There are many essential oils that possess anti-inflammatory, and/or muscle-relaxing, stress-relieving properties. Pain can be acute or chronic; or be a simple, but annoying, ache. Essential oils can be applied to the body, in combination with an appropriate carrier, to try to help manage the symptoms of aches and pains.
Causes of Aches and Pain in the Body
Aches and pains in the body can range from a minor irritation to a major, life-debilitating problem. You should always seek the medical advice of a healthcare professional for your own problem. However, the causes of some aches and pains include:
- back pain
- sprained joint
- pulled muscles
- aches and pains associated with fever, colds, flu, infections
- chronic fatigue syndrome
- headaches and/or migraines
Applying Essential Oils to the Site of Pain
The cause of your aches and pains may dictate the method of application for using essential oils but, in general, these are the most common ways to apply essential oils for aches and pains:
- Compress – use a cold compress to reduce inflammation and muscle spasms; use a hot compress for sore muscles, joint pain, chronic pain, and to increase movement in the body. Add twelve drops of an appropriate essential oil to one ounce (2% dilution) of hot/cold water. Soak a facecloth in the water and apply to the affected areas for about fifteen minutes.
- Massage oil – combine twelve drops of an appropriate essential oil to one ounce of carrier oil base (2% dilution); apply a small amount of the blended oil to your hands and massage over the affected area. Alternatively, you can use on a roll-on applicator. Suitable carrier oil bases for aches and pain include apricot kernel (Prunus armeniaca), hazelnut (Corylus avellana) (to improve circulation), rose hip (Rosa canina), and tamanu (Calophyllum inophyllum) oil.
Anti-inflammatory Essential Oils for Aches and Pains
Some of the most commonly used anti-inflammatory essential oils for aches and pains include:
- Lavender (Lavandula angustifolia)
- Roman chamomile (Chamaemelum nobile)
- Cypress (Cupressus sempervirens)
- Peppermint (Mentha x piperita)
- Clary sage (Salvia sclarea)
- Ginger (Zingiber officinale)
- Helichrysum (Helichrysum angustifolium)
- Clove bud (Syzygium aromaticum)
- Black pepper (Piper nigrum)
- Rosemary (Rosmarinus officinalis)
Stress-relieving Essential oils for Aches and Pains
Combine the above anti-inflammatory essential oils with one or more of the following stress-relieving essential oils, depending upon the exact cause of your aches and pains:
- Frankincense (Boswellia carteri)
- Cedarwood (Cedrus atlantica)
- Jasmine (Jasminum officinale)
- Sweet orange (Citrus sinensis)
Cautions for Using Essential Oils for Aches and Pains
Many of the above essential oils carry cautions for use, especially with seniors (over 65s), in pregnancy, with babies and young children, with certain medication, with some other forms of treatment (for example, homeopathy), and with certain illnesses.
A lower dilution of essential oils may be required and/or a total avoidance of use.
Consult with a certified aromatherapist for further information.
This article is intended for educational purposes only and it is not a substitute for medical advice.
- Falsetto, Sharon, 2014, Authentic Aromatherapy, US: Skyhorse Publishing
- Lawless, Julia, 1995, The Illustrated Encyclopedia of Essential Oils, UK: Thorsons
- A decade of the international training and experience of a certified aromatherapist.