Essential Oil Inhalation for Pain

Over the course of the past week I have seen this question a few times in separate aromatherapy Facebook groups, “Does inhaling essential oils help with chronic pain?”  The simple answer is, “yes!”  However, I want to discuss why inhalation of essential oils helps with pain.

There are studies showing that inhalation of essential oils assists with alleviating nausea post-surgery. The most recent study was published in the Journal of PeriAnesthesia Nursing, A Comparison of Aromatherapy to Standard Care for Relief of PONV and PDNV in Ambulatory Surgical Patients in April 2018.  Studies also indicate the inhalation of essential oils has positive results on emotional conditions such as depression,  and likewise for anxiety.

There are myriad anecdotal reports of essential oils being of assistance for all these conditions nausea, vomiting, depression, anxiety and headache or migraine; but only a few for pain, chronic or acute. However, more studies are begin conducted on the use of essential oil inhalation for pain.  I find this quite encouraging.

When I consult with a client and aromatherapy application methods are discussed most clients ask for a topical blend.  I get this request, I really do; however, I also make the case for inhalation.  Let’s talk frankly, shall we?  For example, why do cocaine users snort their precious powder?  Why don’t cocaine users rub their white dust on their skin?  When it comes to inhalation there is no quicker route for therapeutic constituents to enter the body.  The same holds true for essential oils.

When we apply a topical solution do the therapeutic components of essential oils stay on the place we have applied it?  No!  In short, and foregoing the anatomy lesson, the chemical constituents are absorbed into the body and travel throughout.   This fact applies to inhalation as well.

Then there is breath work.  I remember learning from a well-seasoned surgical nurse the importance of breath when it comes to managing pain.  She told me that controlling pain and anxiety came down to breathing.  “Take a deep breath in through your nose, hold it for a slow count of three, and then slowly exhale through your mouth. Repeat this several times.”  Are these not the steps we use to instruct our clients on the use of a personal inhaler?  Hmmmm….

Let’s address the statement, “The effectiveness from inhalation of essential oils for pain is just in your head.” Well, if this were true wouldn’t that be positive?  There is nothing wrong with a positive placebo effect.  If we believe it works for us it does, no sense arguing the point.  However, on a personal and professional level I have witnessed strong positive results from essential oil inhalation for pain.

Why would we want to use a personal inhaler over a topical application to address pain?  Ease of use.  There are times when I am out in public and do not want to offend others with the scent of the pain salve I slather on my body.  There are times when just breathing hurts and the last thing I want to do is massage my body with a topical application.  An inhaler is less messy, no need to wash my hands after use.  A personal inhaler is easy, compact, discrete and user friendly.

What essential oils do I use in a personal inhaler to address pain?  I use what provides me with emotional comfort as well as physical comfort.  I like a blend of Kunzea (Kunzea ambigua), Black pepper (Piper nigrum), Sweet orange (Citrus sinensis) and Tarragon (Artemisia dracunculus).  There are so many amazing essential oils that are helpful for pain and inflammation that your aromatherapist can find a blend that works best for you.

✿´´¯`•.¸¸ Fragrant Blessings ¸¸.•´¯`´✿

Haly JensenHof, MA, RA

An Aromatic Love Affair

Essential Oils!  I love them!  Establishing a relationship with an essential oil is like falling in love with a human being.  You know that feeling of seeing an attractive person for the first time?  That little tickle you get in your stomach, that flutter you have between heart beats?  Yeah, it’s like that. Remember the first time you nervously opened a bottle of an essential oil unfamiliar to you and tentatively took that first inhalation of its essence?  Remember how it made you feel? Remember your giddiness?

At first you may not be certain you really like the essential oil.  You want to like it, but you just aren’t sure.  You are drawn to it, but you just aren’t sure.  You are what I will call the “Hesitant Partner.”  On the other hand you may fall head over heels in love.  There is no other essential oil out there!  Nothing else exists but that one essential oil.  You are in LOVE!  You are what I will call the “All-in Lover.”

In either case, the Hesitant Partner or the All-in Lover, the relationship still needs to be established.  There are things that need to be learned about the essential oil in order for the relationship to fully grow and mature into a stable, safe and lasting relationship; similar to a relationship between human beings.

Similar to a love relationship with a human being, the All-in Lover may be so excited about his/her new found love, e.g. essential oil, s/he may be tempted to jump right in and use the essential oil in everything, knowing very little of the essential oil’s background.  The more Hesitant Partner may take time to learn as much as s/he can about the essential oil’s history, background, family, etc. before jumping in and using it.  The Hesitant Partner may learn her new boyfriend, e.g. essential oil, may not work well with the medication she is taking, or with her medical conditions, or that the essential oil may assist with her with sleep.  The All-in Lover may be so taken with the essential oil that thoughts of medications, allergies, medical conditions, and safety may not cross his mind, all that matters is the sweet aroma of his chosen.

Tumultuous All-in Love affairs typically end in disaster.  Not enough care or time is taken to learn about one another, and in the case of immersion in an essential oil the result can be a systemic reaction and a life-long sensitization.  To say the least, a nasty break-up follows!

