Go out and smell the oils


The oil diffuser and some essential oils in Academy counselor Keely Carey’s office. Photo by Keely Carey.

Students who pass by Sacred Hearts Academy counselor Keely Carey’s office often notice smells of lavender, peppermint and lemon escaping into the hallways, leading them right to her doorway.

The source of the aromatic smells stems from her many essential oils and oil diffuser.  

“I started using essential oils in my office not only because of…the benefits…but also because of personal experience in helping me emotionally and mentally,” the 10th and 11th grade counselor said.

Aromatherapy, one of the newest forms of stress relief, consists of essential oils made from plants. They can be enjoyed through topical application or inhalation.

The plants are said to help with conditions such as stress, insomnia and depression. A popular essential oil used for aromatherapy is bergamot, which is said to help with pain relief. Other popular oils include lavender, lemon, oregano and peppermint.

Another common method of partaking in aromatherapy is through massages. The combination of scents through inhalation and skin absorption is said to treat both stress and muscle tension.  

Those who prefer smell over touch will often use oil diffusers. This method turns a part-oil and part-water solution into a scented vapor to inhale. Diffusers allow an instant aromatherapy session conveniently in offices and bedrooms.

Although an unconventional form of stress relief, reactions from students have been positive.

“I have had the best reactions, (and) I don’t think I have ever had a student walk in and not comment on the pleasantness of the smell,” Carey said. “In fact, when I don’t have them going…a student will (ask) where my oils are.”

“(The) diffuser and oils make me feel like she cares about my well-being,” junior Martha Nicholas said.  

With the holidays around the corner, essential oils and diffusers are the perfect gifts for those who need a whiff of stress relief.

Sites and stores such as Target and Walmart offer diffusers as low as $17, as well as essential oils for $8 per bottle.