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ESSENTIAL WELLBEING Aromatherapy for Mood and Nervous System Health by Marlaina Donato

in history, the human nervous system has suffered greatly in the day-to-day dance of survival. Depression, anxiety disorders and insomnia are at an all- time high. More people than ever are on some form of medication in hopes of improving their quality of life. Aromatherapy can be a valuable


tool for those who want a sound alter- native. Aromatics not only target symp- toms but nourish the nervous system as a whole. Neurotransmitters—chemical messengers between nerve cells—are responsible for countless physiological processes in the body including diges- tion, respiration and endocrine func- tion. When the body is deficient in or not using neurotransmitters optimally, a variety of conditions and symptoms can develop including depression and mood fluctuation.

Essential Oils to the Rescue Essential oils—concentrated, aromatic substances distilled from roots, leaves, flowers, barks, berries, and fruit rinds— can be inhaled at intervals throughout the day to improve mood, calm nerves, halt cravings, improve memory and promote relaxation that will promote better sleep when it comes time to go to bed. They can also be inhaled on the spot to decrease general anxiety, stop a panic attack, increase energy dur- ing afternoon slumps and sharpen the memory before taking an exam. Certain essential oils work better when used together while others are highly effec- tive on their own. Keep in mind that everyone is

individual and an oil that works best for one person may not be an ideal choice for another; the body also changes and might respond to a particular oil more

ue to overwhelmed schedules, compromised nutrition and pressures unique to our timeslot

stimulates serotonin and dopamine and elevates mood.

Lavender (Lavandula angustifolia): Nourishes the body’s supply of se- rotonin, the neurotransmitter most responsible for promoting relaxation, reducing worry, curbing intense food cravings and boosting immunity

Rose Absolute, Rose Otto (Rosa dama- scene, Rosa centifolia): Increases do- pamine production, which helps some forms of depression and reduces pain signals. Diluted rose is more affordable and just as useful.

readily than another that has worked well in the past. Don’t be afraid to experiment and listen to your body’s wisdom when it draws you to a certain oil. Our preferences can be our most reliable guide. A drop or two of the following oils on a tissue or in an aroma locket can be inhaled three to four times a day for five-minute intervals:

Basil (Ocimum basilicum): Harmonizes the sympathetic nervous system (fight or flight mode) with the parasympa- thetic (rest and digest mode), sharpens memory, increases energy and may halt a panic attack when all else fails.

Cacao (Theobroma cacao): Helps ad- diction and cravings for comfort foods,


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Neroli Absolute (Citrus aurantium, C. bigaradia, C. vulgaris): Stops the fight or flight stress response, promotes sleep, and halts trembling. Diluted neroli is more affordable and just as useful.

Ylang Ylang (Cananga odorata): Bal- ances adrenalin in the body, regulates nervous heartbeat and increases feel- ings of pleasure

Life can be stressful and essential oils can be powerful allies. Breathe them in deeply and be well.

Marlaina Donato, CA, CMT, is the author of Multidimensional Aromather- apy: Clinical, Practical, and Vibrational Applications, available on Amazon. com. For information, visit Marlaina-


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