Are you one of those people who tend to think of the winter climate as downright miserable?
If so, you might well find that you actually need support and treatment to lessen the impact on your life. And it would serve you to look into that soon because a depressed and negative outlook might make you more likely to suffer from seasonal flu and colds as well.
We all know that our natural vitality is generally greater in the summer. But this is something more….
Probably you have heard of Seasonal Affective Disorder (SAD). There is plenty of specialised information out there but basically it is a clinical depression associated with seasonal change.
Loss of energy
Drop in libido
When it was first recognized as a diagnosable disorder, SAD was established as affecting around 6% of the US population.
What exactly has SAD got to do with the common complaint of winter blues?
Well, at least another 14% were said to experience a notable drop in energy and mood, in the autumn and winter months.
So, to be clear, the rather woolly expression ‘winter blues’ is not the same thing as SAD, which happens when a person cannot function in daily life anymore. But. It does seem that they are basically degrees of the same thing.
Both the UK mental health charity MIND and SADA (Seasonal Affective Disorder Association) directly state that lowered immunity is one symptom of SAD, making some people ‘more likely to get colds, infections and other illnesses’, during the colder seasons.
And call it a coincidence, but if we look at that 6% and the other 14% against recent US-based statistics on winter flu outbreaks, there is a striking similarity – of between 5% and 20% of the population affected.
The main causes of SAD and the Winter Blues might be:
Lack of sunlight
It is widely thought that reduced sunlight is the main factor. When the brain does not receive sufficient light at the eye, one hormone is released to encourage sleep (melatonin) and another mood, appetite and sleep hormone is suppressed (serotonin).
There is part of the brain that controls mood, appetite and sleep that might be linked to light stimulation.
Nothing conclusive, but there is a theory that the change in sleep and waking patterns could disrupt our sense of balance and cause depression.
You won’t find this one on the main sources of information for SAD but some natural healers believe weakness to the cold is linked to a lack of emotional and physical warmth in childhood. And efficient healing is generally linked to warmth.
So, How Can I Protect Myself Or A Loved One Against Feeling Low and Being Vulnerable To Sickness?
Some people see dramatic improvements with SAD using Light Therapy and anti-depressants can also be prescribed.
For the winter blues, manageable daily therapy can be established using essential oils.
The great thing about natural therapeutic essential oils is that they work by integrating with the body’s innate control systems. Organic molecules are received in the same way as the body’s own hormones to influence the same areas of physiology that are linked to the main SAD causes: mood, appetite and sleep.
If you look up our certified organic, pure essential oil blend Life Lift, you will see the individual oils we have included in the blend.
Each has its own merit, for example, Lime is cleansing and revitalizing, and Bergamot is balancing both for emotions and appetite. But in clinical aromatherapy, using 100% pure essential oils in a therapeutic blend will give a result that is greater than the sum of its parts and so I would definitely recommend a more potent combination of well-chosen oils, over just selecting one or two.
The synergy that we have developed in Life Lift has happened over time, working with a range of clients dealing with fatigue, lethargy, post-natal melancholy and grief. One of the great things about it is that it offers a versatile prescription that can be used to suit your lifestyle: diffused into the living space, daubed on pulse points, or applied to the body via a wet cloth, post-shower.
Each person needs to find their own way in, of course, but as a general winter blues protection I would recommend using it after your morning shower, before heading out for a walk to catch the best natural light of the day.
Immune Plus on the other hand is a more relaxing blend that would be suited to use in the evening bath. In my last blog post on childhood illness I explained how some pure essential oils have properties specifically suited to enhancing immune function.
If you know that you are prone to low spells throughout winter, you can counter the knock-on weakening effects by enhancing white cell production and cell regeneration; promoting detoxification; cleansing respiratory tracts; and calming the nervous system into restorative energy-use.
We can also integrate anti-inflammatory, antibacterial and anti-viral properties into the body towards naturally enhanced protection from infection.
I would also suggest it would be a good idea to always wear a few layers to keep your body core warm and to be very careful to never get miserably wet and cold when you get that all-important daily dose of exercise and daylight.
A large range of Therapeutic Plant Oils are available at www.absoluteessential.com and at select retail outlets. Absolute Essential is an eco-ethical company with over 20 year’s expertise in Holistic Healthcare.