You’ve probably heard of people using essential oils for stress. Though some things we use for our bodies are based on research and medical findings, some are based on generational use and are more time-tested for their efficacy. Essential oils most certainly fall into that latter category. These are the things your grandmother’s grandmother knew and passed down through the generations to you.
Some essential oils have a reputation for being helpful for people in terms of daily stress management, or simply put, they make people feel better. It is long known that inhaling certain scents can affect our psyche, our mood, and ultimately, our body. Let’s talk about some of these essential oils, how to use them to help with stress, and which ones you should consider using for these purposes.
Today, we’ll cover:
- The history of using essential oils for stress management.
- How to use essential oils in your daily life to help combat stress.
- The best essential oils to use for stress management.
- Combining essential oils with CBD for the best results.
Essential Oils for Stress: A Brief History
Many people wonder how we used lavender spritzes on our pillowcases or ylang-ylang in the bath. Our modern-day use of essential oils comes from a long history of benefits that culminated in a reputation of sorts for these oils. Over time, as various cultures used the native plants and botanicals in their area for religious purposes, health and wellness, beauty, and other purposes, many of these oils were developed and used.
Many of our current beauty practices originated with the ancient Egyptians, who were the first ones who began using plants, oils, mud concoctions, and other things they found in their environment as a way to beautify their skin and hair. Some of these practices developed into what we now call aromatherapy, which uses scent to influence the mind or mood.
Modern perfumery was also born from these ancient ways. The distillation of oils began somewhere around the 10th century with the Persians. Around the same time, China and India were also developing distillation processes to isolate the oils from certain plants to be useful in a more concentrated way.
Today, many people use essential oils as part of their stress management techniques or add an element of pleasantness to their daily routine. While people enjoy and use these oils to varying degrees, they also report varying responses. Lavender scents may help one person fall asleep soundly; another oil may work better for someone else.
It may take a bit of experimentation to find the right oils or combination of oils that help you feel better, live better, or rest better. When it comes to different ways to manage stress, it probably can’t get any more simple or pleasant than using these aromatic oils to stimulate or calm the mind.
Availability of Essential Oils Changed Everything
While all of these different cultures knew the botanical uses in their region or in nearby areas from trading with neighboring cultures, you and I have basically anything we want available to us. Through modern technology, manufacturing, and shipping practices, you can go online and order essential oils from plants that grow on the other side of the planet.
Your Olfactory Sense
Using scent to help with stress management is based on how your olfactory sense connects to your mind. There are nerve endings and olfactory neurons inside your nose that signal your brain to identify and process the scents you encounter. As your brain interprets these signals, it also generates a response to what you are smelling. Terpenes are compounds in essential oils that give each a distinct aroma. For many essential oils, these scents alone can provoke a pleasant response.
Think of how you smell a certain scent, and it brings back memories of something from your childhood. Or how smelling food can generate a hunger response. These reactions in your mind are how scents can affect our mood and how we feel. Each person has a varying level of olfactory sensitivity, which likely explains how we all have varied responses to the use of essential oils for mood enhancement or stress management techniques.
How to Use Essential Oils for Stress Management
There are a lot of ways to manage stress in your daily life, from meditation to relaxation techniques to coping mechanisms to using essential oils. Using essential oils is one of the easiest and least intrusive methods for managing your mood and dealing with stress in your daily life. Here are a few of the ways you can incorporate essential oils into any lifestyle.
Using essential oils in an aromatherapeutic manner simply means that you breathe in the scents. There are a few different ways you can use essential oils by inhalation:
- Aromatherapy necklaces have an open-locket design with an absorbent pad inside. Place a few drops of the essential oils onto the absorbent pad and wear them inside the necklace.
- Place a few drops of essential oils onto your chest and shoulders so that you can breathe in the scents. You may want to do a patch test to test for skin sensitivities for essential oils. Simply place a few drops on the inside of your elbow and wait 24 hours to see if your skin shows any signs of redness, itching, or other sensitive reaction. Essential oils diluted with a carrier oil are best for skin contact use.
- Inhale directly from the bottle of the essential oil. Just a few deep breaths will do.
- Use a roller. These are small glass bottles with a roller tip that you can fill with your favorite essential oil blends. If you like it less concentrated, you can use a carrier oil such as fractionated coconut oil. Here are some essential oil recipes for use in a roller.
- Using the steam method, you’ll place a few drops of your favorite essential oils into steamy water in a bowl. Place a towel over your head and breathe in the therapeutic steam.
- Lamp rings are an absorbent pad on which you can place essential oil drops. Then put the lamp ring on the lightbulb. As the light bulb heats the pad, the fragrance is released.
- A diffuser can be an easy way to keep essential oil scents flowing through your home. They come in many varieties, most of which diffuse the scent into a humidifying mist.
- Dry evaporation entails placing essential oil drops onto a cotton pad or cotton ball and placing it nearby. As the essential oils evaporate, the scents are released.
- Place a few drops of your favorite essential oils into your bath or blend with some unscented Epsom salts for your bath.
Some essential oils can be ingested, which provides another way you can use them. However, many are not ingestible and can cause significant health risks. Working with a trained herbalist and asking your doctor’s advice before consuming any essential oils is advised.
