Stress and Aromatherapy

I was sitting at a table at a local eatery with two sets of presumable moms on either side of me having lunch.  On one side, the moms were discussing how their teenage kids were travelling abroad and they couldn’t get the medicine they needed to them.  One child had ADHD and the other was depressed.  On the other side of me, the moms were discussing how much anxiety their two teenage daughters had and how hard it was trying to find the right treatment for them. I sit and think how sad, scary, and wonder how realistic it is that 4 out of 4 teenage stories around me are dealing with emotional disorders and pharmaceuticals?  Is this the future?   

According to INeedALighthouse.Org, the reality of it is that about 20% of teens will deal with depression before becoming an adult.  According to the National Institute of Mental Health, anxiety disorders affect over 18% of the adult population.  My thoughts of course immediately turn to the tremendously powerful and diverse ability essential oils could have in healing some of these emotional issues.   Why can essential oils be so helpful?  When you use your sense of smell, the scents bypass the cerebral cortex and go right to the limbic system- the thinking and feeling portion of the brain.  The limbic system controls the emotions which is why smelling certain oils can often trigger a sense of relaxation.  Besides triggering emotions, the limbic system is directly connected to the parts of the brain that controls blood pressure, heart rate, breathing, memory, and stress levels.  Giving the limbic system relaxing and calming essential oils can balance emotions having a positive effect on stress levels.

Relaxation Aromatherapy Diffuser Blend

One way to use essential oils to relax would be to scent your space by putting oils in a diffuser.  I really like the diffusers that don’t use heat or water and instead nebulize like the hand blown glass diffuser pictured, available for sale at Hanu Skin Care.   They have the added benefit of having an automatic shut off timer which is great for those teenage years when remembering to shut off your devices is the last thing on your mind.  I would recommend making a ritual out of the process of putting the oils into the diffuser, similar to  lighting a candle, after you put the oils in the diffuser read a poem that means something to you and concentrate on relaxing as you breath in the relaxing scents.  There are lots of essential oils that can be used for relaxation.  The  focus of this particular blend addresses the mental and emotional stresses that are encountered with everyday living.   Mental stresses caused by for example trying to achieve in school; taking exams; emotional stress caused by for example managing difficult relationships.  


Use 10 drops nightly in a diffuser.

Bergamot- Citrus bergamia 

This specific scent is helpful at restoring the hypothalamus to a state calmness.

Lavender – Lavandula angustifolia 

While lavender has anti-inflammatory properties, in this blend, it is used primarily for relaxation.  

Black Pepper – Piper nigrum 

Black pepper helps with concentration.    Black Pepper is full of vitamins and minerals one of which is selenium which is required for proper functioning of the brain.

Geranium – Pelargonium graveolens 

Geranium can relax your entire body as well as boost your mood.  It also helps to balance hormonal levels.   

Sandalwood – Santalum spicatum 

Sandalwood can help you achieve a sense of mental clarity and calmness and has the added benefit of being a memory booster.


Relaxation Nourishing Body Oil Blend

Another way to relax would be to use a body oil scented with lavender and lime daily.  You can put the body oil over your entire body or just on your hands and feet.  I would recommend a mixture of nourishing Sunflower Seed Oil and Sweet Almond Oil like the one sold at Hanu Skin Care.  Sunflower Seed Oil,  is high in oleic acids and vitamins A, D, and E, it also has beneficial amounts of lecithin, and unsaturated fatty acids. It is deeply nourishing and conditioning for the skin.   Sweet Almond Oil is rich in vitamins A, B and E.  Sweet almond oil locks moisture into the skin helping to soothe skin.  You use this body oil like you would a daily cream based body moisturizer.  It will penetrate deeply leaving skin soft and silky but you will have the added benefit of aromatherapy.  Before putting it on your skin, rub your hands together and breathe deeply, inhaling the aromatic benefits of the lavender and lime.  If you’re going for a massage Hanu Skin Care also has organic massage oil available – bring your own oil so you know what’s in the products being put on your body.   




Wake Up Blend for the Shower

One way to wake up in the morning and to start with a refreshing shower that can stimulate while relaxing you is to put several drops of essential oils in the shower and inhale the oils with the steam of the shower.  I like to put the oils on a washcloth on the floor of the shower and let the steam help the oil vapours fill the shower.  There are many combinations of oils that can be used depending on what your goal is for your mood for the day.  Here’s a recommended blend again for the teenager who is going to start the day ready to go to school, needing to concentrate but not wanting to start full of anxious thoughts.  


Lemon – Citrus limon 

Used to increase focus and memory.  

Rosemary – Rosmarinus officinalis

Rosemary is best known for its aid in memory and mental fatigue  and can increase memory by 75%.  Rosemary can also help with headaches.  

Ginger –Zingiber officinale 

Ginger helps with concentration as it stimulates the brain.  When mixed with Rosemary, it can be used as a wake-up inhalation.  It eases mental confusion and it is said to “warm the heart”.

Black Pepper – Piper nigrum 

Like Ginger, Black pepper helps with concentration.    Black Pepper is full of vitamins and minerals one of which is selenium which is required for proper functioning of the brain.

Lavender – Lavandula angustifolia 

While lavender has anti-inflammatory properties, in this blend, it is used primarily for relaxation.  


Finding What Works for You

We discussed lots of examples on how to use essential oils for their aromatherapy benefits on stress and anxiety, it’s important to find a scent, and a ritual that works best for you.   Sipping a cup of relaxing herbal tea while you breathe in the benefits of a diffuser blend or saying your favorite poem or motivational phrase as you breathe deep and inhale the aromatic vapours from the shower can help you relax in itself.  The stresses of daily living, is a heavy weight these days and doing what you can to take some stress off of yourself by relaxing is important.

Hanu Skin Care offers the custom diffuser blends discussed in this article as well as sells beautiful glass diffusers.  If you are interested in learning more about this custom offer, please email

by Karen Burzdak

Karen Burzdak is CEO and Founder of Hanu Skin Care. Karen is a US Advocate of the National Association for Holistic Aromatherapy and a member of the American Herbalists Guild. She holds certifications in Essential Aromatherapy and Clinical Aromatherapy. Karen has a degree in communications from Fitchburg State College and has done some Masters of Business Administration studies.

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