Stress is quickly becoming well known as one of the biggest health risks of our modern society. Because we are constantly running on high gear in a world full of stimulants, we are putting our bodies into states of stress that wreak havoc on our wellness. It has even been estimated that up to 90% of all doctors visits are due to stress-induced symptoms. What? One of my favorite ways to recharge myself is by using aromatherapy for stress relief.
Essential Oils for Stress Relief
- Lavender: Originating from the Mediterranean, Lavender is one of the most widely used oils for aromatherapy. When tested recently in a lab, lavender proved to be the most effective oil at relaxing the brain and reducing stress.
- Chamomile: Most commonly known for its use as a calming bedtime tea, the fragrance of chamomile also has tranquil effect. Uses of chamomile flowers for their relaxing properties have been dated back to medieval times.
- Rose: A long-time favorite of perfumes and oils, rose essential oil is made by distilling the blossoms of the flower alone. The result is a sweetly floral fragrance, which is said to calm nervous tension.
- Jasmine: These small white flowers, which originate from Iran, have an exotic and floral scent. Jasmine is used to not only relax nerves, but muscles as well.
- Sandalwood: The essential oils of sandalwood are soft and woody, and are cultivated by distilling the roots and heart of the sandalwood tree. It has been used as a calming scent in India for ages.
- Vanilla: Used in a multitude of ways from baking to perfume, vanilla is a fragrance that has been proven to improve moods. It also has been said to have a pheromone-like quality, so consider trying it out around your special someone.
- Bergamot: This more unknown scent is the extract of a citrus tree, and the special ingredient that makes Earl Grey tea unique. Bergamot is said to be a powerful antidepressant.
- Ylang Ylang: This flower named “the flower of all flowers” in the Philippines where it hails from, has been proven to curb depression, anger, and fear. Some studies suggest that a simple sniff of ylang ylang can even lower blood pressure.
How to Use Aromatherapy for Stress Relief
- Diffuser: Diffusers generally have a small amount of the fragrance in the base, with sticks of wood sitting in it and sticking out of the top. The fragrance gently steeps through the wood, and the result is a wonderfully scented room.
- In a Bath: When you need to unwind, try putting a few drops of your favorite essential oil (or a blend) into a sudsy tub with you. The heat of the water will allow the scent to gently rise with the steam. Light a few candles, and you have a total sensory affect.
- Steam: Drop a few oils into a humidifier, and the scent will gently permeate the whole house. Don’t have a humidifier? Put a small pot of water on the stove on low with the essential oils added. The result is the same.
- Massage: One of the most luxurious ways to relax, add a few drops of essential oil to lotion for a nice self massage. If you really want to wind down, see if you can coax someone you love into giving you the massage.