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Aromatherapy for Stress and Anxiety

Last Updated Sep 02, 2020

Aromatherapy can be beneficial for providing relief against anxiety and stress, using some specially chosen plant extracts and essential oils. It aims to positively influence and help rebalance the physical, mental and emotional aspects of our bodies - which include reducing anxiety and stress in individuals. In modern society, anxiety and stress are on the rise as lifestyles are increasingly time-pressured with an emphasis on job performance in the workplace.  Work related stress has become a significant factor in absenteeism, and if not addressed could lead to more serious health implications for the person.

What is aromatherapy?

Aromatherapy is a holistic healing treatment that uses essential flower and plant extracts to promote health and wellbeing. Aromatic plant oils can be massaged into the body in a mixture with carrier oil or a neutral base, or they can be inhaled using a room diffuser. They work by triggering the olfactory senses which in turn are connected to the brain – to offer a direct method of influencing the production of endorphins, also called feel good hormones. Therefore, they have the ability to stimulate, balance, uplift and calm. The following are some essential oils that are commonly prescribed for anxiety and stress:

  • Lavender
  • Jasmine
  • Chamomile 
  • Geranium 
  • Clary sage
  • Sandalwood
  • Sweet marjoram
  • Bergamot

Stress and anxiety

A buildup of anxiety or stress can have various detrimental side effects, such as increased blood pressure and heart rates.  If this is sustained over time, then this can have an accumulative effect which may result to more serious implications on the health.  If you can effectively manage stress, it can be beneficial to yourself and interaction on a personal level. The extended benefits include:

  • Adapting easily to change 
  • Increasing energy levels
  • Becoming more tolerant to challenging circumstances
  • Being more relaxed and open
  • Enjoying improved sleep

How can aromatherapy help stress and anxiety?

Aromatherapy is quite a relaxing and therapeutic remedy, and it has proven to be helpful in reducing anxiety and stress.  It has been shown to reduce heart and breathing rates, blood pressure and restore hormonal balance. Below are two blends of essential oils that can assist with stress.

Aromatherapy oils for stress

This blend will help to relax your mind and forget about certain things for a while. Add the following to 100ml of carrier oil (carrier oil is needed in diluting pure essential oils - you may use vegetable oil like olive, almond, or canola):

  • 10 drops of bergamot oil (if you are going out into the sun,bergamot should not be used as it can cause photo-sensitivity which produces brown patches on the skin).
  • 20 drops geranium oil
  • 10 drops ylang ylang oil
  • 5 drops cedarwood oil
  • 5 drops frankincense oil

Alternatively, you can also use the following mix to relieve pains and aches caused by stress. Again, essential oils to 100ml of carrier oil should be added to the mix.

  • 20 drops lavender oil
  • 10 drops rosemary oil
  • 5 drops peppermint oil
  • 5 drops cypress oil
  • 10 drops black pepper oil

It is important to consult a qualified and trained aromatherapist become some essential oils are so concentrated that they may have the potential to be harmful, and/or burn the skin. They may pose health risks if swallowed.

Find out about other effective natural treatments for anxiety and stress.

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Originally published on Feb 20, 2012

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