Aromatherapy for the Menopause

Posted on: 18 October 2010 by Rachael Hannan

Hot flushes, mood swings, sleep disturbances and headaches are just some of the menpausal symptoms that can be eased with aromatherapy.

Aromatherapy is one of the most accessible and pleasurable alternative medicines around.  Just one smell of the rich heady fragrance of jasmine oil, the light scent of lavender, or the pure and cleansing smell of pine will make you wonder why you ever used artificial air freshners or took aspirin to relieve your headaches.

Aromatherpy is also one of the safest alternative medicines to be found.  The only two rules are that you must never ingest the oils, or apply any essential oil directly onto the skin - it must always be diluted in a carrier oil such as almond or jojoba oil .

The only exceptions to this rule are lavender and tea tree oil which can both be safely applied directly to the skin. Lavender is soothing on burns, sun burn, muscle strains, and eases headaches if massaged into the temples.  Tea tree clears up spots, soothes insect bites and it's antibacterial properties help with small wounds.

The safest ways of using them are in an oil burner so the room smells of the scent, or with a few drop in the bath, or by making up a simple massage oil.

To make massage oils, place 4 teaspoons of a carrier oil like almond oil in a saucer or bottle.  Add 10 drops in total of one or up to three different aromatherapy oils and massage into the affected area.

If you are using them in the bath, add 8-12 drops just before you finish running it.

Quality & Price   

Scientific research has proved that the quality of the essential oil is paramount to their healing properties.  Only purchase oils which state they are 'pure essential oils' as opposed to a man-made fragrance which is engineered to smell the same.  These fragranced oils have no therapeutic value whatsoever and are not worth buying.  Tisserand is a long established company which sells quality essential oils and these can be found in Superdrug stores.    

Essential oils are relatively expensive but when you consider how much oil a single pressed flower yields, their cost becomes justified.  What's more, you only use a few drops at a time so the investment is worth it.

When starting out it's best to choose three or four oils to experiment with but do remember you will also need to purchase a carrier oil.  I prefer to use almond oil because it is rich in vitamin E which nourishes the skin amd has anti-ageing qualities.  A large bottle of almond oil usually costs around £4.

Specific Oils For The Menopause    

Hormone Helpers

Sage Oil

The fresh herb is renowned for its beneficial effect on hormones, and the same is true for the essential oil.  Sage regulates and balances hormones throughout the menopause, and can also be used to treat of PMS.

Roman Chamomile

Roman chamomile (as opposed to German chamomile, which is another plant of the same family) also helps to regulate hormones, and has a long history of helping menopausal symptoms.  You can also drink chamomille tea, but make sure it is from a reputable brand and read the ingredients first.

Geranium

This floral scent is uplifting, healing and balances the hormones. The Egyptians have used this oil for centuries to heal body, mind and spirit.   

Hot Flushes

Peppermint Oil

Anyone who has tried mint shower scrubs or shampoos knows the cooling tingly effect peppermint has.  Peppermint feels cool as soon as it touches your skin and will ease hot flushes and night sweats if dabbed on the pulse points behind the ears, on the wrists and back of the knees.  However, it should always be diluted in a carrier oil first.

In a bottle or saucer make the massage oil by combining 5 drops of peppermint oil with 4 teaspoons of a carrier oil.  You can add up to 10 drops of essential oil in this quantity of carrier oil, but dab a bit on your skin first before adding any more to check that the effect isn't too cooling for your skin.  Alternatively, add a few drops to a bath or shower gel.  Peppermint oil can also be used in a spritzer and is perfect in the summer months.  Add six drops of peppermint oil to approximately 500mls of water.

Insomnia & Headaches

Lavender oil eases headaches, relieves tension and it's calming qualities promote sleep.  It is an uplifting oil and research has shown that it encourages the brain to release happy endorphins throughout the blood stream.

Other oils to treat insomnia include valerian and mandarin, where as headaches can also be treated with marjoram.

Besides the dilution, there is no limit to the amount of aromatherpy you can use, so bathe in it, fill your rooms with wonderful fragrances with oil burners and keep some peppermint massage oil by the bed for those disturbed nights.

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