Put your best foot forward to crush anxiety

If you’re one of the millions of Americans plagued with paralyzing anxiety, you may feel like you’re at a loss to find real relief for what can be a paralyzing condition…

People with anxiety often feel socially isolated. Some even have suicidal thoughts. Anxiety also increases your risk of physical health problems, like irritable bowel syndrome, heart disease and dementia, just to name a few.

But if you turn to your doctor for help with your anxiety, the best he or she can do is give you a prescription for an addictive drug like Xanax or Klonopin — chock full of unpleasant side effects including dizziness, disorientation, insomnia, memory problems, diarrhea, slurred speech and nausea.

That’s where natural and alternative therapies come in…

For example, researchers from Okayama University in Japan just uncovered one simple and effective way to ease your anxiety in the comfort of your own home. It’s not expensive, and it doesn’t involve any doctor visits or prescription.

It just combines two effective natural healing modalities — aromatherapy and massage — in an empowering technique that allows you to take control of your own mental health.

Okayama University researchers found that people who gave themselves a 45-minute foot massage using aromatherapy oils three times a week for eight weeks significantly reduced their anxiety and stress levels, lowered their blood pressure and reported an improved quality of life in regard to their mental health.

Now, both massage and aromatherapy are well-known stress-relievers. So it’s no surprise that combining them makes for an extra potent anxiety therapy. But if you don’t believe me, try it for yourself.

There are a lot of anxiety-relieving essential oils you can use…

Study researchers used a blend of lavender, chamomile, sandalwood, ylang-ylang, and marjoram oils mixed with jojoba as a carrier oil. A few other anxiety-relieving oils are bergamot, basil, clary sage and frankincense.

To replicate the results of the study in the comfort of your own home, all you need to do is follow these simple steps:

  • Before you start your massage, soak your feet in a relaxing foot bath for 10 minutes.
  • Next, put your choice of anxiety-relieving essential oils on your hands and inhale the fragrance.
  • Begin applying the oil to your legs using sweeping and gliding strokes, going all the way from your thighs to your toes.
  • While massaging yourself, you can press on certain acupressure points. Check out these videos to learn some acupressure points on your legs and feet.
  • Massage yourself for a full 45-minutes (not including the foot bath).
  • After you’ve finished your massage, find a comfortable place and lay down on your back for five minutes to let the relaxing effects of the massage soak in.

Practicing this massage regularly should go a long way toward calming your anxious mind. But remember, your best bet when treating anxiety naturally is to combine several healing modalities. You can also try acupuncture, herbs (like skullcap or kava kava) or mindfulness meditation to ease your anxiety. And if your anxiety is really severe, try working with a qualified alternative health practitioner who can help you figure out the best way to manage your symptoms.

Sources:
  1. “Why women are way more likely than men to suffer anxiety.” CNN. http://www.cnn.com. Retrieved June 10, 2016.
  2. Eri Eguchi et al. “The Effects of Aroma Foot Massage on Blood Pressure and Anxiety in Japanese Community-Dwelling Men and Women: A Crossover Randomized Controlled Trial.” PLOS ONE (2016).
  3. “Acupressure : Acupressure Points for Leg Pain.” ehowhealth. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=9ifnRPW2DdU. Retrieved June 10, 2016.
  4. “Acupressure: Acupressure for the Foot.” ehowhealth. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=W7NWr_Mcx3A. Retrieved June 10, 2016.

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Jenny Smiechowski

By Jenny Smiechowski

Jenny Smiechowski is a Chicago-based freelance writer who specializes in health, nutrition and the environment. Her work has appeared in online and print publications like Chicagoland Gardening magazine, Organic Lifestyle Magazine, BetterLife Magazine, TheFix.com, Hybridcars.com and Seedstock.com.