What should I consider?
If medication is not easing your pain, you may want to try using essential oils as an alternative, natural remedy for relief.
Essential oils are effective and beneficial because they get absorbed directly into the blood stream through our skin, by-passing the digestive system and therefore have fewer side effects than many modern drugs. Not only does it smell good, essential oils may also help to soothe your mind and make you feel more relaxed. Thereby, helping you to cope with the pain better. However, the variety of oils that nature can provide is even greater than the type of pain relief medication that your doctor can prescribe. And just like pain medication, you may need to try and few before you are able to establish exactly which oil works for you!
If you are suffering from acute, unexplained pain, then please consult your doctor first.
Talk to your doctor before use if you:
- are pregnant
- are nursing
- have an existing medical condition
- wish to use essential oils on children or older adults
However, if you suffer from chronic pain such as low back pain, arthritis, headaches or migraines, stomach cramps, then essential oils are excellent home remedies to treat the pain.
What do I need to know about Essential Oils for pain?
Essential oil products can vary in purity, strength, and quality across manufacturers as there is currently no regulatory body in place. Therefore, be sure to only purchase essential oils from reputable brands. Each type of oil has its own unique scent and benefits, and can be used individually or as blends.
Medicinal properties attributed to essential oils which may relieve pain symptoms include:
- Muscle relaxant
- Encourages relaxation
- Decrease anxiety
The following 16 essential oils may help with pain relief. Use the Search finder on your right to find a specific oil or problem.
**My recommended Top 3 essential oils *Closely followed by these 3
|Essential Oil||Properties||Uses||Bonus fact:|
|*Basil||Powerful anti-spasmodic, anti-inflammatory, muscle relaxant.||Migraines and headaches|
|Clary Sage||Anti-coagulant, anti-spasmodic, relaxant, anesthetic.||Menstrual discomfort/PMS||Pain or discomfort related to hormonal imbalance|
|Clove||Anti-coagulant, anti-inflammatory, anti-convulsant.||Arthritis/rheumatism|
|*Copaiba||Strong anti-inflammatory.||Arthritis/rheumatism; skin conditions ie. Psoriasis.||I tend to add Copaiba to my blends as it has a reputation of being an ‘enhancer’ to other oils.|
|Ginger||Anti-inflammatory, anti-coagulant, anesthetic.||Rheumatism/arthritis; digestive disorders, muscle aches/pain, varicose veins.|
|Helichrysum||Anti-coagulant, anti-spasmodic.||Bruises, varicose veins, skin conditions (eczema, psoriasis, scar tissue, cuts and burns).|
|Idaho Balsam Fir||Anti-coagulant, anti-inflammatory.||Arthritis/rheumatism, back pain, sciatica.|
|Idaho Blue Spruce||Analgesic (reduces sensitivity to pain), relaxant.||Arthritis/rheumatism, back pain, sciatica, bone pain||Pain relief induced through relaxation, releases emotional blocks.|
|**Lavender||Analgesic, anti-convulsant, relaxant, anti-inflammatory.||Pain, menstrual problems/PMS, scarring, skin conditions (eczema, acne, psoriasis, burn, cuts).||Calming, relaxing and balancing – physically and emotionally.|
|*Lemongrass||Anti-inflammatory, improves blood circulation and lymph flow.||Muscle/ligament pain, fluid retention, varicose veins.|
|Marjoram||General relaxant.||Arthritis/rheumatism, muscle cramps, nerve pain, headaches, sores, spasms, skin conditions, fluid retention.|
|Palo Santo||Anti-inflammatory.||Arthritis/rheumatism, gout, joint and cartilage pain.|
|**Peppermint||Anti-inflammatory, pain relieving.||Rheumatism/arthritis; cold sores, digestive disorders, headaches, muscle aches/pain, varicose veins, skin conditions (eczema, dermatitis, psoriasis).||This is like the 'Panadol' of oils. My go to oil for almost everything.|
|Roman Chamomile||Relaxant, anti-spasmodic, anti-inflammatory, anesthetic.||Restlessness, anxiety, depression, skin conditions (acne, dermatitis, eczema).|
|Vetiver||Anti-spasmodic, relaxant, stimulates circulation.||Anxiety, rheumatism/arthritis, depression|
|**Wintergreen||Anti-coagulant, anti-spasmodic, anti-inflammatory.||Arthritis/rheumatism, muscle/nerve pain, carpal tunnel pain, back pain.||High content of natural methyl salicylate (90+%), which is the main compound in the muscle rubs that we buy from pharmacies.|
How do I use Essential Oils for pain relief?
Identifying the cause of the pain will indicate which oil to first try. However, in the case of chronic pain, it is often difficult to identify a single cause and therefore advisable to use a blend of oils such as basil and lavender for instance – to relax the muscles and calm the mind.
Essential oils can be inhaled or diluted and applied topically.
Never apply undiluted essential oils directly to the skin. Do not swallow essential oils. Do a skin patch test before applying diluted essential oils to your skin.
Add a few drops of your chosen essential oil to a diffuser and inhale the steam in a closed room. No carrier oil is necessary for this method.
Or, fill up a bowl with hot water. Add a few drops of the essential oil to the water. Lean over the bowl or sink, covering your head with a towel, and inhale the steam. You can do this for up to 10 minutes.
Massaging diluted essential oil(s) into the skin can help to loosen up muscles and ease pain. You can practice self-massage or opt for a professional massage using essential oils. I use my own blend of oils when I go for a massage.
You may also take a hot bath with essential oils. Dissolve 5 drops of essential oil to 5 ml of carrier (suggest sweet almond of jojoba). Sitting in the bath will allow the oils to enter your body through your skin and added aromatherapy from the steam that rises. Avoid very hot baths as this can cause weakness or dizziness.
Research (watch this space!)
More research is needed to fully understand how essentials oils can work for pain management. There is generally no harm in adding them to your current pain management plan as they might allow you to reduce dosages of prescriptions. However, it is advisable to consult and inform your doctor when using them so as they are able to help and guide you better.
So the next time you feel the need to pop that pill or open a bottle of Neurofen for your pain, try a more invigorating method provided by nature, without added chemical content. Essential oils can provide pain relief through their ability to penetrate the body directly and quickly through the skin, plus the added benefits of Aromatherapy.