While the most common way to use essential oils is to inhale them, applying them to the skin has many advantages, including benefits for the skin and boosting the wellbeing effects of the oils through the stimulation of sensory points. Careful though, not every essential oil can be used topically without dilution! If you're using a pure oil, you will need to dilute it in a carrier oil before applying to your skin.
Applying essential oil to the skin
Apply a few drops of the oil on the sensory points and massage vigorously until the oil is absorbed. The characteristics and actions of each type of oil are specific to the plant family and the part of plant extracted which are used to target particular imbalances along the sensory points.
What are sensory points?
Sensory points are spots in the human body called meridians. These meridians have been the subject of intense investigation because of their unique anatomical composition. The sensory points include nerves of various types, blood vessels, and ligaments rich in nerve endings and suture lines. However, nerves seem to be the most common structure which is required for a relaxing response (1). By massaging the sensory points, you can relax the local tension or invigorate the body.
Benefits of activating sensory points
There’s limited research about the use of acupressure and pressure points for anxiety. However, experts are starting to look at them as an alternative anxiety treatment. Most of the studies that do exist have been fairly small ones that focused on pressure points for anxiety before a potentially stressful situation or medical procedure, rather than general anxiety. Still, their results are promising. A review of several studies examining the effects of acupuncture on sensory points on anxiety, found that it seemed to help relieve anxiety before a medical procedure such as surgery (2). Another study, found that 85 people hospitalised for cancer treatment found that acupuncture on sensory points helped to reduce their anxiety (3).
Larger studies are needed to fully understand how to use pressure points for anxiety. But the existing studies haven’t found any negative effects, so it may be worth a try if you’re looking for a new approach to tackle your anxiety. Essential oils provide a number of benefits that can support you through your daily or nightly challenges.