Alternative Health

Essential oils for relaxation and stress relief

Woman sits awake worry at end of bed at night

What are essential oils and aromatherapy?

Many people use essential oils in order to feel relaxed or to help to relieve stress, among many other uses.

With all the demands of a modern lifestyle, knowing how to slow down and take some much-needed time to calm your mind when you need to, can be surprisingly hard to do. For some people, this is where aromatherapy – which utilises the benefits of essential oils, made from concentrated plant extracts, distilled from flowers, roots, or leaves – can help.

Simply taking a moment to focus on your breathing and feel present in the moment can be a first step towards calming a racing mind and looking after your overall wellbeing. You can amplify that benefit by using essential oils that might help you feel more relaxed.

Essential oils are the basis for aromatherapy: a complementary therapy thought to enhance mental and physical health thanks to the properties that different essential oils have when inhaled or absorbed by the skin. For example, essential oils can be applied topically as part of a massage (oils shouldn’t be applied directly to skin, but diluted with a carrier oil), or they may be added to bath water.

There are qualified professionals who practise aromatherapy as a healing alternative therapy. But when it comes to enjoying the positive effects of essential oils on our wellbeing, basic aromatherapy is something that anyone can try.

How to use essential oils for aromatherapy

The simplest way to experience the benefits of essential oil is to twist the cap off the bottle and breathe deeply through your nose to take in the scent. Avoid getting pure essential oil on your skin, as this can irritate if not diluted properly.

Spritzing yourself with a diluted essential oil spray or using a portable roll-on is another easy way to make aromatherapy part of your self-care habits, and can be handy when you’re on-the-go.

To apply essential oils topically, always dilute your essential oil with a base oil, like coconut or almond oil, before using on skin anywhere on your body. Try massaging any tension points, such as your neck or temples.

You can further boost the relaxing qualities of a hot bath by adding some diluted essential oil to the water for a soothing experience.

Woman relaxes in the bath with candles and cup of tea


Which essential oils help with relaxation and stress relief?

Lavender as an essential oil

Lavender, with its vivid purple, distinctly scented flowers, has long been celebrated for its soothing properties.

Lavender flowers have been used for centuries for both perfume and medicinal purposes. And that sweet, floral aroma is why lavender essential oil is an ingredient that’s often present in today’s air fresheners and scented candles.

But lavender doesn’t just make your home smell good. The calming scent of Lavender Essential Oil is thought to help reduce anxiety, relieve tension and relax the senses.

Lavender Essential Oil is also widely recognised for its benefits in promoting restful sleep. If you struggle with insomnia or disturbed sleep, try inhaling lavender oil before going to bed — it might even help to slow any racing thoughts and allow you to begin to relax into sleep.

Orange as an essential oil

Orange is a popular essential oil due to its mood-lifting properties, which make it a natural choice for scents that might aid you in tackling feelings of stress and anxiety.

Orange Essential Oil is made by cold-pressing the rind of oranges, as a way of bottling their pleasant citrus scent.

A popular ingredient in many cosmetic and cleaning products due to its bright, sweet aroma, the smell of concentrated oranges might even help to make you feel more upbeat and positive.

That’s why you’ll also find orange oil in plenty of aromatherapy products, either on its own or blended with a complementary oil, such as lemon or lavender.

Patchouli as an essential oil

Made from the dried leaves of the patchouli plant – a herb native to Southeast Asia – Patchouli Essential Oil is used the world over in scented products such as candles and cosmetics. Today, patchouli is primarily grown and harvested to make essential oil.

Patchouli has a woody, earthy smell that can be described as sweet or spicy. The oil often features in aromatherapy blends for stress reduction or meditation, along with lavender and other floral scents.

Patchouli is often linked to stress reduction because of its grounding aroma, which might help you to feel calm and more well-balanced.

Which essential oil blends can aid relaxation and stress relief?

Pure essential oils contain only the oil extracted from one plant source, such as lavender or orange.

Blended essential oils contain a mixture of two or more pure essential oils to create a synergistic blend.

Using an essential oil blend can be helpful to alleviate stress and anxiety, as it combines the aromas of several calming scents into one convenient formula.

Calming Essential Oil is a relaxing blend that combines citrus aromas including orange and tangerine, with floral scents such as lavender, ylang ylang, and chamomile. An all-round remedy for stressful days.

Not a fan of lavender? Try Stress Ease Essential Oil. This soothing blend contains a similar mixture of calming essential oils, but with peppermint rather than lavender. The minty aro-ma helps to refresh the senses, while the citrus and floral notes promote relaxation.

Explore our range of calming essential oils to help reduce anxiety, alleviate stress, and promote relaxation.

Nature's Truth

Nature's Truth

Writer and expert