How Well Does Aromatherapy Relieve Stress and Anxiety in High School Students?

By: Catherine L.
Year: 2022
School: Westminster High
Grade: 12
Science Teacher: Huy Pham

Throughout the previous year regarding the COVID-19 pandemic, the stress and anxiety levels of adolescents have drastically increased. Students who return to in-person school from online school have a difficult time getting used to their very busy schedules, and this takes a significant toll on their mental health.

Catherine’s project explored how effective aromatherapy is at relieving stress and anxiety. The essential oils that the experiment’s participants were exposed to are sage, sandalwood, and chamomile. Each of the 20 participants was exposed to the essential through a lava stone bracelet or necklace. Participants wore Samsung Galaxy smart watches and recorded their heart rate and breathing rate in the morning and evening. Additionally, at the end of the week, the participants were asked to fill out a questionnaire that will ask them to reflect the stressful events that they had that particular week.

From an ANOVA test, the data shows that essential oils significantly reduce self-reported stress in participants compared to the control. The results show that out of all the four essential oils tested, the lemon scent was most effective in reducing a high level of self-reported stress. The data agree with research from past studies, but further research with a larger sample size and more scents is required to identify any scent as the best stress reliever.

From the conducted study of this project, the use of essential oils can be a solution for students to cope with their stress. High school students today deal with high-stress levels, which can be a heavy burden on one’s mental health (Mental Health 2021). Acute stress can be reduced, which can prevent chronic stress from evolving (Stress and Blood Pressure 2021). This can also prevent students from going toward vaping, drugs, smoking, etc. in the future (Colliding Crisis 2021). Aromatherapy introduces many people to self-care, allowing them to manage their stress in a healthy and safe way.