Living with the pain of a strain, sprain or overuse can be frustrating. Physiotherapy, following the advice of your doctor or medical practitioner and a lot of patience and rest are key! While you’re taking these steps, though, certain essential oils and even specific carrier oils can help to reduce inflammation and therefore pain. So let’s talk about treating pain and inflammation, and how to use cold compresses as part of the process.
Choosing Essential and Carrier Oils
I recommend Lavender, always, thanks to its anti-inflammatory and analgesic properties. Lavender eases swelling and improves blood circulation.
Marjoram, a lesser known option, is a sedative, relaxing and also a very, very effective essential oil for relieving pain.
Ginger and Black Pepper are both excellent at improving circulation. These two oils help the body to detoxify and release any dead cells, getting them recirculated in the system, rather than just sitting at the site of the injury. It’s worth noting though that these are both a bit sensitizing to the skin, so they should be used for short periods of time for acute cases rather than over long periods for chronic pain.
These two oils both work in synergy with Helichrysum, which you can use to help with bruising by adding it to an Epsom salt bath or a compress. Any combination of the three oils is also helpful in a massage oil; massage the oil over the affected area and it will speed up circulation and blood flow and help the body detoxify as well.
Another excellent oil for pain mitigation is Rosemary Verbenone, which I really appreciate for muscle issues.
For joint pain, good choices include Birch and Wintergreen, which are both well known for their ability to soothe aching muscles. Both of these can be sensitizing to the skin and can accumulate in the body, so use them with caution and not for extended periods of time.
Arnica infused oil, obviously, is number one on the list because arnica is an excellent pain reliever. This infused oil is created by soaking arnica flowers in olive oil and is a great base for pain management.
Other great choices for a carrier oil to use with the above essential oils include St. John’s Wort infused oil, pumpkin seed oil, castor oil and red raspberry seed oil. Rosehip seed oil would make a great addition if you are also concerned with healing scar tissue.
These carrier oils can be used singularly or combined to capitalize on their therapeutic properties. Add essential oils in appropriate dilution and create your own roll on! Or, buy a pre-made roll on: Sweet Relief for longer term chronic pain, and Injur-ease for acute, short-term pain.
Using a Compress For Reducing Inflammation
Depending on your needs and your healthcare provider’s recommendations, you can do a warm or cold compress, using either plain water or a hydrosol (Lavender or Helichrysum). Putting your chosen liquid in a bowl, add a couple drops of essential oil (single note or blend) on top of the water.
Next, take a nice, soft, folded up face cloth and lay it over the surface of the water. This absorbs the water and the essential oils together into the face cloth, diluting the oil and making it safe to apply the cloth to the surface of the skin.
Now you can apply the cloth to the affected area and hold it in place. The water will help hydrate, keep the area moist and reduce the inflammation a bit. By covering the skin, you’re preventing the essential oils from escaping off the surface of the skin, thus successfully treating the inflammation in a very direct way.
I wish you the best of luck with your healing!