating the whole person in a personalized, individualized way. I hope you take the time to listen to this free resource to better understand how you can support yourself or a loved one struggling with anxiety.
Click here to watch the summit.
For additional safety and medical information, visit my essential oils database. It includes a full category on how to use essential oils safely and potential drug interactions that can occur.
Please be extra cautious and be 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.
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.