Well-being awareness: Guide to using essential oils for mental health
One in every four people will experience a mental health issue at some point in their life. Although the stigma around mental disorders is not as widespread as it used to be, it still exists. This is why the World Federation for Mental Health established the 10th of October as World Mental Health Day back in 1992.
Since then, there have been vast improvements in the field, and there are now a full 30 days dedicated to advocating awareness for this issue. The world recognizes Mental Health Awareness Month every October, but that doesn't mean you shouldn't look after your well-being 365 days a year.
While there are numerous ways to promote well-being and boost your mental health, there are few that are all natural. People the world over have started using essential oils for mental health - although perhaps saying “started” is not quite accurate. Aromatherapy is a practice thousands of years old and, while it was once regarded as based on superstition, scientific studies performed in the past few years have established reams of accurate, provable evidence as to how and why they work.
There’s a spike in interest in using essential oils for mental health, and there are a vast number of people who are already enjoying the benefits that these oils offer. If you want to add to these ever-growing numbers, boost your mental health and enhance your wellness, this guide is for you.
- How to use essential oils for mental health
- Make an air or room spray
- Bathe with oils
- Using essential oils for mental health as a complementary treatment
- Top essential oils for mental health
- What the research tells us
- The efficacy of essential oils as an anti-anxiety tool
- How effective aromatherapy is for depression
- Aromatherapy as a treatment for depression in cancer patients
- The multiple benefits of using essential oils for mental health
- The best essential oil blends for mental health
- Date Night
- Pick Me Up
- Essential oils for mental health FAQs
- What is mental health?
- What essential oils can assist me to maintain my mental health?
- How do essential oils help with mental health?
- How long does it take essential oils to reach the brain?
- Does scientific research back claims that essential oils can help maintain mental health?
- Make every month mental health awareness month
How to use essential oils for mental health
Before we look at how you can use essential oils, we need to answer the question of what is mental health?
In a nutshell, mental health is how we feel, think and behave. It’s our emotional, social and psychological well-being and influences cognition, perception and behavior. It also plays a huge role in how we handle stress, our decision-making abilities and our relationships at work and at home. It’s important to note that mental health and mental illness are not one and the same. You can suffer from poor mental health without having a mental illness, but a mental illness is often accompanied by symptoms of poor mental health.
Fortunately, there are multiple ways to use essential oils for mental health, each with its own special set of advantages. You can choose from one of the following options or combine several of them if you prefer:
Fill your diffuser container to the fill line with water and add between 20 and 25 drops of essential oil. Cover it and select your time setting so that the scent gets released continuously or at set intervals. This is one of the easiest ways to enjoy the mental well-being benefits of essential oils.
Make an air or room spray
Mix your chosen essential oil with water in a ratio of 20 drops to four ounces. If you’d like a stronger scent, mix two ounces of water with between 15 and 25 drops of essential oils. Spraying this mix into a room you’re going to be spending time in is an excellent way of reaping the oils’ benefits.
Bathe with oils
For a single bath, combine between 3 and 12 drops of essential oil in a tablespoon of carrier oil and stir this into the water before you climb in. Doing so will disperse the oil throughout the water somewhat evenly and ensure that they release their goodness onto your skin and via your nasal passages. If you choose this method, ensure that no oil comes into contact with the skin on your face. Essential oils are potent natural substances and if undiluted, can cause irritation, especially to the softer membranes of your mouth and nose.
Massage is a fantastic resource for mental health, decreasing anxiety, lowering stress levels and reducing irritability. Dopamine and serotonin, the feel-good chemicals, are increased in the brain after massages. Scheduling regular sessions with a massage therapist can really help if you’re facing mental health challenges.
Dilute a single drop of essential oil in a teaspoon of carrier oil for a safe ratio and then use your dilution as part of the massage process.
Although you’ll be inhaling the wonderful aroma of essential oils when you apply them topically, add them to a bath or your diffuser or use them in a massage, when we say inhalation, we are typically referring to sniffing their scent straight out of the bottle or from cupped hands, a soaked tissue or an aromatherapy inhaler.
Using essential oils for mental health as a complementary treatment
As essential oils are inhaled or absorbed by the skin, their scent molecules travel to the brain, impacting the amygdala via the olfactory nerves. The amygdala is the emotional center of the brain where our feelings get processed, which is why these substances have such a powerful impact on how we feel.
Research is increasingly revealing that aromatherapy can help us answer the question of what is mental health and really experience its benefits when we are in a good space. For now, remember that mental health can be broken down into three major components: behavioral, cognitive and emotional health. Each of these elements interacts with and influences the others. Keeping them at optimum levels and functioning properly is vital to our overall well-being and the quality of our lives.
Top essential oils for mental health
We’ve listed some of the most effective essential oils in honor of Mental Health Awareness Month, but don’t feel limited to when you can use them! These oils have all been found effective for anxiety and depression, and more than a few of them can help to minimize certain symptoms of mental illness.
Bear in mind, however, that success rates will vary from one person to another and that essential oils should be used in conjunction with medical treatment.
Speak with your health care provider to get a better idea of what is mental health and chat about how to use these oils sensibly with whatever medication you may be on.
The role of inflammation in depression and fatigue has been established, and chamomile has long been used to reduce swelling. Roman chamomile essential oil can also restore the balance of aggravated bodily systems and boost motivation.
