How to Use Essential Oils to Help with Meditation

Essential Oils And Meditation

Sometimes it can be difficult to calm your body and quiet your mind enough to sit still and meditate. Thankfully, several essential oils can help you relax and enjoy a peaceful meditation practice. 

Essential Oils That Help with Meditation

So, what essential oil for meditation should you use? Here’s a quick overview of five essential oils that can help with mindfulness meditation. If you’re not sure which one to use, give each one a sniff and pick based on what smells best to you. 

You can buy essential oils from shops that sell natural remedies and supplements, as well as from individuals who sell specific brands of essential oils.


The frankincense essential oil is extracted from trees of the Boswellia genus, which flourishes in Africa and India. It can be used to help relieve stress and anxiety and promote mental clarity and feelings of calmness.

Frankincense essential oil has been used in different types of spiritual practice for centuries, and it’s popular in several forms of meditative session today.


This essential oil is derived from the fragrant white blossoms of the bitter orange tree native to Asia. 

When used in aromatherapy for meditation, neroli oil provides a calming and relaxing scent that helps alleviate anxiety and even heart palpitations.


Extracted from several tree species of the Commiphora genus, myrrh resin, and essential oil has been used for thousands of years in traditional healing therapies. 

Myrrh has an uplifting scent that promotes calmness, tranquility, and greater spiritual awareness.


From a perennial bunchgrass native to India, vetiver oil has an exotic aroma and provides a calming, grounding effect. 

Vetiver oil has a musky, earthy scent, promoting inner strength and protection during aromatherapy meditation.


Sage leaves aren’t only used in culinary recipes, but they can produce an essential oil that has antibacterial, antioxidant, and many other properties. 

Burning sage has been famous for centuries in ceremonial practices, as it is believed to remove negative energy (like negative thoughts or negative emotions).

Benefits of Using Essential Oils In Meditation 

Essential oils can benefit a mediation practice by helping individuals: 

  • reduce negative energy and self-talk
  • focus the mind 
  • ease, calm, or soothe the body
What Are Essential Oils and Aromatherapy?

Essential oils are natural oils extracted from plants and distilled into pure essential oils for their powerful healing and rejuvenation properties. 

Essential oil can be used individually or combined with other essential oils to achieve the desired effect. 

They may be used in lotions and salves and are often used for massage, meditation or spiritual practices, and other holistic therapies.

Aromatherapy involves using essential oils and aromatic plant extracts for calming and healing purposes, usually by rubbing the oil into the skin or dispersing it into the air.

How to Use Essential Oils

There are many ways to use essential oils. However, to aid in mindfulness meditation, there are two ways you can use them: 

  • diffusing them into the air 
  • rubbing them into the skin
Essential Oil Diffusion

Diffusion involves dispersing the oils into the air via a fine mist. This is usually done with an essential oil diffuser. A small appliance explicitly made for this purpose.

However, there are several ways to diffuse essential oils, including: 

  • tissue diffuser
  • steam diffuser 
  • candle diffuser 
  • electric heat diffuser

Safety Tip: Check with your vet before diffusing essential oils in the same area shared with pets. 

Animals process air particles differently than we do and even diffused, essential oils may be too potent for them to process and may cause poisoning. 

Topical Application

Rubbing essential oils into the skin is another standard delivery method, but use caution: First, make sure that the essential oil you are using is approved for direct skin application. 

Second, essential oils are very concentrated, and a little bit goes a long way. Try a drop or two to start with–even if it’s been approved for topical use–and see how it affects you.

Safety tip: If you have a medical condition or take medication, consult a physician to ensure that the essential oils you want to use won’t have any adverse side effects in your situation.

Here are a few options for applying essential oils topically:

  • Place a single drop of oil on your third eye (the middle of your forehead).
  • Add a drop or two to your favorite hand lotion and rub it into your arms and legs.
  • Rub a drop between your hands and then inhale the scent from your cupped hands.

It is especially important when using essential oils topically to conduct patch testing to determine if you will react to the oil you desire to apply. 

  • Dilute a small amount of essential oil to twice the concentration you plan to use regularly. 
  • Place two to three drops to the pad of a bandage and apply it to the inside of your forearm. 
  • Allow that to remain for 48 hours, and then check for irritation.

If you experience any redness, blisters, itchiness, or swelling around the site, you should not use that oil topically.

Essential Oil Best Practices and Safety

Are essential oils safe? There are some concerns about the potential dangers of essential oils. 

They are highly concentrated oils derived from plants with unique properties that, when not used properly, can potentially have adverse effects. 

Heeding essential oil warnings, however, can help you avoid any adverse side effects.


