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Emotional Well-being

It was not until the 20th century that the term “aromatherapy” was officially used. Scientists started to support the idea of using essential oils for emotional Well-being. Humans have enjoyed the benefits of aromatherapy for hundreds of years. In the 1990s scientists were able to prove the connection between essential oils and emotional management.

Research in the early 1990’s helped biologists understand how the brain reacts to different scents and aromas. The research proved what people of ancient civilizations had already put into practice—essential oils can be used to create responses within the body, particularly to benefit and influence emotions. Although the science of emotions still holds significant mystery, we know that there is a connection between scent and emotions. We also know that aromatherapy is a useful tool for managing emotions and uplifting mood.

Why use essential oils to manage emotions?

Each person experiences emotions a differently, thus, the methods for managing emotions will vary between individuals. While there are many options available for uplifting mood and coping with negative emotions, there are several benefits to using aromatherapy and essential oils to manage emotions by;

  1. Providing a safe, natural way to manage mood
  2. Generating a quick response
  3. Simple method that can be used in conjunction with out tactics



Calming and uplifting properties

Each essential oil has its own specific chemistry. Essential oil can be put into two categories—uplifting or calming properties. This makes essential oils extremely useful to manage emotions. When you lack motivation, enthusiasm, or inspiration, essential oils with an uplifting fragrance profile to lift your mood. When you feel tired, overwhelmed or down, use calming oils to help sooth, ground, or renew emotions.
Calming oils
The Calming oil category typically contain monoterpene alcohols, sesquiterpenes, esters, and oxides. Below are a few examples of calming oils that can be used to rejuvenate emotions:

  • Clary Sage
  • Eucalyptus
  • Frankincense
  • Geranium
  • Jasmine
  • Juniper Berry
  • Lavender
  • Roman Chamomile
  • Ylang Ylang



Uplifting oils

The Uplifting oil Category is primarily composed of ketones, phenols, monoterpenes like beta-pinene and limonene. These uplifting essential oils can be used to improve energy, invigorating, warming, or improving emotions. Below are examples of essential oils that can be used to uplift mood:

  • Cypress
  • Douglas fir
  • Grapefruit
  • Lemon
  • Lime
  • Peppermint
  • White Fir
  • Orange


Stress and Anxiety Relief:

The American Heart Association estimates 103 million U.S. adults have high blood pressure causing cardiovascular disease-related deaths. This close to half of all adults in the United States.Due to this it’s important to proactively work to lower yours or loved-ones blood pressure.
Before using essential oils in your stress relief routine, it’s important to communicate with your doctor and do your research. This way you can take a holistic and balanced approach to your health care. Exercise, diet, and other lifestyle factors need to be factored into your approach. The American Heart Association’s website, www.heart.org, is a great resource to learn more.


There is clear evidence essential oils can help your heart health?

A 2012 clinical study on aromatherapy effect on hypertension showed positive results on those with hypertension when using a blend of lavender, Ylang Ylang, marjoram and Neroli. Researchers found significant improvements in cortisol levels, which is a key stress level hormone. Here’s what the researchers determined as per the 2102 study.

“In conclusion, the inhalation of an essential oil had immediate and continuous effects on the home SBP, daytime BP, and the stress reduction. Essential oils may have relaxation effects for controlling hypertension.”

This emphasizes what most of us intuitively know — reducing stress is good for our health! Reducing long-term exposure to cortisol can improve your body’s processes and reduce your risk of health problems.

So the key is to find an essential oil or blend to improve your bodies stress release point! Each individual is different, but here are essential oils that can used to lower your stress level.


Essential oils and blends for lowering harmful stress:

Bergamot essential oil has a fresh, bright, faintly floral, citrus aroma that most people find uplifting. It can be used for mild depression and anxiety or to simply brighten your day.

Chamomile Roman essential oil is aromatic and calming with a fresh, sweet, apple-like scent. It can be used to help you let go of stress, tension, anxiety, anger, fear, sleeplessness, worry, shock, and impatience.

Frankincense essential oil has a warm, sweet, balsamic, woody aroma. It’s known to calm the mind when you’re feeling restless, anxious or stressed.

Lavender essential oil has a fresh, sweet, soft, herbaceous, floral aroma. Many find that it balances and calms them when dealing with stress, anxiety, nervous exhaustion, mood swings, anger, or sleeplessness.

Mandarin essential oil has a bright citrus aroma. It promotes joy and minimizes feelings of stress, anxiety, mild depression, tension, restlessness, or sleeplessness.

Neroli essential oil has a soft floral aroma and is one of the best essential oils to calm anxiety and promote a sense of calm. (you can diluteNeroliwhich allows you to enjoy this precious essential oil at a more affordable price.)

Ylang Ylang essential oil is fragrant with a sweet, fruity scent. Many find it is helpful for stress, anxiety, sleeplessness, nervous tension, mild depression, anger by promoting a sense of peace.

Calm & Relaxing Blend; The Cedar Atlas “Calm & Balance blend” can help to relax sore muscles, relieve nervous tension and stress to support the cardiovascular system. It’s a calming blend of Orange, Peppermint and Ylang Ylang.

