Essential Oil Inhalation for Pain

Over the course of the past week I have seen this question a few times in separate aromatherapy Facebook groups, “Does inhaling essential oils help with chronic pain?”  The simple answer is, “yes!”  However, I want to discuss why inhalation of essential oils helps with pain.

There are studies showing that inhalation of essential oils assists with alleviating nausea post-surgery. The most recent study was published in the Journal of PeriAnesthesia Nursing, A Comparison of Aromatherapy to Standard Care for Relief of PONV and PDNV in Ambulatory Surgical Patients in April 2018.  Studies also indicate the inhalation of essential oils has positive results on emotional conditions such as depression,  and likewise for anxiety.

There are myriad anecdotal reports of essential oils being of assistance for all these conditions nausea, vomiting, depression, anxiety and headache or migraine; but only a few for pain, chronic or acute. However, more studies are begin conducted on the use of essential oil inhalation for pain.  I find this quite encouraging.

When I consult with a client and aromatherapy application methods are discussed most clients ask for a topical blend.  I get this request, I really do; however, I also make the case for inhalation.  Let’s talk frankly, shall we?  For example, why do cocaine users snort their precious powder?  Why don’t cocaine users rub their white dust on their skin?  When it comes to inhalation there is no quicker route for therapeutic constituents to enter the body.  The same holds true for essential oils.

When we apply a topical solution do the therapeutic components of essential oils stay on the place we have applied it?  No!  In short, and foregoing the anatomy lesson, the chemical constituents are absorbed into the body and travel throughout.   This fact applies to inhalation as well.

Then there is breath work.  I remember learning from a well-seasoned surgical nurse the importance of breath when it comes to managing pain.  She told me that controlling pain and anxiety came down to breathing.  “Take a deep breath in through your nose, hold it for a slow count of three, and then slowly exhale through your mouth. Repeat this several times.”  Are these not the steps we use to instruct our clients on the use of a personal inhaler?  Hmmmm….

Let’s address the statement, “The effectiveness from inhalation of essential oils for pain is just in your head.” Well, if this were true wouldn’t that be positive?  There is nothing wrong with a positive placebo effect.  If we believe it works for us it does, no sense arguing the point.  However, on a personal and professional level I have witnessed strong positive results from essential oil inhalation for pain.

Why would we want to use a personal inhaler over a topical application to address pain?  Ease of use.  There are times when I am out in public and do not want to offend others with the scent of the pain salve I slather on my body.  There are times when just breathing hurts and the last thing I want to do is massage my body with a topical application.  An inhaler is less messy, no need to wash my hands after use.  A personal inhaler is easy, compact, discrete and user friendly.

What essential oils do I use in a personal inhaler to address pain?  I use what provides me with emotional comfort as well as physical comfort.  I like a blend of Kunzea (Kunzea ambigua), Black pepper (Piper nigrum), Sweet orange (Citrus sinensis) and Tarragon (Artemisia dracunculus).  There are so many amazing essential oils that are helpful for pain and inflammation that your aromatherapist can find a blend that works best for you.

✿´´¯`•.¸¸ Fragrant Blessings ¸¸.•´¯`´✿

Haly JensenHof, MA, RA

Managing Thanksgiving Induced Indigestion

Giving thanks for all that we have is what Thanksgiving is supposed to be about; however, over the years it seems Thanksgiving is more about stuffing ourselves into heartburn, indigestion, and bloat. There are nearly 50 essential oils that help combat the symptoms of Thanksgiving induced indigestion.

First, I want to count my blessings and tell you what I am thankful for this year. I am truly blessed with a supportive, nurturing, wonderful husband. I have two great, faithful, supportive older brothers. I am blessed to be owned by three loving terriers. I have many positive, encouraging, and loyal friends that I call family. I, and my family, have good health. I have the perfect home with beautiful surroundings. I have just what I need in terms of property and material items and nothing more. I am thankful for my productive herbal, flower, and vegetable gardens. I also have wonderful clients who I enjoy and respect. In all, I have been blessed and I am truly thankful.

As family and friends gather for the Thanksgiving feast they all know they are going to over eat, but how can they not? The food at Thanksgiving is decadent. Most feasts include a big turkey, stuffing, mashed potatoes with gravy, sweet potatoes or yams, vegetables, cranberries, and assorted pies. Each family has its own traditional dish too. In our family it is my mother’s recipe for pearl onions in a thick creamy cheese sauce. YUM! For a lot of families the addition of green bean casserole is the dish that makes the feast complete.

Regardless of what we serve on Thanksgiving Day, everyone tends to over eat. Over eating is one sure way of causing heartburn, indigestion, bloat, and flatulence. There are many means of managing these conditions: over-the counter antacids, drinking ginger ale, mixing up some sodium bicarbonate, drinking a lot of water, avoiding certain foods, and not lying down after eating. All of these methods are effective, and I recommend using them. However, using essential oils to help with indigestion is effective, pleasurable, and can be used with all members of the family, young or old.

