Thursday, April 4, 2013
Aromatherapy for Pain Aromatherapy for Pain Essential oils are the aromatic product of the distillation of aromatic plants, leaves, flowers, roots. These concentrated essences contain hundreds of molecular chemicals, many of which are valued for their therapeutic benefits. Essential oils of Eucalyptus citriodora (lemon eucalyptus), Ocimum basilicum (basil), Lauris nobilis (bay), Gaultheria procombens (wintergreen) and Mentha x piperita (peppermint) have pain relief properties making them ideal to be used for joint pain and muscle spasms, cramping, or tension. Eucalyptus citriodora, or lemon eucalyptus originating from Vietnam, is known for its anti-inflammatory, anti-rheumatic and antalgic properties. Using a few drops daily on the affected area can assist pain caused from arthritis, tendinitis and even shingles. This essential oil also contains the molecule citronnellol, which can deter mosquitos! Ocimum basilicum (basil) has been used herbally for thousands of years. As an essential oil, it is very anti-inflammatory and antalgic in properties. Safe to use topically, this oil is ideal for painful muscular ailments, including digestive or menstral cramps, muscular tension and tension headaches. Massage 3 drops of basil with organic olive or organic sunflower onto affected site. Lauris nobilis (bay) is an amazing oil. A little more pricy, yet worth every drop. The scent of this oil will vary from season to season, crop to crop. I have often purchased it to find a sweet rum scent-soft, warm, enticing. And yet on occasion, a crop will yield a higher content of the molecule 1.8 cineole, and gives the bay a more eucalyptus-medicinal scent! Regardless, this oil is fabulous for its pain relief properties, being highly anti-spasmodic and energizing. Awesome for arthritis, muscle contractions, bruises, sprains and strains, leg ulcers and even acne. Use a few drops mixed with vegetable oil, several times daily on site. Exercise caution if you have sensitive skin, as this oil could be slightly irritating to the skin with repeated use. Gaultheria procombens or wintergreen reminds me of gum, or candies from grandma. Active molecules (methyl salicylate) from the herb are used in asprin, so avoid if you are allergic to asprin! Otherwise, wintergreen is another fabulous anti-inflammatory, anti-spasmodic and a vasodilator. Its use for rheumatism, inflammatory arthritis, and tendinitis are awesome. This is a warming oil, so mix with vegetable oil for sensitive skin types. Lastly, Mentha x piperita (peppermint) is a great tonic and stimulant. It’s strength is in its cooling effect, making it a powerful pain reliever with anaesthetic properties. A strong anti-inflammatory, it is ideal for migraines, shingles, sciatic pain and inflammatory joints or pain. It is best to dilute this oil, and to avoid use on large surface areas. I also suggest not to use it at night unless you wish to stay awake due to its stimulating properties! A great pain relief rub recipe: Mix the following blend into a 60 ml bottle of organic sesame or sunflower oil. Lemon eucalyptus 5 drops Basil 15 drops Bay 10 drops Wintergreen 15 drops Peppermint 15 drops. Shake well. Keep out of reach of children. Apply to affect area only. Avoid eye contact or contact with mucous membranes. Not for pregnant or breastfeeding mothers. Discontinue use should skin reaction occur. Use therapeutic grade essential oils for best results. This is for information purposes only and does replace the care of a medical practitioner. Wendy Morris is a certified Aromatherapist, and owner of EarthlyEssentials. To book a consultation for a custom formulation or to take any workshops in Aromatherapy, contact her at www.earthlyessentials.ca or 613-443-9635.