EO1The smell of lavender soothes me. When I’m stressed, I reach for my small bottle of lavender oil and dab a little on my wrists and neck. Instant relaxation.

I’ve been hearing a lot lately about the benefits of essential oils. But other than taking a whiff of lavender oil and putting it on like perfume, I don’t know what else to do with it. So I did some research.

What is an essential oil? The definition: a natural oil typically obtained by distillation and having the characteristic fragrance of the plant or other source from which it is extracted.

Essential oils can be used to help fight a cold, the flu, and other illnesses. But I narrowed my search to those that are helpful for anxiety and depression. They have calming and relaxing qualities. And lots of delicious scents — jasmine, lemon, marjoram, rose, and roman chamomile, to name a few. Frankincense is known to be one of the best oils to slow down your breathing, which helps reduce nervousness and stress.  Basil and wild orange have uplifting scents that help with feelings of sadness and anxiety.

What do you actually do with these oils?

One method is to put a few drops into an oil diffuser. There are several kinds to choose from. A nebulizing diffuser can attach directly to the bottle of the essential oil. This type is considered the most powerful because it doesn’t need water or heat to get the essential oil into the air.  An ultrasonic diffuser uses water and essential oil to create a fine mist. There are also heat diffusers and evaporative diffusers.

Another idea is to rub some oil on the palm of your hands and inhale. I have high blood pressure and take my readings at home. I sit in a comfortable position and take slow breaths. Then I open my bottle of lavender oil and breathe in the calming scent.

Massage is a nice way to enjoy the soothing aromatherapy of essential oils. Mix 10-12 drops of your favorite oil, with two ounces of a carrier oil. A carrier oil is a vegetable oil that can be used to dilute an essential oil. Good ones to try are sweet almond, jojoba, or grapeseed oil.

I think massage is a great idea if you have an anxious child. Talee has always loved back massages. She could’ve benefited from an essential oil massage when she younger and having severe panic attacks.

I’m a lotion-a-holic. I’m always using creamy lotions on my dry hands and feet. So I love this next idea. Make a calming rub with two tablespoons of a natural, unscented lotion with 5-10 drops of essential oil.

A friend of mine mixes a few drops of lavender oil and water in a spray bottle and mists her pillow. That sounds lovely.

I can’t wait to try these techniques. Now to decide which essential oils to buy and which type and brand of diffuser. There are so many options, I’m confused and overwhelmed.

Maybe I should go rub some lavender oil on my wrists.


First image courtesy of:

Second image courtesy of: