The Best Essential Oils for Anxiety & Panic Attacks
Anxiety has become a very common problem. A lot of people choose to suffer in silence - hiding it away the best they can. Anxiety isn't just worrying, there is also the element of fear that comes with it. Fear of doing something, fear of what will happen in the future. It can hit you anytime in your life and come out of no where. This is what happened to me. I had never suffered from anxiety before. I did worry about things but I did not have the fear and dread that comes with anxiety. In this article I am going to take a look at some of the essential oils that have helped me with anxiety and panic attacks. Hopefully these can be beneficial to you too.
When I turned 33, I was hit with it. I suddenly couldn't go to work, I couldn't eat, I couldn't sleep. I felt sick and was physically sick. There was no obvious explanation for it and I had no idea where it came from so suddenly. I just woke up feeling sick and when I even thought of work, fear engulfed me and I panicked. This is an extreme example of anxiety and not everyone will experience it this way - but this is how it hit me and now I feel it will always be a part of my life.
Fortunately my anxiety isn't like it was when it came on that day but I do continue to get anxious about things now - more than just worrying and I have had to learn to cope with it. Coping with it has not been easy but I have learnt to cope and ensure I do not wind up in the position I was when it first hit me.
This has taken will power, a will to live, a will to be positive: to not want to live like this and let it rule me. Having support from close friends and family (even though some of them couldn't fully understand) has been a huge part of my ability to cope. It is what I needed most. I just needed to have someone there as I felt unsafe alone. They didn't need to understand - they just needed to be there.
I also meditated and cleared my energy with visualization. I also went out for walks (sometimes I had to make myself go out, really force it everyday, but it helped) and I used essential oils to help calm me and relax me. You may have other ways to cope as well, but I would definitely recommend oils.
The Power Of Essential Oils
Essential Oils have been used for many years, going back to the times of Ancient Egypt and Ancient Greece to name a few. The therapy is known as Aromatherapy and uses essential oils by massaging into the body, steaming/inhalation or bathing.
They are extracted from plants and trees in a couple of ways (such as steam distillation) and are used in many ways to help treat certain conditions and with the mind body and spirit as a natural way of healing.
Benefits of Using Essential Oils
Essential oils are natural and therefore work with you in a gentle and natural way. They have many benefits and can help with a variety of things such as anxiety and panic attacks as they relax your mind and body, help calm you and can also help you to sleep.
Research shows essential oils do work. This 2009 study looked at the effects of aromatherapy on stress and the stress response in adolescents. It concludes that aroma inhalation was an effective way to manage stress. This 2013 study looked at the effects of aromatherapy on vital signs, sleep quality and anxiety. The study found that aromatherapy effectively reduced anxiety levels and improved sleep quality in patients.
The Best Essential Oils for Anxiety and Panic Attacks
The oils I used were Frankincense and Geranium. I put a few drops in a bath and would bath each day. I would also burn them in a oil burner so I could breathe them in while I was at home. This really helped me to feel calm and relaxed and helped me to sleep better.
Some days were better than others and as well as using the oils I would use meditation.There are many oils you can use, but here are a few oils you can try if you suffer with anxiety or panic attacks. All these oils will help with calming and relaxing you. They do have many other benefits too but their common benefit is that they are all beneficial for anxiety.
Essential Oils Beneficial For Anxiety & Panic Attacks
- Lavender (Lavendula Augustifolia): Countries of Origins include France (main producer), Mediterranean and England. Lavender is a popular and well known oil. It has a calming effect on the nerves, helping you to become calm and relaxed. As well as being a good oil for anxiety and panic attacks it can help depression. It is an oil that can calm you but it can also stimulate you depending on how much you use. For its calming effects only use a small amount.
- Geranium (Pelargonium graveolens): Countries of Origins: Europe, Central America, Egypt (main producer), Russia (main producer), Japan. Geranium is a lovely flowery oil, helping to calm and relax you. Women may enjoy this scent more as its quite a flowery smell, but it also helps with menstrual problems.
- Frankincense (Boswellia carteri): Countries of Origins: Originally Europe and India but now produced in Ethiopia, Somalia, South Arabia and China. Frankincense has a wonderful subtle smell. The oil is from a resin unlike the oils I've mentioned already which are from flowers. This is a great oil for panic attacks. If you feel an attack coming on, put a couple of drops on a tissue and breathe in the scent, this should stop/help the attack and bring it back to calm. This is also another good one to help depression.
- Ylang Ylang (Cananga odorata): Countries of Origins: Indonesia, the Commores, Madagascar and Reunion. Ylang Ylang is another very flowery scent. Some like it, some do not. But this oil is very good for relaxing you and helping you to sleep. It has a very calming and sedative effect on you and would very much recommend it for sleep. If you do not like the scent, you could mix it with another oil from the list you like to help take this smell away. Oils can work beautifully together.
- Roman Chamomile (Chamaemelum nobile): Countries of Origins: Germany, France, Spain, Italy, Morocco and France. Chamomile is another great oil to help relax and help you sleep. You may have heard of Chamomile tea and people drink this to help them sleep too. Well you now have a oil if you do not like tea! This oil is also helpful with depression.
