10 Aromatherapy & Essential Oils for Relaxation & Stress Relief 

10 Aromatherapy & Essential Oils for Relaxation & Stress Relief 

Published on November 17, 2021

Stress—it’s something we all face at some point in our lives. But managing stress becomes particularly crucial during some of life’s most beautiful yet challenging times, like becoming a new mum, navigating through pregnancy, or even caring for our little ones.

I’m Sonya, a clinical aromatherapist, nurse, and midwife with a special focus on these extraordinary life stages. With over 20 years of experience and wearing many hats, including being a mum of two myself, I’ve learned a thing or two about stress relief.

We all have our ways to unwind. Some prefer a good chat with mates, while others might indulge in a hobby, but my favourite method? Essential oils. Natural, soothing, and filled with healing properties, they’ve been my go-to solution for two decades now.

Whether you’re a new mum, expecting, or just curious about natural ways to relax, I’m going to share how calming oils can become your new best friend in stress management. It’s not only my profession; it’s my passion.

Let’s move forward on this calming journey together, shall we?

Understanding Stress

We all talk about stress, but what is it really? Stress is your body’s way of responding to any kind of demand or threat.

It’s like an alarm system, but sometimes, it can get a bit out of hand. Common triggers might include work pressures, family responsibilities, health concerns, or even daily life hassles.

Can you relate? I know I can.

Stress Across Different Ages

Stress isn’t picky; it affects us all, from our little ones to our seasoned citizens.

  • Pregnant Women: Pregnancy is beautiful but, let’s be honest, it can be stressful! Hormonal changes and physical discomfort are just the tip of the iceberg.
  • New Mothers: Juggling a newborn, sleep deprivation, and sometimes, other kiddies? It’s a full-time job.
  • Adults: Balancing work, relationships, and personal life? Sometimes it feels like a tightrope walk, doesn’t it?
  • Children: Even our young ones feel the pinch. School, friendships, or family changes can weigh heavily on them.

The Science Behind Stress and Aromatherapy

Stress triggers the “fight-or-flight” response, releasing a flood of hormones that might leave us feeling frazzled. This is where aromatherapy can help.

Essential oils are more than just pleasant smells. They interact with the limbic system in our brain, which controls emotions.

Imagine a soothing lavender scent calming your nerves or zesty citrus awakening your senses. That’s aromatherapy working its magic!

It’s not just my personal preference; there’s real science backing up how essential oils can help alleviate stress.

The beauty of it? It’s natural and accessible to everyone, regardless of age or stage in life.

What Is Aromatherapy?

Aromatherapy isn’t just about beautiful smells. It’s the practice of using essential oils from plants to enhance the well-being of our mind, body, and spirit. 

But what are the exact benefits of aromatherapy, you might wonder? 

  • Emotional Well-being: One of the significant benefits of aromatherapy is its ability to uplift our emotional state. Whether it’s the calming notes of lavender or the cheerful zest of citrus oils, aromatherapy can soothe anxiety, boost mood, and promote a sense of harmony.
  • Physical Health: From relieving headaches to soothing sore muscles, aromatherapy can offer tangible physical benefits too. Certain essential oils can enhance circulation, support digestion, and even provide relief from respiratory conditions.
  • Cognitive Enhancement: The benefits of aromatherapy extend to cognitive function as well. It’s nature’s way of sharpening our focus. Essential oils like peppermint and rosemary can stimulate the mind, enhance concentration, and provide clarity. 
  • Holistic Healing: Aromatherapy isn’t just about treating specific issues; it’s a holistic approach to well-being. By working in harmony with our body’s natural rhythms, aromatherapy nurtures the soul and fosters a deeper connection with ourselves.
  • Skin and Beauty: Our skin, being our largest organ, can greatly benefit from aromatherapy. Oils like tea tree for acne, frankincense for aging, or chamomile for calming the skin showcase a diverse range of applications.

The Essence of Essential Oils

Now, you might be wondering, what essential oils are? They are the concentrated extracts of plants, capturing their very essence, including their fragrance and therapeutic properties.

