INSOMNIA: Essential Oils and Ear Reflexology

By Cynthia McMullen
Originally posted September 11, 2016

Q:  What kind of essential oils and things can I use for insomnia?

A:  First, let’s look at insomnia energetically in terms of Yin and Yang.

The light side is Yang, and the dark side is Yin.  Yin is very quiet, calm, peaceful, and Yang is awake, alive, active.  With insomnia, you get into a place where these are supposed to change into each other, and the Yang is having a problem transforming into the Yin.

All the Yang activity in the body is having a hard time changing and transforming into the quiet Yin aspect. The ability to attain and maintain a state of Yin is our goal for treatment purposes.

There are a number of different things that can be the root of insomnia, however that’s more detail than we’re going to get into here.  Let’s look at some things that we can definitely try that will work in many cases.

Step #1 is to look for some essential oils that tonify (strengthen) Yin. Remember, Yin is the cooling, calm, peaceful state that we want. Five oils that are fairly common that we can use are:

  • Sage
  • Spikenard
  • Coriander
  • Lavender
  • German Chamomile

We can use one single oil above, or blend 2-3 together. Of course, there are other oils that will work, but these five are fairly easy to find on the market. See if you have one or more of these oils on hand.

Once we have the oil(s) ready, we’ll dilute them down into some carrier oil. Then there are specific areas of the body that we can apply them to.

Spikenard is a super relaxing oil, and if you use this in massage, you may want to have somebody just sit for a little while afterward so they don’t have to drive immediately.

Coriander is another one that’s a very calming, cooling oil. In the video I chose to use Coriander and Lavender together. They smell beautiful and really give us a nice, relaxing blend.


For single use, which is a very small amount to use right now, place 1/2 tsp of carrier oil in a small bowl, and then add 2 drops of Coriander plus 2 drops of Lavender.  This is a total of 4 drops essential oil for a one-time use which is strong.

To make a larger 1-oz. blend to use on a more regular basis, use 1-oz. carrier oil and add 20 to 24 drops total of essential oils.

After mixing up the diluted essential oils, we’re going to apply it on the body as follows:

Apply to the inner wrist on both arms.  There are several acupoints in this area that calm and quiet the Heart. (Pericardium-6 and 7,and Heart-4 to7)

Next, apply the oil around the ankle area, focusing on the top of the ankle joint area and the inner ankles. (Stomach-41, Liver-4, Spleen-5, Kidney-3)

If you are a Massage Therapist and you want to add this into a treatment, or maybe you want to do this at home on your family member, apply in this order:

  • inner wrists
  • inner ankles and top of the ankles
  • then do a nice application on the back, especially along the spine
  • end with an entire 10-15 minute foot massage

It will be really hard for somebody to stay awake after this!

If you’d like, follow the video here for a visual demonstration of the ear acupressure massage.  You can do this on yourself or on somebody else.

Ear reflexology, also called Auricular Therapy, is a powerful technique. Instead of needles you can also use your hand to do acupressure on the same areas.

Ear reflexology, also called Auricular Therapy

There are more than 100 acupoints on our ear. We’re going to use some special points on the ear beneficial for insomnia. See below for Insomnia area 1, Insomnia area 2, the Tranquilizer point area, and the whole ear lobe.

This is Insomnia area 1, towards the rim  and slightly above the lobe.  I generally use this area when someone can’t sleep because they are thinking too much.

This is Insomnia area 2, just over half way up the area just inside the rim.  I generally use this area when someone can’t sleep and they toss and turn or move around a lot, or if there is any kind of agitation involved.

This is the Tranquilizer point area.  It is very calming.

You can choose to focus on one area, but it won’t hurt to massage all of them.

We’re also going to use the entire earlobe where many points correspond to the face and the head, the whole brain area, and it’s extremely calming to the head.


You can massage both ears together, or one at a time – whichever is more comfortable for you. This massage can be done to someone else, or to yourself.

Apply a small amount of the diluted essential oil blend to your fingers.

Start by just squeezing the lobe and then gently squeezing up around the whole ear, including the inside. Stop and incorporate the Insomnia areas and the Tranquilizer point.  You can focus on these by rubbing or pressing them about 24 times each.  Be sure to use gentle pressure that is relaxing.

Continue to massage the entire ear, coming back to the 4 special areas several times.

This massage should last 2-5 minutes.


In order to help change Yang (active) into Yin (peaceful), try the following QiGong exercise.  This is great to do either right before bed, or you can also do it even while you’re in bed.

Focus on breathing to your Dan Tian – the area below your navel – is very calming and helps to strengthen the Yin aspect.

Slowly, gently, move with your breath.

Inhale and guide your hands up.  This brings Water energy from the Dan Tian up to the Heart Center.

Exhale and guide your hands back down.  This calms the Yang energy down and settles it.

Continue to inhale up. Exhale down. Just keep on moving with your own rhythm, your own breath.

Do this anywhere from 8 to 24 times, and if it feels really good, up to 5 minutes.

Have a good night.