Tips on How Aromatherapy can Help Reduce Pain:
According to the Merriam-Webster Medical Dictionary; “Pain is a state of physical, emotional, or mental lack of well-being or physical, emotional, or mental uneasiness that ranges from mild discomfort or dull distress to acute often unbearable agony, may be generalized or localized”
Pain is the total suffering of a person in the physical, psychological, social, and spiritual aspects. We thus need to address pain with a multidimensional and holistic approach. Physical pain leads to psychological distress and social interruption, affecting relationships with family, relatives, and friends. It also induces a fear that the condition of pain will further deteriorate. Depression, anxiety, stress, and functional status have been found in different studies to be associated with chronic pain
So by this definition, to reduce discomfort, we must look at all the parts of the equation: physical, emotional, and mental.
One of the most invigorating and enjoyable natural ways to manage everyday aches and pains – and even serious chronic pain – is the application of essential oils. Essential oils skillfully blended can help to bring the body back into balance or equilibrium; ease stress and release buried emotional trauma resulting from abuse, toxic relationships or illness.
How can aromatherapy help with pain?
Aromatherapy is a 5,000-year-old healing art using essential oils from plants to balance the body, mind and spirit. Aromatherapy has been used for many purposes, from worship to perfumery. In ancient times -priests were also healers and perfumers and aromatherapy was used to heal the body, mind, and spirit
Utilizing essential oils can balance the emotions and uplift the spirits. The oils have psychotherapeutic effects as well as physiological effects on the body. The skilled use of essential oils form plants can reduce the effects of emotional and also physical pain
Aromatherapy has a positive role to play with regard to pain management, both in reducing existing pain, emotional pain, and preventing/reducing anticipated pain
Aromatherapy is thought to enhance the parasympathetic response through the effects of touch and smell, encouraging relaxation at a deep level. Deep relaxation has been shown to alter perceptions of pain. Aromatherapy also balances the nervous, endocrine and immune systems and helps us to deal with pain, inflammation and infection.
Sense of smell
Smell is the first sense that’s activated when we’re born. It can instantly transport you back to your grandmother’s kitchen or a memorable past experience. Smell is deeply connected to our emotional state and has a great influence on our behavior. When you smell a simple aroma, a complex reaction of brain and body takes place. Smell begins with an odor molecule combined with a receptor specific to each odor. The stimulus is then transmitted via the olfactory nerve directly to the limbic system where thoughts feelings, emotions are released. The body’s sense of smell can help benefit mind, mood, cognitive function and pain.
As we inhale the oils we influence the secretion of neurochemicals from the brain, thus affecting our perceptions of pain. The aromas trigger a variety of chemical actions within the body, including the release of specific chemicals.
- Encephalin reduces pain and creates a feeling of well-being.
- Endorphins also reduce pain and induce sexual feelings.
- Serotonin helps relax and calm.
Aromatherapy oils can reduce psychological stress responses, reduce serum cortisol levels and reduce blood pressure.
Oils for pain
- Clary sage has been found to stimulate the thalamus into releasing encephalin, a neurochemical that creates a sense of euphoria and simultaneously gives pain relief.
- Ylang ylang appears to stimulate the pituitary gland into releasing endorphins, neurochemicals to uplift the mind.
- While lavender, chamomile or neroli appear to stimulate the release of serotonin, which has a calming effect on fear, stress, aggravation, and sleeplessness.
- Yarrow has anti-inflammatory and anti-spasmodic properties.
- Rosemary has analgesic and antispasmodic properties. It is also good for relieving back pain as it improves blood circulation.
- Ginger can increase circulation and ease back pain
- Peppermint is good for muscle soreness.
- Frankincense has anti-inflammatory properties and also acts as a mild sedative.
- Yarrow, peppermint, ginger and geranium can be helpful for neuralgia (Recurrent pain along a nerve pathway, without any nerve damage or inflammation.)
- Juniperberry, helicrysum, geranium and lemongrass can be helpful for Neuropathy (Damage to peripheral nerves)
It is important to consult with a professional aromatherapist, who can make up individualized blends for your unique situation. Do have an aromatherapy massage, as studies have found that this could reduce stress as measured in salivary cortisol, and also improve a variety of psychological assessments.
Linda-Anne Kahn Owner, Founder of Beauty Kliniek Aromatherapy Day Spa & Wellness Center, helps people achieve balance of the body, mind and spirit. She is an Internationally trained Lymphedema therapist, Clinical Aromatherapist, Holistic Health Practitioner, Integrative Health coach and nutritionist. She consults with clients and makes custom aromatic blends.