fbpx

Essential Oils to Help with Anxiety

We are in peculiar times, indeed.

Today is the 3rd week of the community quarantine here in Manila and the world and how we do things have changed dramatically.

The past week has been tough on me. Reports about mortality and inefficiencies everywhere in the world PLUS the general atmosphere of blame and hate were just too much that I had to take down my Facebook (control what you can control, as they say) for a while –

While I do not mean to be apathetic to what is going on around us, I also had to ground myself and take care of my mental health more than ever. Stress and anxiety can affect your physical body and it is important to be mindful of the things we consume and how it affects us so that we know how we can address them and make it better, somehow.

What resonated with me the most are posts from people who are trying to help in little ways as they can in their field of expertise. Homeschooling communities sharing to (now) work-at-home parents how to maximise their time and make this quarantine season work for the school kids who are now stuck at home; freelancers offering support on how to digitise businesses, free masterclasses and learning sessions on how you can make use of this time to be productive – there’s just wonderful help going around.

Thus, the inspiration for this post.

I would like to help, in the way that I can, as an aromatherapist and share with you today some essential oils that can help you manage your anxiety because it can really manifest physically.

via GIPHY

So, here is the list of some of the popular oils that are anxiolytic (something used to reduce anxiety) with some evidence-based information:

  • Sweet Orange (Citrus sinensis) 

    • As an aroma, sweet orange is such an uplifting scent. Smelling the oil from the bottle can already give you the feeling of summer and sunshine. But there is more to the scent than what meets your nose! Sweet orange essential oil has shown great potential to address acute anxiety. See study here and here.
  • Lavender (Lavandula angustifolia)

    • Studies show that lavender essential oil has been helpful in reducing anxiety in children, on patients having bone marrow biopsy, and patients in ICU who couldn’t sleep well. It is no wonder that this essential oil is loved by so many enthusiasts (myself included). It is truly the “Swiss knife of essential oils” with its many therapeutic actions and also since lavender is probably the most researched essential oil in the market today.
  • Bergamot (Citrus bergamia)

    • I am probably one of the very few people who are not too fond of citruses such as lemon, orange and grapefruit. I think this is mainly because of the ‘energy’ of the oil. I feel like I am already too hyper to be needing its oh-so-positive vibe. Buuuut, save for this wonderful citrus – Bergamot essential oil. There is a floral aroma that balances its ‘fruitiness’ which gives the oil more depth. I find bergamot to be very calming and relaxing. While there are not much studies on this specific oil, initial randomised control trial shows that it can reduce preoperative anxiety and can be useful in reducing stress.
  • Geranium (Pelargonium x asperum)

    • Frankincense is one of my favorite essential oils, especially during my meditation practice. Many people are adamant in using their Frakincense oil because some brands are crazy expensive. Here are the most common brands I see in the market plus the ones a lot of aromatherapists use (mostly imported from the US and UK). Personally, I order my essential oils from the US because I love to support artisan brands who really love their craft in distilling their oils plus I support those who provide a GCMS report so I can see the chemical constituents per batch of oil. If you want to know how I source my oils from the US, hit me up in my Lana Lane Facebook Support Group.
    • Anyway, back to Frankincense. It is one of the essential oils outlined in this study to have helped with anxiety associated with labor. In this animal study, it stated, “Frankincense essential oil can counter the effects of stress by effectively relieving sleep debt and maintaining antioxidant capacity without increasing oxidative stress, and, therefore, may be beneficial in the management of stress.”

There is still a long way to go for aromatherapy and essential oil modalities. We have only seen a number of clinical studies that proves its efficacy but for those who have used, majority would enjoy the benefits of using essential oils, without even knowing the mechanics of its therapeutic functions.

Anyway, before I bore you with all these geekiness, here are some recipes you can enjoy. Stay safe and sane, loves!

 

Immunologic Tests for APAS and other Reproductive Immune Disorders

In 2013 when I joined Antiphospholipid Antibody Syndrome (APASFacebook support group, it had barely a thousand members. Now, we are nearing 9,000 members. It’s is a double-edged sword because the increase means more moms are being diagnosed with APAS and other reproductive-immune disorders (RIDs).

APAS is only one out of the five different RID categories based on Dr. Alan Beer’s 2009 book, Is Your Body Baby-Friendly. The latest 2019 edition does not include the categories, but immunologists maintained them due to simplicity and ease in treatment guidance.

