The use of essential oils for stress relief is just one of the many applications for these versatile liquids. There are many different essential oils that, with the proper application, can be used as an effective remedy for many ailments. Chronic stress is one of the most common reasons people turn to essential oil treatment.
While there are effective pharmaceutical remedies to combat excessive amounts of stress, they often come with several negative side effects and can become quite addictive. Essential oils for stress relief provide a more natural and organic alternative, working to enhance your lifestyle while lessening stress levels.
Having high levels of stress in our lives can lead to digestive problems, wreak havoc on our immune system, and even raise our risk of heart disease. Essential oils can be used to calm the senses and provide the optimal conditions to allow stress to simply melt away.
Essential oils for stress
Frankincense oil: Also known as olibanum, it is a common essential oil used in aromatherapy, helping to relieve pain and reduce inflammation. It is also known for helping to boost the immune system and fight chronic stress and anxiety. When frankincense oil is inhaled, it acts as a mild sedative, helping to relieve anxiety, anger, and stress.
Lavender oil: One of the most commonly used essential oils owing to its pleasant scent. Studies involving lavender oils have found that when using it, participants become more relaxed. With the aid of an EEG reading, researchers noticed participants were in a state of drowsiness but were still able to carry out complex tasks.
Lavender oil is best known for its calming and relaxing effects. It is pegged as being “nervous system restorative,” helping to improve sleep, relieve irritability, anxiety, and panic attacks.
Sandalwood oil: A common essential oil used in a wide variety of cosmetic products, perfumes, and healing salves. It is perhaps best known for having the ability to induce a strong sense of calm in its users. Sandalwood oil is effective at balancing emotions as well as helping to strengthen the immune system. It was once considered a sacred oil and is currently being used as an aid in yoga and meditation practices.
Roman chamomile oil: Commonly coming in the form of a tea that aids in relaxation and sleep, chamomile essential oil can also be used in a similar manner, helping to lessen anxiety and feelings of anger. A study from the University of Pennsylvania School of medicine found that chamomile essential oils provided meaningful antidepressant activity.
Bergamot oil: Having a sweet citrus scent and distinctive floral aroma, bergamot oil is a great addition to many perfumes. However, it also boasts powerful antibiotic, analgesic, antiseptic, antispasmodic, and soothing properties, making it useful for a multitude of physical and mental conditions. Bergamot essential oil can help aid insomnia, induce relaxation, and lessen agitation. When combined with lavender oil in an essential oil blend for stress relief, it can be used to help treat individuals suffering from anxiety and depression. Other studies have found that bergamot oil can help lower blood pressure and heart rate, with participant stating they feel calm and more relaxed when compared to a placebo.
Ylang-Ylang oil: Known for its aphrodisiac properties, this essential oil can ease fears and promotes optimism. Research conducted by Korea’s Geochang Provincial College found that using ylang-ylang oil combined with lavender and bergamot daily for four weeks reduced psychological stress. It also reduced serum cortisol (a stress hormone) and reduced blood pressure.
Valerian oil: Known for being smelly, it can induce sleep. It has the outstanding ability to relieve anxiety symptoms as well as stress. Previous research into the oil has shown that it has properties that raise the amount to GABA (gamma aminobutyric acid) in the brain. GABA helps to regulate nerve cells and has even been linked to calm anxiety. GABA level modification is a common mechanism for many anti-anxiety pharmaceutical drugs such as valium and Xanax.
Rose oil: A widely used essential oil in aromatherapy, rose oil can help boost confidence and self-esteem, improving mental strength and fighting depression. Previous research published in the Iranian Red Crescent Medical Journal mentioned that women who received a 10-minute inhalation of rose essential oil experienced reduced anxiety.
Vetiver oil: Also known as khus oil, this essential oil has been shown to be quite calming, stabilizing, and grounding. Considered a nervous system tonic, vetiver oil can help lessen feelings of jitteriness and treat panic attacks. A 2015 study found that this essential oil’s effects help those suffering from anxiety, affecting the actions of the central amygdaloid nucleus, which is involved in emotion, changes in blood pressure, heart rate, and respiration.
Jasmine oil: A great oil for reducing stress while also uplifting mood and optimism. It has been used for hundreds of years in parts of Asia as a natural remedy for anxiety, depression, emotional stress, low libido, and insomnia. Many studies have found that jasmine oil can improve mood and sleep when used via aromatherapy or topically on the skin (when first mixed with a carrier oil)
Clary sage oil: This relatively common garden herb can pack powerful relaxing effects when made into an essential oil. When used in aromatherapy, it can have antidepressant-like effects.
Neroli oil: Derived from the blossom of orange trees, this essential oil is known for having calming, relaxing, and soothing properties, helping to provide peace of mind and positivity. It can be applied on the skin or used in a diffuser.
How to use essential oils for stress relief
Essential oils can be used in a number of ways, but the most effective methods for boosting energy levels and eliminating stress-related issues are through aromatherapy or topical application.
The use of diffusers is one of the simplest ways to help fill the room with the wonderful scent of your chosen essential oil. It allows for the oil molecules to be released into the air, enter your nose, and stimulate your olfactory nerves, which are responsible for your sense of smell. If nothing else, simply taking a whiff from the bottle can do the trick as well.
Putting a couple of drops onto a scarf, handkerchief, or cotton pad and carrying it with you can be a great way to keep the scent of your favorite essential oil with you at all times.
Using essential oil on your skin is the most common method of use, as their absorption makes it easier to reach your bloodstream. It is important to note that using essential oils in their raw form is not recommended, and to first mix them with a carrier oil such as olive oil.
You could also use your essential oils while batching by adding five to ten drops to your bathtub.
Related: The Healthy Truth: The negative impact of stress