Proven to be natural, safe and quick…
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Did you know that 1 in 4 Americans will suffer from a major depressive episode sometime in their lives? And that just over 17 million people in the United States and a staggering 350 million worldwide suffer from depression every year? What’s more, the condition is found in twice as many women as men, according to the NIMH.
The interesting fact about depression is that because of its complexity, there is no one size fits all treatment. Many people land up on anti-depressant medications which may not necessarily help them. In fact, they probably only work for about half of the people who take them. Plus, there can be all sorts of side effects, none of which are pleasant.
It’s no wonder that many people are turning to natural remedies and alternative treatments that have be found to be very effective for mild depression and, in more severe cases, a valuable supplement to other meds.
Lavender essential oil is one of those proven natural remedies for depression...and what’s more, it works quickly and safely…
WHAT IS DEPRESSION?
We all feel a little down every now and again when worried about something, faced with a stressful situation or are just experiencing general ‘life’ overwhelm. But in most cases, we are able to bounce back from the blues fairly quickly.
However, for some, depression is a severe disorder that has far reaching effects. It not only affects people’s moods, but also their ability to concentrate and make decisions, as well as their physical well-being. The symptoms can range anywhere from mild to the more severe.
Depression is actually a very complex condition. According to research, there’s no single known cause of depression. Instead it results from a combination of factors like genetics, brain chemistry, hormones, physical health as well as major negative life experiences.
The signs of a more severe depression can therefore be quite diverse. However, if you or someone you know has experienced at least two weeks of feeling depressed and a loss of interest in almost all activities, then it may be a signal for help. And if you answer yes to five or more of these symptoms, you could be facing depression or a depressive episode at this time of your life: -
• Sleeping difficulties (too much or too little);
• Changes in appetite and/or weight;
• A lack of energy or feeling fatigued every day;
• Difficulties in thinking clearly, concentrating and/or making decisions;
• Helplessness or sadness that you can't shrug off;
• Irritability or a short temper;
• Avoiding any contact with family or friends;
• Feelings of never-ending despair and, in severe cases, suicidal thoughts.
If too many of these symptoms sound familiar, the first step is to seek help from your doctor who can assess you professionally. You may be prescribed medication, some form of therapy, alternative treatments or a mix of all of them.
While anti-depressant meds can help with depression, they unfortunately do come with adverse side effects. Using natural remedies and alternative treatments, either alone or combined with a low dose of medication, can help keep depression symptoms in check, and help avoid some of the debilitating side effects of prescribed medicines.
A NATURAL REMEDY FOR DEPRESSION: LAVENDER ESSENTIAL OIL
The skeptics amongst us may not believe that something as simple as lavender essential oil could help with depression. After all, it’s a condition related to the mind and emotions and there’s no way sniffing an essential oil could help that. Or could it?
According to Dr. Alan R. Hirsch of the Smell & Taste Treatment and Research Foundation, Chicago, ‘The quickest way to change a mood state - quicker than with any other sensual modality - is with smell.’
It turns out that not only is our sense of smell strongly connected to our mood and emotions, but essential oil molecules are small enough to be able to permeate our blood/brain barrier in a matter of seconds, and so have a direct impact on areas of the brain which control feelings of depression, anxiety and stress.
In fact, there is such a strong connection between smell and emotions that people who are depressed have been found to have reduced odor sensitivity, and losing your sense of smell can often actually lead to depression.
So just how does lavender essential oil work for depression?
The part of the brain that controls moods, emotions, pain and pleasure - along with memories - is called the limbic system, sometimes called the ‘emotional brain’. When you breathe in a smell, it gets immediately transferred via your olfactory system into the limbic system, which triggers a memory and its associated emotional response - like happiness, fear, attraction, sadness and more.
The limbic system is also linked to things like your heart rate, blood pressure, breathing, stress levels and regulating hormones. So aside from improving your emotional state, an essential oil can sometimes also trigger a very powerful physical response.
While inhaling lavender essential oil is clearly the quickest way to reap its benefits, it can also be applied topically. The structure of the skin is such that it allows fat soluble substances like oils to pass through fairly quickly. In fact, it takes roughly 2 - 3 minutes for an oil to reach the bloodstream, and 20 minutes to affect every cell in the body.
The fact that lavender essential oil enters the bloodstream so quickly and its scent can have such an incredibly powerful emotional impact is why it can play an extremely important role in fighting depression.
What’s more, unlike traditional drugs, it is one of the few treatment options that doesn’t show a single side effect when used properly. The bottom line - it delivers on many the benefits of prescribed medications but has none of the downsides.
