Can Oil and Acupressure Help with Anxiety?

Can Oil and Acupressure Help with Anxiety?

By: Yufang Lin, MD • Posted on February 15, 2024

Life can be busy and complicated, and most people experience anxiety in response to stress at some point in their life. Symptoms of anxiety can be physical or emotional.

Physical symptoms of anxiety

  • fast and pounding heart rate
  • chest tightness
  • stomach upset
  • neck and shoulder tension

Emotional symptoms of anxiety

  • restlessness 
  • hard to concentrate
  • excess worry
  • insomnia

These are just a few of the normal human physical responses to stressful stimuli - and the symptoms can be quite distressing. The best way to manage these symptoms is to work on the cause of the problem. When you identify the cause of the anxiety, you can remove or reduce the triggers, helping the symptoms to subside. However, sometimes the stressor isn’t easily removed. So, what should you do then?

Strategies to Reduce Anxiety 

There are a number of strategies one can use to reduce anxiety responses. Most people have heard about the benefits of soft belly breath, exercise, and mindfulness practice. I would like to discuss two more tools to add to your toolbox for managing anxiety: 

  1. Essential oils
  2. Acupressure

Essential Oils  

Essential oils are derived from plants, rich in phytochemicals with botanical properties that can be used for medicinal effect. Lavender, chamomile, peppermint, frankincense are a few of the well known plants with anti-anxiety properties. Essential oil is considered to be a concentrated medicine, since it takes a large amount of plant materials to produce even a small amount to the aromatic medicine. 

Safety guidelines

Be sure to follow these safety rules below when using essential oils:

  • Do not take essential oil by mouth
  • Always dilute essential oil with some carrier, be it water or oil, for skin applications
  • Be cautious with use around pregnant women, young children and animals. Some essential oils have side effects or are toxic for young ones
  • Some essential oils (especially citrus) can contribute to sensitivity to sunlight, so avoid sun exposure after use

With the above in mind, essential oils are a great way to change one's mood.

How to use oils at home

Below are ways to safely use essential oils at-home:

  • Dilute with water to make room sprays or body sprays
  • Dilute with oil to make massage oil or skin roll-ons
  • Add to a diffuser to disperse throughout a room
  • Add to bath water for a relaxing soak

Finally, the quality of essential oil matters. Make sure you are purchasing true essential oil and not scents which may have similar smell but none of the medicinal property. Indeed, an easy way to get the benefit of a plant is by drinking a cup of tea. By steeping the herbs in water and inhaling the scent, you benefit not only from the essential oil that is dispersed by heat and absorbed through smell, but by drinking the tea, you also benefit from the medicinal properties of the plant that is in the water. Making a cup of chamomile tea can be a lovely way to reduce your anxiety response.


Acupressure, as suggested by a licensed acupuncturist Thuy Kim Nguyen, DAOM, can serve as an effective tool for relieving symptoms of anxiety and stress. A few acupressure points to consider:

  • Yintang - located between the midpoints between the eyebrows
  • Pericardium 6 (PC6) - located on the inner forearm, about 3 fingerbreadths below the wrist crease, below index finger.

The following acupressure point should be avoided during pregnancy:

  • Large intestine 4 (LI4) - located at the webbing between thumb and index finger and the back of your hand.
How to do acupressure
  1. Apply steady pressure for a duration of at least 30 seconds to one minute.
  2. Continue this process for 15-20 minutes to activate these points and experience the benefits. 
  3. Feel free to incorporate this practice multiple times throughout the day, as needed.

For optimal results, it is recommended to perform acupressure in a calm and restful environment. If possible, having someone else applying the pressure while you relax, can enhance the effectiveness of the treatment.

Remember, you are a unique individual and your response to the above therapies may differ than others. All treatment options have potential benefits as well as side effect, so always observe how you feel and use all therapy with caution. With that said, I hope you find the above tools supportive for you in times of stress and anxiety.

Live well and Be Strong , Be Healthy, Be in Charge!
-Yufang Lin, MD
Department of Wellness and Preventive Medicine Appointments: 216-448-4325

About Yufang Lin, MD

Dr. Yufang Lin, MD, FACP, FAAP, ABIHM, ABOIM, believes in the intrinsic healing power of the human body and, to treat disease, we need to look at the root cause and driving factors. Using an integrative approach of nutritional guidance, stress management, herbal support, supplements (if appropriate), energy medicine, exercise, and other mind/body modalities, she partners with patients to create a personalized treatment plan that empowers one to achieve the health and wellness that we all deserve.

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