Anti-Anxiety Blend; The Cedar Atlas “Anti-anxiety blend” can help to relieve stress and fatigue with anti-anxiety properties. It’s a calming blend of lemon, Lavender and Bergamot.

There are many other available essential oils blends that many find helpful for naturally lowering stress.


Treatment for Depression

Essential oils are concentrated plant extracts. They serve many medical purposes, from acting as a natural mosquito repellent to reducing back and neck pain. Many people use them to support depression treatment. Essential Oils do not cure depression.People should not use an essential oil in place of prescribed medication.However, essential oils demonstrate benefits as a complementary therapy alongside the conventional treatments for depression, such as behavioral therapy and antidepressants.


Evidence does not support essential oils as a treatment for depression in every case, but they may relieve certain symptoms.

Studies have shown certain essential oils may relieve psychological and physical symptoms linked to depression.One 2016 study showed that inhaled lavender improved the sleep cycle of people at college who experienced sleep disturbances, which can be an effect of depression.

A different study showed that an essential oil called Asarumheterotropoides reduced behaviors in mice that resembled those of people with depression.However, the psychology and brain structure of non-human animals are far less complex than in humans, and animal studies do not normally produce significant results.

Some research has shown that using essential oils may improve sleep, enhance mood, and improve quality of life.Essential oils may also help reduce the symptoms of anxiety disorders, which often occur alongside depression. Researchers estimate that around 43 percent of people with anxiety and stress use some form of alternative therapy to help manage symptoms.

As with all forms of alternative therapy, use essential oils with caution. Always discuss the use of these oils with a Doctor or Aroma-therapist.


Oils that may help

There is not one single oil suited in treating depression outright, people have cited the following oils as being useful in the treatment of certain symptoms of depressive disorders.

This report from 2017 on a number of studies suggested several oils that might have positive effects when used as part of a mixture, including:

Lavender, which featured in many of the compounds that researchers used

  • Bergamot
  • Yuzu
  • Rose
  • Roman chamomile
  • Geranium
  • Sage
  • Jasmine
  • Rosemary


Cedar Atlas Blends such as Kama Sutra, Anti-Anxiety and De-stress & Sleep have been known as an effective mood altering blends


Aromatherapy in Hospice & Palliative Care by reducing Stress and Agitation

Aromatherapy is no longer considered a “complementary service” as it is integrated into patient care. The Hospice now has a functional Aromatherapy program that benefits patients, families and staff.

Using essential oils in a palliative care environment can be soothing, relaxing and make the difficult task of caring for a dying person easier.Caring for a dying loved one at home or in a hospice facility is one of the most traumatic and stressful situations, particularly if the patient is your child, no matter what age. The care itself is physically demanding: lifting, turning, and running around all take their toll on the caregivers” bodies. The emotional stress involved with caring for a dying loved one and working with a team of professionals and other caregivers is also exhausting and difficult.
Studies have been undertaken to ascertain the benefits of the use of essential oils in palliative care situations. One such study that looked at the benefits to cancer patients who received aromatherapy massage in a palliative care setting found that “there was a statistically significant reduction in anxiety after each massage and the patients who received aromatherapy massage also noted improvements in their disposition, physical comfort and their quality of life” (Palliat Med 1999 Sep;13(5):409-17. An evaluation of aromatherapy massage in palliative care. Wilkinson S, Aldridge J, Salmon I, Cain E, Wilson B). Another study “measured the responses of 17 cancer hospice patients to humidified essential lavender oil”. Positive changes in blood pressure and pulse, pain, anxiety, depression, and sense of well-being were noted. (Louis, Margaret and Kowalski, Susan D. 2002, American Journal of Hospice and Palliative Medicine)

Frequently Asked Questions

Why implement an Aromatherapy Program in a hospice setting?

Aromatherapy can help to control pain, nausea and anxiety.

Aromatherapy can help to control odors.Many essential oils properties include antibacterial, antimicrobial, anti-fungal and anti-viral actions, this is of benefit during cold and flu season.Stress and agitation with patient’s decreases, thus they are calmer and happier.When the patient is in a calmer, peaceful state, both the families and staff benefit.

Patients tend to live with better quality of life when they are in a calmer state.We have seen that when patients are less distressed it is easier for the staff to support them.

When is it best to use Aromatherapy?

From the beginning of the admission of the patient; Aromatherapy can be used as a comfort care measure, environmental as well as wound care.  To help reduce stress with patients, family and staff.During Cold and Flu seasonFor wound care, please have your wound care for open and closed wound specialist address the specific needs of individual patients.

How to use aromatherapy in hospice care?

Diffuse with a Diffuser/Nebulizer
Place 1-3 drops on a cotton ball, presented in a medicine cup (with a lid) for individual inhalation as needed.
Blended in lotion or cream to be used during a body massage, hand or foot rub.
During bed baths and whirlpools.
If you have a wound care specialist they may choose to utilize various essential oils in their wound care protocols.

Who benefits from the use of essential oils in the hospice setting?

