It’s Finals Time: Relax with Aromatherapy

Beauty TipsHealth & Beauty

It’s Finals Time: Relax with Aromatherapy

Year-round, students perennially seek the most optimal means of stress relief.  Yoga and massages help, but time and money are also valuable, especially for a college student with a fully-packed schedule. And with finals looming around the corner, we need a cheap and simple method to relax our nerves.  As a holistic medicine that uses volatile plant materials – essential oils – to alter a person’s mind, mood, and health, aromatherapy boasts of innumerable healing properties, one of which is stress relief.   In her book Natural Beauty at Home, Janice Cox says that aromatherapy and essential oils are effective at changing the physical and mental states of individuals.

Certain oils like lavender and chamomile are purported to have a calming effect on the senses.  For example, lavender, in addition to restoring stress to manageable levels, has long been a traditional sleep aid, particularly useful for insomniacs who find themselves watching the sunrise as they memorize formulas and equations. Within a week, you’ll notice general improvements in relaxation and overall reduced crankiness after consecutive sleepless nights in Van Pelt.

To quickly relieve stress, aromatherapists recommend inhaling the scents using an aroma diffuser to filter select oils throughout your room, as the nose has a direct linkage to the brain. Another common practice is topically massaging the essential oils because when oils are rubbed into the skin, the body absorbs them in the same way it would any topical ointment, like Aquaphor or lotion. Rub the oils into your tense neck and back muscles in circular rotations, preferably before bedtime.

Below are other essential oils which, in addition to smelling delicious, promise instant stress relief:

Rose:  Sixty-seven roses or 40,000 blooms go into producing a single drop of this oil! It should come as no surprise, then, that rose oil significantly reduces breathing rate and systolic blood pressure, leaving the individual more calm and at ease. Try this Rose Otto and Jojoba Oil Blend ($10.99).

Frankincense: This warm balsamic scent is a strong but long-used meditative oil. For those who overwork themselves and are buried under mounds of pressure, this oil will facilitate quieting your mind and allowing an exhausted body some rest. Get started with Aura Cacia’s Frankincense Oil ($9.71).

Neroli: This bittersweet but floral oil not only balances hormones but also mitigates anxiety and nervous tension, especially before a final exam.  An added bonus: your muscles will thank you and feel instant relief. Try this Neroli and Jojoba Oil Blend ($10.58).

Peppermint: Its brisk smell will leave your senses tingling and invigorated. After a rough night of cramming, one sniff of this plant-oil will not only clear your mind, but make you feel awake. Now you’ll just need a little concealer to look the part too! We recommend this peppermint oil ($6.83) by Nature’s Alchemy.

Vanilla: This soothing aroma has a calming effect on the central nervous system and the brain by decreasing blood pressure. Its tranquilizing properties help promote sleep if used before bedtime and plus, when you’re busy studying away, it’s always nice when people tell you that you smell delicious. You can’t go wrong with Caswell-Massey’s Vanilla Oil ($10.80).


– Alicia Chon

Photos courtesy of Talk Spas and The  Healthy Beauty Project. 

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