Essential Oils for Relaxation

By Michele C. Hollow @michelechollow
December 12, 2017

Smells can be powerful. They can also keep us calm and promote sleep. Learn more about six aromatherapy essential oils for relaxation.

Fresh baked cookies, saltwater, or even the pages of an old book can bring back fond childhood memories. The olfactory nerve contains nerve fibers that relate to our sense of smell. Once triggered, it sends signals to the parts of our brain in charge of emotions, moods, and memories.

That’s why when you smell cookies baking, your memory may take you back to a happy time. The smell of saltwater can help us recall days spent at the beach. Or the pages of a well-worn book may cause us to think of our favorite children’s stories.


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This area of our brain is also in charge of our fight-or-flight response. Your breath quickens, heart rate increases, and blood pressure can rise. It also has a soothing effect, which relaxes your body. That’s why certain scents can activate pleasant memories and relaxation.

Scientific studies have shown that essential oils like lavender interact the same way many anti-anxiety medications do. According to a University of Maryland Medical Center report, scientific evidence suggests that lavender essential oils may result in improved sleep, more stable mood, better concentration, and reduced anxiety.

It seems that lavender is used first and foremost to relieve stress. Other essential oils for relaxation include:


Yuzu is a citrus fruit similar to lemons. It’s a popular fruit used in Asian cuisine and a good essential oil for relaxation. Japanese researchers found that the scent of yuzu eases stress and anxiety. It was also found to lower heart rate in 10 minutes.


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March 31, 2020

Reviewed By:  

Janet O’Dell, RN