Are you feeling sad, anxious or stressed? A wonderful way to eliminate or reduce those feelings and improve you overall emotional health is through the use of aromatherapy. To help understand how aromatherapy can make a difference on your emotional health and how you can go about in finding the right aroma for you, I have interviewed therapist Julie Uhernik RN, LPC, NCC.
Tell me a little bit about yourself.
“I am a Licensed Professional Counselor and a Registered Nurse (RN). I have advanced board certification in Holistic Nursing and in Community Health Nursing. In addition to my private counseling practice in Parker Colorado, I am a volunteer disaster response team member of the Mile Hi Chapter of the American Red Cross and a part of a national disaster mental health response team. In this capacity I work with people in times of acute trauma, emergency and disaster.”
How can aromatherapy make a difference on someone’s emotional health?
“Aromatherapy is defined as the use of essential oils (substances that are extracted from certain plants) to enhance well being and promote health. Although people tend to think of aromatherapy as the use of smells or scents, essential oils can also be used by application to the skin, known as topical application.
Our sense of smell is very basic and important to our well being and even survival. For example, a new mother can instantly recognize her newborn baby by smell alone. Most of us are aware of the power of smell to bring about pleasant memories from long ago. The smell of cinnamon for example, may remind us of grandmother’s cooking and her love. There are smell receptors in our nose that travel directly to the inner and primitive parts of our brains that are connected to emotions and memories. Certain smells can evoke positive memories and can provide calming or energizing effects.”
How does someone go about in finding an aroma that would benefit his or her emotional health?
“While aromatherapy has been practiced for over 6,000 years, current uses of therapeutic aromatherapy are best applied on an individual basis. It is best to explore the use of essential oils with guidance from a class or a trained practitioner who can help to guide you through an individual plan for use. I advise people to seek and learn about possible benefits of aromatherapy. They can then begin a process of self-discovery with aromatherapy and the possible benefits for their personal health.
Essential oils are increasingly available to the public in health food stores and by mail order, however, people need to be aware that there are many synthetic products out there that claim to be “aromatherapy” and don’t have the natural chemical components from the plant that are beneficial.
When purchasing oil for use, it is important to read labels. Does a label include the botanical name of the plant for example, or other information about the method of extraction from the plant? Essential oils can be costly so you want to be sure what you are buying is authentic.”
What are popular aromatherapy scents among your clients?
“There are certain essential oils that have been shown through research to have certain effects. Some are useful for promoting emotional health and well being. Frankincense has a calming effect and can be helpful in dealing with grief and sadness. Jasmine has been shown to be helpful with states of anxiety and low self-esteem. Oils such as cedar wood can help with grounding and sandalwood for balancing of emotions. The essential oils from citrus plants tend to be very energizing and uplifting. If you want a quick pick-me-up during your day, try cutting a lemon in half and taking in the cheerful scent! Again, I advise people to seek advice before beginning to use essential oils particularly when applied to the skin. Some oils can cause sun sensitivity, or burning sensations when applied to the skin. Most oils require dilution with base oil before use. Some oils are contraindicated during pregnancy or used by children. With all essential oils, very little amount (a few drops) has the desired effect. A basic essential oil that people can start with is lavender. Lavender can have relaxing properties helpful for insomnia (try a few drops applied to your pillow before sleep) or it can also have an uplifting, energizing effect on some people.”
As a therapist how do you provide aromatherapy to help your clients emotional health?
“As a therapist, I sometimes use certain essential oils with permission from my clients during counseling sessions. I use a room diffuser to apply the scent. I often allow clients to explore certain scents that may be appealing to them and provide them with a take home sample that they can use when anxious or depressed. I also teach community classes on aromatherapy as well as enjoy and use essential oils in my personal life.”
Thank you Julie for doing the interview on aromatherapy for your emotional health. For more information on aromatherapy resources or Julie Uhernik you can contact her at firstname.lastname@example.org or visit her website www.julieuhernik.com .
How to Reduce Stress Simply
Is Stress Keeping You Awake at Night
Do You Have Panic Attacks? Try Stress Management