There exists a lot of misinformation on the web pertaining to aromatherapy and its use in anxiety. That’s why we have created this section of the site to be dedicated to the research and information dissemination of efficacious aromatherapy techniques for modulating psychological states and promoting a clear mind.
To get started with aromatherapy, there are a few things you need to know. Firstly, aromatherapy is primarily accomplished with the use of what are known as “essential oils” and an essential oil diffuser. What are essential oils? What’s a diffuser? Let’s answer those questions now.
Essential Oils for Anti-Anxiety Aromatherapy
An essential oil is a liquid composed of aromatic compounds extracted from a plant. The reason these oils and compounds are called “essential” is due to the fact that they are the “essence” of the fragrance of a particular plant. The way these oils are extracted is typically through a steam distillation process or solvent extraction.
Essential oils have been used throughout history for a variety of purposes; in particular, they have been used for treating various illnesses, wounds, and inducing specific psychological states. While modern science has not found much evidence for the use of essential oils in treating diseases, there have been some interesting research results pertaining to the use of essential oils for inducing psychological states (such as a state of calm).
These oils can be derived from a variety of different plants, depending on what purpose the essential oil needs to serve. They have been extracted from such diverse sources as berries, seeds, bark, wood, leaves, resins, flowers, fruit peels, and roots. But, what we are interested in is which essential oils are best for treating anxiety and panic attacks.
The best anti-anxiety essential oils are the ones that are derived from lavender, jasmine, peppermint, lemon, chamomile, Valerian root, and frankincense, though there are many more that may be effective. Most types of high quality essential oils can be purchased on Amazon.
Essential Oil Diffusers
The best mechanism for acquiring the benefits of an essential oil is through the use of a an essential oil diffuser. An essential oil diffuser propagates the fragrances and aromas of the essential oil (“diffuses”) throughout the local atmosphere (in a room or two). A diffuser can also provide a number of other benefits, including humidification of dry air to make it more moist, improve nasal congestion, dry coughs, and dry skin, while also diffusing the essential oil fragrances. Many diffusers require no heat source, thus preserving the essential compounds in the oil and also improving the safety and reliability of the diffuser unit.
Of course, essential oil diffusers come in all different shapes and sizes. Some diffusers utilize bamboo reeds to absorb the aromatic compounds of the oil and release them into the air. Others utilize a heat source such as a tealight or other small candle in order to warm up the water and oil mixture and release those compounds into the air around it.
The Science of Aromatherapy for Anxiety
It is easy to be skeptical about the claims made be aromatherapy proponents. After all, many of them make major claims about aromatherapy’s ability to cure a wide variety of complex disease processes. While conclusive scientific evidence for aromatherapy’s efficacy in treating something as complex as cancer is still not available, a lot of interesting research has been done in investigating aromatherapy’s effect on mental health problems, including anxiety.
One study conducted by Japanese researchers found that lemon essential oil possesses anti-anxiety and anti-depression capabilities by acting upon dopamine receptors in the brain of mice. Another study conducted by Moussaieff et al. determined that the compound called “incensole acetate” in frankincense was effective in producing anti-depression effects in mice.
Naturally, more studies of the double-blind and randomized variety are necessary for fully supporting the scientific use of aromatherapy in conventional mental health treatment practices. Nevertheless, the research up to this point is exciting and points towards the efficacy of aromatherapy in treating anxiety and related psychological conditions.
As we add aromatherapy articles to the Natural Anxiety Meds database, they will be updated below.