Aromatherapy has gained popularity over the last few years with soothing scents showing up in our shampoo, lotion, and candles we use every day. Aromatherapy is a holistic practice using plant extracts, or essential oils, to use scents to treat physical and emotional ailments. Despite the trendy popularity of aromatherapy, this practice has been around for thousands of years, dating back as far as the tenth century. I’m a firm believer that if something has been around that long, there must be something to it.
How to Use Essential Oils to Reduce Stress
You can use aromatherapy for many different physical and mental treatments, and the specific scent being used dictates what effect it has. Essential oils and aromatherapy are a great, accessible way to help treat stress and the pesky symptoms that come with it.
Lavender is probably the most popular de-stressing essential oil, and for good reason. It smells delicious, but in a very gentle, soft way. Lavender essential oil is known for its calming properties, aiding in sleep, calming the mind, and helping you feel relaxed. Lavender essential oil can be diffused in the air, sprayed on your pillow at night, used in lotions or massage oils, and can even be drank in tea. Some people even put lavender oil on their feet before bedtime to help them sleep.
Lemon and orange essential oils are said to help in reducing stress as well. The citrus in orange essential oil specifically has strong antioxidant benefits, and the smells of lemon and orange essential oils are slightly energizing and could possibly help uplift your mood. These oils can be diffused in the air, applied topically through lotions and massage oils, or drank in tea.
Ylang Ylang is another great oil for calming the mind and de-stressing. A study in 2012 found that participants who used Ylang Ylang oils lowered their high blood pressure. This oil is great for slowing down the mind and creating a calm mental state. Similar to our other de-stressing oils, it can be diffused, applied topically through creams and massage oils, or worn as a scent. I have never had Ylang Ylang tea, but I know it’s out there, and based on the smell, it’s probably delicious.
It is important to note that if you’re applying an essential oil topically or drinking an essential oil, make sure you buy oils that are specifically used for those purposes. In order for an essential oil to be applied topically, it usually needs to be diluted with a carrier oil such as vegetable oil to make it gentler on your skin. Similarly, if you choose to ingest an essential oil, make sure you purchase oils that are specifically made for being ingested. It’s possible to have very adverse reactions if you don’t use the proper oils.
Scents are powerful and can truly help calm a racing mind and put you in a new mindset. All essential oils can be helpful in creating a new environment in the space they are being used, but these four specifically are great for de-stressing. A little aromatherapy, coupled with some meditation or movement such as yoga or even a walk could help de-stress you almost immediately.