When my doctor warned me that I could have APAS, my world turned upside down. During that time, seven years ago, there were very few references about the condition, and I was really grappling on the next action we would take.

The best way to start is to look for a doctor that specializes in treating RIDs, more so someone who has had much success in managing the condition. It is of utmost importance to find doctors who you trust and who you are comfortable with because you will be working with them for the whole duration of your pregnancies.

A woman suspected to have RID may need to be looked after by several doctors: an obstetrician-gynecologist or perinatologist, an immunologist, and in some cases, a fertility specialist and endocrinologist. (Click here to check which doctors your need in your team.)

I was more than grateful to have found my primary physicians who took care of me during my successful pregnancies with Santiago and Lucia. They are Dr. Valerie Guinto, who is a perinatologist, and Dr. Caroline Gloria, an allergist and reproductive immunologist.

Your need to take a series of immunology tests

To confirm if you indeed have a RID, your ob-gyn or immunologist would require you to undergo some immunology tests to check in which categories your case belongs.

In the past, we have seen doctors who only test for APAS or Category 2. However, based on anecdotes that we have witnessed in the Facebook group over the past few years, it is best to get tested for all categories because treatment and medical protocols vary in each one.

The following are some of the more common immunology tests required: (Note: You need to discuss these with your doctor. This list is only a reference on what you can expect if you are suspected of having RID, and it is not meant to be a substitute to your doctor’s orders.)

Category 1: Tissue Type Compatibility

Lymphocyte Antibody Test

This test measures the level of blocking antibodies in a woman’s blood. According Dr. Beer, “inadequate response for this test can signify the inability of a woman to produce blocking antibodies, which protect the fetus from rejection.”

Tissue Crossmatch

In this test, the husband’s lymphocytes are mixed with the serum of the wife. If the results come out negative, it means that the wife may not be able to produce the blocking antibodies needed to protect her pregnancy.

Category 2: Blood Clotting Defects

Dilute Russell Viper Venom Time or DRVVT, Silica Clotting Time or SCT, and Kaolin Clotting Time or KCT

These are different tests to measure blood coagulation or the presence of lupus antibodies. These tests measure the length of time it takes for the blood to clot. Problems in blood clotting can cause miscarriages, preeclampsia, preterm labor, among others.

Antiphospholipid antibody tests

These tests measure the presence of antibodies to phospholipid molecules that are critical for the implantation and growth of the embryo. When these antibodies are present, they disrupt cell function and can cause pregnancies to fail early.

Category 3: Immunity to Pregnancy and Antibodies to the DNA

Antinuclear antibody test

It’s also a blood test where the woman is checked for antinuclear antibodies. If she has positive results, she may be suffering from an immune imbalance. According to Dr. Beer, this test is often weakly positive in women experiencing infertility or recurrent pregnancy losses. The presence of these antibodies can cause inflammation in the placenta and can lead to implantation failure or pregnancy loss.

Category 4: Antibodies to sperm

Anti-sperm antibody test

This test measures if the man or the woman is producing antibodies to the sperm, which can hinder conception. According to Dr. Beer, both men and women can have anti-sperm antibodies. The presence of these antibodies results in the inability to conceive normally.

Category 5: Natural Killer Cells and Antibodies to Hormones and Neurotransmitters

T/B/NK cell enumeration test, NK cell cytotoxicity test, Anti-thyroid antibody tests

These different tests measure certain antibody levels produced by the woman. According to Dr. Beer, any variation above normal levels can predict future pregnancy loss.

Not all hospitals or laboratories offer all these tests. It would be best to consult with your doctor on which laboratories or hospitals to go to so that they can guide you properly and manage your expenses. They’re all specialized tests, so prepare to spend. Some patients would require more confirmatory tests based on these initial results.

Author’s note: This article first appeared in Smart Parenting last March 15, 2020. View my other articles here>>

Missing Mama

The wind continues to blow
The sun still rises up the sky
And while the world has moved on so
I still choose not to say goodbye.

I am still dying to hold your hand
To hear your voice speak my name
You just being there to understand
‘Cause home without you is not the same.

“It is what it is,” that’s what you said
When we should go is not in our hands
So I wipe my tears and smile instead
And pray to the One who is in command.

To thank Him for the mother that you ARE
Of raising strong women just like you
We know you are happy even from afar
Know that we will always love you (too).