Why do most people come to me for bodywork treatments? I would love it if the answer was “maintenance”, in other words alleviating muscle tension, detoxifying, facilitating blood flow, clearing lactate, and finding stillness.

The reality is that many people seek out a massage as a healing modality when they are feeling stressed and burnt-out. And when that’s the case, I rely heavily on the plant power of essential oils.

Here are three of my favourites when I sense a person is in that phase that we all recognise called “overwhelm”:

1. Bergamot

If you’ve ever enjoyed a cup of Earl Grey tea, you’ll appreciate the signature fragrance of Bergamot. The name Bergamot is derived from the Italian city of Bergamo, where the oil was first sold. Bergamot oil comes from bergamot oranges, a hybrid of lemon and bitter orange. This oil was pressed by hand until the mid 19th Century, and it took about 200kg of fruit to produce one litre of essential oil.

If you close your eyes and inhale the slightly sweet citrus scent, you can almost feel the sun on your skin as your mind is transported to the beautiful green, rolling hills of southern Italy. Bergamot is very energising; it helps to improve negative emotions and lower cortisol levels. Bergamot’s anti-septic and anti-depressant qualities support healing of both the emotional and physical bodies.

When using bergamot essential oil for stress relief, the oil should be combined with a carrier oil such as sweet almond or coconut oil before being applied to the skin. Adding the oil to a diffuser during the day also improves mood and decreases stress.

Above: An Aromatherapy treatment with Candice in the Rose Gold Room at Hanya House.

2. Ylang-ylang

Ylang-ylang is a yellow, star-shaped flower that grows on the Cananga tree. Native to the rainforests in South-Eastern Asia, ylang-ylang was introduced by the French in the islands of the Indian Ocean at the end of the 18th Century.

Ylang-ylang is one of the oldest known anti-depressants and it is a very powerful remedy for the heart as it improves flow and balance. Ylang-ylang also brings calm and promotes positivity. This is one of my favourite essential oils – dropping a few drops into the palm of your hand and inhaling the oil for three counts can really help to reduce stress, anxiety and lower blood pressure making you feel uplifted and rejuvenated.

Above: Ylang-ylang flowers.

3. Geranium

Geranium plants are originally native to South Africa, but are grown worldwide especially in Europe, Russia and Egypt. The whole plant contains the essential oil, therefore most of the plant is used – the leaves, flowers and flower stalk.

Geranium essential oil is a powerful sedative, slowing down the nervous system and helping to relieve stress, anxiety, and tension. When inhaling geranium essential oil it can change the chemical messages and impulses sent around the body and therefore change the way the systems of the body functions. For example, if the body is displaying signals of stress, geranium can slow the heart rate and encourage tense muscles to relax. Also being one of my favourite essential oils, I often use this in my aromatherapy treatments – it definitely calms the mind.

I’m curious… which would you add to the list specifically for stress and burn-out?

We’d highly recommend an Aromatherapy massage with Hanya House Bodywork & Massage Therapist, Candice Buys. To find out more about our full range of treatments, click here.