Aromatherapy Advice for Arthritis

Arthritus

There are over 10 million sufferers of Arthritis in the UK, 15,000 of them are children. Symptoms include tenderness or pain around the joints, inflammation, stiffness or restricted movement, warm or red skin around the joint, occasionally a burning sensation or the feeling of weakness or muscle wastage.

It is still unknown as to what causes Arthritis although there maybe some attributes which may put you at greater risk. Genetics – it can run in families. Age – its often more common in later life. Injury, infection or allergy – could instigate the condition in later life. Sex – some types are more common in women than men. Lifestyle – diet, smoking and weight management have shown to make a difference.

With over 200 known types of Arthritis, it is the leading cause of disability in this country. The two most common types are Osteoarthritis and Rheumatoid Arthritis. Osteoarthritis accounts for 80% of overall sufferers. This condition is when the cartilage and soft tissue around the joint starts to thin and the bone can spur. The cartilage will eventually erode causing bone on bone friction. Most common in the hands, spine, knees and hips.

Rheumatoid Arthritis is less common although it is 3 times more likely to affect women than men. This condition is when the immune system attacks the joint which leads to swelling. The swelling can change the shape of joint which can breakdown bone and cartilage.

There are various painkillers and anti-inflammatory drugs available on the market today which help alleviate symptoms of Arthritis, although these carry their own unpleasant side-effects such as heartburn, loss of appetite, fatigue and blurred vision to name a few. Diet can offer some relief, such as foods high in Vitamin K like green leafy veg and the essential fatty acids found in oily fish, nuts and seeds. Although it is said an over-weight frame will put excess stress on joints such as hips and knees, it’s also believed that an underweight frame will be lacking in energy and vital nutrients thus more unable to manage pain; so weight management is key. Many Arthritis sufferers opt for a self-management approach which helps them adapt their lifestyle and take control. By doing so they can help to decrease pain, improve mobility and reduce medication.

Aromatherapy is becoming a popular solution with sufferers, with a main aim to reduce pain. There are a handful of Essential Oils which can be used to help; depending on the type of Arthritis you have. It’s a common misconception that cold therapy is more beneficial than heat therapy when it comes to Arthritic pain relief. We all know that a bag of frozen peas or alike is the first response to a trauma, however when suffering from the long-term trauma of inflamed joints its more beneficial to increase the warmth to the area which will open the blood vessels, stimulate circulation and encourage the swollen tissues to subside. Increased blood flow brings fresh nutrients to the area, whereas cold therapy will close down the blood vessels causing the blood to congeal, increasing stiffness and immobility. Although the immediate pain relief of cold therapy will be very welcome, it is short-lived. Therefore warming Essential Oils are more beneficial in this instance.

Essential Oils can be blended into a base oil or gel which can be gently rubbed around the joints, or used in the form of a concentrate blend and added to a bath for a therapeutic soak. The key oils used to add warmth and increase circulation are generally very stimulating so it’s advisable to seek advice from your caregiver or Aromatherapist before using Essential Oils.

Black Pepper is often used pre and post workout due to its properties of easing muscular pain, stiffness and fatigue.

Sweet Marjoram is known to help dilate the capillaries under the skin giving the sensation of warmth. It increases circulation and reduces pain and stiffness.

Plai is derived from the same family as the Ginger plant; Plai is highly regarded as a great analgesic and anti-inflammatory oil. Widely used for joint swelling and post-trauma recovery.

Rosemary is a good tonic oil for both mind and body. Provides a soothing action on tired, stiff joints to increase mobility.

Lavender has a calming effect as well as being anti-inflammatory, analgesic and anti-spasmodic. When applied to an area of trauma this wonderful oil will sooth and alleviate pain and swelling.

Chamomile German is a good all-round oil for the gentle relief of aches, pains and stiffness in joints.

Eucalyptus Globulus is a decongestant and will blend nicely with any of the stimulating oils to balance the blend and provide a cooling sooth.

Juniper Berry similar to Eucalyptus this oil is decongesting. It is also a diuretic, helping to eliminate excess fluid and toxins from the area.

Suggested Blends

Anti-inflammatory Massage Oil
Add 4 drops of Plai, 6 drops of Lavender, 4 drops of Chamomile German and 2 drops of Sweet Marjoram into 30ml of base Carrier Oil such as Grapeseed or Sweet Almond. Rub gently around the joints twice daily.

Soothing Massage Gel
Add 5 drops of Lavender, 5 drops of Chamomile German, 4 drops of Juniper Berry and 4 drops of Black Pepper blended into 30ml of Aloe Vera Gel. Use gently on the joints twice daily.

Warming Massage Cream
Add 4 drops of Black Pepper, 4 drops of Sweet Marjoram, 4 drops of Lavender and 2 drops of Eucalyptus Globulus to 30g of Base Cream. Apply twice daily to the affected area.

Decongesting Bath Blend
5 drops of Rosemary, 5 drops of Lavender and 2 of Eucalyptus Globulus to an egg cup of milk and blend under the running tap into your bath. Soak until pruned.

Some types of Arthritis are more complicated than others and the use of Essential Oils or massage could aggravate the condition. Always seek advice from a professional before undertaking.

Disclaimer: The information provided on our blog is for personal information and educational interest only. It is not intended to offer professional medical advice, diagnosis or cure for any medical condition or disorder. If you have any health concerns we would strongly advise you your consult your GP or health care professional. If you want to receive aromatherapy treatment we would advise making an appointment with a fully qualified aromatherapist who will conduct a full consultation of your health history and provide you with a tailored treatment programme. If pregnant or taking medication it is recommended to seek professional medical advice before using aromatherapy. The information we provide is on the basis that there are no known contra-indications to treatment. Purple Flame aromatherapy accepts no liability for the misuse of essential oils and other products or for reliance on the information we provide.Disclaimer: The information provided on our blog is for personal information and educational interest only. It is not intended to offer professional medical advice, diagnosis or cure for any medical condition or disorder. If you have any health concerns we would strongly advise you your consult your GP or health care professional. If you want to receive aromatherapy treatment we would advise making an appointment with a fully qualified aromatherapist who will conduct a full consultation of your health history and provide you with a tailored treatment programme. If pregnant or taking medication it is recommended to seek professional medical advice before using aromatherapy. The information we provide is on the basis that there are no known contra-indications to treatment. Purple Flame aromatherapy accepts no liability for the misuse of essential oils and other products or for reliance on the information we provide.