Anxiety is one of the most common stress-related conditions encountered today, and is characterized by symptoms such as high blood-pressure, insomnia, palpitations or irritability. If the state of anxiety is allowed to persist over a prolonged period, it can lead to secondary, more serious complaints such as stomach ulcers or heart failure.

The value of lavender oil in helping to counter the effects of anxiety within a clinical context has been confirmed by several scientists including Dr Valnet and Professor Rovesti.2 The effects of lavender on brainwave patterns has also been researched in recent years. In Japan, Dr Sugano has shown that the scent of lavender increases both alpha brainwave activity (associated with a relaxed mental state) and cerebral blood circulation, while Prof. Torii of Tokyo University includes lavender among those oils having a sedative effect on the central nervous system, based on EEG material.3 As a result, lavender is being used increasingly in hospital wards today as a massage oil or airborne fragrance to help dispel anxiety, calm the mind and increase general feelings of well-being.

Add 8-10 drops to a warm evening bath to relieve insomnia, restlessness, anxiety, nervous tension or an overactive mind.

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Receiving a regular professional massage using a blend of suitable oils can dramatically reduce anxiety levels. For self-treatment blend 2-3 drops of lavender with 1 tsp sweet almond oil and massage into the hands and the soles of the feet.

For a 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. Other essential oils of benefit include bergamot, neroli, ylang ylang and rose.

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