Sometimes, as with human relationships, the All-in Lover begins to learn about the background, history, usefulness of his love, e.g. essential oil, before too much damage has been done to the relationship.  Sometimes the All-in Lover begins to establish his relationship with the essential oil, finally.  Meanwhile the Hesitant Partner, who has been establishing her relationship with her essential oil boyfriend has learned so much and has grown with the essential oil.  The Hesitant Partner has learned how to safely approach her new love, e.g. the essential oil, with respect and utilize his gifts to their utmost benefit; to do no harm.

The Hesitant Partner has gone on what I would call group dates.   She has taken her new found essential oil boyfriend and blended him with other essential oils that are familiar to her, in order to gradually and safely learn about him.  The Hesitant Partner has researched the essential oil and learned what medical conditions, allergies, ages, and medications he should not be used with, and she has learned what his chemical composition is as well as what therapeutic properties he possesses.  Additionally, the Hesitant Partner has learned about his botanical family tree.  The Hesitant Partner is now the Confident Partner.  She established her relationship with the essential oil she loves.  The Confident Partner took the time to learn about all the blessed gifts her essential oil had to offer her.  The Confident Partner learned how to utilize those blessed gifts to their utmost potential and to utilize those gifts safely.  The Confident Partner has established a life-long healthy relationship with the essential oil.  This, my aroma-friends, is an aromatic love affair!

✿´´¯`•.¸¸ Fragrant Blessings ¸¸.•´¯`´

          Haly JensenHof, MA, RA 

What is a Registered Aromatherapist?

When considering the use of essential oils why should you seek the advice of a formally trained Registered Aromatherapist over the advice of an essential oil distributor/vendor or friend?  The simple answer is for your safety!

Many people use essential oils to help maintain their health, but how many of those individuals have the understanding and formal training to use essential oils safely and to their full potential? A Registered Aromatherapist (RA) is an individual who fully understands, knows, and appreciates the power of essential oils.

A Registered Aromatherapist has dedicated him/herself to the study of essential oils and how those precious substances benefit the physical, emotional, and spiritual health of others.  A RA has also spent a large portion of his life being formally educated and trained in all areas associated with what we call aromatherapy.  Additionally, a RA commits to continuing her education throughout her lifetime.  Registration in aromatherapy is highly valued and provides formal recognition that an individual has achieved a high level of knowledge in the field.

In order to become a Registered Aromatherapist certain standards must be met.  The Aromatherapy Registration Counsel (ARC) outlines in great detail what those standards are and provides an examination to determine if an individual has met those standards.

To qualify for the ARC examination certain requirements must be met.  A candidate must first be able to prove that he has completed 50 hours of training in Level I Aromatherapy courses and an additional 200 hours of Level II Aromatherapy coursework from a school accredited by the National Association for Holistic Aromatherapy (NAHA) or the Alliance of International Aromatherapist (AIA).  A candidate may also take the ARC exam if she can provide evidence (transcripts/syllabi) she has mastered equivalent training to Level I and Level II education as determined by ARC.

The exam tests candidates on their proficiency in the following areas:

  1. Basics of Aromatherapy:
  2. History of aromatherapy
  3. Essential oil profiles
  4. Client assessment
  5. Techniques
  6. Current condition
  7. Client history
  8. Medication history
  9. Life style
  10. Contraindications
  11. Client conditions (allergies, medications, age, sex, etc.)
  12. Specific oils (knowing the properties of each essential oil, toxicity, etc.)
  13. Scientific Principles:
  14. Botany
  15. Extraction methods
  16. Chemistry
  17. Anatomy & Physiology –knowledge of ALL systems of the human body.
  18. Administration:
  19. Therapeutics
  20. Pharmacologic actions
  21. Actions
  22. Materia Medica
  23. Safety
  24. Delivery methods
  25. Blending
  26. Professional Issues:
  27. Documentation
  28. Referrals
  29. Follow-up
  30. Quality Control
  31. Compliance to Local, State, Federal Regulations
  32. Labeling
  33. Ethics

These are just the core standards each Registered Aromatherapist must know.

What are the purposes of Registration?

  • Recognizing formally those individuals who meet the eligibility requirements of the Aromatherapy Registration Council and pass the ARC Registration Examination in Aromatherapy.
  • Encouraging continued personal and professional growth in the practice of aromatherapy.
  • Establishing a Code of Ethics for Aromatherapists.
  • Establishing and measuring the level of knowledge required for registration in aromatherapy.
  • Providing a standard of knowledge requisite for registration; thereby assisting the employer, public, and members of other professions in the assessment of the Aromatherapist.
  • To promote delivery of safe and effective practices of Aromatherapy.

Once a person has successfully passed the Aromatherapy Registration Council examination he cannot just sit on his laurels.  Ongoing education is a requirement of maintaining registration.  Each Registered Aromatherapist must further her education and knowledge base by completing 100 continuing education hours every five years.  The learning never ends.

I am very proud to be a Registered Aromatherapist.  I worked hard to obtain my education and training in the field of aromatherapy.  I continue to grow and learn by continuing my aromatherapy studies.  I do this to provide my clients with the most safe and beneficial aromatherapy experience.

To learn more about the Aromatherapy Registration Council please visit the website at:

✿´´¯`•.¸¸ Haly JensenHof, MA, RA ¸¸.•´¯`´✿

Fragrantly helping you achieve health and well being!

For more information, or if you have questions, please contact me at  I welcome any questions, comments or suggestions.

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Fragrant Blessings!