Mental Health: A Holistic Perspective

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This is the official Evolve Senior Solutions, LLC blog by Danielle Harris.

This blog post was inspired by some recent encounters, American Holistic Nurses Association (AHNA) Beginnings December 2016 | Volume 36 Number 6, and Discover the Anxiety-Busting Power of Aromatherapy by Gina Rafkind, CPC, Reflexologist, Aromatherapy Consultant.

Mental health overall is something we ignore. I am not sure if it is because we are not aware of the impact and importance mental health has on/in our lives and on our health, but it is something I want to discuss and I am pretty passionate about. Recently, many famous people have began to speak out about mental health and even began to start up organizations to help with awareness.

Many people are living with mental health conditions. I believe that like diabetes, high blood pressure, and asthma we as nurses should educate patients on how to manage mental health conditions.


Please note, a person’s overall mental health is a product of many factors, such as:

Brain functioning and chemicals
Hormones
Nutrition
Immune system function
Epigenetics
Physical condition
Environment
Upbringing (nurture)
Spirituality
Social and emotional intelligence
Interpersonal relationships
Intrapersonal relationship with self and self-awareness
Personality
History of past traumas
Subconscious programming
Social determinants

Unfortunately, mental health services are under-funded and unsupported. This brings up the importance of voting, but that's a entirely different topic.

Many patients living with mental health conditions are shunned, made fun of, ignored, laughed at, and stereotyped by society. Even in some recent events some people have been killed while in a mental health crisis. Those things in itself says we need more education on mental health conditions. Mental health conditions are not understood by many, and in many cases, not understood or nurtured by our caring profession. Mental health nursing, in my opinion, is the responsibility of all nurses. However, fortunately we have nurses who specialize in this area as well.


As a holistic nurse, I consider mental health when I am helping patients heal, as healing is interconnected, via mind, body, and spirit. How can we work to heal someone when we don’t consider their mental health? We cannot. So, in essence this article is about mental health and opening up the conversation for mental health and its ability to be managed with traditional and complementary interventions, such as aromatherapy. 

General safety information: Always inform your health care professionals involved in your care about complementary interventions you are using. Do not take any essential oils internally (in your mouth). Do not apply undiluted essential oils, absolutes, CO2s or other concentrated essences onto the skin. Do not apply citrus oils to skin, even undiluted, and expose self to the sun. If you are pregnant, epileptic, have liver damage, have cancer, or have any other medical problem, use oils only under the proper guidance of a qualified aromatherapist. Use extreme caution when using oils with children and seniors. Also review: https://naha.org/explore-aromatherapy/safety/general-safety-guidelines 

I have used essential oils for years. I recently decided to embark on furthering my education into the world of aromatherapy, which is the use of essential oils for physical, psychological and spiritual well-being.

I am now a Certified Clinical Aromatherapist and I will work to incorporate essential oils into my practice as a RN and Aging Life Care Professional (www.evolveseniorsolutionsllc.com).

For this blog post, I would like to focus on anxiety. I am aware there are many mental health conditions, but my recent encounter and readings have inspired me to focus on anxiety, there will be more in the future 😊

During times of change, anxiety levels rise. Aromatherapy is a wonderful healing tool to help relieve anxiety. How do I know? Because I have experienced the benefits in my own journey with anxiety. My mother has experienced the benefits in her journey with anxiety and depression.

Many may not know about anxiety, there are different types, so for some helpful resources, please read, in order to educate yourself and help others or even yourself: https://www.mayoclinic.org/diseases-conditions/anxiety/symptoms-causes/syc-20350961 | https://www.nimh.nih.gov/health/topics/anxiety-conditions/index.shtml 

Anxiety is caused by many different issues. It manifests in many different forms, as well. But usually the catalyst for anxiety is some form of stress.


Let us discuss the oils! 😊 

Below are some of my favorite essential oils to provide some relief:

Ylang Ylang has a sweet, exotic, floral and a little spicy scent; it can be an aphrodisiac. It is calming to the nervous system and can bring harmony to the mind. It has been known to help restlessness and agitation. 

Geranium has a rose-floral, herbaceous scent; it helps keep you centered and at ease, this is one of my favorite oils to use to help with menstrual issues.

Roman Chamomile has sweet and slightly fruity scent; it helps with relieving stress of any kind, including anxiety. It also is known to help with chronic tension. I generally prefer to use this oil at night for bedtime self-care. 

Lavender has a sweet, dry, and herbaceous-floral; this is my ultimate favorite oil. Lavender is known as the Swiss army knife of essential oils because it is useful for so many things. It helps with almost any imbalance.

There are several ways to use oils, inhalation via inhalers and diffuser or topical via lotion or body way. Application of oils is a detailed topic and would require it's own blog post 😇

There are other essential oils that help with anxiety such as Bergamot (Citrus aurantium bergamia), Melissa (Melissa officinalis), Rose (Rosa damascena), Cedarwood (Cedrus atlantica), Vetiver (Vetiveria zizanoides) and Patchouli (Pogostemon cablin), Mandarin (Citrus reticulata), and Sandalwood (Santalum spicatum)

As you can see, Aromatherapy is a powerful ally for achieving peace of mind, whether used by itself or in conjunction with other forms of treatment. I'll never forget the first time I smelled Lavender and how it calmed me down. It was the start of a holistic aromatherapy healing journey for me, and I still use Aromatherapy on a daily basis to help keep me present, balanced and anxiety free.

Please visit my website to review services offered. 

If you are in need of immediate help: please visit: https://www.nami.org/find-support/nami-helpline 


Thank you for reading!

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