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Treating Insomnia with Aromatherapy

Updated on April 10, 2011
Photo coutesy of LImbo Poet
Photo coutesy of LImbo Poet
Photo courtesy of OliBac
Photo courtesy of OliBac

The use of Aromatherapy can be traced through all of the major civilizations and even the Bible refers to the use of plants and their oils to treat illness. However the term “Aromatherapie” was first coined by Rene Maurice Gattefosse in 1928 to convey the therapeutic action of plant essences. His interest in the subject arose from an accidental use of lavender oil to soothe his burnt hand, when the burn healed without leaving any scars he wanted to know more.

Aromatherapy is the healing of the body or spirit by the action of essential oils obtained from the flowers, fruit, roots or bark of plants. The delivery of the beneficial power of the plant is achieved through the senses of smell and touch. Chemically the essential oils obtained from the plants are complex and some oils contain up to 100 components. The way in which the oils exercise their benefits is equally complex. As we inhale the essences they enter our body via the cells which line our nasal passages and these send messages straight to the brain. Lavender for example increases the alpha waves in the back of our brain while jasmine increases the beta waves in the front of our brains.

Essential oils are lighter than water and very flammable so are very far removed from the heavy cooking oils that we use. They are highly concentrated so very small amounts of the oil are needed and their use is measured in drops. Due to the fact that they evaporate very quickly essential oils are usually mixed with other carrier oils to preserve their effectiveness. Essential oils do not have an unlimited shelf life but with proper care they can last for up to seven years. The oils should not be exposed to sunlight or air and should be stored in a cool dry place.

Aromatherapy has been used to treat insomnia for thousands of years but we have only recently discovered how the oils work. They decrease the transmission of nerve impulses in our brain, spine and certain organs making us feel calmer and less anxious so that we find it easier to fall to sleep and stay asleep. Some of the more common essential oils used to treat insomnia are lavender, rose, chamomile,geranium and sandalwood. There have been limited scientific studies on the effects of aromatherapy on the treatment of insomnia and these have concentrated mainly on the use of lavender oil. There were four studies in the 1990s which found some benefits of the oil when used to treat sleep problems of patients suffering from dementia.

Essential oils can be used in a variety of ways to treat insomnia. The most common methods are inhalation, rubbing on your skin or by adding to your bath water To inhale the oil you could place a few drops of oil on a clean handkerchief to inhale or you could make your own room spray to use by putting ten to twelve drops of oil in seven tablespoons of water. To rub the oil into your skin you need to make your own massage oil by adding 10 drops of the essential oil to 25 millilitres of carrier oil such as almond oil. If you add 4 or 5 of oil to a warm bath you get the added benefit of the relaxing effects of the warm water as well as being able to inhale the oil’s beneficial aromas’

My Favorite Aromatherapy Concoction to Alleviate Insomnia

2 drops Jasmine essential oil
3 drops Chamomile essential oil
4 drops Lavender essential oil
6 drops Rose essential oil

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    • d.william profile image

      d.william 7 years ago from Somewhere in the south

      Excellent hub full of helpful information. I did not know that about rubbing the lavender oil on the soles of your feet. Good idea. Good job. dw

    • Amber Allen profile image
      Author

      Amber Allen 7 years ago

      Hi Don

      I've found another way in which lavender oil can be used to treat insomnia. You rub the oil in to the soles of your feet. This has the added bonus of being an excellent way to stop foot odor too!

      Thanks for popping by.

      Amber:)

    • Don Simkovich profile image

      Don Simkovich 7 years ago from Pasadena, CA

      I'm going to bookmark this ... I need to have some fresh lavender in my room. That's one of my favorite scents.

    • Amber Allen profile image
      Author

      Amber Allen 7 years ago

      Hi katie

      My next favorite oil is rose oil but it is quite expensive. It has many uses but it is the relief from anxiety that it gives which aids sleep. It is also a great aphrodisiac which is why roses are so closely connected to romance!

      Amber:)

    • katiem2 profile image

      katiem2 7 years ago from I'm outta here

      Oh I can smell the lavender now and how soothing and relaxing it is. Aromatherapy is a method for great sleep that I will enjoy. I'm headed down to my local health food store to pick up some essential oils to insure a sleepful night without Insomnia. Thanks for the help. Peace and Sweet Dreams :)

    • Amber Allen profile image
      Author

      Amber Allen 8 years ago

      Hi Lynn

      Lavender is my favorite oil and I also have a few plants dotted around my garden. I find the scent clears my thoughts and gives me a sense of wellbeing and relaxation.

      I'm pleased you enjoyed the hub. Thank you for commenting.

      Amber:)

    • Lynn Nodima profile image

      Lynn Nodima 8 years ago from United States

      Hi, Amber,

      I have used a few drops of lavendar oil on my children's pillows when they were not feeling well to help them sleep. Nature's bounty is better for us than artificial medications. I enjoyed reading this hub and look forward to reading more. Keep up the good work!

    • Amber Allen profile image
      Author

      Amber Allen 8 years ago

      Pleased to be able to help out. Hope you have a great trip.

      Amber:)

    • Mr Nice profile image

      Mr Nice 8 years ago from North America

      Thanks Amber for the details, I appreciate for your help. This summer I will make use of the essential oils during my travel. Good night

    • Amber Allen profile image
      Author

      Amber Allen 8 years ago

      Hi there Mr Nice!

      You can use the mix in many different ways after it is mixed. You can place a few drops on a hankie to inhale or put it in your bathwater or you can add it to a carrier oil to rub on your skin. If you have someone to rub the oil in all the better and you both get the benefit! Thanks for visiting.

      Amber:)

    • Mr Nice profile image

      Mr Nice 8 years ago from North America

      Hi Amber,

      Interesting hub about aroma therapy. How to use the combination.

      2 drops Jasmine essential oil

      3 drops Chamomile essential oil

      4 drops Lavender essential oil

      6 drops Rose essential oil

      Just mix it and inhale or.......???

      Have wonderful day.

    • Amber Allen profile image
      Author

      Amber Allen 8 years ago

      Hi Maita

      Perhaps just imagining the smell made you sleepy!

      Amber:)

    • prettydarkhorse profile image

      prettydarkhorse 8 years ago from US

      very nice Amber, must be cool smelling it as well, Now I am sleepy, NIGHT, Maita

    • Pollyannalana profile image

      Pollyannalana 8 years ago from US

      Mm I love lavender, too.

    • Amber Allen profile image
      Author

      Amber Allen 8 years ago

      Thank you for your kind words prasetio30. There are several alternative therapies which can help with insomnia of which Aromatherapy is one.

      Amber

    • prasetio30 profile image

      prasetio30 8 years ago from malang-indonesia

      Nice information. Insomnia is a bad problem. When other people could sleep well and enjoy their sleep but the people with insomnia problem can't sleep at all. And Aromatherapy is one of the solution for insomnia treatment. Good advice. I'll bookmark this hub. thanks Amber.

    • Amber Allen profile image
      Author

      Amber Allen 8 years ago

      Dohn

      Your words of encouragement are greatly appreciated and heartfelt. Thank you so much.

      Amber

    • dohn121 profile image

      dohn121 8 years ago from Hudson Valley, New York

      You did such an excellent job in writing this! You write very well, by the way and I don't say that to many people. You explained how aromatherapy works and included a brief history of it as well. Fantastic job, Amber! I really hope that you gain more recognition for writing this. Thank you for sharing it.

      Dohn

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