Aromatherapy for Stress & Anxiety

Nothing smells better than essential oils. But if you feel that they’re just attractive oils with no important uses in spa rooms, you need to think again. Essential oils can be made from a vast range of natural plant extracts and can be used to handle symptoms such as depression, fatigue, and pain management.

In the past few years, doctors and researchers established that essential oils can be used in aromatherapy to alleviate anxiety symptoms. This piece mentions vital facts to help you understand the relationship between aromatherapy and anxiety, how the treatment method works, and whether it’s safe.

What Are Essential Oils?

Essential oils are used in aromatherapy, a treatment method that leverages plant extracts to alleviate symptoms such as fatigue and stress to support wellbeing. Some experts have found that some essential oils’ health and medical claims are quite controversial.

Before delving deeper into the details, let’s first understand what essential oils are and how they work. Essential oils are natural compounds extracted from plants through different techniques. Once extracted, the oils come with the natural scent and flavor of the parent plant.

essential oils for stress

Distillation is one of the main methods experts use to extract essential oils from plants. After extracting the aromatic chemicals, they’re mixed with carrier oils to make them ready for use. The carrier product must be safe for human consumption, primarily if the final product is intended for treatment.

Essential oils have been used in aromatherapy and are inhaled through different methods. Note that essential oils must never be swallowed since the idea is to alleviate symptoms through scent.

Also, since some contain chemicals when swallowed, might unpleasantly interact with your body, leading to adverse side effects. The good thing with the products is that they can be absorbed into your body when applied to the skin.

Users and therapists believe that some methods of use are more effective than others. For instance, when applied with heat or on different body parts, the essential oils can be more effective.

The limbic system is the part of your body responsible for emotions. The essential oils can target this part of the brain and cause the desired benefits if inhaled. The system also plays an integral role in breathing, blood pressure, heart rate, etc.

Due to these functions, some users and experts feel that essential oils can cause physical effects on your body.

How Aromatherapy Works

Aromatherapy is an alternative treatment method that works differently, as discussed below.

1. Smell

The sense of smell is the most common and works with some of the most active parts of the human brain. If we breathe in the scents of essential oil, that smell can trigger physical and emotional responses. As such, it can help us recall places and people with ease.

essential oils for stress relief

When breathing in the molecules, they travel to the top of the nose, where they contact Olfactory cells, which are specialized nerve cells. These cells can detect and keep the aroma using a lock and key.

The exact process leads to nerve impulses which then travel to the limbic system, which is the part of the brain responsible for emotions and instincts. Scientists believe that such changes and movements of impulses bring about calming effects, thereby making you calm.

2. Absorption

It’s also possible to take the essential oils through inhalation so that they travel internally before getting absorbed. This method works best for the respiratory system. The essential oils contain antiviral and antibacterial properties that can keep your respiratory system healthy. They work best for the throat, chest, sinuses and can also alleviate the symptoms of allergies and infections.

Even if you have a lot of work on the table, you can use aromatherapy on the go and enjoy the benefits, such as peace and calmness throughout the day. For instance, during a break from work, apply essential oils on one of your pulses joins and feel the effects.

Some people also go to spas and interact with therapists as they receive the necessary treatment. It all depends on how best you want to absorb the scent and improve the quality of your life. For instance, some of them use warm shower or bath as they enjoy rewarding aromatherapy sessions.

3. Absorption Through Skin

The essential oils have micro-particles that can quickly go through the skin. The particles will travel from the epidermis, through the dermis, and into the blood vessels. They’ll go through the whole body and cause the desired effects.

Note that once they’re in the blood system and into different body parts, the molecules will interact with various systems to keep you calm. For instance, they can prevent the accumulation of toxic elements in the body and protect your cells from damage.

This explains why some skin care products contain essential oils. Note that some of them will be absorbed much faster than others when applied to the skin. Thus, if you must choose, be sure to do so carefully. You might seek help from an experienced person to help you pick the right product based on the severity of your anxiety.

What Aromatherapy is Used For

While many people claim that essential oils can be used for many ailments, there’s not enough evidence to back such claims. Thus, it’s hard to state categorically how effective the oils can be in human health.

However, some users have indeed gained the benefits that the oils claim to provide. But some of them have also used the products without success. It’s said that the disparity in results is due to how they use the products and the solutions they’re looking for.

aromatherapy during yoga meditation

A study conducted by Johns Hopkins reports that some essential oils can kill a given type of Lyme bacteria. The same study insists that the oils are more effective than some antibiotics, which to some extent, is true. However, it’s important to note that human clinical trials have mixed findings, which might lead to some confusion.

Certain studies show that there’re tremendous benefits attached to using essential oils, while some of them show no improvement in symptoms. Today, many clinical trials have been established to find out whether essential oils can help with depression, anxiety, low appetite, nausea, dry mouth, and insomnia.

Based on how the chemicals react with the body, it’s safe to state that the essential oils can calm you, making them an ideal solution for anxiety. Note that the effectiveness of the oils also depends on many factors, such as age, mode of consumption, the severity of the problem, and underlying health conditions.

If you feel that essential oils might give you the desired benefits, you should try aromatherapy. Start by working closely with a therapist. They’ll show you how the method works and whether it’s time to try a different treatment method.

Is Aromatherapy Safe?

Note that essential oils cause reactions in the body. Thus, not all of them will be helpful to everyone. While aromatherapy is considered a safe treatment method, you still need to proceed cautiously.

Some of them are made of chemical compounds that might cause adverse side effects in the user’s body. For instance, when used excessively, it might render conventional drugs useless. In some cases, the essential oils have been reported to cause exacerbate health conditions among users.

Suppose you have high blood pressure, it’s important to use certain products such as rosemary. Some compounds, such as aniseed, fennel, and sage, react the same way as estrogen. Therefore, if you’ve estrogen-dependent breast or even an ovarian tumor, it helps to stay away from such products.

Experts suggest avoiding concentrated products, so you need to dilute them before use. Even after dilution, you still need to use them carefully. Each time you use essential oils for aromatherapy, you should never exceed 5% concentration.

aromatherapy diffuser

Some plant extracts produce toxins and might be harmful to organs, such as kidneys, liver, and nervous system, more so when used internally. We’ve already mentioned that you must never swallow essential oils as they might cause severe side effects and life-threatening health complications.

Those with mild or severe conditions should stay away from essential oils. These conditions include but are not limited to asthma, allergies, hay fever, and skin conditions such as psoriasis and eczema.

If you have epilepsy, you must never use essential oils as they might worsen your condition. Also, you should not consider aromatherapy if you have high blood pressure or hypertension.

Once you go for the treatment and carrier oil is added, let your therapist know whether you have an allergy or allergies. This makes sense because most carrier oils are extracted from seeds and nuts, so let your practitioner know if you’re allergic to the same.


Did you know that you can benefit from aromatherapy and make your anxiety disappear? This method works, but you need to ensure that you’re using suitable essential oils. Also, refrain from putting the oils in your mouth as they might cause serious health problems.

Since some contain chemicals when swallowed, might unpleasantly interact with your body, leading to adverse side effects. The good thing with the products is that they can be absorbed into your body when applied to the skin

We hope this piece helps you make an informed decision. If you use essential oils and observe adverse side effects, contact your medical practitioner immediately before the situation gets out of hand. Also, you need to let your doctor know before you start using essential oils. While aromatherapy gets popular by the day, do your homework and proceed carefully.