Aromatherapy, Essential Oils and Your Stress
By Fernanda Menegassi-Lojac
Certified Advanced Clinical Aromatherapist, R.N, BSN
Essential oils work through your sense of smell to improve physical, emotional and spiritual wellbeing. Smelling essential oils can generate many therapeutic benefits that directly affect how we respond to stressful situations.
Your sense of smell is directly associated to your memory. A smell can recall old memories of events or situations that have been long forgotten. Your sense of smell also has been linked to how we assign importance or intensity to an experience or event.
So, how can aromatherapy be used to manage stress?
Your sense of smell is pretty amazing! The smells of essential oils have direct access to the emotional part of the brain (the limbic system), which controls mood, feelings and emotional behavior and can alter your perception and influence your emotions as well as assist in balancing hormonal production.
Basically, with aromatherapy we use smell to condition the brain to react positively to a situation or event that had been previously perceived as negative. The aromatic molecules found in essential oils have an overall uplifting and calming effect on mood and behavior. When we smell the oils during a stressful situation, we are attempting to interrupt the stress response, and as a result, change the way we react to the situation. In general, essential oils can help to reduce anxiety, stress, improve sleep, relieve muscle tension & headaches, improve focus & concentration as well as assist us with self-reflection and meditation.
Most people find the smell of lavender to be calming and relaxing. If you are not a fan of lavender, don’t worry, there are many other essential oils that have an uplifting and balancing effect on mind, body and soul.
Here are some of my favorite stress-relieving essential oils ...
Bergamot, sweet orange, rosewood, clary sage, ylang-ylang, frankincense, lavender, rose geranium, rose, sandalwood, neroli, black spruce, cedarwood, spanish sage, fragonia, pinon pine, patchouli, vetiver, roman chamomile, mandarin...and so many more!
I have formulated most of our products to work on a holistic level and may be used for various conditions related to stress. People often ask me which product is best for them. For emotional and stress related conditions, I always suggest they choose the aroma they enjoy the most. It’s fun to watch how someone’s face “lights up” after smelling an essential oil or product. The emotional effect is immediate and I can usually tell if the product will have the intended uplifting and positive effect on the person.
Here are some products I formulated to help reduce stress:
Tranquility Aromatherapy Mist – grounding and calming, reduces anxiety
Harmony Aromatherapy Mist - balancing to emotions, relaxing, joyful
Sweet Dreams Aromatherapy Mist - calming, relaxing, reduces anxiety, slightly sedating
Happy Aromatherapy Mist - cheerful, sweet and happy
Relax Aromatherapy Mist – uplifting and relaxing
Clarity Aromatherapy Mist – energizing, improves concentration and focus
Jasmine Rose Aromatherapy Mist – feminine, uplifting, relaxing, only available in-store
Acceptance Aromatherapy Roll On – calming, uplifting, transcendent
Fearless Aromatherapy Roll On – reduces anxiety, instills confidence and strength
Relax Aromatherapy Roll On – uplifting and relaxing, antispasmodic
Headache Aromatherapy Roll On – relieves headaches, muscle tension, calming to the mind and body.
Rosemance Aromatherapy Roll On – uplifting, aphrodisiac, euphoric
Sweet Dreams Aromatherapy Roll On – calming, reduces anxiety, sedating, antispasmodic
National Association for Holistic Aromatherapy.
Shutes, J. (n.d.). Advanced Aromatherapy Certification Program.
Aromas and the Mind.
Video: Video: How do we smell?