Plants and flowers that have a proven track record of balancing the nervous system are called “nervines,” and essential oils made from them can be your real friend when you need to destress, unwind or just “take it down a notch.” As research also proves, lowering stress not only helps you feel more focused and grounded, it also can help you reduce your risk of diseases like cancer.
Balancing the Nervous System Balances the Whole Body
There are actually a few different “nervous systems” in your body, the two main ones being the parasympathetic and sympathetic nervous systems. The sympathetic nervous system is what handles your “fight or flight” response. When you are faced with an emergency (or a perceived emergency), the sympathetic nervous system tells your major organs to conserve energy so that more of it can go to peripheral functions so you can “run from that tiger.” You also produce more cortisol and adrenalin when you are in stress mode. These responses can be important in short bursts, but can be damaging if they become chronic.
When the parasympathetic nervous system is running the show, the body is in what is called the “relaxation response.” The nervous system tells the rest of the body through chemical interactions that there is no threat to life or limb. Energy can then be focused on basic functions such as digestion, elimination and detoxification. Immune system function, including the production of immune system cells, increases and improves as the body goes into“healing and repair” mode.
Five Essential Oils to Help You Destress
- Lavender. A 2009 UK study found that oral lavender essential oil capsules helped to improve heart rate variability (HRV) significantly (compared to a placebo group) when study participants watched an anxiety-producing film.
- Chamomile. Who hasn’t had a hot cup of chamomile tea to relax and unwind just before bed? This is the go-to tea for moms around the world to help their little ones fall asleep (and is probably much more effective than a glass of warm milk). Like rose oil, chamomile in essential oil form is a balancer—it has shown to be effective for both anxiety and depression.
- Rose. Rose essential oil has over a dozen different terpenes that can promote not only balanced emotions but also hormonal balancing and healing from chronic disease like cancer. Studies have shown that rose oil can help relieve anxiety and can help individuals overcome depression, grief and shock.
- Vetiver. Several studies have shown that vetiver can produce calm and reduce stress response in rats that show signs of anxiety. It has also been proven to slow hyperactive behavior and can be effective for individuals who are experiencing shock.
- Frankincense. Frankincense is a super anti-inflammatory. Calming inflammation in the body in and of itself can help calm stress responses (since high cortisol levels can bring about inflammation). In addition, a 2008 investigation done at Keimyung University in Korea discovered that frankincense helped to lessen pain and depression in terminal cancer patients when mixed with lavender and bergamot in a 1:1:1 ratio.
Some Tips for Using Essential Oils
Besides the fact that they have no side effects when used properly, the molecules that make up essential oils are small enough to move past the blood-brain barrier, which means they can work quickly to calm the mind and balance the endocrine system. This also means that, to avoid toxins, you must only use organic, food grade essential oils. Here are some tips for the best ways to utilize relaxing oils:
- In a diffuser: Simply add a few drops of organic, high-quality oil to the inner filter, turn it on and breathe in the calm!
- Topically on the skin: Mix your essential oil with a carrier oil like jojoba or saponified coconut oil, then rub in to key points such as the back of the neck, the temples or the shoulders.
- A few drops under the tongue: Place just a few drops directly under the tongue for best results if no sensitivity occurs.
- As a quick aromatic: If you need a relaxer to help you reduce anxiety or encourage focus, try placing a few drops of lavender or another calming oil on your palms. Rub together and breathe it in deeply or massage into the temples or scalp.
- In a bath: Add about 15 to 20 drops to a soothing bath just before bed.
- As part of a sensory meditation: Simply rub some soothing oil onto your palms and breathe in, focusing on the aromas and other sensations
or even on mental images the essential oil may bring up. You can also use essential oil in a diffuser during meditation time.
- As a spice or seasoning for food: Indian chefs have used rose oil and other essential oils for centuries. Marinated chicken or fish can be helped along with a little basil oil. And have you ever had lavender ice cream? You can freeze a mixture of this calming oil, stevia and almond or coconut milk for a wonderful treat. Delicious!
Essential Oils: Tried and True
Calming essential oils have been used for centuries. Today, with chronic stress at an all-time high, essential oils can be a great friend in your quest to heal your nervous system, recover from chronic stress, and lead a disease-free life. Remember that there is a direct connection between high stress levels and cancer risk. The essential oils mentioned above and many more are great to include in your healthy living toolbox every day!
Dr. Veronique Desaulniers (“Dr. V”) is a best-selling author and founder of breastcancerconqueror.com. She specializes in Chiropractic, Bio-Energetics, Meridian Stress Analysis, Homeopathy and Digital Thermography. After 30 years in active practice, she decided to “retire” and devote her time to sharing her personal, non-toxic Breast Cancer healing journey with others. Her years of experience and research have culminated in “The 7 Essentials™ “, a step-by-step coaching program that unravels the mystery of healing the body. Her website and personal healing journey have touched the lives of thousands of women around the globe.