Yep, Essential Oils can even help with studying!
As we approach the run up to the Easter holidays at the start of April, no doubt across the country there will be countless teens and young adults starting to realise that they better start their exam revision. I mean with GCSE exams starting in less than 7 weeks if not now then when?
Now I'm not saying that if you get your child to sniff a load of essential oils they'll turn into a super scholar overnight and ace their exams!
But, combined with other Effective Study Techniques, a healthy diet and a good sleep routine essential oils can definitely help students to achieve their full potential in all aspects of studying and exam taking.
From boosting concentration levels during the revision phase, to helping to calm away any stress, anxiety, tension or worries that they may be experiencing right up to exam day and even during the exam.
Certain essential oils can also help promote a good night's sleep which is vital for exam success as we know from research that sleepless nights can lead to impaired memory and concentration levels.
If you just want to know which oils would be best, here are our top five recommended, tried and tested with scientific backing.
- Rosemary Essential Oil
- Lemon Essential Oil
- Peppermint Essential Oil
- Eucalyptus Essential Oil
- Lavender Essential Oil
If you want to find out more about how and why it actually works and some practical ways for your child/student to incorporate aromatherapy into their revision plans then read on.
So how can Essential Oils help with studying? How does it work?
If you want a general understanding about aromatherapy essential oils and how they work then you may find this blog post useful.
But in a nutshell (or flower petal) essential oils are the concentrated essence of plants/flowers.
The fragrance is inhaled and that governs our emotions and memory. This is because the smell receptors in our noses communicate directly with the parts of our brain that govern stored emotions and memory.
Essential oils are one of the few things that can transcend the blood brain barrier making them an extremely powerful tool to use for students (and anyone who wants to improve focus, concentration and memory)
We all know that scent can trigger memory. A waft of a certain smell can transport you straight back to another point in time. This can be used by students to build a 'study memory or connection'. So whenever they smell the smell it will help take them back to their books and hopefully the memory they need to trigger to answer the question.
This can actually be done with any scent, not just essential oils, so a perfume would also work. We recommend using essential oils to make the 'connection' as they also have additional proven benefits.
Scientific Benefits of using Aromatherapy Essential Oils
Different groups of essential oils contain different chemical properties which can benefit students in different ways.
For instance, oils like Rosemary, Peppermint, Sage & Eucalyptus are high in a compound called Eucalyptol or L,8-Cineole. This compound has been shown in several studies to both affect and improve the neural pathways in our brains that regulate our focus, memory and even information retention.
Studies using oils high in Eucalyptol have shown significant improvement in memory, improved concentration and better performance when doing mental or cognitive tasks. In one study the students in a room where aromatherapy was piped in performed
When should we start using essential oils to help with revision?
Essential Oils can be used during normal studying and for revision, the time to start is now! What you're trying to do is create a connection with the things being revised and a scent connection that will trigger the memory during the exam.
Essential Oils can also be used specifically to help concentration, focus, motivation and even sleep.
A top tip is to always use the same essential oil or essential oil blend when you are studying and then use that in your exam or test to bring back your 'study connection' and access the parts of memory needed.
So in practical terms, they can use a diffuser while studying/revising and then use that same blend on a tissue or cotton wool ball that they can sniff in the exam, or slightly more sophisticated you could get them a piece of diffuser jewellery they can add their oil to, or a put the blend into a pulse point roller and then they can apply it to their wrists and temples during the exam as required. Not only should the smell help to trigger their 'study memory' but depending on the blend could help them to calm you down and reduce any anxiety they may be experiencing.
Essential Oils for memory, concentration and focus
Mentioned in Hamlet, it would seem even Shakespeare knew how good Rosemary is! Rosemary can stimulate the neural pathways, increase concentration and memory. This was demonstrated in a study conducted by Northumbria University. when students that inhaled Rosemary essential oil had improved speed and accuracy in demanding mental tasks, and their memory test scores increased by over 10%..
Lemon, like most of the citrus oils is great for uplifting the mood and motivation. Useful to use to get them started on their revision each day?
Research done by an American University in xx found raised levels of norepinephrine, a brain chemical linked to easier decision-making and increased motivation in the group that smelt the lemon essential oil.
Also worthy of a mention are:
Focus & Concentration
Any of the other citrus oils if you already have them.
Our Serious Studies Kit and our Study Scents Kits have been curated to help throughout the revision and up to exam stage.
Essential Oil Study Hacks
1. Lavender during your study breaks
Lavender made it onto the top five essential oils for studying for a couple of reasons.
Firstly, it's a Super Oil as far as we're concerned. Then there's the fact that if inhaled during a break it can actually increase concentration, as was proven in a Japanese Study in 2005 entitled "Effectiveness of Aroma on Work Efficiency: Lavender Aroma During Recess Prevents Deterioration of Work Performance". It is also one of the best oils to help with sleep.
2. Scented pages
If they're studying at home then a diffuser and 'study' blend would be the best way to get the aromatherapeutic benefits, but if they're studying at school or college, in a library or somewhere where a diffuser is not possible or practical then use a mist blend and get them to give their flash cards/revision notes/text books a light spray (not drench!)