In this article Age-net finds out which natural oils are best for anxiety and stress relief
Stress and anxiety form a part of all of all of our lives and we all handle things differently. For those who are consistently burdened with heightened stress levels, there is every chance you will want something to reduce your anxiety levels, and frustrations while minimizing the use of pharmaceuticals. These can actually worsen the condition because of the side effects. Anti-anxiety medications have paradoxical side effects, thereby defeating the purpose of taking them.
This is why there are so many people looking at alternative therapies as a way to alleviate their anxieties, and live a fuller life without the symptoms of stress, and to help manage it better.
Aromatherapy is one of those alternative home remedies you can use to combat anxiety and stress – And you can do it consistently without fear of negative consequences.
You just have to know how to do that safely.
If you are on medication, do not take this as alternative advice. Consult your doctor about using aromatherapy and they can work with you to support you. Never stop or reduce any medications without speaking to your doctor first.
Important safety advice
This is not a substitute to medical care
This is extremely important, as there are two types of therapies. Complementary and Alternative Medicine.
The NHS refers to this as CAM.
Complimentary aims to work alongside medicinal treatments, whereas alternative medicine aims to replace them.
If you are on anti-anxiety medications, aromatherapy should not be used as an alternative therapy to whatever your doctor has advised, or prescribed. This is why you should speak to him or her before you start using this. It may help you reduce your medication, but in almost all cases, you will be advised to use this as a complimentary therapy and not as an alternative.
Essential oils have varying levels of purity. Some are 100% pure, meaning they are not diluted, and that can pose a risk of skin irritation. The higher the purity, the more likely it is you will need to dilute the oil with a carrier oil to make it safe for use.
All essential oils will have guidance on dilution. You will find that information on the label.
The higher the purity, the less dilution is required. This is indicated in the price as well, because pure essential oil will be extremely expensive. A tiny bottle of certain oils could run into hundreds of pounds, if it weren’t for the fact they are already diluted for you.
An example of a label on an essential oil might read on the ingredients section that it contains 80% Almond oil (carrier), and 20% Jasmine oil.
The application method
This will also be on the information label provided with each bottle of essential oil, and it’s imperative you read this carefully. Some oils, especially in 100% purity can be dangerous when applied to the skin.
Some are specifically for use through inhalation, while others can be applied to your skin directly. Examples of essential oils you cannot apply to the skin are spicy oils, and citrus oils, such as Lemon, Orange, and Bergamot.
With those three safety points in mind, you can use the list of essential oils described below to learn about each one and the variety of health concerns that each individual essential oil can help you with.
Each one listed will help you reduce your stress and anxiety levels, but with each of them, there are different benefits to them, asides from stress.
Depending on your own requirements, you may find one better suited than another.
An example of that may be problems sleeping which can contribute to elevated stress levels, in which case you may find Bergamot, Lavender or Jasmine better suited as something that would help you.
The Finest Essential Oils for Stress and Anxiety Relief
The analgesic properties found in the Bergamot essential oil make it a good alternative to traditional pain relief medications. Headaches, muscle aches, and joint pain can all be reduced, as it will lessen your nerve sensitivity to pain.
The properties in Bergamot oil help induce the production of dopamine and serotonin, thereby benefiting you with a feeling of relaxation, reduced stress, nervous tension relief, and will help you get a good nights’ sleep.
Without enough rest, you will find yourself struggling to manage stress, so this alone is tremendous to relieve feelings of anxiety that may be keeping you from getting a good sleep and stop you tossing and turning all night long.
The most common use of Lavender oil is to put a couple of drops on your pillow. The potent nature of this oil will help you drift off to sleep faster, and get a deep sleep at that.
Stress reduction happens when people have a regular sleeping pattern. If you haven’t, that could be the cause of your increased stress levels, so adjusting your circadian rhythm so you can get the proper amount of sleep each night may be all you need to rid yourself of anxiety and stress. Depending on the severity, it could be associated with mild insomnia.
Without taking care of high stress levels, you will more likely experience more headaches than normal as high stress levels do cause headaches. Along with alleviating the cause of stress (improper sleep), lavender oil also helps with pain relief.
An added bonus to this is that insects hate it! If you’re travelling outdoors and perhaps prone to midge bites, you can put a drop or two on your skin and use it as a relaxant and an insect repellent.
If you’re unlucky enough to still get a nip, there is anti-inflammatory properties in lavender that will reduce the skin irritation and the potential swelling.
There are different types of Sandalwood essential oils available. Indian and Hawaiian Sandalwood are the most beneficial and as such, they are the most expensive. For a 5ml bottle of Indian Sandalwood, you could find the price around £25.00. Not the most affordable essential oil available, but in terms of benefits, it ranks up there as the best there is.
The problem with the use of Indian Sandalwood is that the tree the oil derives from are near extinction, which is why it is rare and therefore, pushing the prices higher.
Australian Sandalwood is the most widely available, but does not offer as many of the health benefits associated with the Indian Sandalwood.
For stress relief this is the one of the finest essential oils you will find.
It instils a sense of calmness, reduces stress caused by fears, enhances your focus to help you concentrate, and helps you think more positively.
If negativity is dragging your mood down, try a couple of drops of Sandalwood and you will find the power of it truly amazing.
It’s one of the many reasons for Sandalwood being used widely in a variety of religions, in particular the Hindu religion where it is considered indispensable in nearly all ceremonies and rituals.
Asides for its calming nature, there’s additional benefits, such as:
- Lowering your blood pressure
- Lowering your cholesterol
- Assisting with pain relief
- Use as a weight loss aid
- Improving your immune system
- Tightening your skin cells to help stave off the aging process by reducing wrinkles
With all the benefits that Sandalwood has to offer, it’s easy to see why it’s the most beneficial of them all, and the most expensive.
