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Aromatherapy for Anxiety – How Does It Work?


Aromatherapy for anxiety. How does it work? Is it real? That’s what I will be talking about today.

Aromatherapy is the practice of using essential oils to treat illnesses or reduce anxiety and promote relaxation. Essential oils are taken from plant. And you can use many part of the plants including the flowers, leaves, stalks, bark, rind, or roots. The oils are mixed with another substance such as a base oil, alcohol, or even lotion and then applied to the skin, sprayed in the air, or inhaled. You can also put it into a diffuser without mixing it with another oil and inhale it in the room. Many massage therapist will use it as part of a therapeutic massage.

Here are some popular essential oils that are used to promote relaxation
lavender (Lavandula angustifolia)
sandalwood (Santalum album)
orange blossom (Citrus sinensis)
lemon balm (Citrus limon)
rose (Rosa damascena),
jasmine
Clary sage (Salvia sclarea)
Roman chamomile (Anthemis nobilis)
Rose-scented geranium (Pelargonium spp.)
bergamot (Citrus aurantium)

For more information on Anxiety disorders

References
Goel N; Kim H; Lao RP. An olfactory stimulus modifies nighttime sleep in young men and women.
Chronobiol Int. 2005; 22(5):889-904 (Wesleyan article referenced in the video)

Komiya, Migiwa; Takeuchi, Takashi; Harada, Etsumori (2006). “Lemon oil vapor causes an anti-stress effect via modulating the 5-HT and DA activities in mice”. Behavioural Brain Research 172 (2): 240–9.

Kiecolt-Glaser, Janice K.; Graham, Jennifer E.; Malarkey, William B.; Porter, Kyle; Lemeshow, Stanley; Glaser, Ronald (2008). “Olfactory influences on mood and autonomic, endocrine, and immune function”. Psychoneuroendocrinology 33 (3): 328–39.

Herz RS. Aromatherapy facts and fictions: a scientific analysis of olfactory effects on mood, physiology and behavior. Int J Neurosci. 2009;119(2):263-90.

Disclaimer: All of the information on this channel is for educational purposes and not intended to be specific/personal medical advice from me to you. Watching the videos or getting answers to comments/question, does not establish a doctor-patient relationship. If you have your own doctor, perhaps these videos can help prepare you for your discussion with your doctor.

I upload every Wednesday at 9am, and sometimes have extra videos in between. Subscribe to my channel so you don’t miss a video

115 thoughts on “Aromatherapy for Anxiety – How Does It Work?

  1. I use channel no.5

  2. For the last 3 days I’ve been putting a couple of lavender essential oil drops on my pillow and a drinking a cup of Camomile and spearmint tea before bed an it’s helps clear my mind really helps me sleep better and helps with my anxiety the next day 😊😊😊😊

  3. I know where that exit is when you explained eating something lol

  4. Orange blossom is my favourite but so expensive

  5. This succinct and super informative. Thankyou. 🙏✨

  6. Your Excellent… i can binge on your video posts…. Thanks!

  7. Peppermint oil is also a great topical treatment for headaches.

  8. Thank you for sharing all your time and knowledge with us 🌹

  9. It’s great to get a scientific explanation from somebody with the credentials to back it up. Thanks for the breakdown, Dr. Marks! I always thought there was something to this, as I’ve noticed in the past that certain smells (i.e food, perfume), brings up emotions and/or memories).

    Going to Whole Foods now 🙂

  10. So which is better for calmness &/or anxiety, lavender or eucalyptus??

    1. lavender

  11. This is great information. Thank you! Subscribed 🙂

  12. Can I used it for my family member with dementia?

  13. Chlorine smell from a pool takes me so back and comforts me. So does gasoline. But..I can’t inhale those. Is there something close to it?

  14. This was really helpful! Got a new subscriber!

    1. Same here 🙂

  15. Witches, pagans, and other nature worshipping groups have been making and using essential oils since the beginning of time. Besides for medicine, they used essential oils by themselves or mixed with other ingredients as a potion because they believed they were achieving dark powers through them. If you are going to use essential oils be very careful about which company to buy from. There are essential oil companies that are pro-Satan and pro-Wicca and they actually cast spells on their batches of oil so that when you burn the oil, spirits and the spells are enabled.