Because essential oils are so concentrated, it is almost always necessary to dilute them before use. Carriers such as: 

  • coconut
  • jojoba
  • almond 
  • pure olive oil

Are commonly used to dilute the essential oil, and many carriers have benefited themselves. 

Usually, concentrations of three to five percent are safe for topical use. This amounts to about three to five drops per teaspoon of your carrier oil–though, as stated above, you should always do a patch test before applying directly to the skin. 

Some oils are safe for use undiluted, but dilution will make those oils go further and still deliver the positive benefits.


Many essential oils have strong antibacterial properties. This is very beneficial for dealing with unwanted harmful bacteria. 

However, when you ingest those same oils, you deliver their antibacterial properties directly to your gut, where they may damage the delicate gut biome. 

Some essential oils are not safe for ingestion, and others are safe for use only with great caution. 

In most cases, ingestion benefits may be accomplished more safely by consuming the herb or plant in food or made into tea.

Storing Essential Oils

Many people may be unaware that essential oils should not be stored in plastic. It is not uncommon to find many people innocently diffusing essential oils into the air using a plastic spray bottle. 

Only glass bottles, however, should be used for storing or diffusing essential oils. Due to the powerful concentration of these oils, even diluted, they may, over time, eat away at the plastic, posing a possible risk of contact exposure to the oils. 

Storing the oils properly will keep you safe from potential skin contact with these potent oils and preserve your oils for use.


Some oils, particularly citrus-based oils, may cause sensitivity to sunlight after applying topically. 

Take care after using oils from orange, lime, lemon, bergamot, and grapefruit essential oils that those areas of the skin are not exposed to the sun soon after. 

The skin will be more sensitive to UV radiation and may burn or blister easily, even from low sun exposure levels.

Using Essential Oils on Babies and Children

Young children’s and babies’ skin is especially sensitive. Extreme caution should be used before applying essential oils, even diluted, directly to young children’s skin. 

While many are safe for use, taking extra care to conduct a patch test and dilute the oils even more than you do for adults will help prevent burning or skin discoloration. 

Some oils can slow or even stop breathing in young children with respiratory problems. 

When using oils for young children in a diffuser, observe the child carefully for any abnormal breathing problems, and remove them from the room if any difficulty breathing is monitored.

Peppermint Essential Oil Warnings

While peppermint is an extraordinarily versatile and useful essential oil, its very powerfulness makes it an oil to administer with caution. 

Peppermint oil should not be used on children under 30 months of age nor applied to the feet–particularly to children under 12 years of age. 

Great care should be used if ingested, as it may cause burning mouth syndrome or problems in the digestive system. 

Peppermint oil should be taken in a capsule or tablet to avoid damage to the esophagus. 

It is also essential to dilute peppermint oil properly for use in a diffuser. Inhaling large doses of the oil may lead to dizziness, confusion, and other problems.

Using Essential Oils While Pregnant 

Pregnant and nursing mothers will want to exercise great caution in using any essential oils. Many oils can cross the placental barrier that protects your child during pregnancy. 

While the essential oil is beneficial to you, the effects may be undesirable on a developing baby. The concentration reaching the baby may be more potent than would be safe. 

Highly diluted oils used in aromatherapy are likely safe. Talk to your doctor before using any essential oils during this fragile time.

Special Medical Conditions

If you have any unique medical conditions, always consult your doctor before using any new essential oil. 

Essential oils can often cross through the skin directly into the bloodstream, creating a possible problem for those with existing conditions. 

If you are taking medication, ask your doctor about any potential drug interactions your essential oil may cause. 

An essential oil interacting with medications could interfere with its function or even boost its potency to something unsafe for use. Always ask your doctor before trying a new oil.

Quality Of Production

Not all essential oils are produced with the same care for quality. The adage you get what you pay for is important here. 

Research the company that produces the oils you intend to purchase. Do they have a reputation for quality, or are they merely trying to cash in on those looking for healthy alternatives? 

The distillation process makes a great deal of difference in the quality of oil you receive. 

Choosing a legitimate company that promotes quality will not only help safeguard you from poorly crafted oils, but it may protect you from potential health problems as well.

Tim Sinnot Medical Review
Medically reviewed by
Tim Sinnott, LMFT LAADC

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Is an accredited drug and alcohol rehabilitation program, that believes addiction treatment should not just address “how to stay sober” but needs to transform the life of the addict and empower him or her to create a more meaningful and positive life. We are dedicated to transforming the despair of addiction into a purposeful life of confidence, self-respect and happiness. We want to give recovering addicts the tools to return to the outside world completely substance-free and successful.