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Aromatherapy and SAD

As Autumn creeps in and the nights grow longer many of us feel the change in our energy and have to readjust our routines and workloads but those with seasonal affective disorder (SAD) struggle so much more. The disorder is often referred to as winter depression although there is also a summer disorder too.


Symptoms of seasonal affective disorder can vary from a persistent low mood or a a loss of pleasure or interest in normal everyday activities along with irritability and feelings of despair, guilt and worthlessness. Feeling lethargic is often a common symptom and many sufferers find themselves sleeping for longer than normal and finding it hard to get up in the morning. For some people, these symptoms can be severe and have a significant impact on their day-to-day activities.


Many people use a light box lamp which recreates daylight to help reduce symptoms whilst lifestyle changes can help too. As no one knows what causes seasonal affective disorder yet the best way to use aromatherapy is to use it to address the sufferer’s symptom.





Mandarin essential oil has a delicate aroma that is sweet and brings us in touch with our inner child. Being primarily limonene the oil is refreshing and uplifting and is ideal for fatigue and a tired mind especially if it is linked to anxiety and depression.


Basil is one of my favourite oils and is considered to be one of the best remedies for mental fatigue and giving the mind strength and clarity. It is said to be useful for all types of nervous disorders including low resistance levels and, nervous exhaustion or a change in life that leaves a person feeling vulnerable.


Litsea cubeba has a sweet, fruity and enticing scent soothes the nervous system and helps us express our emotions in a more constructive manner. It is the perfect antidote for seasonal blues, stress, anger and irritability. It helps get rid of negative emotions and promotes relaxation, mental clarity and restful sleep.


Ravensara oil is a known nerve tonic that can be used to revitalise people suffering from physical and mental fatigue and oil may be inhaled to relieve sadness. The oil uplifts the mind and allows the mind to be less attracted towards negative thoughts and in doing so increases concentration and allows the brain to be utilised for activity.


Creating an inhalation stick may be the best option for someone suffering from seasonal affective disorder although aromatherapy treatments like aromaflexology and massage would be beneficial too.



References

Holmes P. The energetics of western herbs, Vol 2. Artemis Press, USA, 1989.

Lawless J. The encyclopaedia of essential oils. Element Books Limited, Great Britain, 1992.

Davis P. Aromatherapy: An A-Z. 2nd edn. The C.W. Daniel Company Limited, Great Britain, 1999.

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