Necessities for leisure: Fight fear with these stress-busting important oils

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Taking care of ourselves has never been more important.

But what else can you do besides eating a balanced diet, exercising, staying in touch with family and friends, and getting enough sleep to brighten our moods and lift our spirits?

When it comes to our emotions and our joie de vivre, the senses play an important role.

Because of this, aromatherapy has been used for thousands of years and dates back to the Greeks, Romans, and ancient Asian civilizations.

We all know that our sense of smell can instantly trigger memories, feelings of good or bad, and different emotions.

Soothing and relaxing scents can improve our mood, make us calmer, and encourage positive feelings.

It is for this reason that aromatherapy has recently grown in popularity in Ireland as people seek new ways to combat stress and worry, take care of themselves, and calm their minds, bodies and spirits at home.

Here are four of the most popular stress relieving essential oils on the market to use in an essential oil diffuser or burner, steamer, bathtub or shower, or for a relaxing massage.

lavender

Lavender is the most popular essential oil for calm and relaxation.

The calming properties of this essential oil, widely used in massage and spa treatments, make it the first choice for relaxing downtime.

Try adding a few drops to your bath or mixing a few drops with a carrier oil (like almond oil) for a rejuvenating massage.

Clary sage

Clary sage, a flowering herb native to the Mediterranean, is said to have far-reaching health benefits.

Its fresh, light scent has an extremely calming and relaxing effect. A few drops can be added to a tissue and gently inhaled for an instant calming effect.

It is also said to help relieve menopausal symptoms such as hot flashes as well as menstrual cramps, although studies on this are not yet conclusive.

incense

Although used for a variety of purposes for centuries, much is still learned about the beneficial effects of frankincense.

This essential oil comes from the resin of the Boswellia tree, which grows in arid mountain regions of India, Africa and the Middle East.

It has a woody, tangy smell and is a preferred essential oil for relaxation and recreation.

Try adding a few drops to a bowl of water and inhaling the steam deeply for 5 to 10 minutes, or using it in a steamer to clear your airways and promote calmness and zen.

Patchouli

You may recognize the lovely earthy, musky scent of the patchouli plant, often used in perfumes and aftershave.

This relaxing scent is considered both calming and sensual. In the bathroom, try using a diffuser or diluted with water and lightly splashing it on bed linen and home furnishings. Nice!

For more information or to buy essential oils and accessories, visit kotanical.ie