Aromatherapy for stress management: types, benefits and DIY massage oil recipes
Harness the healing power of Aromatherapy to quickly and effectively reduce stress, anxiety, depression and insomnia. If used routinely you can improve your overall health and wellness of the mind, body and spirit.
Nature has a way of providing us with everything we need to heal many ailments. We just need to go back to the basics and aromatherapy helps us do just that!
Aromatherapy is the use of natural plant extracts and aromatic plant oils called essential oils. These essential oils are unique in property compositions. They are made up of herb, tree parts, flower, roots, petals, and peels.
Different plant products are combined to produce essential oils. For instance, to make 1 pound of lavender essential oil, over two hundred pounds of lavender flowers are used.
The essential oils that are extracted from plants can be administered through, small quantities like inhalation, massage or within diffuser jewelry, and simple applications on the skin surface through body, face and hair cosmetic products.
The external application and inhalation of essential oils for the treatment of mental spiritual and physical balance are the basics of aromatherapy. The therapy of these oils is known to relieve stress, rejuvenate and regenerate an individual's daily life.
Examples of Aromatherapy Oils as Healing Treatments
Here are a few examples of essential oils that you can combine to make an excellent blend of healing treatments.
1. Stress: Bergamot, Veitievr, Lavender, Ylang Ylang
2. Anxiety: Bergamot, Sandalwood, Lavender
3. Depression: Peppermint, Lavender
4. Decongesting: Tea tree, Eucalyptus, Pine, Peppermint.
What are the Types of Aromatherapy?
There are 3 types of Aromatherapy that can be used as a holistic stress relief treatment, and they are Massage Aromatherapy, Olfactory Aromatherapy, and Cosmetic Aromatherapy.
1. Massage Aromatherapy
Massage aromatherapy combines essential oils with a carrier oil. You can use a carrier oil to dilute any of your essential oils which makes it easier to apply to the skin and reduces skin sensitivity as well as increase absorption through skin tissue. I recommend carrier oils, such as coconut, jojoba, almond and avocado to dilute them.
NOTE: The standard dilution is 2%. There are 30 ml in 1 oz of carrier oil which equals 600 drops total. 2% of 600= 12. For 1 oz of carrier oil you would add 12 drops of essential oil for a 2% dilution. For sensitive areas like the underarms or face, [choose] 1% dilution or lower.
The massage therapist, for example, uses various techniques to achieve the full benefit of aromatherapy oils in a massage. Aromatherapy oils can be used for a face massage, ear massage, head and scalp massage, foot massage and a full body massage.
The licensed massage therapist selects a premixed blend based on your specific health concern or health goal. For instance, if you want to have a massage for relaxation and stress relief, they may recommend bergamot or lavender oil. They can also let you select your own essential oil by asking you to smell different blends.
As the massage therapist begins the massage you will notice a subtle aroma of the essential oils being used. The fragrance will help you to slowly release all tension and relax the body and mind. Go to our DIY Massage Oil Recipes section to create your own.
You can also reap the benefits on your own self massage, (check out my self-massage tips below,) or ask your partner to help you with the massage. It can be enjoyable and romantic for you both. Below are the 12 benefits of massage aromatherapy oils.
12 Benefits of Massage Aromatherapy Oils
The benefits include:
- Eases depression.
- Reduces stress and anxiety.
- Speeds up the recovery process.
- Tones the skin.
- Induces sleep.
- Boosts cognitive performance.
- Revitalizes energy levels.
- Reduces pain.
- Tones the muscles.
- Strengthens the immune system.
- Improves digestion and increases blood circulation.
- Calms and soothes the nervous system.
DIY Massage Oil Recipes For Calmness, Relaxation, and to Boost Energy
The following massage oil recipes will help to bring about calmness, relaxation and re-energize you mentally.