  16. I have an aromatherapy bracelet. It has been a life saver! If I am feeling anxious at all I will bring the bracelet closer to inhale the scent and it’s very relaxing. I add ylang ylang oil OR lavender oil. I am yet to true the others you have mentioned but I look forward to it.

    1. Never heard of that. Sounds interesting.

  17. I’m very sensitive to some smells that indeed wire my otherwise unwired brain. One exemple is the coffee smell though I can’t drink it anymore. I’m glad to learn scientifically how indeed aromatherapy works.
    I’d like to ask another question. I’ve been into long years and years of anxiety and depression and gut psychosomatic disorders. Ibs. Without my medications tegretol and Paxetas my gut brain and everything Wd go out of order. Is there any hope or any way to do away with the medications one day. I’m sixty and have been on medication for about eleven years. I d like to improve my concentration on reading memorising. Im a literature teacher but had to take a very early retirement from college but work at another pace home. Still it’s a battle as I can have to wait for hours before I can read and concentrate on a paragraph but at others I finally manage.

  18. I’m trying this to help me relax mediate and sleep .

  19. Great video! Super detailed explanation that really makes sense of it all.

  20. Can Aroma therapy be a valuable factor for treating anxiety? I do psychotherapy and take magnesium and b-vitamins and stuff and I considered using aromatherapy, but maybe it is just a little thing that is convienent but has no strong impact?

    1. @Dr. Tracey Marks Thanks for your answer Dr. Marks.

    2. I think aromatherapy can be helpful but not strong enough to completely treat anxiety symptoms. I think if your symptoms are mild it can be calming and centering.

  21. my sister had told me to get a diffuser for my anxiety for work , and after also seeing this video im really gonna buy it for work and home. Im so happy these kinds of videos exist they really help me relieve some of my anxiety Thank you so much for what you do.

    1. You’re welcome. I hope you enjoy your diffuser.

  22. I’m interested to know why you didn’t mention the relationship between lavender and tea tree oil as breast development in boys. I would like to see the risks as well as benefits in videos by a doctor because nothing is risk free.

    1. I hear what you’re saying. The purpose of the video was to explain how aromatherapy works in the brain. It wasn’t intended to be a comprehensive review of the pros and cons of the various essential oils.

  23. You’re brilliant

    1. Thanks a lot Maxine I appreciate it. 😊

  24. Hlo mam… I can’t sleep due to stress..i ordered clary sage… Will it work… Plz reply it’s urgent ma’am

    1. You’ll have to see whether not it works. It’s not something you can predict ahead of time it works for some and not for others.

  25. I’m having a problem with extreme anxiety a lot of it’s caused by health problems sometimes I say the wrong thing I don’t know what to do you don’t want to offend anybody

    1. I’m not sure why your health problems would offend people.

  26. For many many years I would not ever start the day with lavender on a cotton wool piece and put into my bra it was a must or i didn’t feel right

    1. @Dr. Tracey Marks haha they all knew when I had been there that’s for sure

    2. You must of made everyone around you feel very relaxed. 😊

  27. Yep it helps me

    1. 😊

  28. This explanation makes perfect sense however I am wondering how come Western/modern medicine does not believe in Aroma therapy? Every doctor I spoke to said there is no medical evidence or research that has actually proved that aroma therapy works. Even though I’ve tried it myself numerous times and it’s been proven to offer an anxiety relief for me. I am still confused why wouldn’t regular doctor support an idea of Aroma therapy?

    1. Sunny C. Because cash rules every thing around them

    2. There are scientific studies supporting the benefits of aromatherapy, but I don’t think the studies are rigorous enough for the mainstream medical community to except them. Also I don’t think there are any studies showing a direct effect on a psychiatric illness. And Western medicine is illness focused

  29. Hi Dr. Tracey can you wean off klonopin with xanax

    1. Usually not. When you’re weaning off you want to use a longer acting medication and Xanax is very short acting.

  30. I used to teach adult learners and I am convinced aromatherapy in the classroom provided a more conducive environment for learning.

    1. Oh that’s great! I hope they let you keep it going.

  31. how long does the effect of Aromatherapy last you? (for example, you used your aromatherapy diffuser in the morning to boost your mood, is it going to last you throughout the day, possibly at work?)

