AromatherapyTo complement the MASSAGE Magazine article, “Relax with Essential Oils,” by Peter Friis, in the June 2014 issue. Article summary: Aromatherapy is helpful in several ways when it comes to addressing stress. We can simply inhale essential oils via an aromatherapy diffuser, and the effects of essential oils are powerfully compounded further with massage.

There is a lot of talk these days about the paleo diet—which features bone broth, rare steaks, and liver and onions—RAWR! As today’s neo-paleos rage over forested terrains on group-hunts for wild peccaries, they may offer, of all things, a model for modern relaxation.

So often, modern aromatherapy is positioned as passive—think flickering candles, feathery touches and singing whales. By contrast, as our first common ancestors charged across the vast grasslands of Africa after game, they trampled flowers, herbs, the quills of conifers and fragrant grasses underfoot. Across the Atlantic, First Nations people burned sweetgrass and sage to communicate with the Great Spirit when preparing to hunt the mighty American bison. In these primordial scenarios, blasts of super-stress may have been balanced by the effects of essential oils released by indigenous botanicals.

These days, our stress usually has to do with a late AmEx bill, downsizing at the office or the fact that Johnny is scoring low in his math skills. This is all the more reason to reacquaint ourselves with plants, which aromatherapists honor as Earth’s first medicines.

The point is not to eliminate stress from your life. That is unrealistic—because without some stress, you’d be dead. Here’s the twist: to stay fierce, you have to know how to relax. Essential oils—in an aromatherapy diffuser, shower or bath; during massage; or from a spray-mist bottle or warm palms of your hands—offer a counterpoint to the white-knuckling angst of the post-Industrial age.

Empower yourself with essential oil blends that allow you to release tension and recharge with deep rest, so you can face the world with renewed energy. For deep relaxation, blend these essential oils, which work synergistically to create relaxation without sapping your warrior powers:

  • Bergamot clears the mind of the aftermath of interpersonal conflict
  • Lavender promotes slower, deeper breathing
  • Petitgrain releases muscle tension
  • Sage creates a sense of mental spaciousness
  • Basil triggers feelings of security and well-being
  • Ylang-ylang eases anxiety about the future

Peter Friis is an entrepreneur based in Los Angeles, home of his first lifestyle brand, ESSIO ( Friis received his master’s from UCLA Anderson, where he served as president of the Entrepreneur Association. His innovative aromatherapy product line, launched in 2013, is the first of a family of related products, all emphasizing modernity, sustainability and eco-luxury.