Essential Oils for Arthritis
You’ve probably heard of essential oils, but do you know what they’re for, how to use them, and the benefits they may bring?
Aromatherapy has long been somewhat of a mystery, but it has been used as far back in history as Ancient Egypt.
The wonderful scent of essential oils is used to minimise and even eradicate certain problems, but it’s important to fully understand the practice of using these oils before jumping straight in.
Of course, anything holistic usually receives a certain amount of scepticism and it’s only recently that healthcare professionals have opened up to the very real benefits of this ancient therapy.
Whilst there is still a long way to go before aromatherapy and essential oil use is fully mainstream.
You will however now find various surgeries and health centres which offer aromatherapy for certain ailments, as well as helping chemotherapy patients to find relief from side effects.
Despite all of this, it’s important to speak to your doctor before you begin to use any type of essential oil, to ensure that you have no specific contraindications to use.
Whilst there are very few known, that doesn’t mean there aren’t any.
So, if you have any known medical conditions or you’re on any medications, have a chat with your doctor before you reach for the oils.
Can Essential Oils Help With Arthritis?
There are many benefits of using essential oils, such as helping with anxiety, stress, sleep issues, nausea, and even certain skin conditions, but these oils may also be useful for reducing the pain of arthritis.
It’s worth pointing out that essential oils for arthritis cannot completely take away the effects of the condition and certainly can’t cure it, but they may be able to at least help with the discomfort.
They do this by reducing the swelling (inflammation) within the joints, reducing pain and stiffness, and allowing you to move around far easier as a result.
Of course, there are many different types of arthritis, with rheumatoid arthritis being by far the most common.
Arthritis causes swelling of the joints, which causes stiffness and pain.
Arthritis can occur at any time of life, but it’s far more likely to occur during older age.
This can cause you to have problems with mobility in certain cases, and if the arthritis is especially bad, this can damage quality of life to a huge degree.
If you are taking any specific medications for your specific type of arthritis, remember to speak to your doctor beforehand, to ensure you find the right oil for your needs.
Essential Oils For Arthritis Relief
There are countless different essential oils and many oils have specific ailments which the work best for.
As a result, you need to do your research to find an oil which suits the ailment you want to target.
The good news is that there are several which are specifically thoughts to be useful for arthritis, including the common rheumatoid arthritis type.
Many studies have shown benefits, so this is certainly something you could think about trying for yourself.
Remember, essential oils for arthritis cannot cure the condition, but they can help with the symptoms.
The amount of relief you gain depends upon many different factors, and it’s important that you know how to use the oils correctly, in order to gain maximum benefit.
That is something we will talk about a little later in this article.
Before we get onto the specifics, it’s worth doing a quick run down on what essential oils actually are.
Essential oils are derived from plants, trees and flowers and they are the ‘essence’ of that natural being.
The oil is derived from the richest part of the plant, flower, or the tree and extracted using very careful and complex methods.
The most common type of extraction is steam extraction, but there are several other methods besides.
The oil is extracted so as not to affect the oil at all, leaving with healing benefits intact and adding nothing extra in.
Of course, when shopping around for your specific essential oil, it’s important that you check reviews and ingredient lists, to ensure that you’re getting a totally natural oil.
Overall, the best essential oils for arthritis are shown below.
Eucalyptus Essential Oil
Eucalyptus oil is something you usually think about when someone has a cold or a stuffy nose, and whilst this delicious smelling oil can certainly be used for that type of issue, it may also be useful for people suffering from discomfort and inflammation from arthritis.
A study showed useful benefits of using the oil, having studied the effects on patients undergoing total knee replacements, and the inflammation caused as a result of the surgery.
In all cases, the inflammation reduced and as inflammation reduces, so does pain and stiffness.
There are many ways you can use essential oils, including eucalyptus, but it is thought that adding a drop or two into your bath may be the best way to ensure the oil does the trick for your joint pain.
The good news is that you won’t struggle to find eucalyptus essential oil, as it is available widely, both in health stores and supermarkets.
Lavender Essential Oil
Lavender oil is a common oil used for a variety of different ailments, most specifically sleep problems and anxiety.
Despite that, it is also thought to be useful for inflammation and joint pain too.
Again, this oil is best added to your bath, or you may inhale it or even apply it topically.
This is something we’re going to talk about in more detail shortly.
The oil is thought to reduce inflammation, pain and overall stiffness over a period of time, however studies are ongoing into the exact length of its effectiveness.
Despite that, lavender oil is a very easy to find oil, and probably one of the most common on the market.