    1. For me, it depends upon how long I was inhaling the aroma and how many drops I put in the diffuser. The longer the time, the slower it was to wear off. The effects usually last at least 30 minutes and I haven’t noticed a benefit beyond 6 hours.
      I keep a small, leak-proof bottle in my purse for a boost when needed.

    2. @Dr. Tracey MarksMarks, thanks for getting back to me, I am estimating 11 hours at most. I hope its rational.

    3. I don’t know the answer to this Sandra, good question though. My guess is that it temporary, like maybe hours.

  32. I love your channel..can u do a video on anxiety and breathing sometimes I feel like I’m not getting enough air tfs

    1. @Dr. Tracey Marks thanks so much I appreciate you ❤

    2. That’s a great topic suggestion. I’ll see what I can come up with.

  33. I’ve been taking Klonopin for about 20 years and I had a serious side effects and panic attacks and how to wind up in the hospital what can I do as a serious can it kill me

    1. Slowly reduce your benzo dose…add herb like Ashwagandha, Rediola and Lavender oil…along with megnisium…but it all depends on your current situation, age, health condition…Benzo withdrawal is hard but not impossible…your will determine your path…good luck.

    2. you need to talk with your doctor about how to wean off. You may need another medication to help you wean off of it and treat your anxiety.

  34. I inhale Rosemary and Frankensence essential oils. I love them both. Rosemary is especially effective for me.

    1. Galliano Marr I been using Rosemary and Orange and it honestly does help reduce my anxiety slightly. Ive had a chronic migraine for like 2yrs now and the smell reduces/alleviates some tensions oddly enough, but I also love smells bc my scene of smells weak so idk how big a role that plays. Sometimes the oils you buy can have slight variations in smell tho but I think it’s a good mix bc it doesn’t put feeling foggy like lavender or alert your senses to much like eucalyptus rather has a pleasant garden kinda scent so it keeps you alert but calm in a sense. Eucalyptus is good if you want to be more alert and opens your sinuses but too much exposure can be irritating & lavender is good for sleep but if you have stuff to do and stressed I recommend this mix to test out. Honestly it all comes down to your occasion w/ the smell aswell tho, this is just my experience

    2. Do you take it for relaxation? Does it help with anxiety?

    3. That’s good to hear. Thanks for sharing. Those ancient oils like frankincense are really strong 🙂

  35. Thank you for such an informative and encouraging video.

    1. You’re welcome Homero!

  36. Could someone use activating oils for depression?

    1. I’m not sure how helpful they would be as far as giving you a boost of energy. It probably depends on the quality of the oil and how strongly captivating it is.

  37. ..If you’re a Star Trek fan.. :–)

    1. Yes LOL! 😄

  38. This is very well done im excited to share with my coaching group. Thank you!

    1. Thanks the Aromaspecialist I’m glad you liked it and thanks for sharing.

  39. I was wonder if theres any scents i can put like in my car. After getting in a wreck a while ago my already moderate anxiety has increased a bit and everything time i go over 40mph it freaks me and sends an alarm to my brain, well this is going to cause another anxiety if i dont figure out how to control my anxiety while driving on the highway. I was curious about orange blossom as lavender does put me to sleep

    1. To sleep? Wow that’s great then if you need it for that. Orange blossom is also in the relaxing category that may work for you. Peppermint tends to be stimulating I’m not sure if it helps anxiety though. There are lots of options that you could look up and find some of the less common relaxing oils if none of these others work.

  40. I don’t really get much deep sleep. Will lavender help? BTW, I thought the “Hipo-campus” was a University for pachyderms. 😉🤓

    1. I did a video on aromatherapy in case you’re interested. Aromatherapy for Anxiety – How Does It Work?

    2. Lol! 😃 that’s a good one. It is a weird name. Lavender can help relax you for sleep. I don’t know that it will necessarily deepen your sleep though. But it’s worth a try.

  41. Does it help treat social anxiety/panic? i am thinking of buying lavender oil

    1. @Butter Johnson do you take cold showers in the morning? how long?

    2. Cold showers and deep breathing exercises helped my anxiety so much.

    3. I’m not sure, It depends on how severe your anxiety is. The oil may help you feel more relaxed before the social situation, but then you’d have to hang in there on your own during the situation.

