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The Advantages of Supporting Self-Help Practice with Aromatherapy|essential oils in bottles with dried flowers around


The Advantages of Supporting Self-Help Practice with Aromatherapy

Self-help is all about looking for practical ways of improving mental and physical conditions without overly-relying on professional assistance. It is a practice of incremental progress through recognizing and addressing obstacles to good health as they arise.

Those who choose to improve their mind and body without professional assistance find guidance and instruction from a wide variety of sources. Often times self-help practitioners will meet together with other like-minded individuals on their own path to self-improvement to swap advice, encouragement, and fellowship. Self-help has been found especially effective in improving performance and relationships in professional, educational, and personal life. 1

Aromatherapy to Support Self-Help

The first and most important step on the path of self-help is recognition that there is something deep inside that needs to be changed or adjusted. Once this recognition is made, how the individual goes about applying self-help will greatly affect the experience of their path and the results they meet along the way.

The next step is even more crucial because it involves coming to terms with things that need to be changed and choosing an effective method of addressing them. Taking a heavy handed approach is a common choice, but a poor one as it can lead to feelings of guilt, depression, and aggravated conditions.

Furthermore, even mental health care professionals have to apply extensive training to uncovering underlying causes for certain conditions. Those looking for self-help answers may have their perception clouded by frustrations, urgencies, and other stressing factors that can hide answers that are often very simple. 2

For this reason, it helps to follow a personal master plan, take an intuitive approach and hold off judgements –– both internal and external –– until physical and mental health levels have been restored, even marginally. Once the immediate fog has been lifted, it will be easier to make a solid plan to address what really needs to be changed.

This is why a plan to include aromatherapy in your self-help campaign can help smooth your path to progress and level the playing field in your favor.

essential oils in bottles with dried flowers around Aromatherapy

Aromatherapy has been applied to addressing human suffering in some form or another in just about every culture in history. The practice is wrapped around the use of special herbs and extracts chosen for their special capacity to affect the mind and body in a number of beneficial ways.

Despite its ancient roots, aromatherapy is gaining traction in the alternative health community for a non-invasive approach to providing health benefits badly needed today like stress and depression relief, cognitive protection, and recovery from injury and illness.

How Does Aromatherapy Work?

Today, essential oils provide the most convenient route for administering the benefits of medicinal plants and herbs through aromatherapy. Essential oils represent the concentrated extract of a plant’s phytochemical array and are selected for their healing properties and special benefits.

The special organic compounds inside essential oils can be applied topically to the skin. When absorbed through the skin essential oils can provide different benefits and reactions to the local area. Some like cinnamon and clove give a warming sensation for relaxing muscles and soothing pains. 3

These aromatic compounds can also be diffused in the air and inhaled for a range of deeper effects. When inhaled, the essences are carried into the nose where they can enter the bloodstream through the capillaries of the sinus. Then they reach the lungs where they can be passed through the bronchi and delivered to other parts of the body as power their individual qualities. 4

The delightfully potent aromas tantalize the olfactory epithelium and have an impact on the limbic system. The limbic system can then activate parts of the brain that control emotions, memories, and behaviors. 5

Actually, the limbic system plays an important role in the creation of memories, which is why special smells can trigger fond memories and mental states. Perhaps, essential oils could be a great support to forming new habits and mindsets. 6

Easy Ways to Use Aromatherapy

One of the best things about aromatherapy is how easy it is to apply to every aspect of your life

Essential oils can be added to a diffuser or humidifier to permeate the immediate atmosphere with terrific smells and health benefits. Alternatively, try keeping a small flask, personal diffuser , or cloth with a couple of drops of essential oils on hand to breathe deeply, flooding the respiratory tracts with healthy oils. It’s non-addictive and very relaxing.

Essential oils can be topically applied to certain areas of the skin . Be very careful as some are too strong for direct use and need an appropriate carrier oil. Massage therapy is the best of all and provides the therapeutic benefits of kneading and manipulating soft tissues with the aromatic benefits of essential oils.

Benefits of Aromatherapy for Self-Help

Fights Stress

One of the greatest obstacles to making headway in self-help is regular stress which can have a debilitating effect on mind and body. When the mind is stressed, smaller problems can seem insurmountable, so addressing undue stress levels will be a first step in the self-help process.

Aromatic compounds found in a variety of plants have soothing effects on the mind and physiological processes. There are several relaxants and adaptogens that redirect a bad mood and ease the clutches of anxiety attacks. This can be done fast and conveniently with an on-hand personal diffuser or scented cloth.

Lavender is one of the best essential oils for addressing stressful conditions and is a great relaxant. Other relaxing oils include chamomile, cedarwood, and sandalwood. 7

Improved Cognitive Function and Brain Health

Conditions of the brain, like depression and anxiety, can become worse as time goes by and lead to cognitive decline. One of the best ways to keep mental faculties operative is by the refreshing and stimulating effects of aromatherapy. Cinnamon has great benefits for brain health and is a perfect option to use at work for instant clarity and mental stamina. 8

Improved Digestion

So many problems with low energy and poor health can be traced to a faulty digestive tract. With all the unhealthy eating habits in existence today, aromatherapy offers great advantages to improving digestion and avoiding discomfort from indigestion.

Black pepper essential oils can improve the appetite while citrus eases the bowels and fight constipation. Other good options are peppermint and ginger essential oils. 9 , 10 (Note: don’t ingest essential oils without direct instructions from a qualified expert, some can be highly toxic.)

Enhances Healing and Recovery

Essential oils can act as a stimulant that improves various body processes. Studies have shown that aromatherapy has benefitted those recovering from surgical procedures and inflicted with minor wounds. Essential oils are endowed with powerful antibacterial, anti-inflammatory, and adaptogen properties that greatly enhance the healing process. Lavender essential oils are one of the most renowned in this regard. 11

Energy Boost

The definition of good health is a body spends and assimilates energy with maximum efficacy. Aromatherapy benefits the body’s primary energy and nutrient assimilation system: digestion. It also leads to increased stamina and energy levels. Furthermore, because some of these essential oils have stimulant capacities, personal diffuser can be used to boost the energy levels of the mind and regain mental focus. Rosemary , cinnamon, and cardamom essential oils all have this stimulating effect.

Final Notes on Aromatherapy for Self-Help

Aromatherapy does more than boost mental and physical health. Because of its gentle nature and highly-pleasant treatment options, aromatherapy can boost your levels of self-worth and self-compassion. This sets the right tone for making the changes your path to self-help will require. Not all will be easy, but with aromatherapy to keep your mind and body stable, your efforts will be vastly improved.

Photo credits: bitt24/, NewAfrica/

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