Managing stress is probably one of the most important goals for adults today. Up to 73% of Americans regularly experience psychological symptons caused by stress. Nearly half of Americans feel that their stress has increased in the last five years.
Why am I sharing these statistics? Because regulating and taking care of our stress matters. Stress can lead to disease and dysfunction, so it becomes important to have access to tools that help combat stress. Aromatherapy is gaining popularity as a tool to help with stress-relief and with good reason.
In a recent 2014 study by the American College of Healthcare Sciences, 58 hospice patients were given hand massages once a day for one week with an essential oil blend. The essential oil blend consisted of these essential oils in equal ratios of bergamot, frankincense and lavender. All patients who received the aromatherapy hand massage reported less pain and depression, concluding that aromatherapy massage with this essential oil blend is more effective for pain and depression management than massage alone.
So what are some of the best essential oils for stress relief? Let’s look at some individually.
Top 5 Essential Oils for Stress Relief
Easily the most popular of all essential oils, lavender is known as the “universal oil.” With its calming, earthy, lightly sweet and freshly floral scent, it is widely beloved for its relaxing and balancing effects on both the physical and emotional bodies. It may also be used as a pain reliever for muscles and joints, or as an antiseptic on minor cuts, burns, bug bites and stings.
With its comforting warm, exotic aroma, Frankincense’s most common use is stress relief; however, it may also be applied topically to the skin to rejuvenate cells and repair scar tissue, or used to calm certain respiratory conditions such as asthma, coughing and bronchitis.
Another highly versatile essential oil, this one may be even more costly than most, due to its labor-intensive extraction process, which requires 60,000 roses for every one ounce of rose oil. In addition to providing relief from both stress and depression, the many uses of rose oil include the treatment of eczema and menopausal symptoms.
Though both the Roman and German types of chamomile essential oils are well suited for calming the nerves and supporting digestive health, there are some important differences between the two. Where the Roman variety is superior in helping relieve stress while the German variety excels more in the treatment of irritated skin.
With the ability to both soothe in tranquil relaxation and stimulate mental clarity, this rich aroma can increase the feeling of relaxation. Additionally, Vanilla essential oil has also proven effective in relieving upset stomachs.
How to Use Essential Oils for Stress Relief
Always blend your essential oils with a carrier oil, like almond or jojoba oil, before use. They may then be applied directly onto the skin, as with a massage, or onto a warm compress, handkerchief or pillow. A few drops may also be burned in a diffuser or added to bath salts for a skin-softening, muscle-relaxing bath experience. Some find that applying a small amount to the soles of the feet or to the back of the neck is also quite effective.
What’s lovely about aromatherapy for stress-relief is the results are pretty immediate and additionally you and your space will smell great!