No matter how different we are and how different we might feel it, grief is extreme. It is painful and very damaging to your body and overall health. One good natural alternative to help you cope with the pain and sadness is Aromatherapy. The use of some of the best essential oils for grief could be the anchor and support you need.
In this article, you’ll read about:
- The way essential oils work on your body and mind.
- How to use them for the best and fastest results.
- 3 of the best oils for grief to use as natural remedies, with pros and cons.
- The 5 stages of grief and a therapeutic blend for each.
- More facts about the process of grieving and how it can physically affect you.
Why and How to Use Aromatherapy Oils, plus the Best 3 Essential Oils for Grief
Aromatherapy is a scent-based therapy. The plant essences we call essential oils evaporate and emit certain fragrances. Humans love beautiful scents, that’s a given.
Science has also proven the fact that scents have a psychological impact on people. This impact may be positive or negative. It depends on the person’s experiences related to that scent.
Aromatherapy can be an alternative and/or a complementary type of therapy. This means it is not meant to replace medical treatment, but to accompany it. In various cases, aromatherapy can enhance the effects of your medicines.
Alone, essential oils for grief can induce the proper state of mind needed to focus and to take a better care of yourself. Grief is a complicated and very long process of dealing with the death of someone dear or a fatal disease.
Grief may also be experienced when losing a job or moving from a town. Being in so much pain and suffering can lead to many health problems.
Your emotions follow your thoughts and influence your well-being and health. Extreme stress and sadness can make you sick. It is only natural to seek some kind of support and relief in natural remedies.
What Exactly Do Essential Oils Do? Their Working Mechanism
These plant essences are very concentrated in active molecules. They are known to lessen the effects of sadness, sorrow, pain and depression. Medically speaking, these oils are also referred to as psychotherapeutic agents.
Aromatic essences act on the brain’s limbic system, which is the emotional center. The active molecules of essential oils are very tiny. They bind to the receptors inside the nasal cavity.
These receptors then send different signals out to the olfactory bulb. This one is located in the forebrain, somewhere above the left eye.
It is thought that, by using essential oils for grief, one can balance the autonomic nervous activity of the body and the limbic center. That includes the state of mind, the heart rate and the blood pressure.
It also includes the working process of gland and intestinal activities. In other words, essential oil scents can influence and improve your mood and health.
Among many other benefits, aromatic oils can:
- Soothe fears, nervousness and anxiety.
- Calm down the anger and dark thoughts.
- Give you a boost of confidence in yourself and your strengths.
- Help you find the balance and the peace you need to live in the present.
- Help you focus on your tasks better.
- Uplift your mood and help you relax.
- Prevent further health complications due to extreme stress and sadness.
How to Use and Enjoy the Beneficial Effects of Aromatherapy for Grief
There are many ways in which you can use essential oils to get the relief you’re looking for. There is one rule though! You must always pick the oils you like best. The best ones are those that don’t evoke any bad memories when you inhale them.
Even though some oils are more appropriate for certain situations, you should always go with the ones you like. That being said, you can choose between the following methods:
These can be electrical or candle-based (oil burners). You should add 5 – 10 drops in the water recipient and keep the diffuser on for 20 – 30 minutes only. You can repeat every 2 hours or more. Make sure the room is well-ventilated whenever you diffuse essential oils. That is necessary to avoid headaches or nausea.
Inhalers can easily be made at home. You need to buy a special inhaler recipient. Then dip its inside fabric in your favorite essential oils blend for grief. You can keep it with you and inhale from it anytime you feel the need.
This method is a very pleasant way of enjoying the benefits of so many wonderful resins. Myrrh, benzoin, frankincense, etc., they can all be burned for half an hour, 2 or 3 times a day. You can also imbue your firewood with drops of essential oils for the same effect.
d) Room sprays
Simply add water in a spray bottle and a mix of essential oils in it to create lovely scented mists. Spray on the linens if you wish, or spray it in the air and then inhale deeply. You can also use half water and half pure alcohol if you have any available. The alcohol helps disperse the oils better.
e) Bath salts
Warm baths are known to soothe the body and the mind. Adding some Himalayan or Epsom salt mixed with essential oils, will stimulate your mind and change your mood. Use a cup of salt mixed with 10 drops of essential oils per bath.
f) Scented candles
Aromatherapy candles are a true delight! Their flame and scent may bring a peaceful state of mind and create a warm and cozy environment to help you relax. You can make your own, it’s very simple! Or you can buy good quality scented candles, with pure essential oils.
