Essential Oils Proven to Offer Anxiety Relief
It is natural to feel anxious about an upcoming meeting, sports game, or exam, in fact, anxiety can help you stay alert and react quickly during a stressful moment. When you respond to stress, you are using your fight-or-flight response, which is a reaction designed to promote survival. However, one source states that if your fight-or-flight response is triggered when danger is nonexistent, that is an anxiety disorder.
There are different forms of anxiety disorders - some may suffer from neverending worrisome thoughts, others may have a crippling fear of social situations, while some may obsess over doing specific actions over and over again. Either way, an anxiety disorder can severely disrupt day-to-day activities.
Thankfully, a study recently published in the Journal of Traditional and Complementary Medicine looked at how aromatherapy with the essential oils Satureja brevicalyx (relieves pain) and Satureja boliviana (helps with migraines and acute mountain sickness) and meditation impacted those suffering from an anxiety disorder.
The study divided the 108 participants into one control group and five experimental groups. EG1 explored mindfulness therapy, EG2 tested S. brevicalyx essential oil, EG3 experimented with S. boliviana essential oil, EG4 tested the effects of combining aromatherapy with S. brevicalyx essential oil and mindfulness, while EG5 did the same as EG4, but they tried out the S. boliviana essential oil instead.
EG2, the group which tested S. brevicalyx experienced a more significant decline of anxiety in comparison to EG3, the group treated with S. boliviana. Both of these essential oils contain linalool, which works to calm and entrance the mind and body; however, S. brevicalyx includes a higher percentage of linalool.
Overall, the results showcased lower levels of anxiety for the experience groups, whereas the control group endured a slight increase in anxiety during the posttest phase. Aromatherapy proved its effectiveness in EG2 and EG3, yet, the practice of meditation was even more successful in lowering anxiety for EG1.
The researchers from Peru discuss the effectiveness of mindfulness: “This is due to individuals at practicing mindfulness may learn to keep a relaxed mind and focus on [the] present moment, cultivating an attitude of acceptance and patience toward unpleasant emotions and thoughts that may arise".
The groups who experienced the combination of both aromatherapy and meditation intervention elicited the best results. The study declares that “another investigation also found that aromatherapy enhances the use of mindfulness meditation in anxiety treatment.”
The researchers conclude that mindfulness and aromatherapy with the essential oils S. boliviana and S. brevicalyx are potential treatment options for those who suffer from an anxiety disorder. However, the study declares that further research needs to be conducted on this subject, “Nevertheless, future research is needed to help us gain better understanding of synergy effect of aromatherapy and mindfulness meditation.”
Living with an anxiety disorder can be challenging to deal with on a daily basis, but while research continues to dive further into the benefits of mindfulness and aromatherapy on anxiety, you can test out other natural oils which reportedly help ease anxiety symptoms, such as lavender, rosemary, clary sage, lemongrass and more!