Calming Massage Oil Recipe
3 Tablespoons evening primrose oil
5 drops of marjoram
5 drops of cypress
5 drops of Melissa
2 drops of lemon
1 drop of grapefruit
Reduce Anxiety Massage Oil Recipe
3 Tablespoons of coconut oil
10 drops of lavender
4 drops of bergamot
4 Drops of clary sage
Mental Re-energize Massage Oil Recipe
3 tablespoons of sweet almond oil
10 drops of basil
4 drops of peppermint
4 drops of rosemary
4 drops of cedarwood
Mix all the ingredients thoroughly and massage onto the body or where it is needed. Remember to warm the bottle of oil up before you begin. It makes it all the more pleasant. This massage oil recipe yields one treatment that you can repeat every evening or when needed. The aroma will simply relax and make you feel great!
NOTE: Remember to dilute essential oil if using on the skin. Also, do a small skin patch test to assure that you are not allergic to essential oils before you use on the rest of the body.
Self Massage Tips: Make you Feel Better Instantly
The first step is to choose from one of the massage oil recipes above or buy essential oils from my recommendations below. Warm up the massage oil by placing it in some warm water. Massage the oil into your body for 5-20 minutes. Begin as directed below.
Hands, Face, Forehead and Temples
Take a small amount of massage oil and begin to massage your hands and fingers in each hand. Pay attention to the hands and massage the palms and small joints of each individual fingers. Continue to face and make circular motions over your forehead and temples, cheeks, nose, upper lip, chin, and outer ear.
As you continue to each area of your body continue to adds small amounts of massage oil as needed.
Self Massage for Neck, Shoulder, and Arms
Proceed to the neck area and use long strokes from under the chin down the neck and up again working your way around to the back of the neck. Continue down to your shoulders with long strokes then do the same with the long bones of the arms. Go up and down the length of the arms. Use circular strokes for the joints in the shoulders, elbows, and wrists.
Proceed to the chest area and use both hands and with a circular motion massage the center of your chest, working outward towards the armpits. Massage under the armpits. From the armpits continue in a circular motion back toward the breast until you massage both breast or chest area completely.
It’s important for women to understand that massaging the breast helps in several ways:
- increase circulation.
- helpful for lymphatic drainage
- keeps breast tissue healthy.
- keep your breast firmer.
- early detection of lumps in the breast.
I have experienced the fear of breast cancer, so I know the importance of women performing a self-breast-examination each month to detect changes or abnormalities. Any changes should be discussed with a doctor or physician at once.
Use circular motions over your abdomen. Start from the bottom right side corner moving up and over to the left and back around again. Repeat several times. Massage also under the rib cages as well.
Once you finish with the front continue with the backside with long firm strokes from the ribs down your lower back to the hips. Use the long strokes to get most of the back as possible. Continue down to the hips and use long strokes and circular motions.
Use long strokes and small circular motions. Use fingers and thumbs to release any tension.
Legs and Feet
Massage your legs and feet as you did with your arms. Use long strokes on the long bones moving towards the center of the body. Use circular strokes with the joints of the Knees, ankles, and small joints of the feet. Pay attention also to the sole of the feet and the toes.
This completes your body massage. Keep in mind to be careful in walking with oil on your feet. Keep a separate towel at hand just for your self-massage therapy. Shower or take a warm bath after your massage.
Massage aromatherapy is an excellent and most beneficial way to ease stress and anxiety.
NOTE: If you are thinking of having an aromatherapy massage remember to check with your healthcare provider to see if it is right for you.
Where to Buy Essential Oils to Relieve Anxiety and Stress
It is extremely important to purchase essential oils from a trusted brand. I typically buy my essential oils from Barefut.com. They are "owned and operated by Certified Aromatherapists who have been providing all natural, chemical-free health and beauty products for 8 years."
Barefut’s essential oils are 100% pure, therapeutic; organically grown, ethically produced and free from chemicals or pesticides. Their oils do not contain fillers, additives, or any other type of dilution. They are also kid friendly.
The quality of their oil is excellent, and most importantly, there is no concern of any unlisted or hidden ingredients, or dangerous processing techniques that can lead to contamination. Here are some essentials oils that Barefut has on Sale.
NOTE: If you have any kind of health condition or pregnant, check with your doctor, before you start using essential oils.
2. Olfactory Aromatherapy for Stress Relief
Olfactory Aromatherapy or inhalation is one of the most effective ways of getting the benefits of essential oils and for stress reduction. By inhaling the right mixtures of essential oils, many people can see improvement in their health and well-being.
