A natural at-home treatment to calm your overactive mind…
Let’s face it – life can be stressful. We all worry about things like money problems, our workload, family troubles and our health. A little apprehension is quite common in the whirlwind of our daily lives.
But what happens when that knot in your stomach turns more serious? When your anxiety becomes so severe that it takes over your life? So much so that simple everyday tasks become difficult? When this happens, it might be a sign of an anxiety disorder. And you’ll be surprised at just how often this happens…
In desperation, many of us turn to our doctor and land up with a prescription for Xanax or Valium to calm our nerves.
But as awareness grows of just how dangerous many of these medicines can be, many people are now turning to safer natural alternatives to treat their anxiety without any medication. And one of the most effective of these home remedies is lavender essential oil…
It may seem incredible that essential oils can be so powerful – or how the simple lavender flower can help quickly chase away all your worries. But it turns out that there’s a lot of scientific studies to support using lavender oil to safely get rid of anxiety, ease all that unwanted stress and help you get some much-needed sleep.
In fact, a recent study suggests lavender might calm anxiety just as well as Xanax…
HOW TO KNOW IF YOU HAVE ANXIETY
Every one of us get a little stressed or anxious at times. Trips to the dentist, having a baby, heavy workloads, unexpected surgery, family problems - so many things in our daily lives can cause anything from simple butterflies in our stomach to a surge of unease and worry. This is a normal human response to uncertainty, and no cause for concern.
Anxiety only becomes a problem when it extends beyond logical worry in an irrational and uncontrollable way. Situations that should pose little or no danger at all suddenly seem life-threatening or extremely distressing. Panic attacks and a constant sense of dread about minor concerns are common and start to affect your everyday activities and life.
Needless to say, with your mind always running at a hundred miles per hour, you feel constantly stressed out, frazzled and on edge - and struggle to get a good night's sleep. When symptoms are this severe and feelings of anxiety last for weeks or months, you may have an anxiety disorder.
You are not alone. Anxiety disorders are now the most common mental health issue in the U.S. Every year, anxiety affects around 40 million adults, nearly 1 in 5 of the population, with women being 60% more likely than men to experience an anxiety disorder over their lifetime. And it looks like it could be on the rise.
Increasingly, many sufferers have been turning to prescription drugs for help. According to the National Institute on Drug Abuse, the number of adults who filled a prescription for benzodiazepines (like Xanax, Valium and Ativan) increased from 8.1 million in 1996 to 13.5 million in 2013. In that time, the number of benzodiazepine prescriptions more than tripled.
But, like many others, this medication comes with a host of serious side effects, some of which, like its highly addictive properties, can be dangerous.
It’s no wonder that more and more people are turning to natural at-home treatments like lavender essential oil for help…
LAVENDER OIL: A PROVEN NATURAL REMEDY FOR ANXIETY
As a natural antioxidant, anti-inflammatory and antibacterial, lavender essential oil is one of nature's wonderful little multi-taskers. Aside from its well-known calming and sleep-inducing benefits, it is used for everything from pain relief, killing bacteria and germs, to revitalizing the skin.
And when it comes to treating anxiety, lavender is one of the most powerful and effective essential oils you can use – all backed up and proven by multiple research studies. In fact, it’s even been put into capsule form and sold as an oral anti-anxiety supplement.
In one study in Germany it was found that a specially formulated lavender oil capsule was just as effective as a benzodiazepine (Xanax, Valium, Ativan) - without the side effects of these medicines. What’s even better is that there’s absolutely no risk of drug dependence.
It doesn’t only work when taken orally, though. Many other studies have confirmed meaningful reductions in anxiety (and its many related symptoms) when lavender oil is either inhaled or used topically.
One study showed that the medicinal properties of lavender essential oil become apparent in the blood stream in as little as five minutes after rubbing it onto the skin.
However, inhaling lavender essential oil has been found to be the one of the most powerful and successful ways to treat anxiety. The nerves that detect aromas are actually in your sinuses - they're extensions of the olfactory system which is the part of the brain connected to smell.
When you breathe in an essential oil, the evaporating micro particles reach the part of your brain that controls stress, anxiety and your emotions within a matter of milliseconds.
