Depression can take many forms: it is often associated with a lack of energy and listlessness but it can also be accompanied by restlessness or agitation – or by a combination of both lethargy and excitement.

Lavender has long been used to help alleviate depression, but is especially valuable where there is a tendency towards ‘mood swings’, due to its regulating or stabilizing nature. Essential oils such as lavender are also very beneficial when coping with difficult life situations involving emotions such as grief, loss or fear. One doctor who recognizes the value of aromatics in this field describes her own reasons for using aromatherapy afer the death of her mother:

I didn’t want tranquillizers and didn’t feel anti-depressants were needed as mine was a perfectly normal reaction to the stress I was living through. I didn’t want to take alcohol and yet craved relief from what I was experiencing. I knew these pharmacological treatments did not work for real-life situations of stress. They might work for people with neurotic problems, or those in a state of clinical depression, but that’s a different thing. I didn’t have any of those symptoms . A combination of massage and essential oils (especially lavender) is more powerful than either one alone, and [makes for] a valuable form of relaxation therapy.

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Add 8-10 drops of lavender oil to the bath – best used in combination with other anti-depressant oils such as jasmine, rose, neroli or bergamot.

Receiving a regular professional massage using a blend of anti-depressant oils including lavender can help encourage relaxation and feelings of self-worth and well-being. Research has shown that the ‘synergistic’ combination of smell and touch can have a profoundly nourishing and comforting effect on the psyche.

For an uplifting/soothing room fragrance, use lavender oil in a vaporizer, or put a few drops on a handkerchief for inhalation throughout the day.

Other measures: yoga, meditation and psychotherapy/counselling. Other essential oils of benefit include bergamot, neroli, jasmine and rose.

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