Stress is something we all deal with, and 2020 has had more than its fair share of stressful moments.
Between the pandemic, virtual schooling, and the holidays, I’ve seen first-hand how stress can often cause us to cross the fine line between wellness and distress.
With my clients, I’ve also seen how stress can negatively affect the skin’s health, causing acne flare-ups and dullness. With all this in mind, I remain committed to using essential oils for stress and continually rediscover them as a wonderfully natural and affordable way to stay centered during trying times.
As we approach the holiday season, many of us are looking for simple, enjoyable tools that can help us stay balanced during the increased seasonal stress. We’re also looking for high-quality, sustainably made gifts to help loved ones feel better, too. Our Stony Creek Aromatics line is a wonderful option for anyone who wants to pamper themselves—or their loved ones—with a hand-crafted blend of luxurious, stress-relieving oils. I formulated this line myself based on my experience as an esthetician and certified aromatherapist, and I use it during nearly all of our facials at the spa.
A Peek Inside Stony Creek Aromatics
When I received my aromatherapy certification, my research paper centered around “10 Essential Oils for Stress.” Since wrapping up my studies, I’ve channeled my knowledge into our Stony Creek Aromatics Restorative Mind-Body Blends, which feature 5 of my favorite essential oils for stress (keep reading to see why each one is so powerful in its own right).
Our Restorative Mind-Body Ritual Oil is a concentrated 20% blend of these essential oils that can be applied at pulse points, like your wrists or temples, to help soothe stressful flare-ups. (For more info about pulse points, check out our YouTube video here.) Our ritual oil is a fabulous product to keep in your purse, your car, or on your desk for when you need help finding your inner balance. This calming oil is also wonderful to keep by your bed to help you ease into a restful sleep. We use it during facials at the spa by placing a few drops on warm towels and aromapoints. Crafted with this love, this luxurious blend features only the highest quality oils and makes a lovely gift for anyone struggling with stress.
Our Restorative Mind-Body Massage Oil is less concentrated than the ritual oil (2%), making it a lovely option for a full-body application. We use this oil at the spa anytime we finish a facial with a stress-relieving neck and shoulder massage. But don’t feel like you need to tuck this bottle away for an occasional massage! It also locks in moisture beautifully after a shower or bath, and many of our clients use it regularly to replace their body lotion.
Part of the reason our Restorative Mind-Body Massage Oil makes such a wonderful daily moisturizer is that the stress-relieving essential oils are suspended in super-nourishing, certified organic fatty oils, like jojoba, apricot kernel, almond, and avocado. When your skin is freshly towel-dried, it’s able to soak up and lock in these oils much more efficiently than when it’s dry. (Try applying a body oil after your next bath or shower, and you’ll see for yourself that it’s a completely different experience than the greasy sensation you get when applying oil to dry skin!) In my practice, I’ve found nourishing body oils to be far superior to body lotions if applied to damp skin, and lotions often include preservatives and ingredients that I don’t want on my skin or entering my bloodstream.
This silky body oil is a wonderful gift for anyone who could use a loving touch during stressful times.
My 5 Favorite Essential Oils for Stress
After receiving my aromatherapy certification and experimenting with essential oils for years, I’ve narrowed in on my 5 favorite essential oils for stress that blend harmoniously. All of these stress-relieving oils are featured in our Stony Creek Aromatics Restorative products. The finished scent is perfectly balanced and includes oils from various plant parts, including the flower, wood, citrus, and leaf.
Rose Otto (Rosa x damascena)
This is an exceptional essential oil, and it takes 50 roses to make a single drop. With that in mind, we use each precious drop of rose otto essential oil with the utmost respect. Rose otto is the only essential oil I know of that helps regulate cortisol, which helps suppress inflammation in the body. If the body is chronically stressed, it can release too much cortisol, leading to various health concerns. Rose otto essential oil can also help decrease blood pressure and heart rate (Mohebitabar et al., 2017). In herbalism and other plant-based practices, rose is often called upon to soothe the heart, especially in matters of grief.
