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

Essential Oils to Ease Fibromyalgia Pain

May is Fibromyalgia Awareness Month!  Fibromyalgia is a nasty, painful syndrome.  For thousands of people with fibromyalgia it can be debilitating.  I should know, I have endured fibromyalgia for over twenty years.  In this Monday Musing I will tell you how I use true aromatherapy, diet, sleep-hygiene, and positive thinking to manage my symptoms of fibromyalgia.

The most recent findings indicate that fibromyalgia is the result of a faulty nervous system due to lowered levels of neurotransmitters.  Specifically, individuals with fibromyalgia have lower levels of serotonin, norepinephrine, and dopamine.  The exact causes of fibromyalgia are not known, there is no “cure,” and traditional medical treatments involve the use of pharmaceuticals.

 

From experience I know that some medications work and some do not; some medications have negative side-effects some do not; some are easy to take (as in once a day) and some require several doses per day.  Due to what I viewed as “the complications of pharmaceuticals,” and because I prefer a more pure and natural way of life, I began using more aromatherapy blends to help manage the pain of fibromyalgia.  Below you will find three aromatherapy blends I have found very helpful when the pain of fibromyalgia slows me down.

 

*Before using essential oils and carrier oils be aware of any allergies, medications, herbal remedies, and medical conditions that can be negatively affected by the use of essential oils.

 

Massage Blend

In a one ounce dark glass bottle blend the following essential oils with one ounce Safflower (Carthamus tinctorius) carrier oil:

6 drops Rosemary (Rosmarinus officinalis)

4 drops Roman Chamomile (Chamaemelum nobile)

3 drops Birch, Sweet (Betula lenta)

I use this massage blend throughout the day, on those rare days, when my fibromyalgia pain has flared up.

 

Bath Blend

Add the following essential oils to one ounce of Safflower (Carthamus tinctorius) carrier oil:

6 drops Bay laurel (Laurus nobilis)

4 drops Lavender (Lavandula angustifolia)

3 drops Myrrh (Commiphora myrrha)

Fill the bath tub with warm water before adding the bath blend.  Soak in the tub for 15 to 20 minutes.  The steam from the bath water will diffuse the essential oils and allow you to reap the benefits of two application methods, inhalation and absorption.

 

Dead Sea Salt Scrub

6 drops Orange (Citrus sinensis) essential oil

6 drops Lavender (Lavandula angustifolia) essential oil

3 Tablespoons Coconut (Cocos nucifera) carrier oil

½ cup Dead Sea salt – fine grade

Mix essential oils with the carrier oil and then add this mixture to the Dead Sea salt.  While you are standing in the shower, without the water running, massage your painful muscles with the salt scrub. Direct your massage strokes in the direction of lymph flow and upward toward your heart.  Once you have massaged each area well simply rinse off with warm water.  Do not use soap!  Gently pat yourself dry when you get out of the shower.  These steps allow the essential oils to absorb into your skin and help ease muscle pain.

Cautionary notes: Please be very careful when using a salt scrub in either the shower or bathtub.  The carrier oil will make the floor of the tub and shower slippery.  To avoid the possibility of a fall do not attempt to use a salt scrub if you are feeling dizzy, unstable on your feet, or weak.   Also, orange essential oil is not recommended for use in the bath; however, you are not immersing your entire body in bath water, you are only exposing your sore muscles to the orange essential oil.

 

The blends I provided above have been God-sends for me, especially on days when my pain threshold is low.  I encourage you to try one or all of these blends.  I also encourage you to consult with a Registered Aromatherapist, who can formulate an individualized blend for you.

 

In addition to using true aromatherapy I made other life-style changes that helped improve my condition.  I began to eat better: more fresh fruits and vegetables; meals made entirely from scratch, nothing that comes from a box or simply requires the addition of water; inclusion of more spices and fresh herbs; eating the large meal of the day at noon and not at night; little use of sugar and salt.  These dietary changes greatly helped minimize the digestive issues that often accompany fibromyalgia.

 

Good sleep-hygiene is a must for anyone, especially people with health issues.  Going to bed at the same time every night, and getting out of bed at the same time every morning, is the first step to improving sleep and health.  Avoiding caffeinated beverages after 2:00 p.m., limiting fluid intake after 8:00 p.m., and avoiding alcoholic beverages also helps to improve sleep.  Use your bedroom for sleep and sex only; not to read late into the night and not to watch television until you fall asleep. Avoid electronic devices for at least two hours before retiring for the night.  Yes, that means turning of the computer games, closing down email, and possibly shutting off the television!

 

Staying mobile also helps improve overall health.  This is hard for people with fibromyalgia because when they hurt they don’t want to get up and exercise.  Doing simple stretching exercises, going for short walks, or going for a lazy swim do wonders for your aching muscles.  Staying physically active helps to keep the pain and stiffness of fibromyalgia at bay.

