Do your legs, ankles or feet ever feel puffy or swollen? Unfortunately, water retention is a pretty common condition. Even so, it can be frustrating. These four essential oils may help your body release the excess water.

How? You see, the water levels in your body are regulated by your circulatory system, which includes your lymphatic system. Every once in a while, fluid can build up in the tissues, causing bloating and swelling. Fortunately, just making a few simple lifestyle changes can help you stop water retention from becoming a regular problem. And adding in a few natural remedies can help relieve your symptoms, too.

What Causes Water Retention?

1. Salt

One of the main causes of water retention lies in your diet. The more salt you consume, the more water your body will hold onto. But please note: we’re talking about processed table salt, not nourishing, natural sea salt. So reducing the amount of table salt in your diet can stop bloating from becoming a common problem.

2. Hormone Levels

High hormone levels, including insulin, cortisol, estrogen and progesterone, can cause your body to hold on to excess water. These hormones affect the sodium levels in your body and, therefore, can end up causing water retention. Certain medications can also have this effect.

3. Inactivity

Perhaps the most obvious culprit is inactivity. People who spend a lot of time in hospital beds or wheelchairs often experience water retention. Without regular movement, it becomes more difficult for your lymphatic system to drain excess fluid from your tissues. This can cause a blockage in your drainage system, leading to bloating. So to reduce water retention, get moving!

exercise water retention

Plus, these four essential oils reduce water retention and bloating in your legs:

1. Grapefruit Oil

Grapefruit oil is a natural diuretic. It works to cleanse the body, reduce inflammation and release fluids that the body may be holding. Grapefruit oil also increases blood circulation, which helps to relieve bloating and pain in swollen legs and ankles. Thanks to the terpenes in grapefruit and other citrus oils, grapefruit essential oil is a natural anti-inflammatory.

To use: Combine 3 drops of grapefruit oil with 1 teaspoon of a carrier oil, such as coconut oil, then massage the mixture onto the swollen area 2-3 times daily.

grapefruit water retention

2. Eucalyptus Oil

Eucalyptus oil has been shown to reduce inflammation and relieve pain associated with fluid retention. It has the power to activate serotonin receptors in the body to promote relaxation, reduce blood pressure and lessen inflammatory response reactions.

To use: Diffuse eucalyptus oil at home or combine 3 drops of eucalyptus oil with 1 teaspoon of coconut oil and massage the mixture onto the swollen area.

3. Lavender Oil

Lavender oil is known for it’s powerful soothing benefits. It can provide relief from mood changes, trouble sleeping and headaches, as well as inflammation. You can even apply it topically without a carrier oil.

To use: Add 2-3 drops of lavender oil to the affected area, or add 5-7 drops of lavender oil to warm bath water to reduce inflammation and pain while promoting relaxation.

essential oils water retention

4. Fennel Oil

Fennel oil is rich in vitamins and nutrients that help support the immune system. It works to naturally detoxify the body of toxins that cause inflammation and promote the release of fluids that are built up in the body’s tissues.

To use: Add 1-2 drops of fennel oil to a glass of warm water or chamomile tea and drink, or combine 4-5 drops of fennel oil to 1 teaspoon of a carrier oil and rub the mixture onto the affected area.