The alternative way of self-care: DIY aromatherapy for stress relief

Aromatherapy is a holistic treatment which promotes psychological and physiological wellness. It involves the usage of aromatic essential oils, which are extracted from plants, herbs, and flowers. The practice of infusing essential oils has been known since ancient civilisation, but it wasn’t until 1937 that it entered the era of modern medicine. Nowadays, complementary medicine has gained a lot of attention as it addresses the patient’s physical, emotional, social, and spiritual needs. The benefits of aromatherapy are still very controversial, as there are not enough clinical studies performed which would explain the observable biochemical changes that occur in our bodies. Nevertheless, many patients believe that therapy with essential oils plays a role in reducing anxiety, mental stress, and pain. The aroma molecules in essential oils have antibacterial, antiviral, anti-inflammatory, and immune-boosting properties. Their structure is similar to those of our hormones. Therefore, they can reach the tissues under the skin and eventually trigger the brain to release messengers like serotonin. Alternative medicine gives hope for reducing side effects, which can occur while taking modern medications.

There are several types of aromatherapy, but the ones you can perform yourself are either by using a massage blend, inhaling the essential oil, or taking a relaxing bath. Massaging the essential oil into the skin has a moisturising and cleansing effect while decreasing physical pains and improving one’s mood. Adding the oils to the bath is a great way to relax the whole body as the warmth of the water helps the skin to absorb them. In general, aromatherapy is safe if the oils are used in the right way. When too concentrated, essential oils can trigger a chemically induced skin irritation, so always dilute them with a carrier oil of your choice. They also shouldn’t be ingested as they cause severe poisoning. Alternatively, if you have a diffuser, you could fill the air in a room with tiny, breathable particles of beneficial essential oils.

There is a range of different carrier and essential oils that can be used in aromatherapy, each with various therapeutic properties. For example, coconut oil, an excellent moisturising and antifungal agent with naturally present antioxidants, is one of the most popular carrier oils,. On the other hand, the jojoba carrier oil reduces the skin’s oil production and helps with acne. While choosing the right oil, you should think about their properties and your skin type. Similarly, essential oils are used for different aches and pains, so choosing one will depend on its purpose.

Below you can find some recipes for blends, which you can use in a bath or massage during this stressful time. The essential oils used in these recipes can help you feel calm, balance your emotions, and make you sleepy at night.


  • bergamot oil (8-10 drops)
  • lavender oil (4-6 drops)
  • carrier oil: almond oil/ apricot kernel oil/ jojoba oil/ organ oil

How to use: mix all the ingredients and pour the mixture into a bath filled with 1/3 of warm water. Enjoy a steamy bath for 15-30 minutes. Lavender oil has relaxing properties, while bergamot oil will clear your skin. The carrier oil acts as a moisturiser.


The quantity needed for the massage mixture will depend on the body part you want to use it for. Generally, for a massage of the whole body, you will need 10-20 drops of essential oils mixed with 5-6 tablespoons of carrier oil. If you run out of mixture during the massage, don’t add more essential oil! You should only add more carrier oil.


  • rosemary oil (4 drops)
  • juniper oil (3 drops)
  • lavender oil (2 drops)
  • carrier oil: jojoba oil/ avocado oil/ almond oil (5 tablespoons)


  • lavender oil (2-3 drops)
  • geranium oil (2 drops)
  • rose tree oil (3 drops)
  • carrier oil: jojoba/ avocado/ argan (5 tablespoons)


  • geranium oil (3-5 drops)
  • sandalwood oil (2-3 drops)
  • carrier oil: jojoba/ avocado/ apricot kernel (5 tablespoons)

[Zuzia Bogusławska – she/her]

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