The use of essential oils for addiction treatment is an area of growing interest. Aromatherapy uses aromatic plant-based oils and other plant materials to improve our clients’ psychological and physical well-being. Doctors, psychologists, and therapists use aromatherapy alongside other treatment approaches to treat a variety of conditions like depression, insomnia, muscular pain, respiratory problems, skin ailments, and swollen joints. Aromatherapy may contribute to a sense of well-being and help stimulate physiological and psychological healing – a fundamental part of recovery from addiction

At Cirque Lodge, Aromatherapy is part of our holistic program, helping our clients to build coping skills that will last them a lifetime.

Can Essential Oils be Used for Addiction Treatment?

While there are anecdotal reports and preliminary studies, there is a lack of extensive, rigorous scientific research specifically focusing on essential oils for treating addiction.

Still, some studies suggest that certain essential oils may help manage symptoms commonly associated with addiction and withdrawal, such as anxiety, stress, and insomnia.

Potential Benefits

Oils like lavender, chamomile, and ylang-ylang have been found to have calming effects, which can be beneficial in managing stress and anxiety, common triggers for substance abuse. Additionally, essential oils like lavender may improve sleep quality, which is often disrupted during addiction and recovery. Lastly, certain oils, such as citrus oils, have uplifting properties that might help improve mood and counteract feelings of depression.

Limitations and Considerations

Essential oils should not be considered a replacement for established addiction treatment methods like medication-assisted treatment, therapy, and support groups.

In addition, people may respond differently to essential oils, and some may even experience allergic reactions or sensitivities. At Cirque Lodge, we use only the highest-quality oils to ensure maximum efficacy and safety. 

How Does Aromatherapy Work?

How Does Aromatherapy Work?

Scientists have noted the versatile effects of plant-based oils on the body.

The structure of the oils closely resembles our natural hormones. They can affect your emotions, circulation, memory, alertness, and sense of calm.

When you apply oils to your skin correctly, they reach your subcutaneous tissues – the innermost layer of your skin. This tissue contains blood vessels and nerves that connect to the rest of your body.

When you inhale an oil, it affects receptor cells in your nose. It produces a signal that reaches the limbic and hypothalamus parts of the brain. These signals cause the brain to release chemicals like serotonin and endorphins that regulate mood, sleep, and pain in our bodies.

The release of these chemicals can cause feelings of calm, euphoria, and relief from pain. It can help ease withdrawal symptoms during detox and contribute to general well-being throughout the recovery process.

Where Do Plants Store Essential Oils?

Where Do Plants Store Essential Oils?

Plants secrete oil internally and externally.

Plants such as basil, oregano, lavender, rosemary, and peppermint emit oils externally through structures called “glandular trichomes.” Other plants can store oils inside their seed and leaves, and citrus oils are stored in internal cavities and leave the plant through certain ducts. Spices such as cinnamon, ginger, and nutmeg contain essential oil cells within their tissues.

Plants store oils for several important biological reasons, including:

  • Attracting insects that help to transport pollen over a wide area
  • Preventing other plants from growing nearby
  • Deterring harmful insects and animals
  • Offering antibacterial and anti-fungal protection

Essential oils are extracted using a variety of different techniques, the most common being expression or distillation.

How Are Aromatherapy Oils Administered?

How Are Aromatherapy Oils Administered?

Aromatherapy oils can be used in a variety of ways. You can administer it through massage oils, creams, steam inhalation, sprays, and bath products. They should always be used with caution, and some oils should be avoided if you have certain medical conditions.

Massage Oils

When used in massage, essential oils should always be diluted in a carrier oil. The most common carrier oils used are grapeseed and sweet almond oil, and for full-body use, the recommended concentration is 2% essential oil dilution (4 drops in 10ml of carrier oil).

Creams, lotions, and oils:

Manufacturers often add essential oils to creams and lotions or mix various oils to create aromatherapy blends. Creams, lotions, and solutions can help heal wounds, slow skin aging, aid detoxification, and increase circulation.

Steam inhalation:

Steam inhalation involves adding a few drops of essential oil to boiling water and inhaling them through the nose. Steam inhalation can relieve respiratory congestion and sinus infections and may improve respiratory function.

Bath products:

You can mix essential oils with bath gels and other emulsifiers to add to a bathtub of hot water. Soaking in a bath with essential oils can reduce stress and relieve muscle aches. It may also help relieve fatigue and improve circulation.

Electric diffusers:

Electrical diffusers are devices that disperse essential oils into the air. It can enhance the environment, purify the air, and remove pathogens. Diffusion of oils may have psychological benefits, including relief from stress, anxiety, and sleep problems.

Direct inhalation:

You can inhale essential oils directly from the bottle, via an inhaler stick, or another material, e.g. a tissue. This can provide relief from breathing issues, nasal congestion, and nausea.

Benefits of Aromatherapy

Benefits of Aromatherapy

In general medical use, aromatherapy may treat and provide relief from:

  • Pain
  • Stress
  • Insomnia
  • Inflammation
  • Spasms
  • Arthritis
  • Immunological conditions
  • Muscle sprain
Aromatherapy in Addiction Treatment

Aromatherapy in Addiction Treatment

Aromatherapy can support the addiction recovery process in various ways.

