Looking for stress relief? Here are 3 methods to try today.

by Kaiser Permanente |
An adult smelling a hibiscus flower with their eyes closed

Give yourself a fresh start this spring with complementary care. This type of care includes services, such as acupuncture, that are used in addition to conventional treatments. This whole-body approach can help manage chronic pain and relieve tension — and improve your mental and physical well-being.

Here are 3 methods that can help you stress less.


Aromatherapy, or essential oils therapy, uses a plant’s aroma-producing oils to manage disease. Practitioners of aromatherapy believe that different fragrances from the oils interact with the body to help create changes in blood pressure, pulse, and other bodily functions. Depending on the type of oil, the response can be stimulating or calming.

Aromatherapy is most commonly used for relaxation. Essential oils are typically mixed with another substance, such as alcohol, oil, or lotion, and can be used by:

  • Dabbing onto your skin
  • Spraying into the air
  • Inhaling (gently)
  • Massaging into your skin
  • Pouring into a bath

Choose a fragrance you find soothing, such as lavender or peppermint, to see if aromatherapy can help you de-stress.

Learn more about aromatherapy.


If taking a warm bath or shower helps you relax, you may find hydrotherapy soothing. Hydrotherapy uses water to help treat disease or maintain health and is considered to have healing properties. Other benefits include:

  • Stores heat and energy
  • Helps dissolve minerals and salts
  • Improves blood flow
  • Relieves joint pressure

Water is a gentle substance that can have a calming effect, whether you’re in the bath, shower, or using a warm compress. So, if you want to feel more relaxed, try soaking in a bath or taking a shower to help relieve tension.

Learn more about hydrotherapy.

Massage therapy

Many people get massages to help them relax or relieve tension. Some people find touch to be healing, and that massages convey a sense of caring that helps them de-stress. With different types of massage to choose from, you can find the style that works best for you. A few examples of massage styles:

  • Swedish massage uses long, gentle strokes to soothe the top layer of muscles and promote relaxation.
  • Deep tissue massage uses slow strokes and intense pressure to help reach deep muscles and relieve pain.
  • Trigger point massage uses firm pressure to relax overused muscles.

Talk to your massage therapist about what feels best for you.

You can also use self-massage to unwind after work or school. Get comfortable and then focus on massaging your feet, hands, neck, or other parts of your body while you relax.

Learn more about massage therapy.

And remember, talk to your doctor before beginning any new therapies or treatments.