Find Your Zen with Aromatherapy Meditation

Find Your Zen with Aromatherapy Meditation

What is Aromatherapy Meditation?

Aromatherapy meditation (aromatherapy) involves blending the art of guided (meditation) with the therapeutic benefits of essential oils (essential oils). As I sit for my daily meditation practice, I will add a few drops of calming essential oils like lavender, bergamot or frankincense to a diffuser near me. The scent molecules enter my bloodstream through my respiratory system and travel to my limbic system, the part of my brain associated with emotions, behavior and memory. This can promote feelings of relaxation and reduce stress and anxiety.

Some key benefits of aromatherapy meditation include reducing mental chatter, enhancing focus, lowering cortisol levels and inducing physiological changes associated with relaxation. The pleasant aromas serve as an anchor, helping me focus on my breath when thoughts wander during meditation. Choosing essential oils matched to my intended outcome, like rose otto for self love or sweet orange to boost energy, I can customize my aromatherapy meditation experience.

How does it work?

Aromatherapy meditation taps into the intrinsically linked relationship between scent and the limbic system (limbic system). Certain essential oils like lavender and frankincense have been shown through research to act on the limbic system, reducing stress hormones like cortisol while increasing calming neuropeptides like serotonin (serotonin) and dopamine (dopamine). A study published in the International Journal of Neuroscience found aromatherapy facilitated changes in brainwaves, slowing them into a more relaxed alpha range (alpha range).

As I inhale the aromas through my nose, volatile molecules bind to olfactory receptors in my nasal passages. These receptors are directly linked to the amygdala and hippocampus, structures within the limbic system involved in emotions and memory formation. Stimulating these receptors through aroma triggers the limbic system to produce its relaxing effects. I can feel my body and mind transitioning into a more restful state. The aromas provide a grounding anchor to return my attention to during meditation when the mind wanders.

How can I get started with aromatherapy meditation?

To start an aromatherapy meditation practice, I will need the following basic supplies:

Material Purpose
Essential oils Choose calming singles like lavender, frankincense, or bergamot or blends
Diffuser Used to disperse essential oil molecules into the air
Comfortable seat Supportive chair or cushion for seated meditation posture
Timer Set for desired meditation length, typically 5-20 minutes

Once I have my supplies gathered, I can begin my session with these simple steps:

  1. Select 2-3 drops of essential oil(s) based on my desired outcome and add to the diffuser.

  2. Find a comfortable seated position and set a timer.

  3. Take a few deep breaths to anchor myself in my body.

  4. Direct my focus internally to the sensations of my breathing.

  5. Gently return attention to breath when the mind wanders, guided by the aromatic scent molecules.

  6. Finish my practice by taking a few moments in stillness before returning to daily activities.

What are some examples of essential oils to use?

Here are some popular essential oils commonly used for aromatherapy meditation and their associated benefits:


  • Calming and relaxing, known to reduce stress and anxiety
  • May help induce sleep and improve sleep quality


  • Grounding and centering, aids in focusing the mind
  • Supports feelings of peace and lifts mood


  • Uplifting citrus aroma boosts serotonin and dopamine
  • Reduces feelings of depression and lifts spirits

Sweet Orange

  • Invigorating yet calming effect stimulates without adding stress
  • Enhances energy, focus and concentration

Rose otto

  • Emotionally balancing, boosts self-love and self-confidence
  • May help reduce feelings of loneliness or social anxiety


  • Deeply relaxing yet mentally clarifying aroma
  • Promotes feelings of self-awareness and inner wisdom

By blending different oils based on my intention for my practice, I have complete aromatherapy meditation customization available. Experimenting, I can discover what creates the most beneficial state for my mental well-being.

How has aromatherapy meditation impacted me?

I have been practicing aromatherapy meditation daily for the past six months and have found significant benefits to my physical, mental and emotional health. Where before I would struggle to sit still and clear my mind through traditional breath meditation, the addition of soothing essential oil aromas has given me an anchor to return to. I notice a marked decrease in my baseline stress and anxiety levels as well as fewer intrusive thoughts.

Physically, my body simply feels more relaxed and my muscles less tense. I’ve even found improvements in minor pains like headaches through regular use of oils like peppermint or eucalyptus. Emotionally, aromatherapy meditation helps lift my mood on low energy days. Oils like bergamot or sweet orange seem to impart a feeling of joy. I’m also sleeping better and find myself more patient and less reactive throughout stressful periods.

Overall, blending aromatherapy into my daily meditation practice has made it highly sustainable long term. I’ve stuck with it where other methods didn’t stick due to the additional sensory experience and therapeutic benefits provided by essential oils. It’s been life changing to see the real positive impacts on my well-being from just 10-15 minutes a day.

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