From flowers and leaves to bark and roots, different parts of plants are meticulously extracted using methods like steam distillation or cold pressing.

Safety First

While essential oils have wonderful benefits, a little caution goes a long way. Here are some of the tried-and-tested tips I’ve learned over the years.

  • Always dilute them with a carrier oil, like almond or jojoba, as they can be potent.
  • Avoid using them undiluted on the skin, and always do a patch test first.
  • If you’re pregnant, breastfeeding, or using them on children, seeking professional advice is the way to go.

10 Best Essential Oils for Stress Relief

Life’s challenges call for a calming toolkit, and here’s where my favourite essential oils come into play:

1. Lavender

Often called the “universal oil,” lavender is known for its calming and soothing effects. It’s perfect for easing anxiety, insomnia, and even headaches. Whether in a bath or diffused in your room, it’s like a calming embrace for your senses.

2. Roman Chamomile

Gentle Roman Chamomile is renowned for its ability to calm an overactive mind and help with sleep. Its warm, apple-like scent is comforting, making it ideal for children and adults alike.

3. Bergamot

This citrus wonder uplifts the spirit while calming the mind. Bergamot can relieve stress, boost mood, and is an excellent choice when you’re feeling a bit down.

4. Ylang Ylang

With a sweet, exotic fragrance, ylang-ylang helps to reduce anxiety and induce joy. Its balancing effect on emotions makes it a great ally during tense times.

5. Frankincense

Often used in meditation, frankincense can deepen relaxation and encourage peace of mind. It’s grounding, soothing, and often associated with spiritual connection.

6. Peppermint

Need to clear your head? Peppermint’s refreshing aroma boosts mental clarity and focus. It’s an energising pick-me-up, especially during a midday slump.

7. Eucalyptus

Known for its crisp, clean scent, eucalyptus helps when you’re feeling overwhelmed. It can clear the mind, making it a favourite during colds or respiratory discomfort.

8. Rose

The “Queen of Flowers,” rose oil, is incredibly comforting, particularly during grief or sadness. Its beautiful floral scent can lift the heart and soothe emotional wounds.

9. Sandalwood

Rich and woody, sandalwood encourages a meditative state, bringing calm and inner peace. It’s perfect for unwinding at the end of a stressful day.

10. Geranium

>this beautiful oil is both calming and balancing on the emotions, making it one of the best essential oils for anxiety and stress.

Expertly Crafted Essential Oil Combinations

Navigating the world of essential oils can be a sensory adventure. But don’t worry!

I’ve got some expertly crafted combinations that I’ve been using for years to help with everything from clarity to calming those midnight mind-chatters.

1. Clarity & Focus

For that much-needed mental boost, try 1 drop rosemary + 3 drops lemon in the corner of your shower recess in the morning.

The zesty combo of rosemary, peppermint, grapefruit, lemon, and sweet basil can awaken the senses and sharpen your mind.

2. Happiness & Joy

Feeling a bit down? Reach for this uplifting blend: 4 drops sweet orange + 1 drop clary sage + 1 drop ylang ylang in the vaporiser.

Sweet orange, ylang ylang, grapefruit, and clary sage will bring a smile to your face.

3. Balance & Harmony

If you’re seeking equilibrium in your busy life, I recommend 3 drops bergamot + 2 drops lavender + 1 drop geranium mixed into 10mls of oil or cream and apply to pulse points. 

Geranium, bergamot, and lavender are your friends for harmony and peace.

4. Sedative & Calming

This blend is for you if you need a good night’s rest: 2 drops lavender + 2 drops mandarin on a tissue and tuck under your pillow.

In addition to lavender and mandarin, sandalwood and frankincense will send you off to dreamland too.

5. Support & Strength 

Looking for a supportive embrace? Use 2 drops lemon + 2 drops spruce + 1 drop black pepper mixed into 10mls of oil and massage around the lower back, then inhale the aroma from your hands.

Spruce, black pepper, ginger, cypress, and lemon will give you the strength you need.

