Can Essential Oils Help You Relax?
Relaxing Essential Oils – there are many essential oils that can help with relaxation but there are three that we really love: True lavender, Bergamot Mint, and Frankincense. We’ve found that each of these oils can promote relaxation and they can become even more effective when blended together. The increased effectiveness of a combination of essential oils reflects a phenomenon known to aromatherapists as synergy. Synergy is the interaction of two or more substances to produce a combined effect greater than the sum of their separate effects.
Relaxing Oil #1 – Lavender Essential Oil
True Lavender (Lavandula angustifolia) is the classic choice of aromatherapists who want a relaxing essential oil. It’s steam distilled from the flowering tops of the lovely lavender plant, a somewhat woody shrub-like herb that is native to southern Europe and the Mediterranean region. The best True Lavender essential oils are high in essential oil components knows as esters, which are believed to promote relaxation and aid in sleeping. For our Relaxation Blend, we use our organic Lavender Provence essential oil that is rich in esters and has a beautiful soft, clean, floral aroma.
Relaxing Oil #2 – Bergamot Mint Essential Oil
Don’t confuse Bergamot Mint Essential Oil with Bergamot essential oil. While Bergamot (Citrus bergamia) is cold-pressed from the rind of the Bergamot orange, Bergamot Mint (Mentha citrata) is distilled from the leaves and flowering tops of a member of the mint family. This essential oil is only recently appearing on the popular market in the USA. We find its aroma to be sweet, herbaceous, a bit fruity, and cheerful. It’s become one of our favorites scents and we think it has unrealized potential for natural perfumers and will build a following as more people become familiar with it. It has not been widely used here but we feel that it’s a “little gem” that deserves to be utilized more often. In our trials of this essential oil, we have found it to have a wonderful uplifting and relaxing effect.
Relaxing Oil #3 – Frankincense Essential Oil
Frankincense resin, from which the essential oil is distilled, has long been considered sacred in many cultures and both the resin and the essential oil are often used to facilitate meditative states. Frankincense is one of our personal favorites for the relaxing, calming and centering effects we experience when using it.
Relaxing Oil #4 – Roman Chamomile Essential Oil
Roman Chamomile (Chamaemelum nobile or Anthemis nobilis) essential oil offers anti-anxiety and calming benefits. It’s steam distilled from the flowers, and a little goes a very long way. Its scent can be quite strong, so it’s best to use in small proportion with other oils – it blends well with galbanum, eucalyptus, lavender, jasmine, neroli, and clary sage.
A study in the journal Biomedical Research International (2014) found aromatherapy was effective for relaxation and in reducing levels of depression, anxiety, and stress in a four-week aromatherapy program for older persons with chronic pain. This small study needs to be replicated and is not proof that aromatherapy will work for everyone but quite a body of research is accumulating to support the effectiveness of aromatherapy. Regular use of essential oils with relaxing properties may offer feelings of calm and ease and help you relax; try it and see for yourself!
Gabriel Mojay’s book, Aromatherapy for Healing the Spirit : Restoring Emotional and Mental Balance with Essential Oils, is a good resource for more info on Essential Oils.