Scent to Reduce Stress & Improve Immune Response

Reduce stress with scent

In these turbulent times, ambient scent may be the last thing on your mind. But did you know that hospitals, doctors’ offices, nursing homes and other healthcare facilities as well as individuals can reduce stress and promote wellness using scent?

Anxiety Management

In one study at the Sloan-Kettering Cancer Center, researchers administered either a vanilla scent or non-scented air to patients undergoing an MRI as part of a diagnostic workup for cancer. The study found that the administration of the scent produced a 63% drop in the patients’ anxiety levels.[1]

In addition to diagnostic testing, there are a number of other medical situations where scent can be used to reduce patient anxiety. These include before surgery, in dental and medical waiting rooms and hospital waiting rooms. Since many of us are now engaged in social distancing, we can also use scent at home to reduce stress.

Immune System Support

Scientists at the University of Tokyo discovered that the fragrant compound linalool, found in sweet basil, thyme, cinnamon, citrus and mangoes not only works on the nervous system to produce a calming effect, but also positively impacts the immune system.

Although the study used rats as subjects, scientists extend the results to apply to humans as well. Rats subjected to stress, when exposed to the linalool, showed no depression of their white blood cell counts, like the rats in the control group. In addition, the rats who inhaled the linalool scent had far fewer stress genes activated than the rats who were not exposed to the fragrance.[2] This study suggests that people who sniff linalool, which is commonly used in aromatherapy and as a fragrance in soaps, shampoos and other personal care products, can stay healthier.

Try diffusing Sunny Citrus, Lavender Basil Flowers or Vanilla Cinnamon to mimic this effect. Contact your Air Esscentials rep to find out which scents are best for you or shop online and have diffusers and fragrance oils delivered to your doorstep.


[1] “Fragrance Administration to Reduce Anxiety During MR Imaging,” Redd WH, Manne SL, Peters B, Jacobsen PB, Schmidt H., Psychiatry Service, Memorial Sloan-Kettering Cancer Center, New York, NY, July-August 1994, http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/7949692

[2] Stress Repression in Restrained Rats by Linalool Inhalation and Gene Expression Profiling of Their Whole Blood Cells. J. Agric. Food Chem., 2009, 57 (12), pp 5480–5485 Akio Nakamura, Satoshi Fujiwara, Ichiro Matsumoto’ Keiko Abe