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Essential oils to relieve stress and anxiety.

Updated: May 9, 2019


Stress and anxiety are common and complicated conditions affecting people of all walks of life. Throughout the course of our lifetimes, most of us will experience anxiety, whether caused by specific stressors or of a more pervasive and chronic nature.


Stress and anxiety are two different concepts. Stress is a natural part of life and essential to teaching the human body how to respond to various stimuli and situations. But, too much stress–or poorly managed stress–can lead to anxiety.


The effects of anxiety are detrimental to our health. Anxiety and excessive stress-strain the immune system, cause inflammation and can lead to chronic disease and oxidative stress (an imbalance that can cause multiple health issues). Pervasive anxiety can affect your total wellness, including your emotional, personal, social, and professional relationships and health.


For millennia, humans have used herbs, essential oils, and aromatherapy as natural remedies for these ailments.


Essential oils shouldn’t be a replacement for traditional treatment options, such as therapy or medical management. Rather, essential oils should be used to meaningfully augment those treatment methods. When stress or anxiety are related to everyday challenges, essential oils may be all that you need to find balance. In either case, essential oils may be just one component of achieving holistic wellness.


Unlike many traditional medicines, essential oils typically don’t have many–if any–negative side effects when used correctly. In some cases, these oils can be used to help alleviate the side effects of other necessary medicines.


While essential oils may be used in a variety of ways, there are 4 common methods of delivery. These are room diffusion, inhalation, massage, and as a bath additive.


Diffuse

To calm the chatter in your head and uplift your spirit, add a few drops of relaxing lavender and meditative frankincense, or your preferred essential oil to a room diffuser for use throughout the day.

To ease your mind and promote a better night’s rest, diffuse a sedative essential oil such as Neroli.


Inhale

There are many ways to breath in the benefits of essential oils without using a room diffuser. Place a few drops of a gentle, non-irritating, and diluted essential oil, such as sweet orange, rose geranium, or vetiver, in the palms of your hands. Rub your hands together to warm and release the properties of the oil. Next, cup your hands over your nose and take five deep, slow breaths to help quiet feelings of anxiety or stress.


Massage

Add 10 to 12 drops of your preferred essential oil or oil blend to 2 ounces of carrier oil (grapeseed, jojoba, sweet almond, etc.) for use during a luxurious and restorative body massage.


Bath

Add five to 10 drops of your preferred essential oil to your bath water to combat feelings of anxiety or stress. If your skin is sensitive, dilute the essential oil in 1 tablespoon of your preferred carrier oil. Then add this to the water which will moisturize and protect your skin. Don’t add essential oils to running water as they will evaporate at a higher rate. Instead, add them once the tub is filled and just before getting in.


*Essential Oils for Anxiety and Stress*


Lavender Essential Oil - is one of the most popular essential oils used today and has application for nearly any mood. It has a fresh and floral aroma due to its high content of linalyl acetate and linalool , which studies suggest are effective in promoting relaxation and easing anxiety. Lavender is used by many to reduce stress, improve concentration, alleviate insomnia, and calm agitation.

When used for anxiety, research suggests topical application of lavender essential oil is the best way to experience its benefits. One research study showed that the medicinal properties of lavender essential oil become apparent in as little as five minutes after rubbing it onto the skin.


Headache Relief:

Rub 1 to 2 drops of lavender essential oil into your temples to experience relief from a tension headache. If you want to enjoy full-body relaxation, rub a couple of drops on your feet as well as your wrists.


Stress Relief Blend:

Mix 4 drops of lavender essential oil, 2 drops of lemon essential oil, 2 drops clary sage oil, and 3 tablespoons of a carrier oil such as jojoba, sweet almond or coconut and use it as a massage oil.


Bergamot Essential Oil - is extracted from bergamot oranges and has a characteristic citrus scent. According to a study conducted in 2015, both human and animal trials revealed bergamot essential oil helps relieve anxiety, stimulates blood flow, and improves mood. You can find its active ingredients in antidepressant medications. Bergamot essential oil also helps invigorate the senses, clear the mind, and provide relaxation for the nervous system.


Inhalation:

Place several drops of bergamot essential oil on a cotton ball or directly onto the palms of your hands and rub together to activate the oil. Inhale deeply and slowly. Repeat two or three times a day to experience relief from the symptoms of anxiety.


Diffusion:

Add several drops of bergamot essential oil to a room diffuser to experience relief from symptoms of anxiety and stress throughout the day and night.


Rub:

Apply 2 or 3 drops of bergamot essential oil directly to your feet, hands, stomach, or neck where it will be readily absorbed into the bloodstream for symptom relief. 


Chamomile Essential Oil - is well-known for its sedative and calming properties, and its alluring scent. While there is limited research available for treating anxiety with chamomile essential oil, some studies reveal that it may benefit people suffering from moderate or mild generalized anxiety disorder.