In addition, if you find you’re struggling to sleep because of joint pain, this particular oil will help with that problem too, so you’re getting a 2 for 1 deal!
Frankincense Essential Oil
Frankincense is one of those oils that everyone has heard of, but few people actually think to use.
Used to treat a whole host of different health problems, frankincense can also be used for joint pain, and again, for inflammation.
Most of the oils we’re going to mention target the inflammation within the joints, and that’s really where the benefit is.
By reducing inflammation you’re taking down the difficulty of movement, you’re helping with stiffness and as a result, you’re experiencing less pain.
Frankincense may also contain analgesic properties and studies have shown it to be very useful in terms of reducing the effects of joint inflammation overall.
Evening Primrose Oil
This particular oil is often taken by women who want to reduce their menopausal symptoms, but it is also a good option for arthritis symptoms too.
This oil has a high omega 6 fatty acid content, which has serious anti-inflammatory properties.
This helps to not only reduce inflammation in the joints but also helps with pain, soreness, and general stiffness.
There is a word of caution with this one as evening primrose oil is closely linked to borage oil, which is thought to carry a risk of liver damage when used too much.
For that reason, use in moderation only and again, speak to your doctor if you’re not too sure about anything, and especially if you have liver issues already.
These are a few of the most popular essential oils for arthritis and the ones which are backed up by studies and research.
Of course, more research needs to be done into the specifics and how much of an essential oil to use for good effect.
There are very few studies which are related to arthritis benefit and essential oil usage alone, but the ones that have been performed showed very high quality results indeed.
How to Use Essential Oils Safely
If you want to use essential oils, it’s important to understand how to use them properly, i.e. what to do and what not to do.
Firstly, you should never ingest any type of essential oil.
These oils might be natural but they’re extremely potent and powerful and ingesting them could cause severe internal damage and burning.
Instead, stick to the proven techniques, e.g. inhalation or topical application.
If you want to inhale your essential oil, make sure that you dilute it down with a carrier oil first, and the same goes for if you’re applying it topically.
Again, these oils are potent and using them neat could cause irritation to the skin.
We’ll cover carrier oils in a little more detail shortly, but for now let’s cover your two main options for use.
Inhalation means you either add a few drops of your chosen oil into hot water and inhale the steam, you add it into a diffuser and allow the steam to permeate the air, which you then breathe in, or you would add a few drops to your bath water.
The other option is topical use.
If you have a specific joint which is causing you particular discomfort, you could try massaging your specific oil (diluted, of course) into the problem area.
Again, adding a few drops into a warm bath may also help if you have several joints which are problematic, or you have general aches and pains.
Now, let’s cover the subject of those carrier oils.
A carrier oil is another type of oil which you mix with your essential oil to take away some fo the potency.
This doesn’t relieve the power of the benefits you’ll receive, but it does take away the higher risk of irritation. Some of the most popular carrier oils to mix your essential oils will are:
- Coconut oil
- Olive oil
- Almond oil
- Grapeseed oil
- Jojoba oil
- Argan oil
There are several different ratios available when mixing your carrier and essential oils and this is something you need to research yourself.
This depends on how strong you want your mixture to be, but a general 2% strength would mean 12 drops of your chosen essential oil, to 30ml or 1 fluid ounce of your carrier oil.
You can also think about blending essential oils yourself, after you become a little more au fait with their general use.
This involves blending two or more oils together, which compliment each other in terms of their scent.
By doing this, you’re able to obtain the benefits of more than one oil, which is ideal if you have more than one ailment you want to target, or you want to create a more powerful blend in terms of benefitting one particular health problem.
However, blending essential oils needs to be done with care and caution, so this is something you should think about after you have become more familiar with their general use.
Essential oils are very popular these days, and that is because we have all woken up to the wonderful benefits of aromatherapy.
Our sense of smell is extremely powerful and by allowing these natural scents to permeate the air, we’re able to alter our body’s reactions to certain problems and look towards a more natural answer to common ailments.
In terms of arthritis relief, the reduction in inflammation within the joints is the major benefit to obtain.
This is the key to the rest of the puzzle, e.g. reducing joint stiffness and pain, and allowing you to move around far more easily as a result.
Any type of holistic therapy should be used with care and caution at the start, and as we have mentioned a few times already, always discuss any concerns with your doctor before use.
Overall, essential oils have been shown to be extremely beneficial with a variety of different problems and for those who want to move towards a more natural way to manage their joint pain, essential oils could be the perfect answer.