 

Although the pain of fibromyalgia may make you feel like withdrawing from society you must stay in touch.  I have found that although I may be in pain every single day of my life I still need to interact with people.  Every day I attempt to do one nice thing for someone else and not stay focused on me and the pain.  Yes, some days it is hard to put on a smile and be cordial, but when you do you feel better.  Doing for others will take your mind off of your pain, and for those brief moments you are doing something nice for someone else your pain may disappear completely.

 

And last, but certainly not least, be positive!  This can be so difficult when you are in pain.  Depression and malaise can quickly creep into your life when you are suffering with a chronic pain condition.  However, when I decided I was not going to be a slave to fibromyalgia I also decided to adopt a more positive outlook on life.  Every day I find at least one positive affirmation on the internet or from a book or card.  I find happy videos on YouTube.  I listen to upbeat music. I watch the antics of my three terriers. I laugh!  Laughter really is a good medicine.  Laughing works muscles throughout your entire body, it releases good endorphins, it causes you to breathe deeply, and it just feels good!  So decide to laugh a little!

 

Haly JensenHof, MA, RA

The information provided is for educational purposes, and it is not intended to replace the medical directives of your healthcare provider.  This information is not meant for the diagnosis of health issues.  If you are pregnant, have serious or multiple health concerns, consult with your healthcare provider before using essential oils.  If you experience any complications or adverse reactions contact your healthcare provider.   

For more information, or if you have questions and comments, please contact me at yourhealthscents@gmail.com This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. . I welcome any questions, comments or suggestions. You can also find me on Facebook at facebook.com/yourhealthscents

Fragrantly helping you achieve health and well being!

 

 

How to make Sore Muscle Bath Powder

Ahhh, Autumn!  This is the time of year when many of us are busy with activities that require physical strain and effort.  Whether you are busy harvesting Nature’s bounty from your gardens, chopping wood for your winter fires, or engaging in high school or college athletics you are most likely experiencing some muscular aches and pains.  Today’s Monday Musing will help you create a soothing bath powder to ease the ache.

This week we started harvesting the potatoes, carrots, and onions from our vegetable garden.  I have also been picking green beans daily and spending hours preparing them for the freezer.  Additionally, I have been harvesting herbs and drying them for later use.  In a few weeks we will be busy harvesting the various squash and chopping firewood. With all of the activity of bending, kneeling, and standing in front of a stove for hours my back and legs have been letting me know I have been working.

High school and college athletes have been attending hours of practice, competing, and working out.  With all of these activities they too have sore muscles, along with occasional bumps and bruises.  Sore muscles, no matter how we get them, beg for relief.

In the past I attempted to make bath bombs; however, I must confess…I completely failed at making a bath bomb that looked anything like a ball or bomb.  My bath bombs looked more like bath footballs or lumps.  They were not pretty, and after several attempts to form the perfect bomb I gave up.

I also didn’t like the idea of leaving the bath bombs out to dry and harden for 24 to 48 hours.  Essential oils are volatile (meaning they easily evaporate), and it just makes sense that the essential oils, along with their therapeutic properties will be less effective if left out in the open.

So, if you are a bomb-forming failure, like I am, I have a simple solution.  I use the same recipe to make bath powder that I use to make bath bombs, but I don’t even attempt to form the ingredients into any shape.  I leave the ingredients in powder form and then put the powder into a tightly lidded jar I keep near the bath tub.

Sore Muscle Bath Powder

2 Tablespoons Citric Acid

2 Tablespoons Cornstarch

¼ cup Baking Soda

1 Tablespoon Carrier oil – I use Safflower oil (Carthamus tinctorius) for its therapeutic properties for sore muscles.

4 drops Bay Laurel (Laurus nobilis) essential oil

3 drops Fir (Abies alba) essential oil

3 drops Lavender (Lavandula angustifolia) essential oil

2 drops Myrrh (Commiphora myrrha) essential oil

Mix the dry ingredients together in a medium sized bowl.  Drizzle the carrier oil over the powder mixture and then stir it into the powder.  Add the essential oils and stir them into the mixture.  Put your bath powder into an air-tight jar.

When needed to ease the ache of hard work, put approximately two Tablespoons of bath powder into the warm bath water before getting in.  Soak for ten to twenty minutes, allowing the essential oils and warm water nurture a sore tired body.

The essential oils I have listed create a wonderful woodsy aromatic bath.  They are also very good at alleviating muscle pain.  Some essential oils that are excellent to relieve muscle pain and spasms are not safe to use in a bath.  Please be aware of any contraindications for all the essential oils you use.

Happy Harvesting & Fragrant Blessings!

Haly JensenHof, MA, RA

Fragrantly helping you achieve health and well being!

For more information, or if you have questions, please contact me at yourhealthscents@gmail.comThis email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. . I welcome any questions, comments or suggestions. You can also find me on Facebook at facebook.com/yourhealthscents