Patients, family and staff members…When we create an environment where the patient is in comfort and peace, when we create an environment where the odors wafting in and around a facility are pleasant, when we create an environment where the staff benefit from the calming, sedative or uplifting, antimicrobial action of essential oils, and when we introduce a program into the hospice facility that is self-sustaining as well as revenue generating, everyone benefits.

Best Essential Oils for Alzheimer’s

Alzheimer disease is the most common form of dementia. It is described as a loss of brain function that gradually gets worse over time, affecting memory, thinking, and behavior. Aromatherapy can play a significant role for both the caregiver and the care recipient helping to ease stress, anxiety, mood swings and memory issues as well as decreasing the need for medications and increasing the quality of life.

Many of the memory enhancing drugs currently used in the treatment of Alzheimer’s disease are designed to inhibit cholinesterase, the enzyme which breaks down acetylcholine in the body. Acetylcholine is vital to the central nervous system. It acts as a neuromodulator and when there is damage to the cholinergic (acetylcholine-producing) system it affects memory, REM sleep, attention and sensory perceptions.
Several essential oils such as Lemon, Rosemary and Sage have been shown to act in a similar way to conventional drugs, inhibiting cholinesterase but without any negative side effects. It has also been shown that using these essential oils in their natural state vs. isolating chemical constituents has a greater effect on preventing the breakdown of acetylcholine.
In a study conducted by Kilstoff and Chenoweth, Geranium, Mandarin combines with Sweet Almond oil applied via hand massage. “The specific improvements for clients included increased alertness, self-hygiene, contentment, and initiation of toileting, sleeping at night and reduced levels of agitation, withdrawal and wandering. Family carers have reported less distress, improved sleeping patterns and feelings of calm.”


When using essential oils with the elderly or frail it is generally best to start with the lowest dilution 1-3% (6-18 drops per 1 oz. of carrier oil) and whenever possible allow the patient to choose the essential oils or blends that they prefer. If a patient is non-communicative, body language and facial expression will give you insight into their likes and dislikes.

Restlessness and poor sleep:
Applications        – Bath, Inhalation, Diffusion, Massage, Spritzer
Essential oils       – Lavender, Marjoram, Chamomile, Mandarin, Neroli, Rose,

Rosemary, YlangYlang

Loss of appetite:
Application         – Inhalation, Diffusion, Spritzer
Essential oils       – Cardamom, Rosemary, Basil, Lemon, Ginger

Application         – Compress, Abdominal Massage
Essential oils       – Ginger, Rosemary, Sweet

Applications        – Compress, Abdominal Massage
Essential oils       – Marjoram, Neroli, Peppermint, Geramium

Application         – Compress, Abdominal Massage, Inhalation
Essential oils       – Basil, Linalol, Mandarin, Lemon, Melissa, Peppermint

Information indicates that Melissa and Peppermint are

best used together.

Anger, Aggression, Irritability:
Application         – Inhalation, Diffusion, Massage, Spritzer
Essential oils       – Lavender, Melissa

Anxiety, Agitation:
Applications        – Bath, Inhalation, Diffusion, Massage, Spritzer
Essential oils       –Neroli, Lavender, Bergamot, Geranium, Melissa

In a placebo controlled trial, Melissa was added to a carrier and applied to the face and arms of patients with dementia twice a day for 4 weeks.

Applications        – Bath, Inhalation, Diffusion, Massage, Spritzer
Essential oils       – Rose, Lavender, Peppermint

Applications        – Bath, Inhalation, Diffusion, Massage, Spritzer
Essential oils       – bergamot, Chamomile, Sage, Geranium, Grapefruit, Lavender, Lemon, orange, Neroli, Rose, Rosemary, YlangYlang

Applications        – Inhalation, Massage of neck and shoulders
Essential oils       – Lavender, Chamomile, Basil

Applications        – Bath, Inhalation, Diffusion, Massage, Spritzer
Essential oils       –Rosemary, Sage, Lemon

Muscle Contraction:
Applications        – Bath, Compress, Massage
Essential oils       –Lavender, Juniper

Applications        – Bath, Inhalation, Diffusion, Massage, Spritzer
Essential oil        – Melissa

Cedar Atlas carries a selection of essential oils we consider non-standard products. Please contact us for availability.



Diffusion: Follow diffuser manufacturer’s instructions. If you do not own a diffuser you can add a few drops of essential oil or blend to several cotton balls and place near to where the patient spends much of their time.


Massage: Hands, Arms, Feet:

Mix 12 drops of essential oil or essential oil blend into 1 ounce carrier oil such asJojoba, Sweet Almondand Fractionated Coconutoil. Use to massage hands, arms and/or feet. For those patients who enjoy the contact using massage as an application method provides the additional benefit of personal contact, for some this helps to create bonding between patient and caregiver which can also help to reduce stress and anxiety for everyone.


Inhalation: Add 1-2 drops of essential oil or essential oil blend to a tissue or cotton ball, tuck into pocket or pillow case. Add 1-2 drops to a silk flower and attach to client clothing. Inhalation is one of the quickest and easiest ways to use essential oils.


Spritzers: Add 25 drops of essential oil(s) to a 1 oz glass spritzer bottle, fill with purified water. Shake and spritz as desired. Spritz rooms, clothing or bed linens.