People often turn to chamomile essential oil to instill a sense of calm in both the body and the mind. Chamomile essential oil may help lift moodand reduce sleeplessness.


Inhalation:

Chamomile essential oil can be inhaled straight from the bottle to soothe the nervous system.


Diffusion:

Chamomile may be diffused using a room diffuser.


Massage:

Diluted chamomile essential oil can be massaged directly into the skin or added to a warm bath to experience relief from stress.


Rose Essential Oil - comes from the petals of the rose flower, which have an enchanting floral scent that’s known to help relax the senses. A 2014 study revealed that using a rose aromatherapy foot bath may help lower anxiety in pregnant women during labor. Rose essential oil helps promote feelings of hope and joy and boosts self-esteem. These qualities make it beneficial for those suffering from depression.

The great thing about using rose essential oil for stress relief is that you only need to use a slight dab to experience its powerful health effects. It is excellent for promoting tranquility, peace, and well-being as well as stimulating the mind.


Inhalation:

Rose essential oil may be inhaled directly from the bottle, the palms of your hands, or from a handkerchief.


Rubbing:

Rub several drops of rose essential oil on your neck and wrists for an instant mood lift.


Diffusion:

Add 2 or 3 drops of rose essential oil to your diffuser and allow it to spread throughout the air to stimulate your senses and invoke feelings of happiness and joy.


Orange Essential Oil - is an intense citrus fruit oil that has a powerful and uplifting fragrance with proven stress-relieving benefits. Various research studies have shown that orange essential oil may provide relief from anxiety and stress. It can even help people who are on antidepressant medicines to reduce their prescription use.


Diffusion:

Orange essential oil is one of the best essential oils to use in a diffuser if you wish to refresh and uplift your mood. It’s also valuable for improving concentration and boosting energy levels.

Inhalation:

Orange essential oil can be inhaled directly from the bottle or from the palms of your hands to get an instant mood lift and awaken your senses.


Stress Relief Blend:

Mix 6 drops of orange essential oil, 2 drops of lavender essential oil, and 3 teaspoons of carrier oil. Use as a full body massage oil.


Sandalwood Essential Oil - When dealing with life’s challenges, having a moment of peace and harmony is critical to your overall mental health. To enjoy increased focus, peace, and clarity, consider using sandalwood essential oil. It has a woody aroma and a powerful therapeutic effect on the brain while acting as an emotional balancer. Several studies have documented the health benefits of sandalwood essential oil.


Ylang Ylang Essential Oil - is a floral-scented essential oil used to promote relaxation and a sense of calm. It is particularly helpful in mitigating stress, as ylang-ylang brings immediate peace and calm.


Clary Sage Oil - has a great aroma and is a natural antidepressant. It is one of the best natural remedies for anxiety with no associated side effects. It is perfect for uplifting your mood and can help ease the feelings of anxiety by calming your mind while boosting confidence and self-esteem.


Jasmine Essential Oil - derives from the jasmine flower. It not only helps in alleviating the feelings of anxiety but also stimulates the mind and uplifts mood to produce feelings of optimism and confidence.

Traditionally, jasmine was a natural remedy for insomnia, anxiety, depression, and low libido. Today, research confirms that traditional belief was accurate. Many studies suggest that jasmine essential oil is as good as valium when it comes to overcoming stress and calming nerves.


Frankincense Essential Oil - s derived from the resin of the Boswellia tree, which is native to Somalia in Africa. It has a sweet, musky aroma that can help ease stress and anxiety.  Frankincense essential oil is rich in sesquiterpenes. These are molecules capable of traveling through the blood-brain barrier and alleviate the effects of anxiety. According to the findings of a 2008 study testing a blend of frankincense, bergamot, and lavender, frankincense may help improve anxiety and pain in terminal cancer patients.


All-natural, essential oil remedies capable of calming the mind and body may relieve anxiety and stress. It is important to remember that there are no fixed recipes or prescriptions for essential oil use. People may respond differently to individual oils and blends. Try experimenting with several essential oils while paying close attention to your body until you find the right blend that works for you.


Purchase essential oils from reputable sources that only sell organic products to ensure they are free of chemicals and toxins. Also, make sure the products are both undiluted and unfiltered. Always beware of genetically modified ingredients and only choose non-GMO oils.


It is always necessary to ensure that you only use 100 percent pure essential oils. The label of the bottle displays the name of the plant species where the oil was derived.


Essential oils are both natural and powerful. Take care to use essential oils in their designated manner. Dilute oils before applying to skin and understand the properties of the oils, such as phototoxicity.


Some people may develop an allergic or adverse reaction after using essential oils. For that reason, it is best to conduct a small skin patch test on your body to ensure that you don’t experience an undesired reaction. It is also advisable to consult a doctor before using essential oils if you are pregnant or nursing.

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