If you’ve been feeling stressed lately then aromatherapy may be the answer you need. Aromatherapy is described as the “usage of aromatic materials, including essential oils, and other aroma compounds, with claims for improving psychological or physical well-being.” It can be extremely helpful for someone looking to improve anxiety, sleep quality, depression or even nausea and pain. But to fully grasp the benefits of aromatherapy one must first understand one of its key components: essential oils.

Hope Gillerman, aromatherapist and author, describes essential oils as “a natural, holistic way to address many of the wellness issues that stem from the stress in our lives.” She adds, “breathing in the essential-oil vapor instantly changes our brain patterns and can help us feel more calm and grounded.” 

There’s many different ways one can take in the aromatherapy of essential oils. You can start by placing a drop of oil in the middle of each of your palms, then rubbing your hands together, lifting them up to your face and inhaling the aroma. Or you can even apply a drop of your essential oil of choice right onto your temples, or into a tub of bathwater. Or, if you’re looking for the greatest, most long lasting way to engulf your space in the most relaxing scents and aromas, you should consider purchasing an essential oil diffuser. 

According to WebMD, essential oils are “made from flower, herb and tree parts, like bark, roots, peels, and petals. The cells that give a plant its fragrant smell are its ‘essence.’ When an essence is extracted from a plant, it becomes an essential oil.” It’s important to note that “true essential oils aren’t blended with other chemicals or fragrances. They’re made using a specific process that doesn’t change the chemistry of the plant.” With that in mind, it’s best to purchase your essential oils directly from an aromatherapist or certified organic. Gillerman stresses that it’s important to look for quality versus searching for a bargain. You want to avoid oils that are “adulterated, diluted or overly processed,” this can “degrade the efficacy and irritate the skin and breathing passages.” 

Now that we’ve covered the basics, here are the best essential oils to address every ailment:

  • For anxiety look for oils that contain vetiver, neroli, sage, or geranium.
  • For sleep and relaxation look for oils that contain lavender, chamomile and rose. 
  • For mental focus look for oils that contain peppermint or rosemary.
  • For an energy boost look for oils that contain eucalyptus, peppermint, cypress, rosemary, and cardamom. 
  • For a mood boost look for oils that contain bergamot, jasmine, neroli, lemon and other citruses.
  • For sore muscles look for oils that contain peppermint, vetiver, helichrysum, and pine.