This oil is especially recommended in cases where anxiety, depression and digestive issues are linked. It can alleviate gut inflammation as it promotes relaxation, reducing the chance of digestive problems.
Frankincense can balance hormones and lift moods, especially in women. Terminally ill patients have found relief from depression and from pain when using this oil, and it has the capability of regulating our emotions.
Additionally, frankincense essential oil activates a protein that plays a role in how we perceive warmth, creating an effect of comfort and peace from within.
With its invigorating, uplifting scent, grapefruit essential oil may energize you. It’s also frequently recommended for people in recovery who are fighting cravings for alcohol and drugs.
In early sobriety, people frequently battle a range of mental health issues, and withdrawal symptoms may last for a long time. Essential oil therapy has been proven to help in certain Addiction Treatment programs. Recovery programs that include grapefruit oil can help to increase the chances of ongoing success and lasting wellness.
Perhaps one of the best-known essential oils, lavender essential oil has a range of benefits. Its pleasant, soft smell creates a sense of calm, and many midwives and doulas recommend it for women in labor because it eases anxiety and nervousness. These two factors wreak havoc on our mental health and need to be kept in check.
We all know how important sleep is for wellness, and lavender has been proven to assist with insomnia. Inhalation of this oil has, in many cases, led to a better quality of sleep, which increases energy levels during the day.
What the research tells us
Scientific data is becoming ever more available regarding using essential oils for mental health. Researchers are confirming what has been long believed about using oils in a careful, responsible manner for thousands of years now. The following studies highlight how essential oils can play a crucial role in enhancing mental health.
The efficacy of essential oils as an anti-anxiety tool
A 2013 study confirmed that aromatherapy with lavender, Roman chamomile and neroli proved effective as an anti-anxiety blend in ICU patients before minimally invasive cardiovascular procedures.
How effective aromatherapy is for depression
Bergamot essential oil, cedarwood, lavender, petitgrain and rose otto were used to treat depressive symptoms in participants of various studies in a 2017 review on the effectiveness of aromatherapy for depression.
Aromatherapy showed real potential in terms of an effective therapeutic option. Aromatherapy massage was shown to be the most beneficial method of application.
Aromatherapy as a treatment for depression in cancer patients
Using a range of measuring tools, a 2022 review of studies found that aromatherapy significantly reduced anxiety in cancer patients, with aromatherapy massage being the most effective and diffusion being second best.
The multiple benefits of using essential oils for mental health
The list of advantages that come with using essential oils to boost your mental health is extensive.
- Essential oils from the Mint family, like peppermint essential oil and spearmint, may improve your mood and reduce anxiety, depression and fatigue.
They can also alleviate respiratory problems like asthma and allergies and could help relieve congestion, soothe coughs, and could also be a good option to ease headaches.
- Lavender oil can work against anxiety, depression and insomnia as well as eczema, fungal infections, menstrual cramps and nausea.
- Bergamot may improve digestion, reduce cholesterol levels and even effectively help with schizophrenia symptoms.
- Tea Tree essential oil is a wonderful antiseptic and can be used to handle minor cuts and scrapes. It cleans wounds and prevents infection while its anti-inflammatory properties work against redness and swelling.
It can also treat acne, athlete’s foot, dandruff and kill germs all around you.
The best essential oil blends for mental health
As effective as they are on their own, essential oils can work even better when blended together correctly. This process will make holistic treatment of the main issue possible, as well as help with secondary issues that accompany it. In the case of mental health being the main issue, secondary issues could include constant fatigue, heightened stress levels, insomnia and low energy levels.
You can always experiment to find out what specific essential oil blends work for you. But in honor of Mental Health Awareness Month, Volant recommends the following blends to get you started:
Whether you have a partner or not, Date Night will infuse your surroundings with a little warmth and romance. Containing amber, bergamot, frankincense and lavender, it will sweeten your space and soothe your heart and mind.
Volant’s Organic Sleep blend contains frankincense, lavender, palma rosa and Roman chamomile. It will help you unwind and get a good night’s sleep that’s so vital in maintaining your mental health.
Essential oils for mental health FAQs
What is mental health?
Mental health relates to our emotional, psychological, social and spiritual well-being.
How do essential oils help with mental health?
Certain essential oils can produce anti-anxiety effects and boost our bodies’ serotonin production.
How long does it take essential oils to reach the brain?
Less than 30 seconds.
Does scientific research back claims that essential oils can help maintain mental health?
Yes. Numerous studies have proven how essential oils can benefit our mental health.
Make every month mental health awareness month
Mental health is important for many reasons and it’s vital for us, our pets, our friends and our family that we remain in a healthy and happy headspace. This can be a challenge, but there are multiple ways we can boost our moods, and one option is the proper use of essential oils for mental health.
Whether it’s as a complementary therapy or you’re actively looking for non-conventional alternatives to help you with anxiety, depression and stress, essential oils are a wonderful resource. And there is now scientific evidence that proves they’re as helpful as it’s been believed.
Although there is a particular focus on how we’re dealing with life during Mental Health Awareness Month, we need to touch base with ourselves every day of the year. Humans have been using aromatherapy to relieve a variety of ailments, both mental and physical, for thousands of years. It’s an excellent resource all year round and a very easy treatment to work into your everyday life.
Volant has a superb range of high quality 100% natural, organic essential oils for mental health that can give you a boost when you need it, not just during Mental Health Awareness month but every day of the year.