It’s widely acknowledged that good gut health, proper digestion and treatment of related issues, are considered to be more critical to our overall health than once thought.
Often anxiety causes or exacerbates indigestion, acid reflux and flatulence. Stress has also been linked to irritable bowel syndrome and, in extreme cases, stomach ulcers. These health problems, if not treated, can cause other issues, including headache and insomnia.
Health practitioners will prescribe drugs to alleviate the problem, but what people do not realise is that essential oils used correctly can naturally treat the issues and replace the need for traditional medicine.
Essential oil treatment is non-invasive and topical; meaning the application is administered via massage and through your sense of smell. Vapourising and diffusing are a popular choice.
Here are five ways essential oils can help digestion.
1 – Choose the appropriate essential oil for the problem.
- Orange oil is perfect for the treatment of indigestion and relieves an upset stomach.
- Clary sage oil works well to combat flatulence and menstrual cramps.
- Peppermint oil is fantastic in the treatment of cramps and diarrhoea.
- Rosemary also used to aid digestion when diluted and rubbed into the stomach and surrounding areas.
- Eucalyptus oil can ease the symptoms of cystitis when used in the bath or on a compress; though while cystitis is not a digestive problem, often these issues are interlinked.
Once you have chosen the right essential oil or combination of oils, you can help relieve your symptoms by massaging the affected area but first consider how you will administer the treatment.
2 – Use a carrier oil which suits your essential oil
The best carrier oils are made from plants. Carrier oils are essential and are used to dilute essential oils. The reason is that essential oils are potent and may cause irritation when applied directly to your skin.
When deciding which carrier oil to use consider the following points
- The smell – choose an oil with little or no scent; it’s the essential oil we want to smell.
- When possible, buy only therapeutic-grade carrier oils, preferable cold-pressed and 100% pure.
- Choose a moisturising oil, sweet almond oil if your skin is dry; and an emollient oil like apricot kernel oil if your skin is itchy or flaky.
- Do not use butter, petroleum jelly or mineral oil like baby oil, as these are not suitable carriers and will irritate your skin.
3 – Adopt a circular massage technique
Now you’re all set up with your essential oils diluted in your carrier oil and ready to massage your digestion back to health.
A circular technique is widely believed to be the most effective treatment for digestive complaints. Using gentle motion take the following steps.
- Using your right hand make wide and slow clockwise circles across your stomach for the count of five.
- Continue to make broad, slow clockwise circles, but this time extend the motion to the side of your body for another count of five.
- Lay both hands flat on your abdomen, apply pressure and slide them slowly like windscreen wipers to the centre of your stomach out to the sides and back. Do this five times.
- Carry out the same procedure again with your left hand.
- Repeat the process until you feel some relief – remember to re-apply the massage oil.
You may find you need the toilet after this exercise and this is a good sign the massage is working.
4 – Use essential oils in a warm bath
If you suffer from constipation, one of the ways to treat this problem is to have a warm bath, and this technique is used in hospitals and care homes.
Having a warm bath with the addition of essential oils is a great way to treat a collective of digestive problems, all in one go. The essential oils vaporise in the warm water and inhaling them will help to relax you and aid recovery.
A light localised massage in the bath will help your digestion and is widely recommended for period pain and cramps.
5 – Relaxation is key
The stresses and strains of modern life mean often there isn’t enough time for relaxation. It’s useful to consider the entire body when treating digestive problems.
Holistically view your health, treat the whole person. Just as a warm bath helps you to relax, relaxation helps treatments like inhaling lavender oil to help you sleep or using an essential oil on your pulse points to help you focus on the positive.
It’s not widely known, but Ylang-ylang is also a fantastic oil, sweet-smelling and considered to be a powerful antidepressant; it’s also a mild aphrodisiac, possibly a welcome side effect.
With more and more information available on the importance of gut health in overall health add the use of essential oils to your natural remedy repertoire.