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LAVENDER ESSENTIAL OIL: PROVEN TO HELP DEPRESSION
Lavender has a long history of calming and soothing, relieving stress as well as promoting sleep. Research in recent years has found that it can help lower blood pressure and ease anxiety while also regulating hormones to reduce mood swings and depression.
One of the fascinating ways lavender essential oil helps make this happen is linked to your brain wave activity.
The different types of brain waves affect the mind in distinctive ways. Theta waves help you relax and sleep, and alpha waves keep you calm and tranquil during the day. On the other hand, beta waves are ‘fast’ activity and keep you focussed, alert and attentive during your waking hours. Any imbalance of the brain waves leads to emotional and neurological problems.
Lavender essential oil has been found to increase the power of both the calming and soothing theta and alpha wave activities, and slow down the fast brain waves associated with depression.
In fact, a number of studies have shown that using lavender essential oil could be used as a complementary and alternative therapy for depression.
One study showed how effective a blend of lavender and bergamot essential oils is in helping to ease depression and anxiety as well as improve mood and emotions.
A University of Miami study found that while lavender led to drowsiness as would be expected, the subjects also reported feeling in a better mood and less depressed.
Another 2012 study found that a blend of rose and lavender oils was very successful in dealing with postpartum depression in just 4 weeks, with the added benefit of no side effects.
Lavender was found to be just as effective in dealing with post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), which is linked directly to depression. This study observed that lavender helped decrease depression by nearly 33%, and improved sleeping patterns and mood when used on a daily basis.
Researchers in another study compared the effectiveness of a lavender tincture to an antidepressant medication, and concluded that lavender would enhance any clinical treatment of mild to moderate depression.
Studies have also shown that lavender essential oil can help by improving people's moods and emotional states, and in doing so help combat depression. One 3-month study using a lavender oil burner found that nearly 90% of the subjects believed that their work environment had improved following the use of lavender essential oil.
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HOW TO USE LAVENDER ESSENTIAL OIL FOR DEPRESSION
Using lavender essential oil as a natural remedy for depression is quite simple. A big plus is that it also works far quicker than any other medication.
Just add to warm bath water, diffuse the oil just before you go to sleep, inhale it directly or apply it topically either on your pulse points or by way of a relaxing massage.
Relax in a bath: A warm bath with 8-10 drops of lavender essential oil will give you a twofold benefit. Not only will you inhale the calming aroma but the restorative oil also enters your bloodstream in less than 3 minutes.
Use a Diffuser: Add 5-10 drops to a diffuser and allow the aromatic scent to permeate your bedroom for an hour before you go to bed. Or you can slip a lavender sachet into your pillowcase. Otherwise, lightly mist your linen with a lavender spray. Lavender is calming, will help improve your sleep and reduce depressing thoughts.
Inhale directly: By far the fastest way to reap the benefits, simply inhale the lavender fragrance right out of the bottle to instantly relax, calm your thoughts and improve your mood.
Apply topically: Lavender is one of the few essentials oils that can be applied directly to your skin. A few drops applied to your pulse points on your wrists and behind your ears gets to work fast, as the skin is much thinner in these areas. Decant some lavender essential oil into a roller ball bottle to use as a quick pick-me-up continuously throughout the day.
Indulge in a Massage: Research has found an aromatherapy massage to be one of the most effective ways to relieve depression. Mix a few drops of lavender essential oil with a carrier oil of your choice, relax and feel it uplift your mood and chase away gloomy thoughts. For quick relief, it’s best to use a less thick carrier oil like sweet almond or grapeseed, which will penetrate the skin more easily. And for the ultimate in convenience, try a ready-made lavender massage oil.
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Studies have shown that lavender essential oil can perform a valuable role in improving your moods, so much so that it can even help combat depression.
It helps lower blood pressure, soothe symptoms of anxiety, while also regulating hormones and alter the brain chemistry to lift your overall frame of mind and emotional state.
Did you ever think that your sense of smell could be so powerful and have such far reaching effects?
USING LAVENDER ESSENTIAL OIL SAFELY
While lavender essential oil can very effectively be used to relieve symptoms of depression, it is not intended to replace traditional treatment options such as therapy or medical management.
Instead, it should be used as part of a holistic approach to healing. Sometimes it may be just enough to inhale lavender to lift your mood and ease depressed symptoms; while at other times you may also need the more comprehensive support offered by clinical treatment.
There's a difference between an essential oil and simply an oil, which is basically a perfume. If a label does not clearly state that it is an 'essential oil,' then it is not a pure oil and should not be used as suggested.
Please check with your doctor before using essential oils to treat any medical concerns.