While many of us are initially skeptical of the many claims essential oil peddlers put out there, there actually is something to them. Especially when it comes to soothing chronic aches and pains, the right essential oils can be quite effective. Want to learn more about how to use essential oils for pain? Let’s go into what they are and how they work first.
What are Essential Oils?
A big part of the natural/holistic health movement, essential oils are vegan, plant-based compounds derived from plants and flowers like lavender and tea tree. These essences are extracted through cold pressing or distillation and are combined with a carrier oil, like jojoba, to create an essential oil.
Since they retain the scent and flavor of the plant they were derived from, essential oils have long been used in practices like aromatherapy. Nowadays, they’re also being used to promote better sleep, soothe anxiety, and fight chronic aches and pains.
How Essential Oils Work
While using essential oils for pain probably shouldn’t be the only treatment you use (talk to your doctor!), there is a growing amount of scientific research that shows just how effective they can be in fighting certain issues. For example, a study found that a targeted blend of essential oils like lavender effectively reduced the severity and duration of menstrual pain.
How to Use Essential Oil for Pain
Of course, you can’t just go slathering on your favorite essential oil and hope for the best. In fact, too large of a quantity can actually be toxic. Instead, there are several ways to safely enjoy the benefits of essential oil for pain.
Essential Oil Massage
Once you’ve done a patch test for 24-48 hours, you can try massaging diluted essential oil into the area where you’re experiencing pain or discomfort. Not only will the oil help relieve tension, but the smell will help promote relaxation.
To give your whole body a reprieve from tension and pain, mix several drops of essential oil with a carrier oil (if using pure essential oil). Then, add it to a hot bath. This will help the oil absorb into the skin, and the steam from the hot water will provide aromatherapeutic benefits. (Do not use Young Living’s Deep Blue in a bath.)
If you have a diffuser, you can enjoy your favorite essential oil this way. Simply add a few drops and inhale the steam.
The Best Essential Oils for Pain
While there are a variety of essential oils to choose from, only a few have been specifically shown to help with aches and pains. Here are some of the most common you’ll be able to find at your local health and wellness shop.
Lavender essential oil is one of the most researched and reportedly one of the most effective essential oils for pain. While it’s widely known as a sleep aid, lavender oil also has proven anti-inflammatory properties and can help treat pain from migraines, period cramps, and other inflammation-derived pain.
If you’ve ever had peppermint tea, you’ll know just how well it can soothe bloating and nausea. As it turns out, peppermint oil is also an effective anti-inflammatory agent and can help relieve pain from tension headaches. Additionally, it’s also been shown to help relieve IBS symptoms like bloating and abdominal pain. If you’re suffering from chronic pain due to IBS, it might be worth asking your doctor about incorporating peppermint oil into your routine.
If you suffer from neuropathic pain, bergamot oil might be just what you need. Neuropathic pain is caused by damage to nerves and can make the affected area sensitive to the touch. This pain is often resistant to opioid pain medications, but a 2015 study found that bergamot oil helped reduced pain.
A study from Arthritis Research UK found that rosehip oil contains two vital chemical compounds that help reduce inflammation associated with joint pain. Giving yourself a gentle massage with rosehip oil or adding a few drops to a hot bath may be an easy way to bring relief to your joints. What’s more, it can be an effective alternative to NSAIDs (nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs) for those who cannot take them.
Often used in traditional medicine, eucalyptus oil has been shown to help relieve chronic pain and inflammation. In a study, researchers found that study participants who inhaled diffused eucalyptus oil reported reduced pain and lower blood pressure compared to the control group. This is also a great one to add to your bath and can be combined with other pain-relieving oils for an added boost.
Along with a healthy diet full of anti-inflammatory foods, essential oils can be a simple way to help bring relief to the aches and pains of life. Interested in CBD oil for chronic pain? Check out our latest piece on the subject to learn more.