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Jan 20 2010

AROMATHERAPY FOR SEASONAL AFFECTIVE DISORDER

If you feel bogged down by cold and gloomy weather, you may be suffering from Seasonal Affective Disorder or SAD (yes, ‘winter blues’ is officially a clinical disorder).

Just like its abbreviation, Seasonal Affective Disorder is not a pleasant state to be in.

You may be a victim if you suffer from one or more of the following symptoms [1]:
•    Moderate to severe depression
•    Food cravings
•    Lack of focus
•    Lethargy and chronic fatigue
•    Low immunity levels
•    Loss of libido
•    Weight gain
•    Excessive sleepiness
•    Mood swings

SAD is usually triggered by a lack of sunlight and physical activity. The fact that the days are colder and shorter does not help either. No wonder then, many of us would rather spend the day tucked in bed or head for a tropical vacation.

There is no reason however to let the winter gloom get to you and dampen your spirits. Scientific research has shown that people suffering from seasonal depression are relatively more sensitive to smells and respond well to the aromas of essential oils [2].

Here are some oils that are highly effective in restoring the mind-body balance and uplifting the mood:
  • Bergamot – The fresh, tangy scent has a balancing effect on the mind and calms undesirable emotions like stress, anxiety, sadness and anger. It also restores confidence, wellness and energy.
  • Orange, Mandarin and Lemon – Citrusy scents are known to energize, rejuvenate and uplift – perfect for reviving your zest during cold winter months.
  • Grapefruit – One of the most versatile and feel-good scents, it is well-known for its natural anti-depressive properties.
  • Clary Sage – This sweet and earthy scent nourishes the soul and induces a feeling of euphoria, self-confidence, wellness and inner peace. It also helps is balancing out the hormones.
  • Ylang Ylang – A sensual scent that is relaxing and mildly sedative – especially useful if you have been battling stress and mental fatigue.
  • Jasmine – The exotic floral aroma of Jasmine spreads cheer and freshness. Great for depression and disorders of a psychosomatic nature.

Take a whiff to rev up your energy levels.Essential oils for Seasonal Affective Disorder may be used in one of the following ways:

Aromatherapy Massage – The recommended essential oil is blended with carrier oil and massaged all over the body.

The fragrance alleviates feelings of depression while the comfort of human touch evokes confidence and reassurance.

Diffusion
– The physical environment is impregnated with the aroma of essential oils for a long-lasting and sustained effect. Use an aromatherapy diffuser: Fill the bowl with water, add 5-15 drops of essential oil, light the candle and enjoy.


Aromatherapy Baths –Fill your bath with warm water and add 10 drops of essential oil to it along with ½ cup unscented salt. This is one of the most important and effective forms of treatment in aromatherapy. 
Avoid orange essential oil in the bath as it may irritate the skin.

Essential Oil Blend Recommendation: Citrus Delight Essential Oil Blend, Fiesta Essential Oil Blend


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References:[1] Aromatherapy for Seasonal Affective Disorder (SAD) by Wendy Gist.Listed in aromatherapy, originally published in issue 142 – December 2007
[2] 5.    Postolache T. Patients with Seasonal Affective Disorder Have Lower Odor Detection Thresholds Than Control Subjects. Arch Gen Psychiatry. 59: 1119-22. 2002.

© AROMANDINA – All rights reserved.. This information on this blog is based on traditional use of aromatherapy and it does not intend to diagnose or treat any condition. This information should not be used as a substitute for medical counseling with a health care professional. No part of this blog may be reproduced in whole or in part without the explicit written permission of Aromandina.

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