An easy way to use essential oils is through the use of topicals. This includes beauty products, shampoo, soaps, bath products, and skincare products. The essential oils provide an aromatic experience and a natural way to add fragrance to the products we use on our bodies each day.
Risks and Precautions of Using Essential Oils
Some people should not use essential oils without permission from their doctor or healthcare professional. This includes older adults, children younger than 12, and women who are pregnant or breastfeeding.
Best Essential Oils for Stress Relief
Knowing which essential oils for stress work best for you is a matter of experimentation. You have to try different ones or combinations to find what works best for you and gives you the desired feelings. Here are a few of the ones commonly used for stress management, relaxation, and mood enhancement.
- Lavender: The ancient Greeks and Romans believed the soothing effects of lavender to be so powerful it could tame lions and tigers. I’m not so sure about that, but the oils and flowers from this shrubby Mediterranean plant, Lavandula angustifolia, pack a variety of uses. Many people use it in the bath or a spritz on their pillow to help them relax or to gently soothe them into a good night’s sleep. One of the most popular and widely used essential oils, lavender is a fragrant must-have for your essential oils collection.
- Chamomile: Chamomile is another essential oil used to promote better rest. It comes from a plant native to Europe, Africa, and Asia called Matricaria recutita. Chamomile contains apigenin, which is believed to help people to relax.
- Sandalwood: Sandalwood essential oils come from Santalum album, or Indian sandalwood, which is a tropical tree native to India. It is believed to help calm and soothe, as well as promote better rest. It has a creamy-earthy-woody scent that many people find appealing.
- Orange: Essential oil of orange is extracted from the rind of the sweet orange, Citrus sinensis. This fragrant oil is commonly used to “lift” mood and make you feel in better spirits. There’s no wonder it’s included in so many holiday scents, as people want to associate the season’s smells with happiness and a feeling of holiday spirit. But it’s also a lovely addition to skin care year-round!
- Ylang ylang: This enticing scent comes from the flowers of a tropical tree called Cananga odorata genuina, native to India, Malaysia, the Philippines, and Australia. It is commonly used to promote relaxation, but across cultures, there are a variety of uses and customs that celebrate this fragrant scent. This scent mixes particularly well with citrus and floral notes.
- Lemon: Extracted from oily cells in the skin of the fruit of the Citrus limon tree, this fresh and cheerful citrus scent is the perfect addition to any aromatherapy practice. It is believed to be a helpful, calming oil.
- Bergamot: It may surprise you, but bergamot comes from a citrus tree, Citrus bergamia, which is a lot like an orange tree. It has some similarities with orange essential oil and makes a nice soothing addition to essential oil practices. Bergamot blends well with lavender and chamomile to create a power trio to combat stress.
- Lemongrass: Not to be confused with the essential oil of lemon, lemongrass comes from a grassy tropical plant called Cymbopogon citratus, which derives its name from the strong lemony scent of the leaves. Many people use this essential oil in their homes, but also for relief from daily stress. Its pleasant scent also works well for a relaxing bath that refreshes your mood.
- Frankincense: Another essential oil commonly used to relieve stress is the woody-scented frankincense from the Boswellia carterii or Boswellia sacra tree. You may also hear this oil called olibanum. This oil has a unique extraction process as well. Boswellia trees are native to Africa, India, and the Middle East; they are tapped for a hardened resin that is very fragrant. The extracted oils are useful in all kinds of beauty and skin care products, among other uses. People like this soothing, sweet, and woody scent.
- Eucalyptus: Eucalyptus oil comes from the Eucalyptus globulus tree and is commonly used to soothe stress. It has a strong and distinct smell that many people enjoy using to spruce up their homes and beauty routines. It is described best as a sweet and woody scent.
Combining Essential Oils and CBD
Some people find that combining essential oils with CBD oil is a good way to get even greater benefits. This is one reason we use essential oils in so many of our products here at cbdMD.
CBD Topical Formulas
The easiest way to combine the effects of essential oils and CBD oil is to use CBD topicals. Like essential oils, CBD also contains terpenes included in our special Superior Broad Spectrum Formula so that you can get the most CBD benefits possible from using our products. Combining CBD’s entourage effect with our select essential oils makes for a winning combination for you, inducing even greater results.
Here are some of our most popular topical formulas which incorporate essential oils:
- CBD bath bombs come in six different colors (moods) and incorporate essential oils of lavender, frankincense, eucalyptus, and our “special blend” of essential oils. You can choose from Resist, Rise, Romance, Rejuvenate, Restore, and Relax.
- CBD bath salts come in three varieties: Nighttime Lavender, Soothing Eucalyptus, and Soothing Lavender.
- CBD moisturizers, facial cleanser, and facial serum for your skin.
- CBD creams come in squeeze tubes or roll-on for easy application.
Here’s a great blog post on how you can use our CBD topical formulas to enhance your life: A Beginner's Guide to CBD Topicals.
Essential Oils for Stress Management: Do What Works for You
You may find that using these oils is so enjoyable that you feel good using them, among many ways to manage stress. As part of an overall regimen of stress management techniques, essential oils can bring a whole new element to your day. Using essential oils for stress management is an easy and pleasant experience for most people.
Regardless of which oils you choose to use and whether or not you combine them with CBD oil, it’s what works for you that really matters. Listen to your body and mind as you try the different oils and see what gives you the best dynamic response and what makes your body feel good.
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