Essential Oils & Pain - Introduction

4:33 PM Posted by jo

This is the introduction to a series of posts that I will write about using essential oils when in pain due to injuries, repetitive movements, or  having chronic pain.

We have over 650 muscles in our body that are responsible for our movements in areas like the heart, the digestive tract and the muscular-skeletal system. Tendons and ligaments anchor them to the bones. The nervous system is also involved since it is directing the movements by sending signals on pain and positions.

The most important thing to keep muscles toned and fit is regular exercise, as most of us know. Out of shaped muscles and reduced circulation easily cramp, become weak, and aches and pain develop due to over- use or under-use.

Using essential oils for the muscular system is very beneficial. Essential oils can relax, detoxify and decrease swelling in the muscular tissue. 

Most suitable properties
A muscle exposed to pain responds with a reflex contraction, and this leads to decreased blood flow to the area. The removal of waste and toxins are sluggish due to less circulation to the tissues, and this also means that less oxygen and glucose are available as well. This leads to inflammation, pain and muscular soreness. Pain for a longer time means that the nervous system will be involved and eventually nerve pain occurs. Essential oils can be applied to the area via compress, massage or bath. The essential oils will be absorbed into the muscle and surrounding tissues. According to Valeri Gennari Cooksley, analgesic, anti-inflammatory and antispasmodic oils are most suitable to do the job. The anti-inflammatory and antispasmodic actions of the therapeutic oils relax the muscle and  decrease the inflammation. Once this happens, the body is a better position to heal itself.

The body produces its own pain-killers called neurochemicals. They are opiate-like substances called enkephalins and endorphins. They are produced in the spinal cord and the brain. One theory is that people with chronic pain have less of this pain relieving substances, but more research is needed.
The thalamus and pituitary are stimulated when inhaling essential oils, and this may increase the amount of endorphins and enkephalins. These essential oils are known as aphrodisiac and euphoric since they make us feel good. Valerie Cooksley suggests that chronic pain sufferers should incorporate these oils into their lives. Oils that stimulate the thalamus which secretes  enkephalins  are clary sage, rose, grapefruit, and jasmine. Oils that stimulate the pituitary that secretes endorphins are jasmine, patchouli, ylang ylang, and clary sage. Frankincense is said to stimulate both the hypothalamus and the pituitary glands.

As you can see essential oils can be very beneficial for painful conditions.

Before you leave:

I recommend that you always perform a skin patch test when you try a new oil.

Check out my safety page to make sure you are aware of any contrindications before you use essential oils. Some oils are not suitable when suffering from certain conditions. AlsoRead this Before You Start Using Essential oils. Some oils should not be applied prior to sun exposure so make sure you check this list before spending time in the sun.

Not sure how to apply the oils? Visit these pages to learn how to apply the oils:
If you're new to essential oils you might want to check out my Getting Started Guide. 

Johanna is an aromatherapist and she is passionate about educating people about health, essential oils, real food, natural remedies, and nutrition so they make healthier choices in their lives. 

Follow Johanna on twitter and facebook for more health tips and information.

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