I’m sure everyone has noticed how lighting a candle during the late afternoon or evening can dramatically change the atmosphere of a room. And it’s not just the soft, flickering flame which helps to calm you down, but potentially the scent as well.
Aromatherapy can affect our mood, and even though the pathways aren’t exactly clear, the results show that certain scents can help people relax and de-stress. Aromatherapy can be as simple as lighting an oil or incense burner, or you can get creative and make your own stress relief candle like the one below.
And making your own candle is also a good way to upcycle old candle wax. Collect any un-melted wax, grate it up and remelt it. The original scent of your upcycled candle probably won’t persist, since the essential oils (EOs) will be lost during the re-melting process, which means you will have to add your own EOs before pouring your candle.
Scents for Stress Relief
So, which scents help us relax? That depends on the individual, but lavender EO seems to be the most widely researched with the most promising results for reducing stress and anxiety, including decreasing blood pressure and heart rate. But other studies have found promising results for other scents, including bergamot, lemon and ylang ylang EO, especially when combined with lavender.
Candle Making Set Up
I’m using my own DIY candle wicks, but you can also buy them in any craft store. To make your own wicks, simply soak wooden popsicle sticks in olive or any vegetable oil for at least 3 days, but first you should trim them to the approximate width which is suitable to the diameter of your container. Below is a very rough guide for wooden wick width compared to container size.
|Size||Container Diameter||Wooden Wick Width|
|Small||1.2 – 1.5 inch / 30 – 38 mm||0.4 inch / 9.5 mm|
|Medium||1.5 – 2.4 inch / 38 – 62 mm||0.5 inch / 12.7 mm|
|Large||2.4 – 3.2 inch / 63 – 83 mm||0.6 inch / 15.9 mm|
|Extra Large||3.2 – 3.5 inch / 84 – 90 mm||0.7 inch / 19 mm|
For example, my containers, which are recycled glass jars, are roughly 2.3 inch (58 mm) in diameter, so I have trimmed my wicks down to about 0.5 inch (12.7 mm) before placing them in olive oil for 3 days.
- Trial and error is the best way to get a well burning candle since the type of wax, the type and size of the wick and the shape of your container will all affect how it burns.
- Don’t use soy wax, as this tends to reduce the intensity of the scent.
- Wooden wicks only need to be about 0.25 inch (6 mm) above the wax and unlike string wicks, they can be inserted either before or after pouring your wax.
- If you are recycling a glass jar as your candle container, make sure to use one which has an opening roughly the same size as the body of the jar to ensure even burning (some glasses have interesting shapes, but they will produce “interesting” results once you light them).
- How much wax? This is easy to figure out. Weight how much water your container holds in oz or grams and multiply this by 0.86. For example, my jar holds approximately 9.3 oz (263 ml) of water, which means I need about 8 oz (226 g) of wax.
- Set up a simple double boiler system. Place your heat proof bowl or jug in a pot of hot water, add your grated wax and stir until it has melted.
- Remove the bowl or jug from the double boiler and wait for the wax to cool down to about 185 °F (85 °C) before adding your EO and then stir thoroughly. In general, 6% EO is a good starting point, with a maximum of 12%. In my situation, I have 8 oz (226 g) of wax, which means I need about 0.5 oz (13.6 g) of EO.
- Pour the mix into your container, insert the wooden wick and secure it with a peg until the wax has hardened. You may need to trim the wick if it is longer than 0.25 inch (6 mm) above the wax.
It is recommended to wait 3 days before lighting your new candle, and if you are using coconut wax, then you should wait a week.
Using a wooden wick takes longer to light but they should produce a flame the same as a string wick.
Researchers noticed a significant improvement in anxiety and stress within 4 weeks of daily use of lavender aromatherapy.
Lighting a candle can provide several beneficial effects for stress relief. Candle meditation can increase cognitive performance and focus, improve memory and spatial attention, and reduce anxiety and stress.
Aromatherapy candles, which contain essential oils, provide a soothing atmosphere and stimulate the part of the brain connected to mood and memory. The calming effects of candles are also due to our associations with candlelight, which can help the body relax and promote better sleep, enhanced immunity, and positivity.