Your Guide to Using Essential Oils for Anxiety Relief

How Essential Oil Therapy Can Help With Your Anxiety

Essential Oils for AnxietyFor those who struggle with anxiety, finding adequate relief can be a challenge, particularly if you are looking for alternatives to harsh or habit-forming medications. More and more people are looking for viable natural remedies to help combat the often overwhelming feelings that accompany anxiety. Luckily, there are some promising options available, including essential oil therapy.

What Are Essential Oils?

In the simplest of terms, essential oils are natural oils that have been separated from plants through distillation or mechanical processing. They have been used for centuries and were once thought to be the life force, the fifth or “quintessential” element, of plants. They are aromatic in nature and are believed to have healing properties.

What to Look For?

There is a difference between essential oils and fragrance oils. Essential oils are always natural while fragrance oils are synthetically made. These synthetic materials do not contain medicinal properties and may not be safe to use on your skin. When selecting essential oils, look for those that are labeled as “therapeutic” grade.

How to Use Essential Oils


Although some essential oils can be safely applied directly to the skin (such as lavender), most should be diluted with a base or “carrier oil.” Good base oils include coconut, sesame, or sweet almond. You only need a couple of drops of the essential oil for each teaspoon of the carrier oil for a 2% dilution, which is considered ideal for most adults and in most situations.


You can massage the prepared essential oil into the skin or use a compress. Common application areas include the wrists and back of the neck.


Under certain circumstances, you might find inhalation a more desired method for essential oil therapy. This is particularly true if you have sensitive skin or are seeking a quick result. I have personally found this to be the best method for dealing with anxiety. There are a variety of techniques you can use when inhaling essential oils:

  • Diffusion: Essential oils are placed in a diffusing device with water and released into the air. They often contain a timer for convenience. This method results in a mild, constant exposure.
  • Evaporation: Place a few drops of the desired oil on a cotton ball or tissue. Cup it in your hands close to your face and breathe in deeply. Alternatively, you can keep the cotton ball or tissue in your immediate vicinity as it evaporates resulting in slower exposure.
  • Steam: Add a few drops of oil to a hot, steaming bowl of water. Place your head over the bowl and cover with a towel. Breathe in deeply for an intense dose. Alternatively, you can use a hot wash cloth with several drops and hold it close to your face.
  • Spray: Place several drops of the desired essential oil in a water-filled spray bottle. Use the mist setting and spray the solution into the air. Be sure to shake the bottle first to ensure a good mixture.


A great way to combine topical absorption and inhalation is through a soothing essential oil bath! Add a few drops of the desired oil to your warm bath and soak. The essential oil will be absorbed through your skin while providing a comfortable aromatic experience.

However, it is important to remember that essential oils are not water soluble, so you might want to add a dispersing agent. Suggestions include a few tablespoons of milk, bath salts, or a bath base consisting of one part baking soda, two parts Epsom salt, and three parts sea salt.

Next page: one more option for using essential oils, and a list of the most helpful oils for anxiety sufferers.

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Brandy OstlerBrandy Ostler

Brandy is a retired elementary school teacher, freelance writer, and an aspiring author who happens to have lupus and an anxiety disorder. You can read more of her writing on her blog.

Aug 25, 2015
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