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Monday, June 6, 2011

Using Essential Oils For Anxiety/Stress During the Childbearing Years

Research Supported and Anecdotal Uses

Lavender is probably the most studied essential for help for anxiety.  Some research has shown that it helps reduce the symptoms of anxiety just as much a lorazapam, a drug given to those with anxiety.   Part of what makes lavender oil appealing, is that is does not have the same side-effects as other drugs used to treat anxiety.  For instance, it does not have a sedative effect like many other drugs used(though it does help improve sleep).
"Lavandula oil preparation had a significant beneficial influence on quality and duration of sleep and improved general mental and physical health without causing any unwanted sedative or other drug specific effects. Lavandula oil preparation silexan is both efficacious and safe for the relief of anxiety disorder not otherwise specified. It has a clinically meaningful anxiolytic effect and alleviates anxiety related disturbed sleep."

Beyond just the medical diagnosis of anxiety, Lavender has also been show to help with situations in which women may feel more anxiety.  Some studies that have been done have been in the dentist office, while taking tests, or watching high stress movies.  In all of these stress and anxiety were reduced.  It has also been shown to reduce anxiety both before and after surgery.

Research also been done that suggests that orange oil contributes to decreased anxiety levels.  Some studies have also shown a more positive mood and higher levels of calmness when orange oil was defused in a room.

Peppermint oil has not been studied much for anxiety purposes, but research has shown a link between peppermint and cognitive function.  Peppermint oil can help with stress and anxiety when mental fatigue is involved, and perhaps restlessness.  This would be an oil to use when fatigue is contributing to your anxiety and stress state.

Jasmine is another oil that may help with anxiety and stress are due to fatigue as it has been found to have stimulatory effects as well help uplift mood.

Rose oil also has a anti-anxiety effect, similar to lavender oil.

How to Use Essential Oils for Anxiety

It is hard to say which way of application is best, as most research has not looked at that.  Some of the ways in which it has been used in the studies mentioned are by inhalation, absorption and ingestion.  Most people will advise against ingestion due to preparations that are not pure.

A diffuser is a good way to use essential oils via inhalation, but you can also put a drop behind your ears or on your chest.  Doing this will allow you to both inhale the oil and absorb it through your skin.  Baths are also a good way to do this.

If you find that one oil does not work, experiment with different application methods and dosages.  But don't use too much, often there is a reverse affect if too much is used.

One study suggested that if used for long periods of time, the effects of the oil decrease, so it might be best to rotate which oil you are using.

Safety During Pregnancy/Lactation

You will find conflicting views on this due to the fact that it has not been studied much.  As Jasmine and Rose oil have been used to strengthen contractions, it is advised that you don't use this during pregnancy.  Peppermint also relaxes smooth muscle.  The uterus is a smooth muscle and some people will advise against using this during pregnancy for this reason.  Some also advise against using this during lactation because it may decrease milk supply.  Lavender and Orange oil are usually accepted as safe during pregnancy and lactation. 

Remember to enter my giveaway to get you free 1mL vials of four different oils specifically for anxiety.

Other Posts on These Essential Oils


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Birth is a Journey: Does it have to be life changing?

  • One woman might have to climb on an overfilled boat, risking her life and nearly dying as she escapes over the ocean to come to this land. This experience could certainly be life altering. It may very well color the rest of her life, positively or negatively. (I overcame this amazing struggle and here I am triumphant! OR Holy crap, that was SO hard I don’t know if I can go on! By the way, neither response is “right”. No one would judge the woman with the 2nd response.)
  • One woman may buy an airplane ticket, sit on a comfortable 747 and fly to America with a nice smooth flight and landing. She is happy to be in America. Those welcoming her are glad she is here safe and sound. She may only travel by plane 2-4 times in her life, so it is pretty memorable. But the journey itself probably wouldn’t be life changing; it would simply be a journey.
  • One woman may learn to fly an ultra-light plane to lead a flock of geese into America teaching them to migrate. This experience could certainly be empowering and life altering.