Essential Oils that Won’t Harm Your Thyroid
Acella Pharmaceuticals, LLC., is partnering with Heather Procknal, NBC-HWC-CHC, to bring greater awareness to the importance of thyroid care and education. This post was sponsored by Acella Pharmaceuticals and should not be construed as medical advice. Please talk to your doctor about your individual medical situation.
Life can feel like a whirlwind of events, which can be taxing on the mind and body. When you have an underactive thyroid and are stressed, you might have that “wired yet tired” feeling. It’s important to find ways to relax, unwind and alleviate the stress that builds up to prevent hypothyroid symptoms such as brain fog, irritability, restless sleep, and weight gain.
Luckily, there are many natural remedies for reducing stress and promoting relaxation. Aromatherapy and essential oils are among the most popular because they're versatile and easy to use. Today I'd like to share how essential oils may help reduce stress and improve the hypothyroid symptoms that come with it.
What is aromatherapy?
Aromatherapy is a holistic modality using various natural plant extracts to support health and well-being. Essential oils are highly volatile, meaning when you inhale the tiny molecules, they quickly travel to the region of the brain that controls your emotional and mental state. The volatility of the oil is what makes essential oil therapy so fast acting!
How to Use Essential Oils for Stress Relief
You can simply open a bottle of oil and inhale through your nose for a few full breath cycles. It helps if you can sit in a quiet place and allow your body to settle into a comfortable position while you mindfully and slowly breathe in the scent of the oil. If you can’t move to a calm, quiet place while you do this, try closing your eyes for a few minutes as you take deep breaths.
Essential oil diffusers are a great way to reap the benefits of oils while also freshening the smell in your home. Just add a few drops of essential oil to filtered water in your diffuser and allow the fine mist to carry the therapeutic smell to your nose.
In addition to inhaling essential oils, you can benefit from using them topically. Because they are fat-soluble and the molecule is so small, they are able to cross the blood-brain barrier where they can support emotional well-being and influence other fat-soluble hormones, such as thyroid hormones.
Pure essential oils are highly concentrated, so it’s recommended to dilute them with a carrier oil when applying them directly to your skin. A safe dilution for use on the body is between 1% and 3%.
• Dilution for a 1% ratio is about six drops of essential oil to 1 ounce of carrier oil
• Dilution for a 2% ratio is about 12 drops of essential oil to 1 ounce of carrier oil
• Dilution for a 3% ratio is about 18 drops of essential oil to 1 ounce of carrier oil
The most common carrier oil is fractionated coconut oil, but you can also use other oils such as:
• Jojoba oil
• Grape seed oil
• Olive oil
• Sweet almond oil
• Argan oil
Once you’ve diluted your essential oil with a carrier oil, you can safely massage a small amount on your body and enjoy the benefits!
Which oils are best for calming the mind and body?
If you’re new to aromatherapy, you might feel overwhelmed with trying to navigate which oils to use and how to use them appropriately and safely. And rightly so, because there are hundreds of different types of essential oils, all with various applications and uses.
Certain essential oils can help shift your brain out of a stress response so that your body can relax and heal. This, in turn, can boost your mood and energy levels.
Four Thyroid-Supportive Essential Oils to Help Ease Stress and Calm the Mind
Frankincense Essential Oil
Frankincense has been touted as the “king of oils” for its wide range of uses and applications. Used in aromatherapy, frankincense is a powerful expectorant that can help clear the sinuses and reduce congestion, which helps make breathing easier if you have a cold or a chest infection. At the same time, its sedative qualities may help you sleep and reduce stress levels. Studies have shown that frankincense has pain-relieving, relaxing, and anti-bacterial effects.1
Physical stress in your body can accompany mental stress, so this oil is a two-for-one in that it may help relieve pain and relax the mind. You can massage it over tight areas and muscles or calmly inhale the diffused oil to relax your mind and body.
Rose Essential Oil
Not only are roses beautiful flowers associated with love and friendship, but the essential oil also extracted from the flower has been used to promote calmness and tranquility.
A 2009 study found a “relaxing effect of rose oil on humans after transdermal absorption.” The report went on to state that "subjects in the rose oil group rated themselves as calmer, more relaxed and less alert than subjects in the control group."2
Another promising study shows that inhaling rose essential oil may help calm the excitatory neurotransmitter adrenaline, thus lowering the stress hormone cortisol.3 This supports claims that inhaling pure essential rose oil or applying it to your skin are simple ways to help relax and calm your mind in times of high stress.
Lavender Essential Oil
Lavender essential oil is a popular scent that can be described as smelling herbaceous, floral, fresh, and clean. Lavender is also well-known for its sedative and stress-relieving properties. This essential oil appears in many bath preparations, pillow mists, and commercial products aimed at people who have insomnia. Scientists have studied its relaxing effects for many years and have found that because it is generally safe to use, it can be found in some bedtime baby products as well. Maybe the key to “sleeping like a baby” really is lavender oil?
Ylang Ylang Essential Oil
According to some aromatherapy practitioners, the aroma of ylang ylang lifts the spirit and promotes feelings of serenity and romance. It can be described as subtly sweet and richly floral, which might explain why it's used in many perfumes and body oils. But beyond its heady aroma, ylang ylang has some powerful therapeutic benefits as well!
In 2006, subjects in a small study rated themselves calmer and more relaxed than subjects in the control group after the transdermal absorption of ylang ylang essential oil. “These findings are likely to represent a relaxing effect of the ylang ylang oil and provide some evidence for the usage of the ylang ylang oil in aromatherapy such as causing a relief of depression and stress in humans.”4
The Power of Essential Oils for Stress Relief
Hopefully, you now feel confident about incorporating aromatherapy into your routine. So treat yourself to an essential oil diffuser or mix your oils with a carrier oil for a relaxing self-massage so you can relax and recharge. Aromatherapy is a form of self-care that you won't regret! You can read more about creating a self-care ritual here: https://npthyroid.com/tipsresource/self-care-support-healthy-thyroid-function/
REFERENCES: 1. Al-Yasiry, A. R., & Kiczorowska, B. (2016). Frankincense--therapeutic properties. (Online), 70, 380–391. https://doi.org/10.5604/17322693.1200553. 2. Hongratanaworakit T. (2009). Relaxing effect of rose oil on humans. Natural product communications, 4(2), 291–296. 3. Mika Fukada, Eri Kano, Michio Miyoshi, Ryoichi Komaki, Tatsuo Watanabe, Effect of “Rose Essential Oil” Inhalation on Stress-Induced Skin-Barrier Disruption in Rats and Humans, Chemical Senses, Volume 37, Issue 4, May 2012, Pages 347–356, https://doi.org/10.1093/chemse/bjr108. 4. Hongratanaworakit, T., & Buchbauer, G. (2006). Relaxing effect of ylang ylang oil on humans after transdermal absorption. Phytotherapy research : PTR, 20(9), 758–763. https://doi.org/10.1002/ptr.1950.