- Sandalwood (santalum album): Countries of Origins: India, Indonesia, Malaysia and Taiwan. Sandalwood is from a resin from a tree just like Frankincense. It has a subtle smell and is a wonderful sedative which means another good oil for sleep. It helps to relax you and promote peace.
How To Use Essential Oils
In The Bath
Put a couple of drops of oil in the bath and mix up the water. You can mix up two oils if you like a couple from each. Try not to add too much oil as it can have a tingling feeling on your skin due to sensitivity. You could, if you like, make your own bath oil. You will need a base oil which can be olive or almond oil or even grapeseed oil.
To a 100ml bottle add up to a maximum of 30 drops of the essential oils you like (up to three) shake up the bottle and then pour a little into your bath. Remember to mix up the water to disperse the oil.
Soak in the bath for at least 20 minutes to have time for the oils to soak into your skin and you will also breathe them in as well as the heat from the water will release them into the air.
If you are having a bad time with anxiety then I would recommend having a bath each day to help relax and calm you.If you make up a bottle, you have a bath oil which you can use for a quite a few baths.
Bath Oil Recipe for Anxiety
Here is one you could try, this will help relax you and help you sleep:
- 100ml of Olive/Almond/Grapeseed Oil
- 10 drops Sandalwood
- 10 drops Lavender
- 10 drops Geranium
For a less flowery scent try:
- 10 drops Sandalwood
- 10 drops Frankincense
- 5 drops Chamomile
You do not need to use all 30 drops, that is the maximum.You could also add some dead sea salt or epsom salts to your bath as well, as these also help with anxiety.
Massage in itself is a wonderful therapy for relaxation. Finding a practitioner who does aromatherapy massage is a great option to try, however, if this isn't an option for you, you can massage yourself. This is a wonderful way to self care and love yourself.
Make Your Own Essential Oils Massage Oil
Once again just like the bath oil, you can blend your own. You will need some olive/almond/grapeseed oil (100ml) and add up to a maximum of 30 drops of the essential oils you like (up to three). Then shake up the bottle and take a small amount into your hands and start to massage your legs, yours arms, hands and feet, neck, chest etc. You do not need to massage everywhere: just anywhere you feel appropriate.
This will help soak the oils into your skin and also massage will give you a sense of well being and relaxation, even if you just do your arms. Taking the time to care for yourself is very beneficial.
With any of the methods above, you do not need to use three oils, you can just use one oil of your choosing. It is totally up to you. But please stick to a maximum of 30 drops to 100ml base oil and half this if you use 50ml base oil etc.
Using an oil burner is simple. There are two types, one which you can plug in or one where you light a tealight and this then heats the oils to be released into the air. When using either one, you should fill the bowl with a small amount of water and then put a couple of drops of an oil of your choice into the water. The bowl will heat up and will release the oil into the air, where you will breathe it into your lungs and the effects of the oils will take place.If you like you can put a couple of drops of two oils in, but remember to check if the water evaporates as you will need to turn the burner off or add more water and then oils.
Oils On A Tissue/Essential Oils Inhaler
When you start to feel a panic attack coming on put a drop or two of one of the essential oils (preferably Frankincense or Sandalwood) on a tissue and breathe in the aroma. This should help calm and relax you. You can also do this when you feel anxious. However this is a short term solution. For more long term help, using oils in a bath or burning in an oil burner or having a massage are better options. All these methods will help relax and calm you and help to keep your mind in a relaxed state helping you to think more clearly.
You can now also get essential oil inhalers. These are little bottles that have a wick that you soak in the oil. It is a convenient and easy way to carry it about, instead of relying on tissue to dab your oils on first.
Children and Essential Oils
You may be wondering if you can use essential oils on children. I would not recommend using them for small children under 5 years old. For children 5 years and over I would only recommend a very diluted amount of oil in a bath or massage oil. For example only 10 to 20 drops of essential oil to 100ml of base oil. This is because children are very sensitive.
All the essential oils I have mentioned can be used on children. Please note that there are essential oils that can not be used on children and if you wish to have more information contact an Aromatherapist for advice, especially if you want to try other oils or are not sure of blending your own etc.
Helping Children With Anxiety
To help children with anxiety try burning some of the oils in a oil burner, so the oil is dispersed through the air. You can also try a bath or give them a massage with some oil.
You could try the following:
- 100ml olive/grapeseed oil
- 10 drops Roman Chamomile oil
- 10 drops Frankincense
This mix can be used for either a bath or massage oil. Remember to always shake the bottle before applying to mix the oils up.
Safety Precautions When Using Oils
Please stick to the guide lines above when using and mixing oils as overuse can cause problems, especially in children. Do not ever apply essential oils neat on the skin or use internally. Only ever mix in a base oil or use a couple of drops in a bath.
Essential oils are a wonderful way to help anxiety and panic attacks and especially as they are a natural approach. In my experience they really do help and I hope you find this article helpful and try some of the oils to help you.
If you have any questions relating to this article please leave a comment below and I will be happy to help if I can or recommend someone that can. Alternatively, you can email me at [email protected]
Disclaimer: The contents of this article is for information only and using any of the methods suggested is at your own risk. Always consult a doctor with any medical condition you may have, especially if you are trying new complimentary medicines.