These include:

  • Providing relief from discomfort, nausea, and other withdrawal symptoms during detox
  • Promoting relaxation during recovery
  • Improving mental clarity in people going through withdrawal
  • Making it easier to sleep during the early stages of recovery
  • Helping you relax during meditation and other therapy sessions so you can enhance the benefits of the treatment

Negative thought patterns, stress, and underlying mental illnesses are some of the leading causes of substance abuse, and people often turn to alcohol and drugs as a means of escape.

Aromatherapy helps to support a feeling of well-being and instills emotional balance. Combined with other treatments, it can help improve your mental health and emotional well-being.

Aromatherapy During Detox

Aromatherapy During Detox

Detox is usually the first stage in recovery from drug abuse and addiction.

Detoxing involves removing all traces of a substance and its toxins from your body. You may experience uncomfortable withdrawal symptoms as your body readjusts.

During detox, medical professionals may use medication to help ease withdrawal symptoms and make the process as comfortable as possible. They may use aromatherapy alongside medication to provide further relief.

Aromatherapy can help the detox process in several ways, including:

  • Pain relief
  • Boosting mood
  • Reducing cravings
  • Helping you sleep
Who Can Use Essential Oils During Addiction Treatment?

Who Can Use Essential Oils During Addiction Treatment?

Incorporating essential oils into addiction treatment can be beneficial for some individuals, but it's crucial to consider safety concerns and potential restrictions. Here's an overview of who might benefit from essential oils in addiction treatment and the factors that should be taken into account.

Individuals with Mild to Moderate Anxiety or Stress: Essential oils like lavender and chamomile are known for their calming properties and might be helpful for those experiencing stress or anxiety during addiction recovery.

Those Struggling with Sleep Issues: Insomnia and disrupted sleep patterns are common in addiction recovery. Oils such as lavender and valerian may aid in improving sleep quality.

Persons Experiencing Mood Fluctuations: Citrus oils (like orange or lemon) and peppermint may have uplifting effects, potentially beneficial for those dealing with mood swings or mild depression symptoms.

Safety Concerns and Restrictions

Allergic Reactions and Sensitivities: People with known allergies, particularly to specific plants or compounds, should be cautious. Patch tests or consultation with a healthcare provider is advisable before using any essential oil.

Individuals with Pre-existing Health Conditions: People with conditions like epilepsy, asthma, or skin disorders should consult healthcare professionals before using essential oils, as some oils may trigger adverse reactions.

Those on Medication: It's important to consider potential interactions between essential oils and medications used in addiction treatment. Professional guidance is essential to avoid any adverse effects.

Essential Oils and Clinical Trials

Essential Oils and Clinical Trials

Clinical trials have linked several different essential oils with physical and psychological benefits, and many oils are beneficial, including:

Essential Oils and Clinical Trials

Lavender Lavendula officinalisAntispasmodic Sedative Balancing Anaesthetic
Neroli (orange blossom)

Citrus aurantium var. arama

Antidepressant Detoxifying Relaxing Sedative
Bergamot Citrus bergamiaAnalgesic Uplifting Cooling Relaxing
May Chang Litsea cubebaAntidepressant Tonic Digestive Antiseptic
Vetiver Vetiveria zizanoidesSedative Stimulant Tonic Relaxing
Part of a Holistic Healing Experience

Part of a Holistic Healing Experience

The National Institute on Drug Abuse states that effective addiction treatment combines a variety of treatment approaches to cater to an individual’s needs.

At Cirque Lodge, we offer aromatherapy alongside behavioral therapies, experiential therapies, and other evidence-based treatment options to provide a holistic healing experience.

Our rehabilitation program aims to treat the entire person. We help you overcome the causes of your addiction, reconnect with your passions, and rebuild your life. We provide a safe and caring environment that promotes personal growth and helps you rediscover the joys of life free from addiction.

You will find our luxury facilities in the heart of the spectacular Rocky Mountains. The serene and peaceful surroundings are the perfect place to heal.

Cirque Lodge offers a recovery-orientated program. We understand that recovery is a lifelong process and provide exceptional aftercare to support you throughout your journey. When you leave the center, we connect you to support groups in your local area and stay in touch via phone calls and our community app. As an alumnus, you can return to the center to re-focus and re-energize at no extra cost.

Aromatherapy For Addiction At Cirque Lodge

If you or a loved one is navigating the challenges of addiction recovery and are interested in integrating holistic methods like essential oils into your treatment plan, Cirque Lodge is here to help. Here, aromatherapy is viewed as a complementary element to a comprehensive addiction treatment plan, not as a standalone solution. Our team of experts is dedicated to providing personalized care that encompasses both traditional and innovative therapies, ensuring a well-rounded approach to recovery.

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About Cirque Lodge
Cirque Lodge is a recovery retreat providing cognitive and experiential therapies, in the pristine natural beauty of Utah’s Rocky Mountains.

Cirque Lodge is considered among our colleagues, as one of, if not the premium drug and alcohol rehab facility in the country.
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