Aromatherapy for Pain Relief

Posted: December 21, 2010 by Cristina Proano-Carrion

It is very often that clients ask me for aromatherapy solutions to relieve pain. Pain can have numerous origins and manifests itself in different ways. Several disorders such as rheumatism, arthritis, gout and tendinitis cause pain in the muscles or joints, which can be quite debilitating at times.

While some essential oils are very effective in providing localized relief, others work from deep within to eliminate toxins and reduce inflammation.

Hot compresses give considerable relief and several massage therapists have shared with me that alternate hot and ice cold compresses work the best.

Massage is an age-old and time-tested remedy for pain as it stimulates circulation and expels toxins.

If inflammation is the cause of pain, a warm aromatic bath can relieve the soreness and comfort the joints. It is also a great way to detoxify the system.

Always bear in mind that a painful muscle is often a manifestation of mental stress and anxiety. The wonderful thing about aromatherapy is that it always addresses physical, mental and emotional aspects and promotes holistic healing. Incorrect posture can cause chronic pain, especially in the shoulders and back.
According to Shirley and Len Price, authors of Aromatherapy for Health Professionals, “Most people with pain usually become anxious about the possible implications; this leads to muscle tension and muscle tension increases the pain that increases the emotional response and so on, each perpetuating the other into a vicious circle that can become a spiraling process.”

Muscle pain is usually caused due to the accumulation of toxins and uric acid within the muscle tissue. Essential oils penetrate deep to help eliminate toxic build up and also prevent further accumulation of uric acid. Here are some the oils that can be used safely at home:

Methods of use:

Mix a total of 60 drops of the essential oils you choose with 4 oz of carrier oil. Massage sore areas with this blend twice a day.You may also follow up with alternate hot and cold compresses. Soak in a bath with a choice of three of these oils, 3-4 drops each: Lavender, Ravensara, Cardamom, Frankincense, Niaouli, Pine, Geranium and Patchouli oils added to it. This relaxes the muscles and provides instant relief from pain.

Aromandina Recommends:
  •   Circulation Body Oil with Cypress, Geranium, Ginger and Niaouli to stimulate circulation of blood and lymph and prevent accumulation of uric acid in joints
  •   Pain Begone Body Oil for instant pain relief. A blend of Birch, Peppermint, Ravensara and Lavender acts as natural and refreshing analgesic and anti-inflammatory
  •  ALIVIO Bath Soakto boost lymph circulation and remove toxins from your body. Warming and restoring oils like Clary Sage, Lemon and Cardamom comfort and invigorate the muscles.

Other articles about essential oils for pain relief:
Helychrisum italicum (Immortelle) – essential for your medicine cabinet, and your life in general
How to Use Helychrisum Or Everlasting Oil

© AROMANDINA 2010– All rights reserved – aromatherapy blog The information on this blog is based on traditional use of aromatherapy and it does not intend to diagnose or treat any condition. This information should not be used as a substitute for medical counseling with a health care professional. No part of this blog may be reproduced in whole or in part without the explicit written permission of Aromandina.
Photo by George Foster

  • Emily

    Hi Cristina,

    I recently wrote a research paper on aromatherapy and was greatly interested by this topic!
    It’s fascinating how essential oils can directly affect the way the brain processes information, by stimulating the limbic system (which controls emotions and stress), hypothalamus (controls memory), and the hippocampus (controls hunger). Emotionally, scents become associated with certain memories and feelings over time, like the smell of coffee bringing alertness or the smell of gingerbread bringing the comfort of childhood. This can also work in a negative way as well. According to a study by Robin, Alaoui-Ismaili, Dittmar, & Vernet-Mauri, 1998, only subjects who had a negative (frightened) association with an aroma experienced electrodormal changes that would be normal for a fear reaction, but those subjects without any correlation were not affected.
    Although essential oils have been used in folk healing for centuries, modern science is still trying to find evidence that aromatherapy can cause a physical or therapeutic reaction. In one study that looked at the link between lavender and post-operative pain, they found that when lavender essential oil is inhaled for 10 minutes, physical reactions suggested relaxation- blood flow increased, galvanic skin conduction decreased, and systolic blood pressure also decreased. Anecdotal evidence unfortunately does not hold very much credibility in the Western world. Through the National Center for Complementary and Alternative Medicine, many studies are being conducted on “alternative” modalities such as aromatherapy, so hopefully there will be a plethora of proof on just how and why essential oils work soon!
    Thank you for all of your informative blogs.


  • Thank you so much Emily for the comment.
    I see that there are more and more scientific studies proving what we have known for years.
    Here is an interesting article about the Effect of Inhalation of Lavender Essential Oil for Post Cesarian Pain