Using The Best Essential Oils For Relaxation and Stress Relief
In the 21st century, we follow a busy schedule, cope with frustrations and deadlines that we often do not realise how strained we are. When events become too demanding or become a threat, your nervous system releases stress hormones, including adrenaline and cortisol.
These stress hormones lead to many mental, emotional and physical disorders like depression, stroke, heart attack, and increased blood pressure. At the peak of stress levels, the body’s immune system declines, causing susceptibility to infections, certain cancers, autoimmune diseases like rheumatoid arthritis and multiple sclerosis.
Stress can be in or out of your comfort zone. Stress in your comfort zone, also known as ‘fight or flight’ has profound benefits like increased concentration, improved strength, and stamina, and can even save your life. Beyond your comfort zone, stress can be debilitating and can result in severe nervous breakdown.
The Symptoms of Stress
- Cognitive symptoms: Poor judgment, negative thoughts, memory problems.
- Emotional symptoms: Depression, anxiety, agitation, glumness, bad temper or anger, feeling overwhelmed, loneliness.
- Physical Symptoms: Aches, constipation, nausea, dizziness, chest pain, fast heartbeat, poor sex drive, colds or flu.
- Behavioral symptoms: Eating more or less, insomnia or oversleeping, isolation, Procrastinating or neglecting responsibilities, alcohol consumption, cigarettes, or drugs to relax, nervous habits (e.g. nail biting, pacing).
What Are The Best Essential Oils for Relaxation?
Essential Oils in Aromatherapy are used for naturally treating many health conditions. Extracted from plants, they have been used for centuries as pain relievers, immune booster, and for relaxation. The brain is the seat of the limbic system responsible for controlling emotions, including the symptoms of stress. The aroma of essential oils affects this area and helps the system give positive emotional responses to stress. The following are essential oils for calming the body and relieving stress.
Top Essential Oils For Stress Relief and Relaxing
Regarded as ‘the universal oil’ due its efficacy in treating many health conditions, Lavender oil is an excellent oil for relaxation. It has an earthy, sweet and fresh floral scent, which has a calming and soothing effect on the body. Lavender oil also has anti-inflammatory, analgesic, antidepressant and sedative properties that relieve a headache and pain, helps with insomnia, restlessness, anxiety, mental clarity, and nervousness. Studies have shown that using Lavender oil helps boost the body’s immunity and cell regeneration.
Although it is an excellent oil for easing tension, it also works as a pain reliever and antiseptic and may be used for treating bruises, cuts, stings and muscle pains.
Usage: Lavender Oil is safe for topical usage, however, dilution with a carrier oil is necessary if you have sensitive skin. Massage 2-3 drops on your temples, or inhale directly. You can also use Lavender oil with your diffuser.
Rose oil has a unique aroma you can’t miss. Due to its labor-intensive extraction process, it is one of the most expensive essential oils. About 60,000 roses are expended to make an ounce of rose oil. According to a 2009 study of a group, Rose oil gave a greater calming and relaxing effect than placebo, along with reduced blood pressure and breathing rate. It also helps provide relief from anxiety and depression and boosts your confidence.
Usage: For topical use, you can dilute Rose Oil with almond oil or your preferred carrier oil. Rub a few drops on your neck, feet, and temples. You can add a few drops to your bath water to get a relaxing bath.
Alternatively, you can use rose oil with your diffuser.
Some aromatherapists regard Vanilla oil as a homely oil because of its fragrance—almost similar to the breast milk’s smell. Diffusing Vanilla Oil in your home will help you relax and relieve feelings of anxiety. It has outstanding therapeutic effects that will leave you in tranquility and better mental clarity.
Usage: Dilute Vanilla oil with a carrier oil before rubbing on your temples or the nape of your neck. You can also use with your bath water or a diffuser.
Frankincense has been in use from the Bible times, both for religious and healing purposes. As a medicinal oil, it is used as antidepressant, sedative and antiseptic and immunity booster. Frankincense oil has an uplifting and warm aroma that relieves stress, anger, and anxiety. It is also an excellent oil for respiratory conditions like asthma.
You can use Frankincense oil topically or by inhaling. It is also safe for use with a diffuser.
Two types of Chamomile Oil exist; Roman and German Chamomile Oil. Though they both work excellently for easing stress and anxiety, they have unique uses. While German Chamomile would be more suited for treating skin conditions, Roman Chamomile Oil works well for mental health, depression and anxiety.
You can enjoy the apple scent of Roman Chamomile Oil through a diffuser, or by inhaling directly. A few drops of the oil in your bath water can help too.
This Oil is also an effective remedy for many health conditions. It is one of the best and calming essential oils available. It is not only functional as a digestive condition; it also boosts blood circulation and relieves pain. A study in 2007 showed that Rosemary Oil decreases cortisol in the saliva. Excessive cortisol in the body reduces mental clarity, increases blood pressure, causes obesity and cardiovascular issues. In the same study, the oil was found to boost the immune system and alleviate stress.
Orange oil is a citrus-based oil that helps with insomnia and stress. It is an effective solution to nervous disorders, anxiety, and depression. Orange Oil has restorative effects that will help uplift your spirit when you feel drained. Like every citrus-based essential oils, Orange oil is photosensitive, and you should stay away from the sun after use to avoid skin irritation.
Geranium Oil is not only gentle on the skin, but it uplifts the spirit too. It helps balance body hormones, relieve stress, and is effective for menopausal symptoms like hot flashes.
Clary Sage Oil
Clary Sage Essential Oil has antidepressant and sedative properties that provide relief to migraines, nervous tension, insomnia, stress, and anxiety. Clary Sage is also a good essential Oil for hormonal issues and imbalances, especially for hot flashes and painful periods. The Oil is slightly intoxicating and can make you feel euphoric (avoid driving after use).
Gotten from an Asian plant, Ylang-ylang is a calming essential Oil with antidepressant properties. It is soothing and can help relieve stress and anxiety. It is also used for skin care and to balance the body’s hormones.
Relaxing Essential Oil Blends
Essential Oils work efficiently alone. However, the effectiveness is enhanced by blending two or more essential oils together.
Recipe 1 – Relaxation Blend
- 3 drops of Lavender oil
- 3 drops of Orange oil
- 1 drop of Ylang-Ylang oil
- 2 drops of Patchouli oil
- Mix the oil and store in a small glass container.
Recipe 2 – Calming Blend
- 4 drops of Lavender Oil
- 2 drops of Geranium Oil
- 2 drops of Ylang-Ylang Oil
- 2 drops of Orange Oil
- Mix the ingredients and store in a small glass container, away from sunlight.
Before applying any essential oil or blends, ensure you dilute with a carrier oil. This is to prevent skin irritation caused by the potency of essential oils. Although all essential oils are beneficial, some people find some suitable than the other. You will have to discover the one that works best for you.