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Wellbeing

Can mood patches help with headaches, anxiety and sleeplessness?

May 28th 2021 / Melanie Macleod / 0 comment

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Promising portable healing benefits that last all day, these pick-me-up stickers are the wellness trend to try now

As a child there was no greater joy than filling up sticker albums and adorning letters with glittery add-ons, but I never expected my love of stickers to go on well into my 30s.

Far from the sparkly, padded stickers of my youth, nowadays I'm into mood patches; discreet wearable aromatherapy dots that you apply to your body that can soothe sleeplessness, anxiety and nausea and even boost energy and improve focus. If you are after a jazzy looking mood patch, Gwyneth Paltrow's wellness site Goop sang the praises of Body Vibes, which look more like temporary tattoos and promise to target energy imbalances... We stuck with the aromatherapy dots.

Applied to your wrists, chest, temples or forehand or even between your toes to soothe headaches, the patches (which are no bigger than a stamp) steadily release herbs and essential oils for between two and four hours giving instant and long-term relief for your ailments. It's not only the essential oils that help, though. There's an element of acupuncture in there too. "You apply the patches directly to the areas of concern or even to acupuncture points, so you’re able to invigorate at a deeper physiological level exactly where it's needed," explains acupuncture and fertility expert Ross J Barr, who has his own line of patches and counts Meghan Markle as a client. "When patches are applied directly to an acupuncture point you can piggyback on to the benefits of that point," he continues.

If you're a slave to your aromatherapy diffuser at home, or love to lie in a bath of essential oils, you'll appreciate these patches – they're a portable take on your home mister and way more convenient than having to apply your essential oils several times a day via a rollerball. The stickers last longer than misting and make for a great travel partner if you're out and about.

What can mood patches help with?

Depending on the aromatherapy oils and herbs used in your dots, they can help with anything from getting a good nights sleep, easing anxiety. uplifting, energising, increasing focus and clarity, reducing nausea and easing exam stress.

Our tester, who has been seeing Ross for acupuncture for eight years told us that her whole family are fans of mood patches. "My 17-year-old son was sitting an A-level exam, plus his heart had been broken by his girlfriend of two years just before his assessments began, and he was bowled over by Ross J Barr's Calm Patches. 'They really work; he told me. 'The first ten to 15 minutes is the best. They made me feel really chilled out.' He stuck them behind his ears for the exam and sailed through it."

How quickly do they work?

Fast! "Essential oils give a response in less than four seconds, so you generally get an instant effect from mood patches," says Farida Irani, founder of Subtle Energies, who offer a variety of mood patches.

If you're using a patch for sleep, it's recommended to apply an hour before bedtime for the best results.

How long do mood patches last?

Mood patches have a slow-release effect, so generally last for three to four hours, but you rarely need to replace them with another. "The patch would have had the desired impact over that time, but you can apply another if needed," says Farida.

If you rub the patch during the day it can reinvigorate the herbs too, adds Ross.

Here are the best mood patches to try now

Mood patch for headaches: Ross J Barr Calm Patches, £15 for 10 patches

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These two pence sized brown patches have a felty feel and are designed to alleviate stress, headaches and tension, plus ease anger and frustration. I wore mine behind my ear and as instructed, massaged it for a little while to release the herbs, which include calming chuan-xiong, soothing safflower and asarum, which is used in Chinese medicine to treat aches and pains. They don't smell like the scents I normally associate with calming such as lavender, they have more of a herby fragrance. They can be worn for 12 hours and while I didn't have a headache or feel especially stressed when I tried this, I can see how this unique scent could feel clearing. These are the patches Ross recommends placing between your toes because this area is widely used by acupuncturists to treat headaches. "Using the patches there stimulates the functions of that point," he tells us.

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Mood patch for focus: Subtle Energies Aura Protection Inhalation Patch, £45 for 10 patches

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Subtle Energies' patches are a little less discreet than others we tried, but the aromatherapy scent is much more powerful. Comprising of a spongy yellow dot on plastic backing, I wore mine on my wrist and waves of fragrance came off it for hours after I applied. Essential oils saffron, rhu khus and tulasi were chosen to help increase focus and clarity. I wore it in a particularly busy afternoon at work and definitely found myself less distracted than usual, but they're also suggested to wear during meditation to keep your head in the game. Subtle Energies suggest wearing this on the lapel of your jacket if you prefer not to attach it to your skin, but I wore mine on my wrist.

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Mood patch for period pain: Ross J Barr Healing Patches, £15 for 5 patches

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We've tried period patches before and have always been impressed and these are no different. They use safflower, cinnamon and clover (and thus have a slightly festive smell) to recedes aches and pains as well as muscle soreness. Apply them to your stomach for period pain, or on any other sore muscle to work away stiffness.

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Mood patch for sleep: Subtle Energies Blissful Sleep Inhalation Patches, £45 for 10 patches

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This dreamy floral-scented sticker should be applied an hour before bed to get you into relaxation mode to soothe the senses and aid restful sleep.

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