However, it is important to note that everyone is different; when inhaling essential oils or using them topically for emotional well-being; what may work for you may not work for someone else. It is important to learn which essential oils benefits you the most.
NOTE: While you are trying to discover which essential oil is best, remember to dilute them to limit burning or irritation.
Benefits of Olfactory Aromatherapy
Aromas are potent, not only in the speeding up of the healing process but also elevate the mind. They influence emotions in a positive way.
The inhaled fragrances go through the nose and enter the brain section known as the 'limbic system'. This is the part of the brain that controls our emotions, mood, memory, and learning. The reaction of the brain to the efficacy of the aroma is what induces emotional wellness and brings back pleasant reminiscence.
Aromas can stimulate affection. There is a corresponding influence on our emotions and feelings when we inhale odors. Rose, jasmine, and herbs like basil emit unique scents which aid in the relief of physical and mental stress.
Olfactory Aromatherapy for stress reduction strategies are:
- Placing aromatic flowers in vases, in living area and bedroom.
- Personal aromatherapy inhalers.
- Homemade Air Fresheners.
- Essential Oil Diffuser – produces a fine and uniform aromatherapy mist. It is a simple and healthy way to fill the air with a nice fragrance which can lift your mood and help relieve you from a stressful and tiring day. You can easily create an elegant spa right in the comfort of your home.
- Incense sticks with natural fragrance could also be burnt to create a healthy mood. Examples are incense sticks of sandalwood.
Inhalation of Essential Oils with a diffuser
Inhalation is the safest means to administer essential oils, and the fastest way to get into your bloodstream.
However, it’s still critical to use oils with caution when diffusing. When diffusing essential oils, always:
- Follow the dilution guidelines.
- Diffuse in a well-ventilated room.
- It is recommended to add 3-5 drops of essential oil per 100ml of water.
- Make sure your pet (especially cats) have a way to leave the room if they don’t like the aroma.
- Do not apply essential oils on or around your eyes or open wounds.
- Do a small skin patch test to assure that you are not allergic to essential oils before you use on the rest of the body.
- Keep Essential oils in a safe place. Store them like you would any other medicine.
- They are flammable so keep them away from children and pets.
4 Different Types of Essential Oil Diffusers
There are a few different types of essential oil diffusers that you can use. I recommend the following:
- Evaporative Diffusers
- Nebulizer Diffusers
- Heat Diffusers
- Ultrasonic/Humidifying Diffusers
Example of an Ultrasonic Diffusers
I personally use the ASAKUKI 400ML Premium, Essential Oil Diffuser, Quiet 5-in-1 Humidifier. I just love it. I used this when I was sick with the flu and really helped me feel better. I would let it run for 6 hours with Eucalyptus Essential Oil which helps with congestion. Ginger essential oil is an antibacterial analgesic, that can also reduce fevers, sore throats, and break up congestion.
With the Asakuki oil diffuser you have the option to choose 1 hour, 3 hours or 6 hours before shutting off automatically. I find that starting it 30 minutes or so before I go to bed and setting it for 6 hours works great and is all I need.
This diffuser is a pretty teak vase that is easy to operate. The moisture is not excessive to cause mold. Overall, I think it's a good purchase, great price, and I recommend it.
Olfactory Aromatherapy Study-Effectiveness of Aromatherapy for Stress Reduction
There is so much research carried out about the benefits of Olfactory aromatherapy for stress reduction. The University of Montana conducted a study to investigate the effectiveness of aromatherapy as a stress reduction tool for college students. Stress levels there were incredibly prevalent with an average level of 57%. This stress level was more than average level of stress.
So, they conducted this study to determine the effectiveness of aromatherapy for stress reduction among students at the University of Montana. The target of this study consisted of 10 female freshmen students.
They were separated into a treatment and control group. The treatment group were to choose one of the pre-mixed essential oils consisting of clary sage, chamomile, and lavender. They would then apply drops of oil twice a day for a week on their wrists for a guided aroma inhalation.
After a week they met for intervention and were informed about the commonly used essential oils in aromatherapy, the importance of buying quality oil and where to buy them. They were then given a second opportunity to choose a different oil and they would put in on their wrist and repeat the process all over again for the next 3 weeks.
