Psychological treatments for anxiety

Psychological treatments (also known as talking therapies) can help you change your thinking patterns so you’re able to keep your anxiety under control and reduce irrational worries.

There are several types of effective psychological treatments for anxiety, as well as different delivery options. Some people prefer to work one on one with a professional, while others get more out of a group environment. A growing number of online programs, or e-therapies, are also available.

Aromatherapy

Aromatherapy for anxiety is very popular because our sense of smell triggers powerful emotional responses. We process so much information through our sense of smell — in particular, in an area of the brain adjacent to the limbic region, according to “Freedom from Anxiety: A Holistic Approach to Emotional Well-Being” by Marcey Shapiro and Barbara Vivino. This is the area of emotional processing and memory recall.

When the scent of an essential oil is inhaled, molecules enter the nasal cavities and stimulate a firing of mental response in the limbic system of the brain. These stimulants regulate stress or calming responses, such as heart rate, breathing patterns, production of hormones and blood pressure. Aromatherapy can be obtained by using it in a bath, as direct inhalations, hot water vapor, vaporizer or humidifier, fan, vent, perfume, cologne, or — one of my favorites — through aromatherapy diffusers.

Frankincense (Boswellia carteri or boswella sacra)

Frankincense is great for treating depression and anxiety because it provides a calming and tranquil energy as well as spiritual grounding. In aromatherapy, it helps deepen meditation and quiet the mind.

Mixed with bergamot and lavender oils in a 1:1 ratio in an aroma hand massage, frankincense was found to have a positive effect on pain and depression in hospice patients with terminal cancer in a Keimyung University study in Korea

Ylang Ylang (Cananga odorata)

This popular essential oil can treat anxiety and depression due to its calming and uplifting effects. Ylang ylang helps with cheerfulness, courage, optimism and soothes fearfulness. It may calm heart agitation and nervous palpitations and is a moderately strong sedative, which can help with insomnia.

In a 2006 study conducted by Geochang Provincial College in Korea, using ylang ylang oil, along with bergamot and lavender oils, once a day for four weeks reduced “psychological stress responses and serum cortisol levels, as well as the blood pressure of clients with essential hypertension.

Be careful when using ylang ylang, as it can be sensitizing or irritating to the skin; avoid using in conditions of low blood pressure.

Vetiver (Vetiveria zizanioides)

Vetiver oil has a tranquil, grounding and reassuring energy, often used in trauma helping with self-awareness, calmness and stabilization. A nervous system tonic, it decreases jitteriness and hypersensitivity and is also useful in panic attacks and shock. A study published in Natural Product Research examining the anxiety-like behavior in rats concluded that vetiver oil may be useful in lowering anxiety effects, though more research is needed to confirm this finding.

Rose (Rosa damascena)

One of the benefits of rose essential oil is it’s very settling to the emotional heart and perhaps the second most popular after lavender for relieving anxiety and depression, helping with panic attacks, grieving and shock. In study of women who were pregnant for the first time published in the Iranian Red Crescent Medical Journal, one group of women was received a 10-minute inhalation and footbath with oil rose, another group received a 10-minute warm-water footbath, and they were compared to a control group. The findings showed “aromatherapy and footbath reduces anxiety in active phase in nulliparous women.

Lavender (Lavandula angustifolia)

Considered the most common essential oil, lavender oil benefits include having a calming, relaxing effect. It’s considered a nervous system restorative and helps with inner peace, sleep, restlessness, irritability, panic attacks, nervous stomach and general nervous tension.

“The Handbook of Essential Oils: Science, Technology, and Applications, Second Edition” states that there have been a number of clinical trials involving the inhalation of lavender essential oil that indicate a reduction in stress and anxiety. (2) One study using oral lavender essential oil via capsules found that heart rate variation significantly increased compared to the placebo while watching an anxiety-provoking film. (3) This suggested that lavender had anxiolytic effects.

Further research demonstrates lavender’s ability to lower anxiety in patients undergoing coronary artery bypass surgery and in people visiting the dentist.

Salt soaks

Whether you’ve spent the day engaging in intense physical activity or have just been on your feet too long, your muscles and joints are likely to be overworked and a bit achy. Even though this pain is temporary, it’s natural to want quick relief. You might not have to look far. One of the most effective and inexpensive ways to soothe a sore body is likely already in your medicine cabinet: Epsom salt.

A farmer in the English town of Epsom discovered the healing power of the salts in 1618, after his cattle refused to drink from a certain well. He tasted the mineral water and thought it tasted bitter, and eventually noticed the water helped heal rashes and scratches he had [source: Jefferson Lab]. For years, people would flock to the area to soak in healing springs rich in magnesium sulfate (MgSO4). Both of the compound’s minerals have properties that can help the body recover from common hurts like muscle and joint pain. Magnesium, once absorbed into the skin, can actually reduce the brain’s pain responses. It also works to control other body proteins, increasing the body’s overall performance. Sulfate, on the other hand, made up of the elements sulfur and oxygen, flushes out toxins and forms proteins that improve joint and tissue performance [source: DeCarbo].

 

 

Leave a Reply