6. Muscular Tension & Headaches

If you’re being bothered by aching muscles or nagging headaches, turn to 3 drops lavender + 2 drops sweet marjoram + 1 drop peppermint mixed into 10mls of oil and massage into areas of muscular tension.

Sweet marjoram, lavender, rosemary, and peppermint are here to ease the pain.

7. Upset Tummy

Tummy troubles? The solution could be 2 drops mandarin + 2 drops sweet orange + 1 drop petitgrain mixed into 10mls of oil and massage around the abdomen, then inhale the aroma from your hands.

Mandarin, sweet orange, petitgrain, Roman chamomile, and spearmint will soothe the storm.

8. Insomnia & “Monkey Mind”

Can’t sleep or still thinking about the day’s events? I highly suggest 3 drops lavender + 2 drops frankincense + 1 drop sandalwood mixed into 10mls of oil or unscented shower gel and add to a warm bath.

Atlas cedarwood, frankincense, sandalwood, patchouli, vetiver, and other sedative oils will calm that restless mind.

How to Use Essential Oils

Whether you’re an expectant mum, a new parent, or simply exploring natural remedies, here’s how you can embrace the wonderful world of essential oils:

1. Diffusion

Diffusing essential oils can create an aromatic environment that relaxes, uplifts, and cleanses the air.

Simply add a few drops of your chosen oil to a diffuser and let it fill your room. Whether you need tranquillity or energy, there’s an essential oil that fits your mood.

2. Topical Application

Applying essential oils directly to the skin can be powerful, especially when blended with carrier oil. Common areas for application include the wrists, temples, and soles of the feet.

Always remember to follow dilution guidelines or consult an aromatherapist like me to ensure safe usage.

3. Inhalation

Directly inhaling essential oils can provide quick relief from stress or congestion.

You can place a drop on a tissue or use an inhaler, taking gentle breaths as the aromatic molecules work their magic. It’s an easy and portable way to carry relaxation with you.

4. Massage Techniques

As a practitioner of pregnancy massage, I often incorporate essential oils for a deeply calming experience. Whether it’s Swedish, deep tissue, or a gentle lymphatic massage, pairing essential oils with specific techniques can enhance relaxation and healing.

From a soothing lavender-infused foot massage for an expectant mother to a revitalising peppermint back rub, the possibilities are endless.

5. Other Methods

Essential oils can also be used in baths and the shower. A few drops of lavender in your nightly bath or lemon in your morning shower can transform your daily routines.

For safety, always dilute essential oils in an oil or dispersant before adding to the bath. A few drops in the corner of the shower recess is a great alternative.

As always, consult with a professional to ensure safe usage, especially during pregnancy or with children.

These wonderful natural extracts can become a part of your daily life too. Just remember, every drop is a plant’s essence, so use them with love and care.

Our Final Blend

Stress has become an all-too-familiar companion for many of us, but it doesn’t have to be.

As we’ve explored together, aromatherapy offers a natural and nurturing path towards relaxation and well-being. Essential oils can help everyone, from new mums to people with busy lives, deal with the ups and downs of life.

You might be just starting to learn about aromatherapy, or you might want to get better at what you already do. In either case, having a professional guide you through your essential oil journey can make all the difference.

Your venture towards relaxation, balance, and joy is just a drop away. Take the first step towards embracing the beautiful world of essential oils, and let’s discover the vibrant symphony of aromas that await you.

I provide two aromatherapy services if you’re in Melbourne: 

Aromatherapy massage: a nurturing treatment to help reduce muscular and mental tension (amazing for pregnancy, babies and everyone else). The essential oils and massage style are chosen specific to your needs.  At the completion of your massage, you receive a small bottle of the remaining oil for home use to extend the effects of treatment.

Aromatherapy consultation: A thorough consultation is taken to determine your physical and psychological health. We explore essential oils and other aspects of aromatherapy specific to your needs and create a treatment plan. Together, we can craft a blend that speaks to your unique needs and supports your wellness journey. 

If you’re in Melbourne book an appointment with me, and let’s turn stress into a distant memory. 

Here’s to a scented and serene life.

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