Jasmine oil has a romantic aroma and is perfect for setting the atmosphere on Valentine’s Day or any other day of significance, helping you relax and lift your spirits, and anyone else around the aroma.
This happens because of its ability to induce the production of serotonin. This is an important hormone because it fights the effects of depression, and lifts your mood to one of positivity. It is likely for you to feel more energetic too.
The romantic feelings that are associated with the Jasmine oil are actually to do with it being an aphrodisiac. It can help boost your libido, but on top of that there a number of sexual disorders that the Jasmine oil can help with, such as premature ejaculation and impotency.
Asides from its aphrodisiac effect, it works surprisingly well as a sleep aid. Similar to the Bergamot essential oil, Jasmine oil helps you drift off into a deep sleep that lasts throughout the night.
When you can do that, you can find yourself awakening in the morning feeling more energetic, more productive, more focused, and right back to feeling your young self again, bursting with energy.
It also helps reduce mood swings, which are commonly associated with depression.
For women, the Jasmine oil can also help relieve pain associated with the menstrual cycle, and contribute to menstruation regulation.
Jasmine oil is an emmenagogue herb, and with all of those, they have an effect on menstruation, and therefore not suited while pregnant.
The Geranium oil has quite a few fine qualities going for it. It assists in fighting depression, irritation, and combating stress. In addition to those qualities, it also acts as a constringent.
Constringent chemicals help your muscles to contract, so if you’re regularly exercising to keep your body in great shape, this will help you tone your body.
One other thing it does is helps to tighten your skin tissue, which helps with premature aging. For that reason, it can be used an anti-aging oil as well as for stress relief.
The marjoram essential oil has numerous abilities, but the most powerful of all its uses is its sedative qualities. Even for the times when your head is throbbing, you can turn to the trusted Marjoram oil for pain relief. It will also help clear your throat and sinuses, so it’s great to use to rid the symptoms of colds, and the common flu.
7. Ylang Ylang
This oil has many medicinal qualities, but the most influential is the ability to relieve pent up anger and frustration, alleviating anxiety and even helps with acute depression symptoms as well as giving relief from chronic stress disorders.
Its fragrance is extremely delicate, so it’s very pleasing to your sense of smell. As with most cases of chronic stress disorders, there comes the loss of libido. This can be made worse with side-effects of some common pharmaceuticals.
The Ylang Ylang essential oil can help relieve stress, while improving your libido.
Moreover, it also helps to lower your blood pressure, which kind of goes hand in hand with relieving stress, as too much stress will increase anyone’s blood pressure.
If you’re suffering from high blood pressure, whether it’s contributed to through stress or not, you could get a double whammy by using Ylang Ylang. Triple the benefits if your libido is causing problems.
8. Clary Sage
If you’re suffering from the effects of depression, this is one essential oil powerful enough to fight off the effects. It is euphoric in nature, meaning it will fill you with a feeling of joy, and exuberance.
It is the most used by aromatherapists for treating patients with depression, chronic stress, and for alleviating anxiety.
Purity and Blends
Each essential oil is available with varying levels of purity. Some will be 100%, with others already being diluted, ready for use.
When using aromatherapy recipes, there are mixtures involved. These are called blends, and you can mix the majority of oils together to create your own blend of essential oil.
For the oils that are pure, some will not be suitable for skin application. In those situations, you can use a carrier oil, also known as a base oil.
Carrier oils include:
- Almond oil
- Aloe Vera oil
- Avocado oil
- Grapeseed oil
- Sesame oil
- Walnut oil
- Jojoba oil
To dilute the infusions of oils, it’s best to use a 100ml bottle filled with your carrier oil. Aromatherapy recipes will give you guidelines on the amount of carrier oil to begin with, and then the number of drops to put into the oil to create the blend.
When using aromatherapy for treating any stress or anxiety disorders, you must read the label on each bottle of essential oil you use. Some are highly concentrated and not suitable for skin application, and can be so strong they cause your skin to break out in a rash.
There may also be some that you have an allergic reaction too.
The Patch Test
For those with allergies, you should know that all essential oils are derived from plants, flowers, and trees. If you have allergies, there is a chance you could be allergic to certain essential oils.
If you’re unsure, you can use what is called the patch test. For this, you only apply a single drop to your forearm, or an area of skin that isn’t exposed, or visible. Somewhere that if you do break you out in a slight rash, it won’t be visible, such as around your face.
For pure essentials, which are 100% concentrated and not diluted, you should only add one drop to a teaspoon (2.5ml) of carrier oil and use that for your patch test.
If you experience any skin irritation, then you will know not to use that particular essential oil, and instead turn to something else.
Treatment from a Qualified Aromatherapist
If you want to be sure that you are getting the best health benefits aromatherapy has to offer, you can turn to aromatherapists. If you do, you should know that not all are qualified to the same standards. In fact, it is possible for a masseuse to provide a massage with essential oils, without ever being trained in their use.
Unlike medical experts, aromatherapists are not officially regulated, but there are industry bodies that operate voluntarily and set the code of practice for professional aromatherapists to adhere too.
The largest body in the UK is the International Federation of Aromatherapists. Registered members are required to undergo specialist training, work to a code of practice and maintain ethical standards.
IFAroma.Org has a searchable database of registered members, so you can use that find trusted aromatherapists near you. Or you use the list above, buy your own essential oils, and follow the guidelines that come with the bottle to use a home remedy for stress and anxiety obliteration.
The choice is completely yours. After you have a talk with your GP about your plans.