Hello! Hoping this post finds you well today. I’ve been teaching this week about aromatherapy and arthritis and am sharing some highlights with you here on the blog as well as announcing my newest organic essential oil blend for arthritis relief – which can be found here or at the bottom of this post. This post will cover Osteoarthritis. There will be a second post covering Rheumatoid Arthritis forthcoming.
First of all – what exactly is arthritis? The word arthritis comes from the Greek arthron (joint) and the latin word itis (inflammation) and is broadly defined as a joint disorder that involves inflammation of one or more joint. However, there are over 100 different types of arthritis – each with their own specific circumstances and symptoms. The type of arthritis I am going to cover today is Osteoarthritis. While there is no cure, there are plenty of treatment options to relieve and manage the symptoms.
Osteoarthritis and Aromatherapy
Osteoarthritis is caused when the cartilage around a joint loses its elasticity, becoming stiff and more prone to damage and becoming worn away. As this happens, tendons and ligaments become stretched (painful!) and eventually bones may even rub together (excruciating!).
An early diagnosis from your doctor is essential, as treatments such as physical therapy, joint-strengthening exercises, nutrition and some drug therapy may all play a part in your treatment. However – don’t discount the effects of Aromatherapy and essential oils for both pain and inflammation relief!
The most common complaint I hear from clients with osteoarthritis is that their joints are stiff and achey – most especially in cold weather and usually the first hour after waking. Below are 3 simple and effective methods for pain and stiffness relief associated with osteoarthritis:
A. Hot Compresses
Hot compresses are one of the easiest and most versatile treatments. As long as you can boil water and have access to clean cloth and a few essential oils – you can do this. Here are the steps:
1. boil enough water to fill a medium-sized mixing bowl (not plastic!) and leave to stand for 15+ minutes (or until cool enough that it won’t burn your skin! And be careful. Your fingers may feel fine, but a cloth soaked in the water and applied to an arm or knee may still be way too hot).
2. chose 1-3 essential oils listed at the end of this article and add 2 drops of each (or you can order my formulated blend of arthritis relief oil here) .
3. place cloth strips into the bowl and swish around so that they become saturated and infused with the oils.
4. Make absolutely sure the cloth with water isn’t too hot for your skin – especially the more delicate areas! Then wrap hands, knees, wrists or any other affected area with the cloth strips and hold in place.
5. As your joints begin to warm up from the heat of the compress, slowly start to open and close the joint, to loosen the stiffness and encourage the joint to be active. You can repeat this compress method as many times as you need to.
B. Self Massage
Another excellent method to relieve pain and stiffness is self-massage with essential oils. It doesn’t take much pressure on your part to massage areas such as wrists, knees or hands, and you can do it as often as you need to during the day. The stimulation will help to keep the joint moving and don’t underestimate the emotional benefits of giving yourself therapeutic touch.
Simply use 2 drops each of 1 to 3 of the oils of your choosing listed at the bottom of this article diluted in a carrier oil such as jojoba or almond oil, or my formulated blend, and gently massage into the joint for 5-10 minutes. If the joint is tender, use very light stroking movements (effleurage). The oils will still do their job – whether you lightly touch or massage with more vigour.
It may seem unlikely to you that simply diffusing essential oils into the air could offer any type of relief – but let me try and surprise you. Inhalation is one of the methods by which many essential oils are absorbed into the body. If you are simply unable to give yourself compresses or self-massages, diffusing essential oils in your room when you first wake up may give you more support than you’d considered.
Add to this the profound psychological effects that inhaling an uplifting and pleasant smell first thing in the morning can give – and by now a few of you may be wondering why you haven’t been diffusing as a matter of course for years!
You could pick any single oil from the list given at the end of this article, my formulated blend, or if simply using for stress relief choose whatever smells good to you! Put several drops in a diffuser or vaporiser and diffuse for 20 minutes.
Below I have listed some common essential oils for both pain relief and inflammation. Not all essential oils are safe for all people, especially If you have asthma, kidney/liver disease are pregnant/nursing or have other health concerns. Always check with your doctor first and please be aware that this article is not intended to diagnose, treat or cure – but to educate and empower you.
The following essential oils are analgesic (pain relieving): angelica, aniseed, black pepper, cajuput, chamomile, cinnamon, citronella, clove, coriander, eucalyptus, elemi, fennel, fir, frankincense, geranium, ginger, helichrysum, juniper, laurel, lavender, lemongrass, marjoram, nutmeg, peppermint, ravinsara, rosemary, thyme, yarrow.
The following essential oils are anti-inflammatory: aniseed, cardamom, clary sage, coriander, eucalyptus, fennel, frankincense, geranium, ginger, helichrysum, hyssop, lemongrass, marjoram, orange*, patchouli, peppermint, rosemary, sage, sandalwood, yarrow.
* if using the self-massage method, do not use orange oil if skin will be exposed to sunlight. Orange oil is photo-toxic. This means that once on the skin, exposure to sunlight can cause severe burns.
Or you can get your own bottle of Airmid Botanicals Organic Arthritis Relief Blend by visiting my shop. It comes in two sizes, is 100% organic, ships world-wide and most currencies can be accepted via Pay Pal.
Stay tuned for part 2 in this series, where I will discuss Aromatherapy and its role in treating Rheumatoid Arthritis.
Thanks for stopping by and have a wonderful day!