What are the adrenal glands?
The adrenal glands are two triangular shaped glands that sit above the kidneys in the lower back region of the body. These glands are made up of two parts the outer adrenal cortex and the inner adrenal medulla. The adrenal cortex is vital because it produces the hormones cortisol (which helps metabolic regulation and stress response) and the second is aldorsterone (which aids in blood pressure control). These hormones are vital to living. The adrenal medulla produces non-essential hormones called adrenaline. We can live without adrenaline but it does help us react to stress.
Maintaining optimum health relies on the balance of hormone levels secreted by the adrenals. Normally cortisol is released in the morning and declines throughout the day. When the cycle of hormone secretion is disrupted a number of factors contribute to symptoms of adrenal fatigue which can lead to serious immune deficiencies and ill-health. There are many symptoms associated with adrenal fatigue, however stress is usually the place that these symptoms grow from. Stress causes cortisol and adrenaline levels to be high. The cortisol balance that aids in metabolic function is thrown off and keeps the person in a constant state of alertness. The result is interrupted sleep cycles. Blood sugar levels are thrown off causing the body to wake up and crave food at odd hours. People find it difficult to get up in the morning even after long periods of rest. They suffer from a "foggy" feeling. As this cycle continues people become less able to handle any kind of stress. They have no energy or high levels of energy in the evening. They can't get up in the mornings and become increasingly reliant on stimulants such as coffee or soda. Other symptoms include weight gain, low sex drive, joint pain, respiratory problems, poor circulation, dry skin, dizziness, and weakened immune system. Cortisol has an anti-inflammatory effect that helps the immune system fight pathogens in the body. Too much of this anti-inflammatory effect will inhibit the immune system and shut it down for the time that the body is undergoing this state of imbalance. The body is then at higher risk and vulnerable to more sickness.
How can aromatherapy help with stress and the adrenal glands?
Aromatherapy works to promote healing of the mind, body, spirit, and earth. Choosing a specific oil for alleviating stress which can lead to adrenal fatigue also means taking the time to heal or shift out of a current state of being. Here are some methods on how to use aromatherapy for optimal health.
Mornings- Drink a large glass of water followed by a few drops of essential oil in a carrier oil (ie. jojoba, almond, coconut oil) or unscented lotion and rub on the adrenals.
- Essential oil steam-boil of a pot of water, remove from heat and place on a safe surface that you can comfortably sit, add 2 drops essential oils, put a towel over your head and the pot creating a steam canopy, inhale the vapors gently making sure the water is the not too hot, allow for at least 10 minutes of quiet and relaxation.
Foot soak- place your feet in a warm bath of essential oils 1-4 drops and a cup of epsom salt soak for 30 minutes.
No time for a bath rub the bottoms of the feet and hand with 1-2 drops of essential oils in carrier oil or unscented lotion and press on reflexology points for the adrenals.
- On the go- put a few drops of essential oils on a handkerchief or cotton ball and smell throughout the day.
- Create an affirmation for stress and/or adrenal support, say the affirmation while smelling the essential oil or blend. Use it with all of the above methods. Here is one specifically for the adrenals by Louise Hay I love & approve of myself. It is safe for me to care for myself.
- The chakra or energy center of the body associated with the adrenals is the sacral chakra and governs emotion, pleasure, intimacy and connection. It allows for letting go, change, and transformation. The challenge is societal conditioning where showing ones feelings are not valued and frowned upon. To be in balance is to be passionate, creative, love-yourself, and stay-connected. Anoint the sacral chakra with essential oils or specific blend and meditate on this area. Visualize the color of orange, the aromas, and that area of your body in perfect health.
Rose Geranium (Pelargonium graveolens) Organic compounds: (a-pinene, myrcene, limonene, menthone, linalool, geranyl acetate, citronellol, geraniol and geranyl butyrate) that stimulate the adrenal cortex, promote a balancing effect on the nervous system, aid depression and relieve anxiety.
Bergamot (Citrus bergamia) Organic compounds: (alpha pinene, alpha bergaptene, alpha terpineol, limonene, linalool, linalyl acetate, nerol, neryl acetate, beta bisabolene, geraniol, geraniol acetate and myrcene) a beautiful oil for uplifting sadness, eating disorders, urinary tract and skin ailments.
Neroli (Citrus aurantium var. amara) organic compounds (a-pinene, camphene, b-pinene, a-terpinene, nerol, neryl acetate, farnesol, geraniol, linalool, nerolidol, linalyl acetate, methyl anthranilate and indole) for treating insomnia, nervous conditions, anxiety, calms the heart, rejuvenating and regenerative on the skin. Helps the digestive system, acts a sedative and a tonic to the body/mind.
Lavender (Lavandula angustifolia) Organic compounds (a-pinene, limonene, 1,8-cineole, cis-ocimene, trans-ocimene, 3-octanone, camphor, linalool, linalyl acetate, caryophyllene, terpinen-4-ol and lavendulyl acetate) relieves headaches, nervousness, exhaustion, panic attacks, and insomnia. Lavender helps digestion, respiratory, skin conditions, inflammatory conditions, the immune system because of its antiseptic, analgesic, anti-convulsant, anti-depressant, anti-rheumatic, anti-spasmodic, anti-inflammatory, antiviral, and bactericide properties.
Frankincense (Boswellia carteri) Organic compounds (a-pinene, actanol, linalool, octyl acetate, bornyl acetate, incensole and incensyl acetate) for letting go of negative thought pattterns, helps rejuvenate the skin, soothes the respiratory and urinary tract. Pain relieving properties for inflammatory conditions.
Rose (Rosa damascena) organic compounds (citronellol, phenyl ethanol, geraniol, nerol, farnesol and stearpoten with traces of nonanol, linalool, nonanal, phenyl acetaldehyde, citral, carvone, citronellyl acetate, 2-phenylmenthyl acetate, methyl eugenol, eugenol and rose oxide) for the heart and emotionally related conditions of fear, self-love, self-esteem, grief, and sexuality. Wonderfully supportive to the female reproductive system. A tonic to the heart, liver, stomach, and uterus. The skin loves rose oil.
Plants act as an access system to our deeply intuitive nature. This innate wisdom knows how to heal, but often needs guidance on where to start. When I work with plant medicine, I quiet myself and honor the system that is being offered through the earth and spirit. l listen and wait for the higher truths to emerge. In my own experience that is when the healing happens.
*Note: This is not a cure, a diagnostic, or a substitute for serious medical attention. Aromatherapy, herbs, flower essences and hydrosols are an alternative modality to many forms of healing. Improper dosages, prolonged usage and not adhering to proper safety data can lead to harmful effects when using essential oils, essential oil blends or herbal remedies. Check for any contraindications before using.