Treating Depression With Nature: Practical Guide to Aromatherapy

Today I would like to talk about the “big black dog” also known as depression and how to treat it naturally, using Bach Flower Remedies and Aromatherapy in general. The most common, simple form of it. Yes it’s a paradox, because there are so many forms and types depending on gender, seasons, hormones and so on that would make it impossible to sum it up in a short article.

I came to London on the 10th of December of 2013 and I have been depressed 3 times already. Quite tiring I must say, but I managed to rise above it. This journey I am currently undertaking, leaving a whole lifetime behind, back in Greece, is a big learning experience of re-discovering and re-inventing my self, of accepting me for who I am, transcending the pain and trauma of the past, in this life and all the previous ones. Sometimes I needed help so I began exploring the magical world of nature and flowers in particular. But enough about me… for now.

 What is Depression?

The normal ups and downs of life mean that everyone feels sad or has “the blues” from time to time. But if you feel empty and desperate on a regular basis and it doesn’t go away, you might be suffering from depression. Depression makes it tough to function and enjoy life like you once did. Just getting through the day can be overwhelming. Sometimes you might want to crawl into a safe place somewhere and hide from the world. Yet, no matter how hopeless you feel, you can get better.This is a fact! Understanding the signs, symptoms, causes, and treatment of depression is the first step to overcoming the problem. Sadness or downswings in mood are normal reactions to life’s struggles, setbacks, and disappointments. Many people use the word “depression” to explain these kinds of feelings,but this is a misconception since depression is much more than just sadness. Some people describe depression as “living in a black hole” or having a feeling of impending doom. However, some depressed people don’t feel sad at all—they may feel lifeless, empty, and apathetic, but not sad. Whatever the symptoms, depression is different from normal sadness in that it engulfs your day-to-day life, interfering with your ability to work, study, eat, sleep, and have fun. The feelings of helplessness, hopelessness, and worthlessness are intense and unrelenting, with little, if any, relief.

Who gets depression?

About 5 in 100 adults have depression every year. Sometimes it is mild or lasts just a few weeks. However, an episode of depression serious enough to require treatment occurs in about 1 in 4 women and 1 in 10 men at some point in their lives. Some people have two or more episodes of depression at various times in their life. The symptoms can vary and I don’t want to lower the vibration here, my goal is simply to propose a natural way of treating it without medication, at home.

Warning: I am not a doctor and I only speak from personal experience. If you think you have a depression of any kind, you should seek professional assistance. What worked for me might not work for you, different things work for different people, the beauty of complexity and uniqueness, right? The most simple ways of treating depression naturally are:

  1. Contemplate why are you feeling like that. Sit down with yourself, let the judgement out of the room and talk and listen to you.
  2. Move! Exercise releases happy-making endorphins, which act like natural anti-depressants.
  3. Try to keep a normal eating pattern. Keeping your blood sugar stable reduces mood swings. Also eat serotonin-enhancing foods and try to balance your hormones. (Some forms of depression are just chemical imbalances in your body)
  4. Expose yourself to sunlight, which can boost mood and increase Vitamin D levels. If you live somewhere that gets little sun, invest in a therapeutic light box or a Himalayan salt lamp. (My salt lamp helped me when I had S.A.D.-Seasonal Affective Disorder before last Christmas.)
  5. Meditate or try guided imagery and visualizations. Meditation’s effects on mood are well documented. Settling your mind can lift your mood, in addition to a whole host of other health benefits.
  6. Listen to nature sounds and soothing music. Calming your mind really helps!

And last but not least:

7. Essential oils, Bach flower remedies, aromatherapy. Aromatherapy is the use of organic compounds called essential oils to improve a person’s mood, mental state, or health. The oils are extracted from various plant parts, such as roots, seeds, leaves, and blossoms, and can be blended together. Treatment involves diffusing oil into the air, dissolving it in a bath, or applying it during a massage, among other techniques.

How Aromatherapy Works

aromatherapy_chart

Researchers aren’t sure how aromatherapy works, but most believe that chemicals in essential oils trigger smell receptors in the nose that are connected to areas of the brain related to mood. For people with depression, certain oils are believed to bring about a sense of calm or to elevate mood. Methods of aromatherapy include:

Diffusion
Diffuseur d'huiles essentielles
Ceramic diffuser that uses a tea light to warm the essential oils and help them vaporize. Put 3-5 drops of oil and fill the rest with water.

Diffusion is the process of spreading a scent gently and continuously throughout an area. This is usually done by a machine called a diffuser, which will allow you to transform a room or your entire house into a therapy solution.

Room spray

Sprays are good way to get scents into an area quickly and conveniently. You can buy them premixed, or add some of your favorite oils to water in a spray bottle to make your own.

Massage

aromatherapy-massage

Aromatherapy oils are a popular addition to a full-body massage. Combining aromatherapy with massage is a great way to relax and ease away both physical and mental stress.

Baths

Various oils and salts that contain oils are available to turn your bath or shower into a relaxing, therapeutic experience.

Skin and hair products

Scented beauty products are an easy way to keep a scent with you throughout the day.

The following essential oils are sometimes used to help ease the effects of depression:

  •  jasmine
  •  sandalwood
  •  ylang-ylang
  •  clary sage
  •  basil
  •  bergamot
  •  rose
  •  geranium
  •  neroli
  •  petitgrain

or try these popular essential oils:aromatherapy-essential-oils-chart

Personally I put a drop of essential oil on my index finger and apply it to my nostrils or a few drops in my palms, rub it together and then cover my nose with my hands and take 3 deep breaths from the nose. (A technique I learned in Aura Soma)

There is a wonderful Bach remedy called Mustard that works wonders on depression that is not clinical in nature. A few days of the Mustard remedy will lift you out of depression, so softly and naturally, that you will at first perhaps not realize that is is gone.

The most powerful essences for depression in aromatherapy are all the citrus remedies, orange, lemon, and although not many people use it I would suggest Rose. The Rose remedy is one of the most powerful remedies in the aromatherapeutic arsenal. Because it vibrates at the highest frequency and just very naturally lifts you up to where you should be.

The advantages of Aromatherapy

Aromatherapy is an easy way to help beat stress with calming and relaxing scents. The oils are usually inexpensive, and usage is simple.

The disadvantages of Aromatherapy

Although aromatherapy is generally safe, the oils could cause an averse or allergic reaction in some people. People who are particularly sensitive to strong scents should consider other options.

Like most alternative therapies, aromatherapy should not be used as the only therapy for moderate to severe depression. There is little to no clinical research to support the efficacy of aromatherapy as a treatment for depression. However, people often use it as a complement to more traditional depression treatments.

Do you have a story to share? Let me know in a comment or a message. Any feedback is well appreciated.

If you want to find out more about aromatherapy and Bach flower remedies:

http://www.onlynature.co.uk/Depression.html http://www.care2.com/greenliving/7-flower-remedies-for-depression.html/1 http://www.healthline.com/health/depression/aromatherapy#1 http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Bach_flower_remedies

Thank you for reading,

Love and Light,

George Kleopas

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