Sandalwood (Santalum album)
Sandalwood essential oil has a woodsy, sensual smell that helps instill a feeling of security and trust, encouraging an inner piece throughout the day. It’s no wonder that it has been used in spiritual ceremonies for centuries!
Sandalwood essential oil is also found in many skincare products to help soothe redness, blemishes, dry skin, and fine lines. There’s an emerging field of study named “psychodermatology” where scientists are actively studying the links between our mental and skin health. In that field, sandalwood is one of the most potent essential oils for atopic dermatitis and psoriasis because of its ability to inhibit an inflammation-causing enzyme that’s partially triggered by stress (Moy, R.L., & Levenson, C., 2017).
Sweet orange (Citrus sinensis)
Cold-pressed from orange peels, this delightful essential oil smells exactly like a freshly sliced orange. Aromatherapists traditionally use sweet orange essential oil to boost the mood while simultaneously decreasing feelings of depression. This use was confirmed in 2012 by a controlled scientific study. In the study, 40 men were exposed to a stressful situation. The men who smelled sweet orange essential oil before the stressful situation stayed significantly calmer throughout the experience (Goes et al., 2012). More studies are needed to know the full effects of sweet orange essential oil for anxiety and depression, but it’s always exciting to see modern studies align with traditional uses.
Lavender (Lavandula angustifolia)
Loved around the world, lavender is one of the most popular essential oils for stress and anxiety. Dozens of studies (if not more!) have demonstrated lavender’s ability to ease tension and promote a sense of calm and relaxation (Koulivand et al., 2013).
Lavender is also a very popular essential oil for skincare, where it’s often used to help soothe minor skin irritations, like burns, bug bites, itchy skin, and soreness.
Patchouli (Pogestemon cablin)
Patchouli is a scent that people either love or hate, and you may have strong scent associations with patchouli if you grew up in the 60s! Fortunately, the strong, earthy patchouli scent blends seamlessly with other aromas, so it’s not overpowering in our Stony Creek blends. In fact, I tested our Restorative Massage Oil on 50+ Google employees at a Stress Fair – many of them hated patchouli, but they loved the smell of our well-balanced oil!
According to Aromatics International (a wonderful essential oil supplier), patchouli oil helps calm things down – from rising anxiety to irritated, red spots on the skin. In a 2018 randomized controlled trial, emergency room nurses who inhaled patchouli essential oil showed significantly lower signs of stress and compassion fatigue at the end of a shift than nurses who did not smell the oil (You Kyoung et al., 2020).
It’s wonderful to know that these essential oils for stress are readily available and completely natural. If you’ve been experiencing increased signs of stress and anxiety lately, then we hope you’ll consider treating yourself to one of our Restorative Mind-Body oils. Remember that gentle lifestyle practices, including mindfulness, yoga, and exercise, can also go a long way in combating stress naturally.
Goes TC, Antunes FD, Alves PB, Teixeira-Silva F. (2012). Effect of sweet orange aroma on experimental anxiety in humans. J Altern Complement Med. 18(8):798-804. doi: 10.1089/acm.2011.0551.
Koulivand, P. H., Khaleghi Ghadiri, M., & Gorji, A. (2013). Lavender and the nervous system. Evidence-based complementary and alternative medicine : eCAM, 2013, 681304. https://doi.org/10.1155/2013/681304
Mohebitabar, S., Shirazi, M., Bioos, S., Rahimi, R., Malekshahi, F., & Nejatbakhsh, F. (2017). Therapeutic efficacy of rose oil: A comprehensive review of clinical evidence. Avicenna journal of phytomedicine, 7(3), 206–213.
Moy, R. L., & Levenson, C. (2017). Sandalwood Album Oil as a Botanical Therapeutic in Dermatology. The Journal of clinical and aesthetic dermatology, 10(10), 34–39.
You Kyoung Shin, So-Young Lee, Jeong-Min Lee, Purum Kang, and Geun Hee Seol (2020).The Journal of Alternative and Complementary Medicine.Nov 2020.1032-1038.http://doi.org/10.1089/acm.2020.0206