Holistic Approach: Essential Oils for Fatigue

Modern adults are almost certain to experience fatigue at different points in their day or week. Between balancing personal and professional responsibilities, responding to the many stimuli of contemporary living, or simply adapting to the body’s own rhythms, you may often find that you need a serious pick-me-up. Natural oils are a much healthier bet than an overload of coffee or caffeine drinks: They soothe, relax and refresh, rather than stimulate artificially.

Suggested Essential Oils

Citrus oils are often used to relieve fatigue and increase energy levels:

  • Lemon
  • Orange
  • Tangerine
  • Bergamot
  • Grapefruit

Of these oils, choose the one that has the smell you find most pleasant. Aromatherapy is highly individual—if you pick a scent you don’t particularly like simply because of a recommendation, it probably won’t do you much good.


  • Some essential oils are contraindicated for preexisting medical conditions, Speak with your doctor before adopting this or any other complementary therapy.
  • Essential oils should be used as a complement to conventional medicine, not a substitute. If your fatigue worsens, speak with your doctor.
  • Essential oils are highly potent. You rarely need more than a few drops, and using them undiluted can irritate your skin. Unless you’re working with a diffuser or oil lamp, dilute the individual oils in warm water, or in a carrier oil (for example sweet almond, avocado, grape seed or jojoba).


Whether working with one essential oil or a blend, you have several methods of administration from which to choose. Would you prefer to massage the oils into your skin, diffuse them throughout the room, or keep them on hand so that you can choose when to inhale them? Pick an approach that works for you.

Some options:

  • Add a few drops of the oil/s to a bath and soak for about 15 minutes.
  • Add a few drops of the oil/s to your favorite massage lotion for an invigorating backrub.
  • Add a few drops of the oil/s to a compress. Apply the compress to your forehead or chest.
  • Add a few drops of the oil/s to an aromatherapy diffuser or oil burner (DIY version: A few drops in a bowl of very hot water).

One Step Further

Essential oils should not be thought of as a cure-all. There are a variety of holistic options to treat fatigue, including nutritional therapy, acupuncture, and of course, adopting an energizing yoga practice. For more information, see Related Tips & How-Tos.