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Aromatherapy can ease feelings associated with PTSD

Self care practices can help ease symptoms of trauma, along with professional care

Essential oils have been used to heal the mind and body for ages. People with Traumatic Disorders often realize that aromatherapy can aid them in managing their symptoms. But you may wonder, "How can essential oils possibly help with trauma?".

What is Trauma?

Trauma, or post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), is a mental health condition caused by witnessing or experiencing a traumatic, painful, or stressful incident. Nightmares, flashbacks, insomnia, acute anxiety and uncontrollable thoughts about the event can affect daily life.

Please take note that professional treatment is a vital part of the recovery process. And you can help your healing process by practicing self-care. Self-care means making lifestyle changes that support your healing, such as incorporating complementary therapies into your everyday routines.

If you want to recover from trauma, you need to cultivate relaxaiton practcies that relax your body and mind. When someone is in a state of trauma, the body is frequently in hyperarousal, with stress hormones released rapidly into the bloodstream. Hyperarousal feels alarming, causing body tightness, feelings of overwhlem, anxiety, insomnia etc.

Aromatherapy is a complementary therapy that can be part of your self-care plan. Essential oils can assist the body in reaching a state of relaxation, which is an important component of the healing puzzle. Essential oils can help with self-healing and the healing process. Special oil blends and applications to specific spots on the body can assist in calming the nervous system and harmonize your energy and your cognitive and emotional life.

How do essential oils help in easing the symptoms of trauma?

What role do essential oils have in reducing traumatic symptoms? Most people did not know that particular fragrances have the power to elicit emotional and bodily responses.

The autonomic nervous system is a portion of our brain that regulates our fight-or-flight responses and respiration, and heart rates. The brain region stimulates when you're in a stressful scenario, and your body reacts with physical signs like shallow breathing, a faster pulse, and a burst of adrenaline. Because of their phytochemical components which interact with human biochemistry, certain essential oils can enact the relaxation response, which slows or stops the stress response.

Best essential oils for easing trauma symptoms

Lavender essential oil

Lavender is a popular oil for aromatherapy. Lavender has been proven to reduce symptoms of anxiety and depression and produce a calmful sleep. Lavender essential oil can reduce anxiety by influencing the limbic system, the brain area that controls emotion[1]. It's scientifically proven that massage with lavender oil helps with anxiety and depression. It calms states of nervous anxiety, embarrassment, panic and releases "stuck" mental energy from built-up unexpressed emotion. Lavender has been described as a "habit breaker" and a "crisis smoother". Lavender soothes the perception of trauma that prevents self-expression, encouraging full expression of the individual feeling.

Bergamot essential oil

Bergamot essential oil has a relaxing effect and can help in reducing anxiety. Bergamot has been discovered to alleviate symptoms and boost mood in animal and human trials. Researchers found that 15 minutes of exposure to bergamot essential oil in a woman increased a sense of life satisfaction[2]. Bergamot has a calming and toning effect on the nervous system. It aids in distributing unprocessed and stagnant energy that emerges as tension and irritability. Bergamot encourages the release of pent-up feelings, aids in diverting nervous energy away from addictive behaviors, plus aids in relaxation and letting go.

Rose essential oil

Roses have a lovely sweet, floral aroma that calms the senses. Rose oil reduces the rate of breathing, blood oxygen saturation, and systolic blood pressure significantly, invoking the relaxation repsonse. In one research study, subjects exposed to rose oil rated themselves calmer, more relaxed and less alert than subjects not exposed to rose oil. These findings show the relaxing effect of rose oil and provide some evidence for the use of rose oil in aromatherapy for relief of depression and stress in humans[3].

Neroli essential oil

Aromatherapy with neroli oil can help with stress, anxiety, and stress-related depression. Neroli's phytochemical composition help the brain release serotonin and lower cortisol levels, a stress hormone.

Neroli is ideal for persons who are highly sensitive, and thus, are prone to worry and distress emtoions. These individual's can become emotionally drained and depressed. Neroli has a relaxing, euphoric, and also grounding effect. Neroli helps move the processing of depression and despair due to unspoken rage and unconscious resentment, and helps provide emotional strength and comfort. Neroli aids in the discharge of suppressed emotions and re-establishes a feelign of wholeness in the body and mind. Neroli helps process the gradual release of denial and profound emotional pain that can overwhelm a person. Neroli is a symbol of hope and joy, and encourages sensual relaxation and emotional harmony[4].

How to use essential oils to reduce anxiety?

Some ways to use essential oil the relieve anxiety are,

  • Take an Aroma bath by adding essential oil with a teaspoon of carrier oil, such as almond oil, jojoba oils, or a scentless bath gel. Just before entering, add the mixture to the warm bathwater.

  • Sprinkle essential oil spray on the bed linen or pillow cover before sleeping

  • Adding essential oil to the diffuser; the aroma will diffuse around the room.

  • Massage with essential oil at the back of the neck or forehead.


One important thing is that essential oils alone will not alleviate significant trauma. If you've been experiencing symptoms, the first step should always be to seek diagnosis and treatment from a doctor or mental health professional. At the same time, if you realize that it soothes your feelings, you might experiment with essential oil for easing the symptoms of trauma.


  1. Malcolm, Benjamin J., and Kimberly Tallian. "Essential oil of lavender in anxiety disorders: Ready for prime time?." Mental Health Clinician 7.4 (2017): 147-155.

  2. Rombolà, Laura, et al. "Bergamot essential oil attenuates anxiety-like behavior in rats." Molecules 22.4 (2017): 614.

  3. Mohebitabar, Safieh, et al. "Therapeutic efficacy of rose oil: A comprehensive review of clinical evidence." Avicenna journal of phytomedicine 7.3 (2017): 206.

  4. Baldwin, Jennifer. "Aromatherapy as an Adjunctive Support for Trauma in Pastoral Care and Counseling." Sensing Sacred: Exploring the Human Senses in Practical Theology and Pastoral Care (2016): 169.


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