Arthritis and Aromatherapy
Arthritis is an inflammation of the joints and is characterized by pain, stiffness, swelling, decreased range of movement and at a more serious stage deformity.
Aromatherapy is a holistic approach to health and wellness by means of aromatic, plant derived scents. It is very much a traditonal method as well as a science that encompasses the intuitive and creative aspects of preparing special purpose blends.
Aromatherapy blends for the treatment of arthritis are usually made from pure essential oils, but also from hydrosols and, more recently, phytols. For application to the skin they have to be mixed with vegetable oil, a cream base or a carrier lotion. Essential Oils must always be used diluted when applied to the skin. A dilution of 3% essential oils in 97% base is generally regarded as very effective and safe.
Since the reasons for the occurance of arthritis are still not completely established, it is difficult to find a cure for the disease. Arthritis could be genetic, it could have to do with bone density loss, it could also be a type of infection caused by toxins released in the body. Even more likely it is a combination of several factors. It is -- at this stage -- only possible to treat the pain and symptoms caused by arthritis but not it's underlying cause.
Aromatherapy is one form of arthritis treatment, using a variety of essential oils. They can be added to the bath, massaged into the skin, inhaled or applied as compresses. The right mixture of essential oils will help to relax, promote pain relief and alleviate fatigue. Essential oils can also provide psychological benefits like improving the mood and reducing anxiety.
Some of the more suitable arthritis oils are Lavender, Juniper, Thyme, Rosemary, Benzoe, Eucalyptus, Camomile, Pine Scotch, Camphor, Angelica Root, Ginger, Origanum, Black Pepper and Lemon.
One of the most effective ways to use aromatherapy for relieving pain and reducing inflammation are hot compresses:
- Fill a medium size bowl with hot, but not scalding water.
- Add 3 to 6 drops of essential oil.
- Fold a piece of sterile cotton cloth and dip it into the bowl.
- Squeeze out excess water, but not too much.
- Place the wet, hot cloth onto the affected area until it has cooled down to body temperature.
- Repeat steps 3 through 5 at least two to three times.
- Wrap the treated area in a dry and warm towel or blanket and leave the patient to rest for a while.
Another good way to use aromatherapy for arthritis relieve is to rub diluted essential oils (see above for dilution) onto pulse points and affected areas during the day. Applying essential oils throughout the day can help to alleviate pain and tension. The essential oils on the skin are quickly absorbed and enter the bloodstream. This is an excellent form of arthritis relief and works also well as a preventative measure.
Aromatherapy is a natural, safe and economical option to deal with the pain and symptoms of arthritis. And above all, it has no negative side effects as so many of the conventional treatments do. In mild cases of arthritis, aromatherapy is often all that is needed to make a person comfortable.
Disclaimer: The information contained in this article is presented for information purposes only. The material is in no way intended to replace professional medical care or attention by a qualified practitioner. It cannot and should not be used as a basis for diagnosis or choice of treatment.
Mireille Gautschi is a qualified Flower Essence Therapist and Herbalist who has many years experience with the developement of natural herbal remedies. Her products can be found on the Hillside Herbal Products website www.hillsideherbal.com.au that also offers a very informative newsletter.