Finally, one of the most enjoyable ways of using essential oils for grief is through massage. Prepare a lotion with an odorless carrier oil (Sweet Almond, Grapefruit, Macadamia, etc.) and essential oils of your choice.
3 of the Best Proven Essential Oils for Grief
The following 3 essential oils have all been tested. Their results are published in the US National Library of Medicine.
1) Bergamot Essential Oil
One clinical review showed that most people who inhaled Bergamot oil responded positively. In total, there were 10 studies and only two registered less impressive results.
The others showed clear proof that Bergamot can be used against extreme stress and hyperventilation. They got proof it also works against depression and anxiety.
- Bergamot is one of the best essential oils for grief because it has the same effects as diazepam. A concentration of 2, 5% means 15 drops per Oz carrier oil. This concentration was found useful in the study I was just referring to.
- The oil can protect the cells of the brain and the heart. It was shown that Bergamot essential oil decreased the heart rate in guinea pigs. It has a great potential in becoming a vasodilator agent in cardiovascular problems.
- Bergamot also has analgesic effects.
- Unless it’s bergapten-free, Bergamot essential oil is phototoxic. That means it can cause serious skin reactions after sun or other UV rays exposure.
- It is possible to cause skin allergies because of its chemical composition. Thus, you must always test it on a small part of your skin.
Why I like it:
I absolutely love the scent of Bergamot oil because it’s very fresh and uplifting. No matter the state I’m in, it can help me become more alert and focused. It is ideal for morning blends and in any other moment of the day, for that matter.
2) Jasmine Absolute
Jasmine is a delicate flower. Too delicate for steam distillation, which means you will rarely find a pure Jasmine essential oil, if never at all. Instead, even though the absolute is solvent extracted, the EU recognizes good quality if they contain 10 parts/million residues in the finished product. It is also a lot more concentrated and expensive.
Another study aimed at investigating the effects of the oil’s scents on people. The oil of Jasmine was found to have positive effects on both the body and the emotions of the volunteers.
There were 40 people involved in this study. They used topical applications on the abdomen area. As a consequence, the group that used Jasmine oil had very positive results, unlike the placebo group.
- Jasmine oil can help you breathe better, clearing the nasal passages.
- It can also increase the oxygen to your blood. That improves all the other vital processes, including brain activity.
- The oil can also improve the blood pressure, helping you think clearer and stay focused.
- It is a very stimulating and uplifting essence. It is a great natural remedy against depression.
- Jasmine is a good essential oil for grief, but bear in mind that it does not really relax! It should be used only for alertness, more vigor and energy.
- Jasmine can cause contractions, therefore it is not recommended to pregnant women.
Why I like it:
It’s a floral essence, and I love floral oils. I use it mostly in homemade perfumes, especially because it’s very uplifting. It is also a very nice beauty ingredient, perfect for problematic skin.
3) Lavender Essential Oil
Lavender is another oil that deserves its place among the best essential oils for grief. It is overly popular these days, but it is so for a reason. It has incredible skin benefits and impressive effects on the brain.
Because of that, Lavender is often analyzed. For instance, 20 volunteers massaged their skin with a blend of Lavender and sweet Almond oil. Their results were all positive, of course.
- Physically, Lavender oil can decrease the blood pressure and the heart rate. It can also lower the skin temperature that usually rises when under stress.
- Emotionally, the oil can stimulate the brain into being more alert and active.
- Lavender can also induce a comfortable, fresh state of mind.
- This oil can relax the body and balance its processes. All that while maintaining your brain alert and capable of resolving problems.
- There are very few possible side effects for this aromatic essence. It could cause allergic reactions, so a small patch test in advance is recommended.
- Applied pure, for a long period of time, it can sensitize the skin. he solution is to alternate between blends.
Why I like it:
I like Lavender essential oil because it is a good-for-all natural remedy. I use it for skin care, insect bites, hair care and for relaxation purposes. Whenever PMS hits, lavender has proven to be useful in reducing nervousness, agitation and depression.
Other great essential oils to use for grief:
- Ylang Ylang
- Palo Santo
- Clary Sage
The 5 Stages of Grief and an Essential Oil Blend for Each
Grieving is a 5-stage complex process. This process however, is felt differently by each person. These stages don’t have to be in order; some may never even take place because a person may remain stuck in a previous one.
No matter what your response to grief may be, just know you can use Aromatherapy oils to help you feel better.
1) The first stage is denial and isolation from the rest of the world. You’re in shock, so it’s a normal reaction that your brain uses to process all the implications of the new situation.
