Essential Oil Recipes to Help Cope with Grief
A study published in the April 2010 issue of the Journal of Clinical Nursing (“Providing Consolation For Bereaved Relatives Through Hand And Foot Massage,” Mar 26 2010), describes the benefits of receiving a soothing foot or hand massage during a period of grieving. Eighteen subjects who had lost a loved one to cancer participated in a study, where they chose to receive a 25 minute massage once a week for eight weeks. The massages were done with oil, lightly scented with citrus or hawthorn, and using slow, light pressure strokes. After the massage, the participants were encouraged to relax for thirty minutes. Interviews were done before and after the study, with the participants reporting significant benefits.
Here are some of the comments from the study participants:
- “I could focus on my grief during the massage and that helped me handle the rest of the week.”
- “I was just lying there… and no one expected me to talk about my feelings.”
- “I gained strength… Through my weakness, strength emerged.”
- “I suddenly realized that I could go through my thoughts in a much calmer way…I was more sensible in my thinking.”a
Lead author, Dr Berit S Cronfalk from the Stockholms Sjukhem Foundation, a Swedish palliative care provider, observed: “Study participants also told us that the massages helped them to balance the need to grieve and the need to adapt to life after the loss of their relative.”
Gabriel Mojay, in his book “Aromatherapy for Healing the Spirit” suggests the following essential oil blends to aid in the grieving process:
Cypress, 4 drops, Frankincense, 1 drop, Rose, 1 drop
Clary Sage, 3 drops, Rosemary, 2 drops, Thyme, 1 drop
Hyssop, 2 drops, Clary Sage, 2 drops, Orange, 2 drops
While these findings makes intuitive sense, it’s always nice to see studies supporting the use of massage and aromatherapy. It’s a simple idea that could easily be incorporated into hospitals, nursing homes, hospice centers and support groups.