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Natural Awakenings Northwest Florida

Diffusing for Depression

Nov 04, 2016 05:17AM ● By Sarah Holt

It seems like every time you turn around, people are talking about the power of essential oils to elevate the mood. And there is plenty of supporting information on the internet about how certain essential oils, specifically those with a heavy concentration of “high notes,” can help lift people’s spirits. Most of these testimonials involve fragrances from the citrus and flower families, although there are essential oils with high notes from almost every family. 

But what about people who are dealing with a problem more severe than just feeling a little blue? Do essential oils have the potency to help with something like depression? 

Medical research on this topic has shown that essential oils can help counteract depression caused by heavy stressors to the body. These stressors—which can be physical, mental or emotional—affect hormone levels and activate specific neurotransmitters that put the body’s chemistry into a state of stress and depression.

The science indicates that two of the most beneficial essential oils for combatting this physiological process are bergamot and lavender. 

In a study published in the June 2011 issue of Phytotherapy Research, bergamot was shown to help decrease stressors in the body as well as activate neuroprocessors responsible for reducing stress in the body. This, in turn, has the effect of reducing depression and anxiety. 

A more recent study, this one published in the March-April 2016 issue of the Iranian Journal of Nursing and Midwifery Research, showed lavender to be beneficial for alleviating and deterring postpartum depression in women. Lavender also activates neurotransmitters that decrease stress and anxiety in the body. 

For someone dealing with depression, the best way to use these oils to support the body is to diffuse them throughout the day. This quickly activates neurotransmitters that gradually change the body chemistry, resulting in a less stressed and depressed state.

Sarah Holt is a certified holistic health coach and aromatherapist and is a member of the Association for American Drugless Practitioners. She educates the community about essential oils and healthy lifestyles. For more information, contact her at 443-562-2175 or

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