Thursday, April 22, 2010

Aromatherapy for Depression

Aromatherapy is the practice of using essential oils to treat various complaints in the body. Depression is no exception. Inhalation of essential oil, great smelling, aromatic baths, and body massages are just some of the ways that aromatherapy can be an aid in treating depression. If you are suffering from full blown depression and are under a doctor's care, aromatherapy can augment your treatment plan. If you only suffer from a mild case of the blues or sadness, aromatherapy can still be of benefit.

Many of the essential oils used to treat depression and sadness are derived from fruit and flowers. The scents extracted from these items are at once uplifting and calming. They tend to be light and airy and promote feelings of well being and peace.

Pure Bulgarian rose essential is one of the most commonly used essential oils used to treat depression, grief, sadness, and loss of self esteem. Unfortunately, it is one of the more costly essential oils available. Used primarily in the high end perfume business, rose oil is made by extracting the oil from thousands of pounds of rose petals. This makes about 1 lb. of rose oil. It is widely recommended as a potent anti-depressant and costs anywhere from 30 to 60 dollars for 1/16th of an ounce. This amount when used for strictly inhalation methods will last about 6 months if used twice a day. Just apply a few drops to a handkerchief and inhale deeply to feel the calming effects.

An aromatic blend using less expensive materials might be more what you have in mind. By combining different essential oils, you get the benefit of all of their different qualities. A useful blend for mild depression contains 4 parts of Clary sage essential oil, 4 parts of Ylang ylang essential oil, 3 parts Geranium essential oil, 2 parts Basil essential oil, and 1 part of Sandalwood essential oil. Mix the above oils in a glass amber bottle. You may place diffuser reeds in the bottle to disperse the scent throughout a room, or simply place in an aroma lamp or simmering pot. Clary sage provides an anti-depressant effect, ylang ylang is useful to diffuse states of anger, geranium is regulating and balancing. Basil helps to clear the mind, while sandalwood is the base note for the mix. Use this inhalation blend daily to see if it helps you.

Aromatic baths are aromatherapy's way of calming you and easing stress. It is recommended to take a long, aromatic bath at least 2 to 3 times per week for full benefit. Mix the essential oils in about 1/4 cup of natural honey. You will need 3 drops of lavender essential oil, 3 drops of ylang ylang essential oil, 2 drops of basil essential oil, 2 drops of geranium essential oil, and 1 drop of grapefruit essential oil. Mix the essential oils with the honey and add the mixture to warm, running water in the bath. Soak for at least 20 minutes. Play your favorite, soothing music and light some candles.

Massage is a great way to relieve stress and ease depression. Combine a few drops of your favorite essential oil with carrier oil such as sweet almond oil. Lavender, bergamot and ylang ylang are good choices. You will need about 2 tablespoons of carrier oil. Mix the ingredients together and have someone give you a soft massage. If you are alone, gently massage your upper chest area, neck and shoulders to ease tension. It may also be applied to the back of your hands.