Scented Candles For Anxiety & Stress Relief
The use of essential oils to relieve stress and anxiety has long been documented. We have 5 studies and tips from 5 experts to show you how to use scented candles to help with anxiety and stress.
At some point in your life you will have experienced stress or anxiety. Whether it be from your job, kids or some sucker punch life has thrown your way. Whilst stress can come and go, as the external factor causing it does, anxiety may stick around.
Anxiety can stay with the sufferer, even if the cause is not clear.
In some cases, it can become crippling. It’s a common condition that involves much more than fears and phobias. It's something that affects not only your mood and body, but your senses as well. Anxiety can cause a person to believe that things in their life are worse than they are.
This often stops them from facing their fears. Anxiety can cause a person to believe that things in their life are worse than they actually are. This often prevents them from facing their fears. It’s important to know that anxiety is a normal feeling and occurs due to a set of bodily functions that are, in fact, very natural.
What Is Anxiety?
The NHS define anxiety as “a feeling of unease, such as worry or fear, that can be mild or severe.”
You may have these feelings around event. Such as a job interview, public speaking or some sort of test. These feelings will most likely pass once the event is over.
However, some people find it hard to control their worries around daily life. Feeling anxious around a wide range of situations or events rather than something specific.
Treating Anxiety with Aromatherapy
As is the way with many things these days, there is medication that can “help” in addressing anxiety. However, there are also alternative methods, such as aromatherapy, that can have more natural and possible an even greater positive effect.
It is thought that our sense of smell is 10,000 times more acute than other senses. Meaning that a smell can register faster in the brain than both sight or sound. It is this heightened sense that aromatherapy taps into and begins to work its magic.
For example, if you smell something burning, your initial, almost instant, response is the potential danger that could be around you.
Your other senses are subsequently alerted, leading you to identify the source of the burning to ensure your safety.
On the opposite end of the spectrum, you will have your favourite smell.
Those that bring back happy memories and relax your mind and body and make you feel safe as soon as you smell them.
Aromatherapy uses essential oils to help recover and stabilise your body both emotionally and physically.
The most common way for reaping the benefits of essential oils are through massage or inhalation.
The Evidence Supporting Aromatherapy
Aromatherapy has been around for hundreds of years. It became well known in 1937 when René-Maurice Gattefossé coined the term in one of his books. After being translated to English the word Aromatherapy was born. He is thought as the Father of Aromatherapy and inventor of the word itself. Since then there have been many studies into the effects of aromatherapy on patients.
Yuk-Lan et al. (2011) - This looked at 16 randomised controlled trials between 1990-2010. They examined the anxiolytic effects of aromatherapy among people with anxiety symptoms. Most of the studies indicated positive effects to quell anxiety. No adverse effects were reported.
Kang-Ming Chang and Chuh-Wei Shen – This study from 2011 focused on school teachers in Vietnam. It found that aromatherapy with bergamot led to a decrease in blood pressure and heart rate. Further analysis also showed positive effects in those suffering from severe anxiety.
Lehrner et al. (2005). – This study focused on dental patients and the use of Lavender and Orange essential oils. Over 200 participated in the study. Results showed those treated with both Orange and Lavender essential oils had a significant reduction in anxiety and improved moods.
Conrad and Adams (2012) - The aim of this study was to identify if aromatherapy could improve anxiety and/or depression in postpartum women. 28 women took part in the study with findings showing that a blend of Rose and Lavender essential oil helped in reducing depression and anxiety.
H.Woelka & S.Schläfkeb (2010) - Comparing the effects of Lavender, in the form of Silexan (a lavender oil capsule) vs benzodiazepine (a prescription drug). The study concluded that the lavender based capsule was a safe and as effective as benzodiazepine in adults with GAD. (General Anxiety Disorder)
What the Experts Say
We asked 5 experts who help people deal with an anxiety and stress in different ways their thoughts on how scented candles can be used to get you back on track
"More than any other of our senses, the sense of smell is most closely linked with memory. Not only can a scented candle evoke happy and calming memories, we can also condition the mind to relax and let go when we associate a favourite scent with moments of peace and wellbeing. This is a wonderful and effective way to ease the symptoms of anxiety"
"Using scented candles can be part of a healthy self-care practice and can create a soothing and restful ambiance in your home. Aromatherapy can promote relaxation and lift your mood. Scented candles can be paired with deep breathing exercises to calm the mind, body and spirit."
