They’re tinier than a pen, take up almost no real estate in a purse, and can be the smell-good light at the end of the tunnel during a hectic day. Essential oils take on a twist with deskside, do-it-anywhere, don’t-leave-home-without-it aromatherapy roller balls.
If you can’t sleep, try…
Holistic healer Hope Gillerman says this essential oil relieves stress and sends you to bed with a “lighter state of mind.”
Alternates: Other powerful oils that prepare you for sleep come from the orange and flower families—think neroli, rose, mandarin orange, clary sage, and chamomile; plus the meditation oils like sandalwood, frankincense and spikenard.
Product Pick: Flora Remedia Dreaming Oil ($38)
Inside Tip: Before bed, diffuse three to five drops in the water reservoir of a sonic diffuser for 30 minutes.
If you’re afraid to fly, try…
An earthy, calming oil, vetiver is known to release fear. Terri Thomas, lead massage therapist at Miraval Austin, refers to it as “grounding.” It even supports the immune system while you travel.
Alternates: Diluted flower essential oils like chamomile, neroli, clary sage, rose, rose geranium, or a single drop of ylang-ylang or jasmine, may work better for some, as they’re know to distract the mind via a bouquet of flower blossoms.
Product Pick: LUA Ritual CHILL ($23)
Inside Tip: Gillerman likes applying vetiver between her toes when she travels. “It works as an antifungal. It also helps you feel more grounded.”
If you’re on edge at work, try…
A great at-work solution, this oil relaxes the muscles while it sharpens the mind—part of why it’s called the “great motivator.”
Alternates: Gillerman says this is one category that has so many options. “For energizing, try peppermint. For tension brought on by stress or angst, use German Chamomile—it’s the strongest anti-inflammatory in the group—petitgrain, vetiver or clary sage.”
Product Pick: Hope Gillerman Muscle Remedy ($48)
Inside Tip: Massage diluted oil into muscles from the base of the skull down both sides of the neck, and over the tops of the shoulders and upper back.
If you need to take a deep breath, try…
This very soft, gentle essential oil comes from the flowers of an excellent anti-anxiety citrus fruit: bitter orange. “Safe on even the most sensitive skin, it soothes and relaxes your breathing cycle,” Gillerman says. “The slower you breathe, the calmer you will feel.”
Alternates: Traditional oils used to promote a meditative state, like sandalwood, myrrh and frankincense.
Product Pick: The 7 Virtues Jasmine Neroli ($29)
Inside Tip: Apply to the palms, temples and third eye. Cup your hands over your face and take a moment to exhale before inhaling five slow breaths.
If you have a headache, try…
Because headaches increase our sensitivity to sound and other stimuli, try this gentle variant of lavender. It is less complex chemically and has a softer scent.
Alternates: Roman chamomile and frankincense are relaxing, but Gillerman says stimulating oils effective for headaches are peppermint, lemon, eucalyptus, helichrysum, and basil.
Product Pick: Lily CBD Embrace Howling Winds ($55)
Inside Tip: Gillerman likes diffusing or diluting anything lavandin and applying it to the back of the neck.
If you feel a cold coming on, try…
An antiviral, antifungal and antibacterial, Cruz coins this one “a breath of fresh air,” while Gillerman keeps it at her desk to decongest, boost immunity and improve focus.
Alternates: Eucalyptus is often boosted with tea tree or niaouli during cold and flu season. “Also try Eucalyptus radiata, Eucalyptus dives, pine, spruce, fir, and lemon to keep the office air healthy,” Gillerman suggests.
Product Pick: Plant Juice Oils Rev Up Roller ($26)
Inside Tip: Drop eucalyptus in a bowl of hot water, close your eyes and inhale a few gentle breaths, or simply dilute and inhale from a cotton ball.
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GO HIGH: Whether you’re using a rollerball or some other form of essential oil, be sure it’s high-quality, Thomas says. “It’s important in terms of receiving the benefit of the oil—plus, it’s good to be mindful of the ingredients we use on our skin.”
BE SENSITIVE: While Thomas is a big fan of experimenting with aromatherapy, she stresses it’s important to mix pure essential oils with another oil, such as coconut or jojoba. “Applying pure essential oils can be harsh on the skin and may create a photo-sensitivity.”
LOVE LAVENDER: Look to lavender as a go-to; it works for a lot of issues. Tara Cruz, senior spa director at Four Seasons New York Downtown, especially likes the high-altitude French variety. “It has healing properties, without the heaviness sometimes associated with it.”
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