Denial and Isolation Grief Blend
- Bergamot essential oil: 3 drops
- Chamomile essential oil: 3 drops
Add these oils into your diffuser’s water recipient or candle oil burner. Keep diffusing for 20 – 30 minutes, 3 or 4 times a day in a well-ventilated room.
2) The second stage is anger. Why did it happen? Why do you have to go through this? What you did wrong, and so on. All these reflect the anger when reality starts to show its ugly face. This is the stage when you look for faults.
Blend for the Management of Anger Caused by Grief
- Lavender essential oil: 8 drops
- Rose essential oil: 7 drops
- Sweet Almond oil: 1 Oz (30ml)
Mix these oils well and shake every time before use. Apply a moderate quantity on the pulse points and massage the lotion in. Relax for a few minutes while the oils get to the brain and help you relax.
3) The third stage of grief is the bargaining phase. This may well include secret deals with God or looking for other solutions that could have prevented the situation. And all to postpone accepting the inevitable.
Essential Oils for Grief Blend
- Jasmine essential oil: 4 drops
- Lavender essential oil: 4 drops
- Rose essential oil: 6 drops
Mix all these oils together and keep them stored in a glass bottle. Essential oils will eat at plastic if they’re not mixed with a carrier oil first. Pour 5 – 8 drops in your diffuser whenever necessary.
4) The fourth stage of grief is depression. Deep sadness, regret and worries. They all haunt this stage that’s usually a preparation for mourning.
Although there is nothing on this planet that could make you feel better, you should still try inhaling some beneficial oils. That is to at least give you the power to face the day(s) ahead.
Essential Oils Recipe for Depression Caused by Grief
- Jasmine essential oil: 8 drops
- Lavender essential oil: 4 drops
- Cypress essential oil: 5 drops
- Carrier oil: 1 Oz (30ml)
- Roll on bottle
Keep this blend close by and use it as often as you can. Inhale deeply while taking a few moments, and focus only on your breathing.
5) The last stage of grief is acceptance. This stage may never be reached though, and if it is, things are already in a much better condition. You’ve made peace with reality and that is a sign of strength.
Coping with Grief Essential Oils Blend
- Bergamot essential oil: 6 drops
- Grapefruit essential oil: 6 drops
- Sandalwood essential oil: 8 drops
Use 5 – 10 drops of this blend in your diffuser. Or mix the essential oils with a carrier oil to use it as a massage lotion.
Facts about Grief and Its Effects on Your Body and Health
Pain and suffering may affect both the body and the mind. They’re both felt differently, but the general idea is that grief can actually make you feel sick.
Under extreme stress, pressure and pain, the body starts to react physically.
- Your muscles will tension and contract and release acidic toxins.
- Most of these toxins will be eliminated, but some of them can locate in various areas like the joints, for instance.
Usually, mourning people have a lower function and productivity of white blood cells. They’re responsible for fighting off infections. That’s how the body’s immune system becomes weak and allows for infections to take place. You can get sick more easily.
Cortisol, the stress hormone is another factor that weakens the immune system. After the age of 30, the hormone that balances the effects of the cortisol, the DHEA starts to drop. In time, it will be harder for your body to face stressful situations.
Elderly are the most vulnerable while grieving. Nonetheless, researchers say this could be managed and controlled with hormonal supplements.
Grief can cause significant changes in the body. It can:
- Worsen the overall health.
- Aggravate whatever physical pain is present in the body.
- Raise the heart rhythm and blood pressure.
- Contribute to the formation of clots.
- Cause the loss of appetite.
- Cause vaccines like the one for flu to be less effective.
- Increase the risk of heart attack and maintain it elevated for about a month after the loss.
Luckily, using essential oils for grief can help with most of these problems. It is very important to take care of yourself while grieving. If you can’t do it alone, let someone else help you.
Aromatherapy may prove a very good alternative therapy. If you’re on medication, do not give it up because the oils are not as concentrated.
They are somewhere between drugs and herbal teas. They’re pretty powerful on their own too, but with fewer side effects than drugs. That’s why they make such a great and pleasant alternative therapy.
Grief is part of who we are as humans. We cannot escape it, and at some point, each of us will go through it. It is a hard, cold fact, but it is as it is, and cannot be ignored. All we can do is find relief and soothe the pain and sad feelings with what nature gave us.
Using essential oils for grief may help you cope with the situation better. They can also help prevent your body from getting sick and infected.