Approximately 40 million
adults in the U.S. struggle with anxiety on a regular basis and sixty-seven percent
of Americans say that they’ve experienced increased stress in 2020. With that being said, most people could benefit from some extra self-care and relaxation right now, and lavender is an effective
(and completely natural) tool that can help.
Never used lavender before? Not sure if it’ll work for you? Read on to learn some of the benefits of lavender for anxiety, stress relief, and relaxation. You’ll also find some tips to help you incorporate lavender into your routine.
What Is Lavender?
Lavender is an herb that’s part of the mint family. It’s native to a variety of Mediterranean countries, including France, Spain, Greece, Italy, and Portugal. Lavender was once used as a holy herb, but these days, it’s used in a variety of personal care and wellness products to help promote relaxation.
Calming Benefits of Lavender
There are many ways that lavender can bring about a sense of calm. Here are some specific relaxation benefits associated with it:
Changes in Vital Signs
Lavender can produce positive physical changes for those who are struggling with anxiety and stress. Breathing in the scent of lavender can activate the parasympathetic nervous system, which is responsible for bringing your body into a relaxed “rest and digest” state.
Lavender has also been shown to improve vital signs. For example, one study looked at 40 individuals who had undergone open-heart surgery. After they inhaled lavender essential oil, their blood pressure and heart rate decreased significantly.
Lavender can help those who struggle with anxiety, depression, and other mental health challenges.
It's been shown to benefit those who suffer from generalized anxiety disorder
(GAD), as well as anticipatory anxiety
(anxiety one might feel leading up to a specific event).
As an added bonus, lavender is also beneficial for those dealing with depression and stress. One study
followed 140 women for three months after giving birth. The women who received lavender aromatherapy during those three months reported more significant reductions in stress, anxiety, and depression compared those who didn't receive the aromatherapy. The anxiety-, depression-, and stress-reducing benefits of lavender likely have to do with its effects on vital signs (heart rate, blood pressure, etc.).
Issues like pain and poor sleep can also increase one’s risk of experiencing mental health challenges. When these issues are under control, mental health improves, too.
Breathing in the scent of lavender can be very calming to those who are struggling with both acute or chronic pain.
Lavender contains anti-inflammatory compounds like linalyl acetate and linalool
, which are both compounds that can help reduce pain.
One way these compounds work is by reducing the excitability of the cells in the spinal cord that send pain signals to the brain. Linalool can also suppress acetylcholine
, which is a neurotransmitter that’s responsible
for muscle contractions.
Whether you’re struggling with pain from arthritis or fibromyalgia, or if you’re dealing with acute pain, lavender could be an effective tool for you to use.
When you don’t get enough sleep, your pain perception increases. This means your pain might feel worse if you’re sleep-deprived, compared to the way you’d feel if you had gotten enough rest.
Since lavender has calming properties, it can help improve your sleep quantity and sleep quality. Breathing in the scent of lavender as you’re getting ready for bed will slow down your heart rate, lower your blood pressure,
and relax your mind for a good night’s sleep.
Ways to Use Lavender for Relaxation
Are you interested in using lavender for stress relief? Are you unsure of how to make it part of your self-care routine?
If so, here are some ideas:
Use Lavender-Scented Wellness Products
wellness products like neck wraps, slippers, and eye masks have a lot to offer.
First, you get to breathe in the scent of lavender and experience its aromatherapy benefits. Second, if the product is heatable like our Warmies Wellness collection
, you can enjoy the power of warmth to help you relax, unwind, and deal with pain or stiffness that may be affecting your quality of life.
For kids who could benefit from lavender’s calming effects, lavender-scented stuffed animals are a great addition to their bedroom. They can cuddle up with them at night to relax and keep bad dreams at bay.
Diffuse Lavender Essential Oil
Most research on the benefits of lavender has involved aromatherapy (breathing in lavender oil or dried lavender). One of the easiest ways to increase relaxation, as well as reduce stress and anxiety, is to diffuse lavender essential oil.
An essential oil diffuser will dilute lavender oil with water and then spread the scent throughout your home.
You can diffuse lavender oil before bed or at any time of day when you need to feel calmer and more at ease.
Use Lavender-Scented Body Products
You can also experience the magic of aromatherapy when you use lavender-scented body products. This includes things like lotion, perfume, and soap. Applying them to your skin allows you to breathe in the lavender aroma wherever you go.
When shopping for lavender-scented body products, make sure they’re made with real lavender or lavender essential oil. If they’re made with a synthetic lavender fragrance, they won’t be as effective.
Drink Lavender Tea
Lavender tea allows you to experience the benefits of lavender in two ways: by breathing in the scent and ingesting water that’s infused with the herb itself.
There are many dried lavender teas you can buy to enjoy as you wind down at the end of the day. You can also make your own by steeping lavender buds in hot water and then removing the buds when your tea is ready to drink.
Experience the Benefits of Lavender Today
There are many reasons to include lavender in your self-care routine. If you’re seeking anxiety or stress relief, keep these tips in mind. They’ll help you to unwind and enjoy some much-needed relaxation.