Mindfulness and Essential Oils: Natural Ways To Battle Anxiety

Mindfulness and essential oilsIn a 2014 study by the American College of Healthcare Sciences, 58 hospice patients were given hand massages once a day for one week with an essential oil blend. The blend contained in equal ratios: bergamot, frankincense, and lavender with a 1.5 percent dilution with sweet almond oil. All patients who received the aromatherapy massage reported less pain and depression.

This helps further the evidence that essential oils can be an effective treatment for pain, anxiety, and depression management when used correctly and often in conjunction with other methods. No, it’s not voodoo and yes, they make a difference. There are natural ways to battle anxiety and essential oils are in that category.

Here are seven essential oils that are natural ways to battle anxiety:

  • Lavender oil, also known as the Swiss Army knife of oils for its many benefits, has a having a calming, relaxing effect. It’s considered a nervous system restorative and helps with inner peace, sleep, restlessness, irritability, panic attacks, nervous stomach, and general nervous tension.
  • Rose essential oil is settling to the emotional heart and perhaps the second most popular after lavender for relieving anxiety and depression, helping with panic attacks, grieving and shock.

A study published in the Iranian Red Crescent Medical Journal compared the effects of aromatherapy with rose oil and warm foot bath on anxiety in the active phase of labor in nulliparous women in Tehran, Iran. One group of women received a ten-minute inhalation and footbath with oil rose, another group received a 10-minute warm-water footbath, and they were compared to a control group. The results? “Using aromatherapy and footbath reduces anxiety in active phase in nulliparous women.”

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  • Vetiver oil has a tranquil, grounding and reassuring energy, often used in trauma helping with self-awareness, calmness, and stabilization. A nervous system tonic, it decreases jitteriness and hypersensitivity and is also useful in panic attacks and shock.
  • Ylang-ylang helps with cheerfulness, courage, optimism and soothes fearfulness. It may calm heart agitation and nervous palpitations and is a moderately strong sedative, which can help with insomnia.
  • Bergamot is commonly found in Earl Grey tea and has a distinctive floral taste and aroma. Bergamot oil is calming and often used to treat depression by providing energy; however, it can also help with insomnia induce relaxation and reduce agitation.
  • A peaceful, calming scent, chamomile benefits inner harmony and decreases irritability, overthinking, anxiety and worry. Chamomile oil is generally safe, except for some small risk of allergy, especially with anyone who has an allergy to ragweed.

An explorative study conducted at the University of Pennsylvania School of Medicine on the antidepressant activity in chamomile found that this essential oil “may provide clinically meaningful antidepressant activity that occurs in addition to its previously observed anxiolytic activity.”

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  • Frankincense is great for treating depression and anxiety because it provides calming and tranquil energy as well as spiritual grounding. In aromatherapy, it helps deepen meditation and quiet the mind.

All bodies are different, as are our body chemistries, which means that different essential oils respond differently to different people. Are there any that particularly bring you relief when battling stress and anxiety?

Photo: Irina Bort/Shutterstock

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