Why Some Essential Oils Help Us Relax More Than Others

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There are over 400 varieties of essential oils each with its own Therapeutic Properties and uses. Although some essential oils have similiar properties such as Helichrysum and Sweet Orange, both are anti-inflammatory,  there are other varieties of essential oils which contian specific sedative-like qualities. These oils help us relax, de-stress and find our center again. The most well-known of these is Lavender.

There are many others and really, it all depends on your personal preference but the most popular oils for relaxation and boosting the Immune System are:  Sandalwood, Lavender, Thyme ct Linalool, Rosewood, Bergamot, Clary Sage, Patchouli, Sweet Basil and Ho Wood.  The question is, why is this so?

These specific oils contain a natural compound called Linalool and its close companion Linalyl Acetate.

Linalool

Linalool is a naturally occurring terpene alcohol found in over 200 plants.  Its relaxing anti-inflammatory properties, among others, are highly used in Anxiolytic Aromatherapy. This compound is a mild sedative, it relaxes muscle pain, spasms and it supports (eases) symptoms of stress, anxiety, insomnia and depression.

Linalool is found in the Lameacae, Lauracae and Rutacae families. The various Lavender species are probably the most widly used and well known essential oils for this type of Aromatherapy treatment.

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Linalyl Acetate

Linalyl Acetate is a chemical ester of Linalool a Monoterpene alcohol.  It’s found in many flowers and spice plants right alongside its chemical compound buddy Linalool.  Both Linalool and Linalyl Acetate are Monoterpene compounds and principal components in Anxiolytic Aromatherapy.  The odor of oils which contain Linalyl Acetate are floral, sweet, woody, and citrusy such as Bergamot and Lavender.

The Limbic System

The Limbic System is more commonly known as the seat of our emotions and is closely related to the Olfactory System.  It is directly connected with those parts of the brain that control heart rate, blood pressure, breathing, memory, stress levels and hormone balance.

Of the five human senses, the sense of smell is the only one that is directly connected to the brain. This is why sometimes, when we smell something in the air memories are triggered, either good memories or not so good.  For me, I don’t like the smell of liver and onions! In the 70’s that was the thing to do and my mom used to cook it all the time.  Of course I refused to eat it but to this day, I still can’t stand the smell of it.

On the other hand, when I smell fresh bread baking in the oven, or the wonderful woody, smoky aroma of a campfire I feel peaceful and calm and it reminds me of when I was a little girl and when I went camping with my Dad.

Olfaction is referred to as the earliest sense of smell and it’s the earliest sense to arise in man. The nose nerve endings receive smells emanating from people, places, objects and animals which then converts them into electrical impulses that are relayed to the ofactory bulb located in the forebrain.

Some impulses related to the Limbic System are responsible for evoking emotions depending on the current situation.  Nice smells bring forth happiness and well-being from our bodies while repugnant smells raise alarm in our bodies.

Aromatherapist who treat clients for long term stress issues will use specific essential oils in treatment that will cause various parts of the Limbic System to jump into action.  This triggers and releases neurochemicals and hormones the slow the heart rate, relax the mind and body, regulate blood pressure and  stimulate the Immune System.

How Essential Oils Affect the Limbic System

12988436176784208195-bbc_44389464_limbic_system203-mdThe Limbic System is a region in our brain which governs how we learn, remember and experience emotions. Essential Oils work with the Limbic System to activate emotional and psychological changes.

Aromatherapy is a holistic therapy and therefore is based on the relationship between our minds, bodies and spirit. Emotional well being has a direct impact on our physical well-being.  It’s very important that we learn to find this balance in ourselves where our physical body, emotional body and our spiritual bodies are balanced and centered.

Imagine a soldier coming home from war after witnessing horrific acts of war. When he returns home he may experience visions, or nightmares which haunt him. Thus, his emotional state is not healthy and this inevitably will affect his physical state as well.

Depression sets in, mood swings, perhaps anger, and feelings of hopelessness may be present. This also may lead to a spiritual crisis.   This is just an example I’m giving as to what can happen, not by our own fault, but if we aren’t aware of being off balance, or if we are in situations that throw us off balance, sometimes, we need to reach out and ask for help.

Neither is it uncommon for people exerience the winter blues, or mood swings. Sometimes we feel good and sometimes we don’t.

I’ve added a list of citrus scent essential oils you can use in a diffuser blend to elevate your mood, clear your mind and perhaps give you that extra boost you may need during your day.

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Bergamot Esential Oil-

This is a great oil when dealing with depression and anxiety. It’s also a first choice when dealing with Seasonal Affective Disorder. It’s heart warming and cheery scent is perfect for long, dreary winter days.

Sweet Orange

Sweet orange is good for brightening your day. I love it’s uplifting scent and I often use it in my natural skin care products.

Lemon

This oil helps to prevent emotional outbursts. It also brings mental clarity and cheers you up!

Grapefruit

This oil helps alleviate stress, depression and lifts the spirit during cold days.

Lime

Helps to relieve fatigue and depression.

Diffuser blends to Try at Home!

Blend #1 

12 drops of Orange

8 drops of Grapefruit

Blend #2

16 drops of Orange

4 drops of Ylang Ylang

Blend #3

12 drops of Bergamot

8 drops of Sweet Orange

Just Another Note:

I hope you enjoyed this post.  I tried not to get too technical but it’s important to know why and how essential oils work.   It’s all in the nose!

I’d also like to take this opportunity to tell you I will post events (workshop) dates on my Event page very soon.   And we have a new shop page!

Thank you again for reading this!

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