After they gathered the data, they found that the overall stress and anxiety levels decreased and energy level and sleep increase with the treatment group. The results for the control group showed their stress and anxiety increased and the energy level and sleep decreased. These results suggest that aromatherapy is effective in reducing stress and anxiety.
3. Cosmetic Aromatherapy
Cosmetics aromatherapy utilizes certain essential oils for skin, body, face and hair products. These products are used for their various effects as cleansing, moisturizing, drying and toning. A healthy skin can be obtained by use of essential oils in facial products ie. facial oils, facial scrubbers, cleansers, moisturizers, toners and facial masks. Cosmetic aromatherapy in a full-body or foot bath can also be rejuvenating and a revitalizing experience.
Cosmetic aromatherapy can help to dramatically boost mood, and can provide a great-quality makeup that has an added benefit. Mood-boosting essential oils can be found in body washes, fragrances, candles, body oils and shampoos. These products have larger quantities of the essential oils that can lift your mood (for example, lavender and bergamot are well-known stress relievers, while cedarwood and peppermint are invigorating).
Aromatherapy essential oils are vastly use in dermatology especial to fight infections. Research has identified and recommended 90 essential oils for dermatological use.
The Benefits of Cosmetic Aromatherapy
There are many benefits for using cosmetic aromatherapy:
- Anti-inflammatory, antioxidant and natural astringent properties. (orange oil)
- Cleanse and detoxify skin, draw out impurities.
- Brightens dull complexions, prevent clogged pores and nourishes the skin.
- Boosts blood flow and slows down the rate of skin damage from free radicals.
- Has antibacterial, anti-infectious, anti-viral and anti-septic abilities that promote wound healing, treat skin eruptions like pimples, and provide relief from an itchy scalp or insect bites.
- Soothes and Moisturizes dry or callused skin and reduce lines and wrinkles.
- Helps improve skin elasticity and provides a healthy and youthful glow.
Ten Basic Essential Oils and their benefits
1. Lavender: antiviral, antibacterial, antidepressant, boosts immunity, anti-inflammatory, first-aid.
2. Chamomile: digestive, relaxant, anti-inflammatory, antidepressant, antiallergenic.
3. Marjoram: antiseptic, antispasmodic, anti-inflammatory.
4. Rosemary: relieves pain, improves circulation, decongestant, stimulating to circulation.
5. Tea tree: antibacterial, antifungal, anti-yeast.
6. Cypress: antiseptic, astringent, stimulating to circulation,
7. Peppermint: clears sinuses, stimulant, digestive, antiseptic, decongestant.
8. Eucalyptus: antiviral, stimulant, antibacterial and decongestant.
9. Bergamot: anti-inflammatory, antidepressant, antiparasitic.
10. Geranium: anti-fungal, balancing of mind and body, anti-inflammatory.
Overall Health Benefits of Aromatherapy
A lot of people have testified to the health benefits derived from using aromatherapy essential oils and many studies have concluded that aromatherapy is a natural and noninvasive alternative to help maintain health and well-being.
Not only are disease symptoms being eliminated but the whole body has the potential to be rejuvenated and re energized by the use of aroma.
Aromatherapy has physiological, spiritual and psychological benefits and this therapy is not only preventive but also can be used in the acute and chronic stages of disease. It is most helpful in relieving stress and anxiety daily.
The pharmaceutical industries are trying to seek environmental friendly, alternative and natural medicine for disease associated with pathogens and metabolism. With the use of essential oils the medicine or drug will be absorbed more efficiently in the body.
Aromatherapy can be a useful and beneficial non-medicinal option or can also be combined with conventional care for some health conditions, that is if safety and quality issues are considered.
The acceptance of complementary or alternative medicine provides an opportunity to reduce the bad effects of modern medicine by these essential oils. If aromatherapy is further explored to their full potential, this therapy can benefit everyone; mentally, spiritually and physically.
Disclosure of Material Connection: This blog may contain affiliate links. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255: “Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising.
This article is for informational purposes only. It is not intended to treat, diagnose, cure, or prevent disease. This article has not been reviewed by the FDA. Always consult with your primary care physician or naturopathic doctor before making any significant changes to your health and wellness routine.