I use candles quite often around my home. I am very keen on lightly scented candles such as lavender and soft baby power and those that fill the room quickly with their aroma. During my downtime, I sit in a quiet space, light a candle or two and enjoy the peace and tranquillity of the moment.
The soft illumination of the flame not only puts me in a meditative state, which helps to melt the stress of the day away but increases my self-awareness.I have become a sucker for soy candles and have even gone as far as ordering some from New Zealand!
Not only are soy candles said to be environmentally safe, but I find that they last much longer than wax candles. Also, as the owner of Catori Collection, a small online crystal and holistic store, I would recommend combining the healing powers of candles and crystals. Choosing a crystal that is traditionally associated with healing, such as amethyst, and pairing it with the soothing aroma of a lavender candle can prove to be very beneficial for someone who wants to relax at the end of the day.
From my own experience, lighting a candle, grabbing a few of my favourite crystals that are said to be effective for anxiety such as lepidolite, blue lace agate and labradorite and sitting with them in my hands or placing them on my body, helps to rid me of negativity, calms any anxieties that I may be having and rebalances my energy. These days, you can even find candles that have crystals inside of them.
Once you have finished burning the candle, you then have a lovely crystal to carry around with you!
As a therapist who specialises in anxiety, I find a lot of my clients are looking for natural ways they can relieve the daily stressors of life. Essential oils such as lavender, chamomile, geranium and rose can be pleasantly helpful in calming the mood.When we inhale their fragrance, our limbic system is activated, which influences our emotions, heart rate and breathing.
However, it’s very important to choose fragrances made from pure ingredients, to avoid the toxic compounds found in synthetic scents which can have an adverse effect on our health and well-being. I also prefer to use natural, plant-based, paraffin-free candles, both for the benefit of my health, and for the environment. Indoor plants and open windows are also good ideas for keeping your indoor space fresh and healthy.
Integrative Psychotherapist & Counsellor registered with UKCP & BACP
As a psychotherapist, counsellor and coach my approach to working with client’s issues is to work with all aspects of the person: mind, body and psyche. This entails using a variety of methods to access the core of the problem and work through it. Talking therapy is assisted by holistic and alternative methods to support healing such as the use of scented candles in the therapeutic room.
Candles are scientifically proven to soothe us. My aim as a therapist is to support the person that I have in the room to feel comfortable and relaxed so he can open up and discuss whatever is on his mind. The smell of the scented candle stimulates the part of your brain which is connected to memory and mood. From boosting energy through to relieving stress or even enhancing mental clarity, the healing properties coming from a lighted scented candle can deliver psychological effects.
Thus, the use of candles in talking therapy can even unlock the royal road of the unconscious.
My recommendation to those who want to increase their sense of calm is to try one of the following:
-Meditating daily, enhancing their space with candlelight.
-Popping on their favourite relaxation scent and winding down with a lovely book.
-Incorporating candlelight with a relaxed exercise routine such as mindfulness, tai chi or yoga.
Scents to Combat Anxiety
Known as an oil for its healing properties as a scent it's as good. It can help relax your mind and body, restoring the central nervous system to full working order. Research has also shown it can help with sleep disorders such as Insomnia.
One study showed this scent improved anxiety symptoms in the test group. So, if you’re a fan of the fruit and the smell in general this could be the one for you.
Known as an herb that's used in the kitchen. One study found rosemary essential oil helped pacify emotional and mental strain. Playing a key role in decreasing the hormone (cortisol) that causes symptoms of stress.
As an essential oil Bergamot has a variety of uses. Its present in deodorants antibiotics, sedatives and antidepressants. The oil has a very sweet, clean and refreshing smell and is often a key ingredient in many perfumes.
The essential oil can help stimulate certain hormones in the body. This includes dopamine and serotonin which can lift your mood. As the study above showed its proven to help reduce stress and anxiety.
Products We Recommend
Chryssa Chalkia says "My favourite candles from CandleJar for the most relaxing, calming and soothing effect are Orange Pomander, Frankincense and Myrrh, and Lemon Zest. Try one next time you are having a stressful day — you won’t regret it!"
Isle of Skye Candle Company – Sleep Sensation
The Melt Pool Exquisite Amber Apothecary Jar – Joie De Vivre
The Melt Pool – Lemon Grass & Lavender Small Jar
Shearer Candles Scented Jar – Orange Pomander
Dawsonbrown copper tin – Sandalwood and Mandarin