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On Our Radar 29 September 2020

Aromatherapy 101: How to Rest, Relax & Reinvigorate

The mind and body benefits of essential oils.

2020 has tested our resilience. It's been a rollercoaster of emotions and we've had no choice but to ride. In times of crisis, we may find ourselves reaching for essential oils to alleviate stress or help us relax. The fragrant plant-extract oils are said to boost your mood, alleviate stress, and ease insomnia among other benefits.


Words By Eliza Sears

Doze Off

The inability to fall asleep easily, and worse still, insomnia, can be debilitating. And while taking medication can be a quick and easy fix, it’s rarely the ideal solution.

Aromatherapy and plant-based therapies have long been used to aid in a restful night’s sleep. It is believed that the smell of some fragrances activates your olfactory receptors by sending signals to your brain, helping to calm and prepare your body for a restful night’s sleep.

While you may have initially been introduced to the floral scent, in sachets stuffed in your grandma’s drawers, lavender has now taken the wellness world by storm. Lavender has long been every insomniac’s friend with the floral aroma added to everything and anything formulated to calm the mind and body, from hand creams to face mists. Lavender has proven its ability to ease even the most sleep resistant to into a steady state of REM.

Believed to have originated in Persia many moons ago, jasmine is now found closer to home in Asia and the wider Oceania region. While it is most commonly used in herbal tea, the flowery scent is said to ease nervousness and encourage relaxation, and aid a restful slumber when used diffused.

Sagely Naturals Calm & Centered CBD Roll-On Essential Oil Blend, $43.38, Nordstrom

Chill Out

If you’re after something natural to help alleviate stress and anxiety, essential oils may well be the answer.

The olfactory nerve helps regulate our autonomic nervous system, and with the use of calming essential oils, it can turn on the parasympathetic nervous system, relaxing our minds and bodies.

Cedarwood, distilled from the herculean sized tree of the same name has a grounding, xyloid fragrance, guaranteed to calm your nerves and distance yourself from a long day of conference calls and blue-lit screens.

Ylang Ylang, a fragrant yellow blossom thrives in tropical climates, specifically in Malaysia, India and our very own Queensland. In keeping with its preferred warm environment, when diffused, ylang-ylang is said to provide a warming effect.

The oil is often used in perfumes and hair care products for its fragrance and protective properties. In the practice of aromatherapy, however, ylang-ylang is often praised as a mood-boosting oil, helping with feelings of positivity and enlightenment.

Maison Balzac Le Soir Essential Oil, $39, Adore Beauty

Sharpen Up

If you feel like your mojo has waned since the onset of the pandemic, you are not alone. As the months drag on and the home becomes a more permanent workplace, and studies are done mainly online, many are feeling like their motivation levels have taken a hit.

Some essential oils such as rosemary, spearmint and basil can play a part in restoring your focus and attention and help get you back on track.

A sprig of rosemary might stir up vivid memories of a Sunday roast, less likely to fill your consciousness is aromatherapy. But the use of rosemary in the practice of aromatherapy has a long history; the delicious herb has been credited with the ability to stimulate the brain and wake you up. And it might even prompt your inner chef to make an appearance.

The scent of a rose with the added benefits of centuries of healing, geraniums have been used in traditional medicine for centuries. In the practice of Ayurveda, is believed to help heal the heart chakra, whereas traditional Chinese medicine, on the other hand, sees the benefits of geranium in liver, heart and spleen function.

Aesop Ginger Flight Therapy, £23, Cult Beauty