  42. Does smelling your own farts count??

    1. Kevin Kline it works wow

    2. Maybe, if they relax you.

  43. Aromatherapy is pseudoscience.

    1. Even prescription meds don’t fix everything. The context of this is talking about relaxation not fixing. There are lots of folks in the comments talking about oils that have helped them relax. I don’t think they feel like they wasted their money.

    2. It’s easy to believe there’s a magic oil that fixes everything but we can’t have good things. Don’t waste your time

    3. For relaxation I guess but for medical use no. Almost all essential oils have been proven to have no effect. The two that do do anything don’t do much. Wintergreen oil can help with a cold but there’s no point in spending a lot on some oil when you could spend waay less on methods that have gone through clinical trials and scientifically proven to work

  44. Will this help when you have bipolar 2 and anxiety?

    1. @- Maybe she wants to combine those two

    2. Yes, anxiety is separate from the mania or depression in bipolar d/o So yes it can help the anxiety issue.

  45. You’re pulchritudinous! Thank you.

    1. Alright then. Thank you!

    2. @Dr. Tracey Marks Pulchritudinous is a way to describe great physical beauty. A person who is very beautiful would be described as pulchritudinous.

    3. Hi Leo never heard that term before, but I’ll take it as a compliment, thanks.

  46. I have lavenderr and peppermint oil with me at all times.

    1. That’s a great combination. I love the smell of peppermint, but it can be stimulating.

  47. Great info. ❣️

    1. Thanks Tas J.🙂

  48. Breath in the gas,,…..weed ..done…
    Bingewatching you from Tasmania Australia ✌🌱🍃.
    Psilocybin will cure my depression?

    1. Stay tuned for my upcoming video on cannabis 🙂 Thanks for binge watching.

  49. Can you make a video about derealization and depersonalization?

    1. @JastheZ By popular demand, I moved up my depersonalization video to this Wednesday. Look out for it.

    2. Hi JastheZ. Sure I can. Any particular question you want me to answer about this? Do you mind if I reference you in the video as the person who asked the question?

  50. Thank you for this video Dr Tracy!

    1. You’re welcome Joceylyn!

  51. I love this! I have been working on building my own aromatherapy collection! I love lavender. Great video as always

    1. Thanks Rashawnda! I hope you get a collection!

  52. I love my lavender plants that have my porch. I like to go pass them and run my hands along the stems.

    1. I’ll bet they are so beautiful.

  53. When I went through massage school, we had a module on aromatherapy. It is pretty incredible to learn the way smells can affect us so deeply. I heard several incredible stories while in school about this. I would love to get you together with my favorite teacher, because I think you would be fascinated by her experiences. I would like to add that I think a big part of the enjoyment in gardening is experiencing the fragrance of the herbs and flowers as well as the tactile component of working with the plants. I grow my own lavender and it’s so wonderful to get that fragrance as I’m working out there. I want to add some chamomile for next year, because that is a very yummy and relaxing fragrance as well.

    1. Ooh I can’t wait to see that one!

    2. Yes!! Gardening involves all five senses! And you can get those benefits with growing a couple of containers on a sunny porch! It doesn’t have to be a monumental process. In my garden tour video, you can see the herbs I grow. It’s a mix of stuff for cooking as well as things for fragrance. Though right now I’m steeping my own lavender sugar and will be making my own scrub with it. Yes, I have a video planned!

    3. Hi Patty. That’s right, you’re the massage expert. I forgot about that – in addition to your other many talents. I can see how gardening would be very pleasurable. I hadn’t thought of that. Chamomile would be awesome to have around. I know I haven’t see all of your gardening videos – but do you have any with the lavender in it? I’ll bet it’s beautiful.

  54. Essential oils should never be combined with an alcohol. Oils can be combined with an appropriate carrier oil. Please look at Robert Tisserand’s works on Aromatherapy. He is the recognition leader and expert in Aromatherapy.

    1. Good point Susan. I’m very familiar with Robert Tisserand and yes he is a definite leader in the field.

  55. My husband and I have definately noticed this. Lemon tree blossoms, jasmyn etc temporarily lift my spirits even when im very low. Doesn’t necessarily fix the depression or anxiety permanently, but definately gives you a breather😊

    1. Good to know Karin. Thanks for sharing.

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