That’s why one of the biggest benefits of inhaling lavender oil to calm any signs of anxiety is that it works almost instantly, unlike many prescribed drugs that take a while to get absorbed into your blood stream.
A quick and safe anxiety treatment without any potentially dangerous medication - and with zero side effects...
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HOW AND WHERE TO USE LAVENDER OIL FOR ANXIETY
Whether you’re feeling a touch worried and anxious and just need to take the edge off, or are in the middle of a terrible panic attack, lavender essential oil can help – and fast.
A big added benefit is that lavender not only eases all the stress you’re feeling but also promotes deeper and more restful sleep – something which is often elusive when anxiety has gotten out of hand. And being one of the gentlest and safest essential oils, lavender is also ideal for calming an anxious child.
Breathing in lavender oil is by far the fastest way to reduce anxious thoughts, but you can also apply it to specific touch points on the skin - or take it orally.
Breath in directly: Place a few drops in your palms and rub them together. Cup your hands over your nose and take 5 slow deep breaths. Or simply put a couple of drops of oil on a cotton ball or pad and breathe in.
Add to your bath or shower: Add about 5-10 drops of lavender oil to a warm bath to breathe in the calming effects while you soak. Or turn your shower into a mini aromatherapy spa by placing a couple drops of oil onto the bottom of the shower wall away from the spray. The hot water turns the oil into a relaxing fragrant steam.
Diffuse day or night: Fill your room with the soothing scent of lavender by adding a few drops of oil in a diffuser and run for about an hour at a time.
In the evening, diffuse a blend of 3 drops lavender, 3 drops geranium, 2 drops lemon and 2 drops sandalwood for deeper sleep. Or burn a few lavender essential oil candles before you slip into dreamland. Also add in some relaxing deep breathing exercises as part of your calming lavender-filled pre-bedtime ritual.
Apply direct to skin: While lavender oil is the gentlest of them all and one of the few that can be applied directly to the skin, if you are feeling unsure, it’s best to dilute 5-10 drops in 2 tbsp. of a carrier oil like almond, jojoba or sweet apricot.
Rub the lavender and carrier oil blend directly onto your skin - under your nose, onto the temples, or on the ‘hot points’ of your body like behind the ears, on the chest, collarbones or the back of the neck. You can also decant a little of the blend into a small roll-on glass bottle for quick and easy anxiety relief on-the-go.
Incorporate into a massage: A blend of 10 to 12 drops of lavender essential oil with 4 tablespoons of carrier oil can also be used as a restorative massage oil. Or opt for a convenient, ready-made pure lavender massage oil blend.
Use on the move: If you’re travelling, either use the convenient roll-on bottle or add 2 to 6 drops of lavender oil to 2 tbsp. of an unscented lotion to use all over your body as desired. Or enjoy the convenience of a lavender essential oil body lotion (be aware that some products only include a lavender fragrance, and not the beneficial essential oil).
Oral use of lavender: Lavender capsules which can be taken by mouth by adults are widely available online. The preparation used in the study referred to earlier is called Lavela WS 1265. Before purchasing, you should consult with a health care professional on the dosage that is best suited to your needs. These capsules are not suitable for children.
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Using Lavender Essential Oil Safely
While lavender essential oil can very effectively be used to relieve symptoms of anxiety, 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 calm your stress or relieve a panic attack; while at other times you may also need the more comprehensive support offered by clinical treatment.
As more and more people turn away from harmful drugs and look to natural home remedies to help with their anxiety, lavender is clearly one of the safer and more successful options.
Hundreds of studies show that lavender essential oil can be just as effective as traditional medicines to ease signs of anxiety - without the negative side effects. It not only noticeably improves your well-being - but it does so fast…
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Please talk to your health care practitioner before changing your dosage or discontinuing any medications you currently take.
Lavender used as aromatherapy or by mouth may increase the amount of drowsiness when taken in combination with medications such as benzodiazepines (Xanax, Ativan, Valium), narcotics such as codeine, or certain antidepressants. If you’re taking prescription medications, consult with your doctor.
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.