Indigestion Massage Blend at a 3% dilution:
In a dark glass bottle mix the essential oils and add the carrier oil. Gently massage the blend over your abdomen in a clockwise fashion.
3 drops Cardamom (Elettaria cardamomum) essential oil
2 drops Sweet Orange (Citrus sinensis)
2 drops Dill seed (Anethum graveolens) essential oil
1 drop Ginger (Zingiber officinale) essential oil
15 ml. Coconut oil (Cocos nucifera) carrier oil

I recommend this blend at a 3% dilution for healthy teens and adults: however, for young children, the elderly, or those with sensitivities or weakened physical states a 1% dilution would be where I would begin.

Earlier I mentioned there are over 50 essential oils that help with digestive issues. These oils include:

Lemon (Citrus limon)

Mandarin (Citrus reticulata)
Spearmint (Mentha spicata)

Roman Chamomile (Anthemis nobilis)

Dill seed (Anethum graveolens)

Lavender (Lavandula angustifolia)
Sweet Orange (Citrus sinensis)

Neroli (Citrus aurantium var. amara)

Ginger (Zingiber officinale)

Coriander (Coriandrum sativum)
Vetiver (Vetivera zizanoides)

Cardamom (Elettaria cardamomum)

These oils are listed because they are gentle, have few contraindications (can be used with children, during pregnancy, and with high or low blood pressure), and are effective. The citrus oils do increase the chance of photosensitivity.

If a massage blend is not your style, or if you will be traveling over the river and through the woods to grandmother’s house, you may want to formulate a blend to use in a personal inhaler. Personal inhalers are easy to carry, as well as being easy and discrete to use. Choose two to three essential oils in the list above and use between 15 to 25 drops of the blend you have formulated. No carrier oil is used with a personal inhaler. Place the required drops of your chosen essential oils on a sterile glass plate. Then, using sterile tweezers, place the cotton pad from the inhaler on the essential oils. Allow the cotton pad to absorb all of the essential oils. Using the tweezers insert the cotton pad into the inhaler, cap the bottom, screw on the cover, and you are ready to go!

My Thanksgiving wish for you is that you have a day filled with love, family, friends, and good food. If you happen to eat to the point of digestive issues add essential oils to your arsenal of tools to combat them.

 Information provided is not intended to replace the medical directives of your healthcare provider.  This information is not meant for diagnosis of health issues.  If you are pregnant, have serious or multiple health concerns, consult with your healthcare provider before using essential oils.  If you experience any complications or adverse reactions contact your healthcare provider.   

Haly JensenHof, MA, RA

Fragrantly helping you achieve health and well being!

For more information, or if you have questions, please contact me at  I welcome any questions, comments or suggestions.

You can also find me on Facebook


How to make an Anti-nausea Inhaler

There are a few occasions when you may wish you had something to prevent nausea; car sickness, morning sickness, stomach virus/flu, side effects of medication, or following surgery.  Whatever the situation or condition an anti-nausea inhaler will help combat that horrid feeling of nausea.  The same formulation will work for each condition.  For example if a person is experiencing morning sickness and car sickness on the ride home following surgery one inhaler should help prevent the person from becoming too nauseous and/or sick.

I formulated an anti-nausea inhaler for my husband earlier in the year when he underwent surgery, and now I will be formulating one for myself.  I will be undergoing a minor, if there is such a thing, brain surgery on Tuesday, 30 April 2013.  In the past I have had problems with anesthesia in that it makes me really sick afterward.  Being sick after surgery, or at any time, is never fun so if I can prevent that from happening I will!

Below I have given two formulations for anti-nausea inhalers that are safe for pregnant women, children, and most people in general.

Anti-nausea inhaler #1

  • 1 drop Mandarin (Citrus reticulata)
  • 1 drop Coriander (Coriandrum sativum)
  • 1 drop Rosewood (Aniba roseodora)*

Anti-nausea inhaler #2

  • 1 drop Orange, sweet (Citrus sinensis)
  • 1 drop Grapefruit (Citrus paradisi)
  • 1 drop Fir (Abies balsamea)

I hope you never have need for an anti-nausea inhaler but if you do you may want to try one of these formulations.  Here is to good health!

*Many people will not use rosewood essential oil because the harvesting of the tree denudes the rainforest.  I have learned that the Brazilian government demands one rosewood tree be planted for every one that is harvested, thus preventing the deforestation of the forest.  I would prefer two trees be planted for every one harvested, and maybe someday that will become the case.  I carefully research the sources of rosewood before purchasing and make certain the supplier is part of the conservation of this beautiful tree.  I have one source I use solely because I know conservation comes first with this supplier.

I do not know how long my recovery period will be, but I aim to be back by the end of May!  Until then, I wish you fragrant Blessings!

Haly JensenHof, MA, RA

For more information, or if you have questions, please contact me at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. . I welcome any questions, comments or suggestions. You can also find me on Facebook at


Fragrantly helping you achieve health and well being!