How to Use Aromatherapy for Constipation

Three Methods:Making Your OilMassaging Your BodyBathing With Oils

When you have to go, you have to go. When you can't, life gets uncomfortable. You can use aromatherapy to help with constipation and its discomforts. The healing properties of the plant oils will relieve your discomfort. Massage and bathing are the most frequently recommended types of aromatherapy for those suffering from constipation. By using essential oils, you can relieve your constipation and relax your tension.

Method 1
Making Your Oil

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    Combine scents. Certain essential oils are preferable for gastrointestinal relief. Rosemary oil, lemon oil, and peppermint oil in particular are known to relieve constipation.[1] You should use 100% essential oils as your base. You can mix scents or choose a single aroma for your therapy, based on personal preference. It should smell pleasing to you so avoid scents you find offensive. Some useful combinations include:
    • Peppermint, Rosemary, and lemon
    • Lemon, Lavender, rosemary, and Cyprus[2]
    • Bitter orange, black pepper, rosemary, marjoram, and patchouli[3]
    • Ginger, Peppermint and fennel
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    Choose a carrier oil. Pure essential oils should not be applied directly to the skin or they can cause irritation. Instead, you will mix the essential oils with a carrier oil. Carrier oils are typically vegetable oils. Popular ones include coconut oil, sweet almond oil, jojoba oil, and grapeseed.[4] Rosehip seed oil is a carrier that may also help alleviate gastrointestinal issues.[5]
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    Mix essential and carrier oil together in a small, dark bottle. For children, use about 3-6 drops of essential oil per ounce of carrier oil. For adults, use 15-25 drops of essential oil per ounce of carrier oil.[6] After adding to the bottle, gently shake the bottle to mix. Dark bottles are preferable as the shelf life of essential oils is greatly reduced when the oils are exposed to light.
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    Store in a cool, dark place. It is usually most convenient to mix your oils as you need them, but if you want to keep them, find a cool, dry, and dark location. Since carrier oils are vegetable oils, they can spoil. Mixes using rosehip, sesame, and sweet almond oil can be kept for 6-12 months. Jojoba oil and coconut oil are highly stable and can be stored indefinitely. Do not use if your oils smell bitter or rancid.[7]

Method 2
Massaging Your Body

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    Remove your clothes. You will be massaging your stomach so you want to make sure that your belly is naked. While it is not necessary for you to be completely naked, oils can stain clothing. Drape a towel over your lap to prevent spilling. If you are applying the oils to another person, have them remove clothes to their level of comfort, making sure that you are able to fully massage their abdominal area.
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    Apply a small amount of oil to your hands. You need only a dab of oil to begin with. Gently dip your fingers in the oil. You only need about an ounce of oil total for a massage. As you massage, you can reapply oil as necessary.
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    Gently rub oil over abdominal area. Use your fingertips and move in slow circles at first. Apply slight pressure to the abdomen. Next move under the breast and apply pressure, massaging downward using both hands. This massage encourages the movement of waste in your body and can be executed daily as a preventative measure as well.[8]
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    Inhale deeply. As you massage, it is important to remember to breathe deeply. The scents should help you relax while loosening your bowels and intestines. If you are massaging another person, gently remind them to breathe throughout the massage.
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    Treat your feet. Reflexology foot massages have been found to help with constipation as they can relax your body and may increase blood flow to your intestines.[9] With specific attention to the ankle and the heel, lean back and enjoy a foot massage. Peppermint and rosemary oils are ideal for this type of massage. After the massage, put on socks or rinse your feet with water so that you do not slip.
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    Drink plenty of water. It is generally recommended to drink plenty of water following a massage. Water hydrates your body and helps you recover from a massage. It is also important in alleviating constipation as water flushes out the colon and loosens impacted fecal matter.[10]
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    Use the toilet. If you need to go to the bathroom, end the massage immediately and go. Do not try to hold it in until the end. If you have chronic constipation, a daily massage may be able to help you stay regular, even if you are not currently feeling constipated.[11]

Method 3
Bathing With Oils

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    Add essential oil to a dispersal agent. A dispersal agent is like a carrier, except it helps spread the oil through the bath. You can use an agent such as honey, milk, or vegetable oil. If using vegetable oil, you should use a fluid oil, such as sweet almond oil or jojoba oil, that will disperse easily through water, not a thick solid oil, like coconut oil. About 2 to 12 drops of essential oil can be added per teaspoon of carrier.[12]
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    Draw a warm bath. Warm water will help you relax, which will also assist in relieving your constipation. Warm bathing has also been found to relieve certain side-effects of frequent constipation, such as hemorrhoids and anal fissures.[13]
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    Add the oil mix to the bath. As you are adding water to the bath, add in your oil mix. Adding the oil near the water spout will help circulate the oils throughout the bath. You may also gently swirl the water with your hand to encourage the dispersal of the oil.
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    Soak yourself. Bathe for 15 minutes to a half hour. Not only will the oils soak into your skin but you will inhale the scents as you relax. The bath may loosen your bowels. If you need to use the toilet, be careful not to slip as you leave the bath.


  • Aromatherapy may produce instant results in some people but not in others. It may take a week or so of regular practice for your body to respond to the process, after which you may notice results in your frequency and quality of bowel movements.[14] If aromatherapy does not produce results and you suffer from chronic constipation, visit your doctor.
  • Aromatherapy is a type of complementary medicine, which means that it is used alongside other more conventional types of medical treatment. If you have consistent or excessively painful constipation, seek medical advice in addition to your home aromatherapy.[15]
  • These treatments can also be used for other types of abdominal and gastrointestinal issues, such as menstrual cramps and stomach pains.[16]
  • If you are suffering from frequent constipation, increase your water and fiber consumption. Both water and fiber are important for proper intestinal health.[17]


  • Do not apply pure essential oil directly to your skin. Without a carrier, essential oils can cause irritation or burns.
  • Do not ingest essential oils orally. Essential oils can be poisonous if taken by mouth. They are completely safe for topical use on the skin, however.

Things You'll Need

  • 100% essential oil
  • carrier oil
  • dark bottle

Article Info

Categories: Essential Oils | Aromatherapy