Posted by Karen Williams on

SAD (Seasonal Affective Disorder) seems to appear with the coming of Fall and eases off as Spring appears, especially in the Northern climates affecting more women than men. Studies show SAD can be caused by a decrease in sunlight affecting levels of the hormone, Seratonin, responsible in helping us maintain a feeling of well-being. While there are other possible causes, we feel less energetic, depressed and catching more colds and flu as our immune system is depressed. In turn, weight creeps up and we long for a good night's sleep. In essence, SAD can affect every area of our life.

During this period of time, we naturally gravitate to uplifting aromas. Fragrance deeply affects our brains ability to think and feel, to energize us or take us into a more quiet, restful place. Much has been written on this topic and it seems that light, exercise, eating well and surrounding ourselves with uplifting aromas such as essential oils can dramatically help ease the symptoms of SAD. Elizabeth Jones in her book, Awaken to Healing Fragrance, quotes a study by T. Komori et al, "Effects of citrus fragrance on immune function and depressive states". The study shows the antidepressant benefits of the citrus oils plus their boost to the emotional immune system. Elizabeth further states the results support the concept that human depression is based on homeostatic dysregulation and citrus oils improve the homeostatic balance more than antidepressant drugs. It was concluded that citrus oils were of psychoneuroimmunological benefit for the treatment of emotions and the immune system. I like to utilize an essential oil diffuser as the oils uplift our emotional spirit and clean the air. If a diffuser isn't available, put a pan of water on a wood stove or stovetop on low heat and add 10-15 drops of essential oils.


Spa Vapor Diffuser

Recipe: Diffuser Blend for Seasonal Affective Disorder

Blend the essential oils in an amber glass bottle with an orifice reducer and use as a stock blend. Add 10-15 drops of the stock blend to a diffuser. Use in your home or office throughout the day.

  • Bergamot Oil (Citrus bergamia) - is a valuable oil when dealing with emotional issues and has been used successfully to address depression, anxiety, and tension. Possessing a bright aroma, Bergamot is a beautiful addition to blends. Bergamot also helps with insomnia and is restorative and calming.
  • Orange Sweet Oil (Citrus sinensis) - is a bright uplifting oil and is useful to add to any blend when you want a fresh, happy note! Excellent in a diffuser to brighten the room and to disinfect. Noted as an antidepressant.
  • Neroli Oil (Citrus aurantium var. Amara) - is used in blends for people who need strong emotional support. The gentle floral, citrus aroma can be very soothing and calming to the nervous system, especially when used in really small amounts and blended with other calming oils. Neroli relaxes the nerves and calms and soothes the heart.
  • Cardamom Oil (Ellettaria cardamomum) - is a wonderful oil for aiding mental concentration (cephalic). Cardamom has a warm, sweet, spicy aroma and is refreshing and invigorating
  • Patchouli Oil (Pogostemon cablin) - helps reduce stress and anxiety and can help to prevent and alleviate depression.

Other notable blogs on "Joy in January":

References: Jones, Elizabeth Anne. Awaken to Healing Fragrance, North Atlantic Books, USA, 2010 Battaglia S. The Complete Guide to Aromatherapy. 2nd edition, The International Centre of Holistic Aromatherapy, Australia, 2003 Mojay G. Aromatherapy for Healing the Spirit, Henry Holt and Company Inc., England, 1996

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