Essential oils such as lavender, rose, clary sage, chamomile, ylang ylang, mandarin and geranium have traditionally been used to help reduce stress and anxiety levels due to their relaxing and sedating properties. Several studies have proven the effectiveness of aromatherapy for stress and anxiety. Here are some examples of the research.
Lavender Calms Babies
When very young infants were given a bath with lavender essential oil, their levels of cortisol (the primary stress hormone) significantly decreased, as did their mothers’; the infants also cried less and slept deeper than the ones that had a plain bath.
Clary Sage Reduces Stress in Middle-Aged Women
Forty four middle-aged women were tested on their stress levels before and after using an essential oil. For two weeks the women inhaled clary sage from a tissue four times a day; the study found that both their physical and psychological stress levels had significantly decreased.
Aromatherapy is Effective for Stress Management
A group of student nurses were given aromatherapy treatment using an aroma lamp with oils of lavender, peppermint, rosemary and clary sage. Their physical symptoms decreased, their anxiety scores were low, and their perceived stress scores were low, showing that aroma inhalation could be a very effective stress management method.
Aromatherapy Reduces Stress Levels in Nurses
A group of nurses working in a hospital operating room inhaled a blend of lavender, bergamot and ylang ylang. Their subjective stress levels, stress response levels and job stress levels were lower than the control group.
Aromatherapy Lowers Stress Levels in Adolescents
A study was done to examine the effects of aromatherapy on stress and stress responses in adolescents. The experimental treatment was essential oil inhalation and the placebo treatment was carrier oil inhalation using a necklace. Stress levels were significantly lower when the students received the aroma treatment compared to when they received the placebo treatment. Aroma inhalation could therefore be a very effective stress management method for high school students.
Aromatherapy Reduces Stress and Anxiety in Students
A study was done to assess the efficacy of aromatherapy in decreasing stress and anxiety levels in undergraduate health science students. All subjects were assessed as to stress and anxiety levels before and after the treatment. The aromatherapy treatment consisted in twice weekly, 10-minute inhalations of a synergy of essential oils made specifically for this study, for a total of 7 sessions. Stress and anxiety scores measured before and after treatment were statistically compared. The aroma group showed a significant decrease in stress and anxiety levels, while in the control group only a significant, though lesser stress level decrease could be noticed. Aromatherapy thus proved effective in reducing stress and anxiety levels in graduate health students.
As well as the benefiting from regular aromatherapy massages, essential oils can be used at home to help reduce stress and anxiety levels in between treatments. Methods of use include bath and body oils, rollerball blends, oil burners/diffusers or aromatherapy jewellery. Please get in touch if you would like to buy any essential oils or have your own bespoke oil blend made up for you.
- Field, T., Field, T., Cullen, C., Largie, S., Diego, M., Schanberg, S., Kuhn, C., 2008, Lavender bath oil reduces stress and crying and enhances sleep in very young infants, Early Human Development, 84(6):399-401
- Seo, HK., Park, KS., 2003, A Study on the Effects of Aroma Inhalation Method using Clary Sage Essential Oil on Stress in Middle-Aged Women, Korean Journal of Women Health Nursing, Mar;9(1):70-79
- Park, MK., Lee, ES., 2004,The effect of aroma inhalation method on stress responses of nursing students, Journal of Korean Academy of Nursing, Apr;34(2):344-51
- Sung, SN., Eun, Y., 2007, The Effect of Aromatherapy on Stress of Nurses Working in Operating Room, Journal of Korean Academy of Adult Nursing, Mar;19(1):1-11
- Seo, JY., 2009, The Effects of Aromatherapy on Stress and Stress Responses in Adolescents, Journal of Korean Academy of Adult Nursing, Jun;39(3):357-65
- de Lyra, CS., Nakai, LS., Marques, AP., 2010, Effectiveness of aromatherapy in reducing stress and anxiety levels in undergraduate health science students: a preliminary study, Fisioterapia e Pesquisa, Jan-Mar 17 (1): 13-7 17 (1) 13-7