Using essential oils for various things has been around for centuries. The ancient Egyptians used essential oils for massages, bathing and healing practices.
Now, essential oils are primarily used in stress management. Essential oils can be inhaled (from a safe distance), used for a massage, applied to the temple, used in a bath and people occasionally insert the essential oils in some orifices, but I really don’t recommend doing that.
Using essential oil for stress relief has gained popularity because “it offers a natural, organic alternative to pharmaceutical substances,” according to globalhealingcenter.com. Basically, essential oils are a great way to help you reduce stress without the side effects of medication.
Generally, essential oils are used in three main ways to reduce stress: holistically, clinically and aesthetically.
The most common way essential oils are used is holistically. This happens every time a masseuse uses essential oils. The combination of the smell, the absorption of the oil into the skin and the massage help to relax your body and mind, according to stress.lovetoknow.com. You don’t have to have a masseuse to treat yourself holistically. You can massage the oil in yourself. Simply put a few drops of essential oil into your hands, rub your hands together and massage whichever part of your body needs some tension release.
Clinical aromatherapy is less common. This is when essential oils are used in conjunction with traditional medical practices. The use of this varies greatly from country to country. “One way that it is used in the United States is with dentistry. The scent of lavender used in waiting rooms has been shown to help reduce stress prior to dental treatments,” according to stress.lovetoknow.com.
The easiest way to use essential oils in your home is through aesthetic aromatherapy, which is just using essential oils in burners, diffusers or in the bath. Oftentimes, bubble baths, shower gels and bath salts and beads contain some form of essential oil and are lauded as great stress relievers. In dorm rooms, you wouldn’t be able to use burners, but you can use diffusers. Using an essential oil diffuser would be a great way to help reduce stress because it’s getting to that point in the semester where we all need some stress relief.
There is actual data that backs up essential oils being used to help reduce stress and anxiety. A study done by the American College of Healthcare Sciences in 2014 showed that hospice patients who were given hand massages daily with an essential oil blend of bergamot, frankincense and lavender reported less pain and depression. So essential oils really can help.
Some of the best essential oils for reducing stress and anxiety are: lavender, rose and bergamot.
Lavender is considered the most common essential oil. The smell of lavender has a calming and 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,” according to Dr. Axe, certified doctor of natural medicine.
The “Handbook of Essential Oils: Science, Technology, and Applications” also shows there have been trials “involving the inhalation of lavender essential oil that indicate a reduction in stress and anxiety.”
Rose is probably the second most popular essential oil for reducing stress, anxiety, grieving and shock. The Iranian Red Crescent Medical Journal published a study in which women who were pregnant for the first time were given footbath or were allowed to inhale rose oil. Compared with the control group, these women had less anxiety.
Bergamot is usually found in Earl Grey tea and is proven to have a calming effect which can help you relax, sleep and can reduce your agitation. Bergamot is often used in conjunction with lavender because they share the calming effect. Generally, bergamot is safe, but it can increase your risk of sunburn or rash, and it is best to avoid using bergamot within 12 hours of sun exposure, according to Dr. Axe.
The lavender and bergamot is my favorite combination. I generally don’t care for the smell of rose, so I rarely use that oil. To me, the best way to use essential oil is in the bath. I love to put a few drops of essential oil in the bath and read until my fingers prune-y and the water is cold.
The easiest way to enjoy essential oils in your dorm room would be to either massage yourself (or you could convince someone else to massage you; in fact, that’s what I would recommend) or using a diffuser. Either way, essential oils are a quick, easy and fairly inexpensive way to keep from pulling your hair out over school.