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Which Are the Most Relaxing Aromatherapy Oils?

By Nicole F.
Updated May 21, 2024
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Determining which aromatherapy oils are the most relaxing is often somewhat personal, with different scents working better for some people than others. Just the same, there are a handful of oils widely regarded as being particularly relaxing, and these are usually a good place to start. Chamomile, and in particular Roman chamomile, is a very popular choice, as is lavender; rosemary, peppermint, and ylang ylang are also frequently marketed as stress relieving and generally calming. People interested in achieving specific results often get the best luck by blending these and other oils together, though of course they can be used alone, too. Experimentation is usually the best course when it comes to determining the best oils for a given situation.

Aromatherapy Generally

Broadly speaking, aromatherapy is the practice of using concentrated scents or oils to achieve certain medicinal benefits. Most practitioners aim to achieve some specific result, be it boosting natural energy, relieving pain, or promoting feelings of relaxation and calm. Different scents and plant origins are usually better suited for certain results than others.

Oils usually come highly concentrated, and are usually considered to be the essential oils of a given plant, flower, or fruit. They can be used in a couple of different ways, including aerosol diffusion for general fragrance, direct application, such as for use in skin massage, and inhalation. The oils can also be diluted and used in baths and soaks. Relaxing aromatherapy oils can typically be used in all of these ways.


Roman Chamomile essential oil can be useful for many kinds of tension, including sleeplessness, anxiety, muscle aches, and headaches. Some holistic healers believe if it's used in a bath it also may help with inflammatory skin problems such as eczema and insect bites. It typically has a bright, sweet, and fruity scent.


Lavender oil is generally used to relax and uplift and can also work as an antidepressant. Considered one of the safest oils, it is often used to help reduce irritability, migraines, and exhaustion. Lavender has a long history of being used in perfume, and has a crisp, fresh and sweet scent.


Rosemary essential oils are usually used in aromatherapy to ease lung congestion and sore throats, and can also stimulate the nervous system and increase energy. It isn’t as common for general relaxation, but a lot of this depends on the setting and the intended result. Rosemary won’t normally induce sleepiness, but it can relax the muscles and increase concentration. It has a fresh, herbaceous and slightly medicinal scent. The oil may have epileptogenic properties, and its use by pregnant or breastfeeding women is generally discouraged.

Ylang Ylang

Tensions associated with anxiety and depression are sometimes treated with Ylang Ylang oil, which also may be helpful in relieving hypertension and stress. It can be strongly sedating, and at the same time can stimulate the mind, and some also believe it to have aphrodisiac properties. It has a sweet, floral, slightly spicy scent.


Peppermint is another reliable and relaxing aromatherapy oil that has been used for centuries to relieve headaches and nerve pain, as well as to relax the muscles more generally. It can be energizing, but it is also used to relieve tension. Unlike most other essential oils, peppermint has been heavily studied by the traditional medical community and research has shown it to have many medicinal properties that can be used to calm nausea, boost the immune system, and improve circulation, among many other uses. It has a distinctive minty scent that blends well with other essential oils.

Mixing and Blending

Relaxing aromatherapy oils can be combined in various mixtures to form scents personalized for the individual. When mixed together they can often relieve anger, anxiety, depression, and insomnia; in most cases basically any stress-related health problems. It takes just a small amount of essential oil to create a powerful mixture that can affect the state of mind or feeling of well-being. Only a couple of drops of lavender and a drop of rosemary or ylang ylang is typically enough to feel a difference. These relaxing aromatherapy oils can be added to a warm bath, mixed with almond oil to be used as a massage oil, or added to a couple of cups of boiling water to diffuse as steam into the air.

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