Ever had that moment when you’ve smelt something and it’s transported your mind back to a particular time and place? Or made you think of a particular person?
That’s because our sense of smell is linked to the oldest and most primitive part of our brains – the limbic system – which is heavily involved in emotion and long-term memory, amongst other things.
Consequently, aromatherapy has been around (in one form or another) since ancient times and is one of the most accessible forms of natural medicine. It works by using aromatic plant extracts and essential oils to promote health, balance & healing – on both emotional and physical levels.
Don’t get me wrong, I’m fully behind Western medicine and there are many many reasons why a trip to your GP is needed. I’m just saying don’t underestimate the power of nature, particularly when it comes to relaxation, helping to relieve anxiety, helping to relieve certain physical discomforts and even things like facilitating uterine contractions.
I should make it clear before I go any further that I’m not a qualified aromatherapist (you can find one here or here) and this blog does not constitute medical advice. It’s purely intended to be informative and to give you a new avenue to explore – both for general wellbeing, during pregnancy & your postnatal recovery.
It’s important that you understand that there are contraindications to the use of certain essential oils with many health conditions and during pregnancy, particularly in the first trimester. Please make sure you’re clear on what you’re using and how to use it safely. You should also advise your pharmacist or aromatherapist if you’re being prescribed any medications to ensure that the oils don’t reduce or enhance their effects.
Oils can help to…
- reduce anxiety, promote calm & relaxation – lavender, bergamot, neroli, sandalwood, ylang ylang, frankincense
- lift your mood – rose, geranium, mandarin, jasmine, grapefruit, petit grain
- relieve headaches – lavender, eucalyptus, peppermint
- relieve nausea and ease indigestion – ginger, lemon, peppermint
- ease insomnia – lavender, vetiver & mandarin
- ease nasal congestion – eucalyptus
- bring on / speed up labour – clary sage (so use with caution!)
- aid healing of wounds (inc. sore & bruised perineums) – lavender and tea tree
- ease piles – lavender, tea tree, geranium & cypress
And there are many different ways to use essential oils, so please do read the instructions first and don’t just apply the undiluted oil to your skin. You can:
- diffuse them into the environment around you
- find pre-blended options to roll onto your pulse points
- add them to bath water or a water based spray
- add them to massage oils
- add them to creams and lotions
- use them in home fragrance items like candles and reef diffusers
Neal’s Yard sell a wide range of both blended (i.e. oils already mixed together to create a certain effect) or individual essential oils, all of which are 100% organic and certified as such by the Soil Association. My favourite blends are Women’s balance and Meditation and if you’ve had a massage with me then you’ve already experienced the amazingness of them.
If you’re interested in reading more on the subject I highly recommend:
- the Neal’s Yard essential oils guide
- a book called Aromatherapy And Massage For Mother And Baby: How Essential Oils Can Help You in Pregnancy and Early Motherhood
- you can find more on essential oil safety here
- and here’s a blog I wrote on hospital bag and new baby essentials