"There's something inherently bewitching about being able to combat pain ..."
There's something inherently bewitching about being able to combat pain, lift a melancholy mood or harmonise hormones. The world of aromatherapy has beguiled me for most of my adult life, natural medicine or complementary therapies are on the increase in popularity and I'm sitting firmly in a seat of this band wagon, strapped in with the faith and knowledge of a devout.
I, myself, have been the victim of depressive episodes for over 3 decades and had almost resigned the rest of life to conventional medication as several mental health professionals had allied me to this unwanted marriage of numbness. This all may sound so very 'woe is me' but humour me as this story is a happy one and that one part of my successful rehabilitation has been the daily use of essential oils.
My depression began in my teens and for years afterwards, an overall sense of bewilderment at the world and my place within it and a loss of purpose. After 10 years of feeling this way I was summarily prescribed antidepressants from Seroxat to Sertraline and back again with varying results. It was during this time that I discovered essential oils thanks to my late sister, Jenny. She'd used them often and claimed that they'd helped her with skin abrasions and menstrual cramping amongst other ailments such as colds and flu.
"I fell in love with the potent aromas of lavender and geranium..."
I wasn't convinced as I was a miserable sceptic in those days, so I tried the lavender and geranium that she had acquired and I fell in love with the potent aromas that lifted my mood as I removed the lids of the tinted bottles, a wonderful sense-enhancing journey that felt comforting and calming.
Years later, still with my limpet of an illness, I decided to look further into the powers of essential oils, I bought a book by Valerie Ann Worwood and from those late nights leafing through the increasing dog-eared pages, I was totally hooked. Many, many more books were bought with Christmas and birthday money and vouchers which I'd ask for instead of presents.
I found a great supplier of essential oils in my home town (an absolute must with essential oils) and would save up money to by the next oil to try. I even went all exotic and outside the normal stock and ordered Carnation and Hyacinth oils! I studied the chemical components and used them around my home both topically and in burners and radiator diffusers.
"Eucalyptus Staigeriana, Lavender and Sandalwood helped me move away from a lifetime of pill popping..."
Eleven years ago my studies turned to myself even more acutely as a doctor told me that I would have to remain on some sort of antidepressant forever which was devastating news. There had to be another way. So, with time and perseverance I found my combination which, to start off with, consisted of eucalyptus stageriana, lavender and sandalwood. I used it religiously in everything including face cream, bath salts, diffusers, hand cream and shampoos as I learned to blend for myself. Those oils helped me move away from a lifetime of pill popping along with yoga and meditation. I'd found my complementary sweet spot. I've been antidepressant free for nearly 10 years.
Now, I appreciate that not everyone would respond to the same regimen as we are all fabulously individual in both our emotional and physical bodies, and there have been times when conventional medicine has literally saved my life, but that was always a sticking plaster and never truly reached the soul of the issue with any clarity to move onward. I now get to help both myself and others to work through problems of both a mental and physical nature, using nature alongside other treatments both conventional and holistic.
Being an aromatherapist is a privilege and helping others the way I have been trained to do instills such joy that it's as good as standing on stage (I was a professional musician in a previous life!) with a great audience, a little less intense but strikingly similar in its rewards. It’s different every time and that diversity is a reflection of the complexity of each person.
"Now I live and work in the very beautiful and wild, rural ireland..."
Now, I live and work in the very beautiful and wild, rural Ireland and have a lovely little clinic here which I've built up over the last five years which include elderly and infirm, special needs adults and children, mothers, whether pregnant or with babies or toddlers, school aged children, teenagers with anxiety and depression, acne, painful periods and hormone issues as well as adults with all sorts of interesting ailments, through to the clients who just want to relax.
Boswellia carterii, citrus aurantium, melaleuca leucadendron, mentha piperita, the language itself is magical, full of creativity and vitality and now, I've been asked to write about them, to share them and my experiences with you. I am truly blessed.
Article by Elizabeth Scattergood.
Essential Oils for Depression
Lavender: A few drops of lavender oil on a tissue, placed within the pillow case can aid a good nights sleep. Alternatively, put up to 8-drops of lavender in a bath and soak for at least 30 minutes, taking in the wonderful aroma. Lavender can be used in oil burners and diffusers also.
Bergamot FCF: Renowned for being an all round anti-depressantbecause it is so stimulating to the sensors. Bergamot FCF Essential Oil can be used to create a sense of joy, freshness and energy by improving the circulation of the blood.
Ylang Ylang: Has amazing benefits for helping fight off depression and negative thoughts and emotions associated with depression. Inhaling ylang ylang can have immediate, positive effect on your mood - acting somewhat like a mild, remedy for depression. Ylang Ylang can help release negative emotions such as anger and low self-esteem because of its mild sedative effects, which can lower stress responses helping you relax.
Frankincense: Often used in meditiation due to its natural ability to calm the breathe, Frankincense Essential Oil is proving to be very beneficial at treating depression, anxiety and melancholia. It is one of the safest oils to use around the home due to it being non-toxic, non-irritant and non allergenic.
Petigrain: Has anti-septic, anti-spasmodic and anti-depressant propteries. It works works as a natural energiser and mood booster.
Peppermint Piperita: has a calming and numbing effect, and is often used to treat headaches, skin irritation, nausea, diarrhea, menstrual cramps, flatulence, and anxiety associated with depression.
Lemon Oil: The active components of lemon oil have been directly connected to a boost to cognitive energy. When you are in the throes of an anxiety or depressive episode, this oil can clear away the mental fog, giving your purpose and clarity, and boost the mood by increasing energy levels in the body through elevated circulation.
Geranium Egyptian: Known to be a sedative, helping to induce sleep and promote feelings of calmness so you can rest uninterrupted through an entire night.Rose Oil: has a number of stimulating properties, capable of elevating blood pressure, increasing mood and balancing hormone levels in the body. This can rapidly impact feelings of depression, while also countering anxiety by releasing dopamine and serotonin into the bloodstream.
Clary Sage: Is described as a combination of euphoria, serenity and relaxation. Except that rises mood, also strengthens resistance to stress , relieves physical tension and relaxes the muscles.
Rose Oil: Is a gentle but powerful natural anti-depressant, nerve tonic and an aphrodisiac.
Jasmine: Is emotionally warm and stimulating, and is one of the most effective essential oils for lifting from lethargy and stagnation
Neroli: A sweet and slightly metallic fragrance. It awakens, enlivens and raises self-esteem, and helps with depression during pregnancy or after childbirth
Mandarin: Is known as the sweetest and most calming citrus essential oil. It’s proven to help reduce pain, anxiety and nausea; relieve pain; protect food from bacteria; and even support cellular health.
Slow and Steady Wins the Race
As with any treatment, essential oils are no different and it is a case of trial and error until you find an oil (or combination of oils) that work for you. Use any essential oils sparingly, high levels might cause reactions and sensitivity, so be sure to do a skin patch check before using on a regular basis. You also want to use caution if you take blood pressure medications or have an existing heart condition. Always talk to your doctor before beginning any new treatment. Refer to our 'Safety Advice' section for more details
It’s important to make sure that any essential oils you choose are 100 percent pure. If you are pregnant or breastfeeding, check with your doctor first. While most oils are safe for children, please do proper research and review with your physician.
Buy Essential Oils that can be used to treat Depression: