Aromatherapy has been used in natural medicine for centuries now, thanks to its well-known medicinal benefits. It’s been used to address problems like anxiety and stress, as well as physical problems like irritated or spot prone skin. Research has also revealed its benefit in relieving illnesses like rheumatoid arthritis too – but can essential oil really help relieve pain and if so how?
The link between the two: Fact or fiction?
While the link between aromatherapy and the relief of pain hasn’t been proven, there are a number of research studies to strongly support the link.
As pain is a multidimensional experience and highly individual, it may just be that aromatherapy works for some and not others. Generally, pain is linked to more than just a physical feeling alone; it also has complex psychological, social and spiritual aspects too, such as depression, which aromatherapy oils can aid.
So far, research has shown that essential oils can be used to:
- Reduce inflammation
- Reduce spasms
- Create a sensation of cooling
- Create a sensation of warmth and increase blood flow
By addressing these issues, so commonly associated with pain, aromatherapy oils can relieve several, if not all, of the elements behind the problem.
Aromatherapy oils and massage
If you’re looking for pain relief, you’ll probably need to take more than a quick whiff of a pain-relieving scent. Best results occur when essential oils are applied directly to the skin – ideally in the area where the pain is.
When combined with massage, the benefits of essential oils are even more impressive. Sufferers can see an improvement in mobility, a decrease in pain, and experience sensory distraction, which acts as a form of pain relief.
Aromatherapy oils for pain relief
Scientists have found that both curcumin and turmeric oils boast anti-inflammatory properties. Other studies have show that frankincense shares these properties too, which in turn aid the relief of pain associated with health issues like arthritis. In fact, in a study published in Arthritis Research and Therapy, extracts of frankincense were proven to improve joint health and reduce pain in patients within one week
In another study, lavender, chamomile, and eucalyptus were found to expedite recovery time and reduce anxiety in patients who’d undergone heart or cardiovascular surgery. Here, patients simply had a few drops of the diluted solution on their wrist, which they could inhale at their convenience.
Other popular pain-relieving scents include sandalwood, rosemary, vetiver, and peppermint, which are commonly used to relieve muscle and joint pain as well as headaches.
While there’s no guarantee that aromatherapy oils will help relieve any pain, there’s enough research to suggest it’s worth ago. When used safely, it may be a lifeline for those suffering from chronic pain.
If you want to test the benefits for yourself, why not choose a luxury scented candles infused with pain-relieving oils. Our favourites include Verbena & Clary Sage scented candle collection, Nocturne Scented Candles, Nutmeg & Vetiver candles, and Still Scented Candles.