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Dr Russ Blog - The smell of lavender helps your head and your heart.
The smell of lavender helps your head and your heart.
Created on 11/4/2008

D sent in a question about stress: "It seems everywhere I turn there's another article on stress and stress management. I don't have time to take yoga, exercise every day and meet with a counselor. I'm sure all that would help, but what can I do to manage stress when not having enough time is the main thing that stresses me out?"

D speaks to a reality many of us face. Everyone experiences stress, we can't avoid it, but we can manage stress with a little planning. Some of that planning has to focus on time management, because when it comes to exercise, sleep and healthy stress management we rarely have the time, but we do need to make time. A good stress management program requires a commitment to be good to ourselves, and that means creating time for ourselves.

Easier said than done, I know. So let's talk about one way to help manage your daily stress with a limited impact on time and finances - the smell of lavender.

Lavender's aroma has been shown to elevate mood, relieve anxiety and produce an enjoyable relaxed state for most people. Lavender aromatherapy even appears to have antioxidant effects, and has been studied for potential benefits in the setting of Alzheimer's disease and other brain disorders. 

One recent study examined lavender aromatherapy's effect on heart health, and the findings are good news. Healthy young men who were exposed to lavender aromatherapy had lower levels of the stress hormone cortisol and had improvements on an index of blood flow within the heart. The conclusions of this study suggest that the smell of lavender can help reduce the negative impact of stress on our hearts.

You may not have a lot of free time or money to put towards stress management, but it is very important to develop some kind of program to help you relax, even if it starts with simply having flowering lavender or an aromatherapy diffuser with lavender nearby so you can smell it's healing aroma. 

These are stressful times, D, I understand. With so much of the stress coming from things we have no control over, it's all the more important to manage the things we do have some control over. Get at least 7 hours of sleep every night, eat an anti-inflammatory diet, exercise regularly, and commit to a healthy stress management plan, one that might even include the relaxing scent of lavender.

Thanks for your question, D. Be well.
Dr. Russ 

** Information on this web site is provided for informational purposes only and is not intended as a substitute for the advice provided by your physician or other healthcare professional. You should not use the information on this web site for diagnosing or treating a health problem or disease, or prescribing any medication or other treatment. **

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