There are various sources that can be found online that talk about the mental health benefits of aromatherapy with certain essential oils. I started using aromatherapy daily almost a year ago. Mostly I use a diffuser but I also have a few topical roll-ons. It’s hard to say if there’s any therapeutic benefit aside from the very real benefit of a regular practice of engaging in self-care, but if nothing else it smells really nice.
An article by Dr. Axe lists a top 4 of essential oils for depression:
- Bergamot: calming, works well in combination with lavender
- Lavender: useful for stress, anxiety, depression, and PTSD
- Chamomile: soothing, calming
- Ylang ylang: boosts mood, mild sedative
Other essential oils that may be helpful are rose, geranium, clary sage, jasmine, sandalwood, sweet marjoram, frankincense, wild orange, lemon, patchouli, grapefruit, and neroli.
I get most of my essential oil blends from Saje Natural Wellness. I specifically pick blends that contain mental health-boosting oils. My favourites are Embrace (which includes ylang ylang, patchouli, and geranium, among others), Stress Release (with lavender, clary sage, geranium, and roman chamomile), Tranquility (with lavender, ylang ylang, and roman chamomile), and Unwind (with lavender, bergamot, and geranium).
I subscribe to a sort of the more the merrier holistic approach to mental health. My treatment-resistant depression doesn’t seem to be inclined to budge, so I throw at it whatever I can come up with in the hope that any little bit helps. And if what I’m throwing at it happens to smell nice, so much the better, meaning I will keep taking care of myself with aromatherapy.
To read about whether aromatherapy is the real deal or just very pleasant placebo, check out Are Essential Oils a Placebo or Something More?
The COVID-19/Mental Health Coping Toolkit page has a wide range of resources to support better mental health and wellbeing.