The father of stress research is known as Hans Selye. He researched stress for years and came to the determination that stress in and of it-self is not negative and should not be viewed in that light. He states that it is our reaction to stress, to external conflict that creates complications. He believed that stress is absolutely individualized. Hans Selye coined the term “stress”, in 1936, as “the non-specific response of the body to any demand for change” .
We see an important point in this, and that is that what one individual sees as stressful, may not affect the next person at all. Essential oils are somewhat similar. In regards to essential oils, we know that some oils will not exhibit the same effects for everyone across the board. One thing is for sure, we can always discover essential oils that are beneficial to us, a sweet song to the limbic system of our brain.
Part of the cerebral cortex is called the limbic brain or emotional brain. The limbic brain is connected to autonomic responses within the body in connection to emotional responses . What are some things that you notice about your body when under extreme stress? Does your heart rate increase? Do you experience an increase in blood pressure? Increased perspiration? Decrease in digestive function? All of these things and more are autonomic responses to stress.
The inhalation of essential oils can help the limbic system to find balance, to soothe and calm, and to lessen the effects of stress on not only the autonomic nervous system, but the endocrine system and the nervous system, having a positive impact on our overall health, our deepest emotions, and of our spirit.
There are a number of essential oils that can have a positive impact on our emotions, lessening the effects of stress, helping to improve our mood, and even help to provide comfort in deeper times of despair. Research shows us that many essential oils can provide this support.
Bergamot (Citrus bergamia) essential oil
A 2015 random crossover study showed that inhalation of a water vapor containing Bergamot essential oil exhibited a number of benefits, once of which was lowered salivary cortisol levels, a true indicator of stress hormones in the body . The results of this study showed that Bergamot essential oil wields positive results on both our physiological and psychological processes.
Bergamot essential oil is citrusy and floral, and is thought to have a somewhat balancing effect, being both calming and uplifting during times of need.
Sweet orange (Citrus sinensis) essential oil
Orange essential oil has been the subject of many scientific studies. Once of which was a study performed in 2012 on healthy female volunteers in a dental office. They were exposed to ambient diffusion of sweet orange essential oil. The results showed, specifically, women who were exposed to the orange aroma had a lower level of overall situational anxiety, a more positive mood, and a higher level of calmness .
This study shows that orange has an anxiolytic effect, helping to soothe times of irritability, worry, and angst.
With a pleasant and fresh, uplifting aroma, sweet orange is a favorite of many, including children.
Vetiver (Vetiveria zizanioides) essential oil
Known as the “oil of tranquility”, in Ayurvedic medicine vetiver essential oil is considered very relaxing, reassuring, and healing .
A 2015 research study showed that inhaled Vetiver essential oil had similar effects to diazepam administered to rats who exhibited c-fos expression, a solid marker in the amygdala known to be involved in anxiety .
This is an amazing finding, and as such, Vetiver essential oil has been touted as an essential oil useful for grounding and calming, with a great ability to bring focus to its user. The aroma is earthy, suiting its therapeutic use to help bring us back to the earth and its roots.
Barefut Proprietary Blends
Barefut essential oils have proprietary blends to support mental wellness, for ease of use.
The first blend is our “Anxiety Eternity Blend” and contains: Bergamot (Citrus bergamia), Frankincense (Boswellia carteri), Lavender (Lavandula angustifolia) and Ylang Ylang (Cananga odorata).
This blend is ideal in an inhaler or diffuser. If applying to the skin, the IFRA (International Fragrance Association) informs us that Bergamot essential oil is phototoxic, so dilute accordingly (below 0.4%) .
The second blend we want to highlight is our “Calming Eternity Blend” which contains: Lavender (Lavandula angustifolia), Ylang Ylang (Cananga odorata), Geranium (Pelargonium graveolens), Tangerine (Citrus reticulate), Cedarwood (Cedrus deodara) and Patchouli (Pogostemon cablin).
This blend promotes feelings of calm, peace and tranquility. Try this blend in the bath.
A good recipe to try:
1 cup Epsom Salt
5-10 drops of “Calming Eternity Blend”
1 tbsp carrier oil
1 tbsp. castile soap or unscented shampoo (highly recommended)
For more on bath safety, visit our article here.
We would love to hear what your favorite Barefut essential oils are to help calm you at the end of the day!
References What is stress? Retrieved from https://www.stress.org/what-is-stress/  The Limbic System. Retrieved from https://www.quinessence.com/blog/the-limbic-system  Watanabe, E. et al (2015) Effects of Bergamot (Citrus bergamia (Risso) Wright & Arn.) Essential Oil Aromatherapy on Mood States, Parasympathetic Nervous System Activity, and Salivary Cortisol Levels in 41 Healthy Females. Forsch Komplementmed 2015;22:43–49 DOI: 10.1159/000380989  Lehrner, J. et al (2000) Ambient odor of orange in a dental office reduces anxiety and improves mood in female patients. Neurological Clinic, University of Vienna, Austria. Physiology & Behavior 71 (2000) 83-86 DOI: 10.1016/S0031-9384(00)00308-5  Chomchalow, N. (2001) The utilization of vetiver as medicinal and aromatic plants. Pacific Rim Vetiver Network. Bangkok, Thailand  Somrudee Saiyudthong, et al (2015): Anxiety-like behaviour and c-fos expression in rats that inhaled vetiver essential oil, Natural Product Research: Formerly Natural Product Letters, DOI:10.1080/14786419.2014.992342  IFRA standard. Bergamot essential oil expressed. Retrieved from www.ifraorg.org/view_document.aspx?docId=23614