I recently read a case study outlining how aromatherapy was used during to support a 12 year old during radiotherapy for a brain tumor. That case study is what prompted the writing of this article: essential oils for anxiety. I personally cannot imagine a more stressful situation! Without relating the entire case study here now, I’ll sum up the combinations of essential oils that were used during the stressful 5 weeks of radiotherapy treatments.

There were two primary aromatherapy treatment applications used for this patient:

  • Inhaler sticks made at the hospital and left for the patient to use whenever needed
  • Aromatherapy massage provided at the hospital

Inhaler sticks

During the 5 week course of treatments, aroma inhalers were provided to the patient for use in between the massage sessions at the hospital. For those who don’t know what these are, this is what they look like.

Here are a couple of essential oil combinations used by the anxious patient:
*Note: 20 drops of essential oils in TOTAL were used in the inhaler stick.

#1 Combination: neroli  (Citrus aurantium) + lavender (Lavandula angustifolia)

#2 Combination: geranium (Pelargonium graveolens) + sweet orange (Citrus sinensis)

#3 Clary sage was used by itself as a third option

Benefits to using an aroma inhaler:

  • very portable- fits easily into a pocket
  • easy to use- no fuss, no muss; little equipment needed
  • inexpensive
  • extremely customizable- you add the essential oils of your own choosing

Aromatherapy massage

The aromatherapy sessions also included massage, lasting approximately 20- 25 minutes. Both the patient and the mother received some aroma massage therapy in the hospital room. Different massage techniques were used, depending on the current situation. Here are a couple of the massage blends that were used on the patient.

#1: 1 drop of lavender in 5 ml of sweet almond oil used on feet and lower legs

#2: 1 drop of geranium and 1 drop of sweet orange in 10ml of sweet almond oil used on the feet and lower legs

#3: 1 drops of clary sage in 5ml of sweet almond oil used on the feet only

The case study referenced in this article was provided by Lab Aroma, citing: Supporting a young girl through radiotherapy, following resection of a brain tumour: Case study International Journal of Clinical Aromatherapy 2009 Vol 6, Issue 1.

The main essential oils used in the case study were lavender, geranium, sweet orange and clary sage. Here are some other essential oils that you could also try for anxiety:

Additional essential oils for anxiety

Howood (Cinnamomun Camphora)

  • Generally a safe essential oil to use
  • “Emotionally fortifying and can help support self-confidence as well as soothe situational stress, anxiety, and depression.” Lab Aroma

Frankincense (Boswellia carterii)

  • Generally safe to use
  • Be sure to dilute frankincense before applying to the skin
  • “Used for anxiety, feelings of panic, deep routed fears, nervousness, sleep problems, having difficulty letting go, grief, mourning, and existential crises.” Lab Aroma

Bergamot (Citrus Bergamia)

  • Avoid sun exposure for 18 hours after using bergamot
  • Always dilute this oil before applying to the skin
  • “Effective at reducing insomnia and anxiety, emotionally uplifting and calming.” Lab Aroma

Grapefruit (Citrus Paradisi)

  • Be sure to dilute this oil before applying it to the skin
  • Grapefruit is known as a sun sensitive oil- avoid exposure to the sun after using this oil
  • “Refreshing, can calm nerves and ease migraines caused by anxiety.” Lab Aroma
  • “Grapefruit essential oil is a welcome comfort when dealing with situational anxiety or depression.” Lab Aroma

Essential oil blends from Nature Notes

Here are some Nature Notes essential oil blends that would be suitable for anxiety:

Make your own inhaler stick

You can purchase a set of 3 inhaler sticks from Nature Notes for $7
*Nature Notes ships within Canada

Want to learn more about aromatherapy and essential oils with Deanna Russell?

Check out the Aromatherapy for Women class now- the first section is all about women and stress!

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