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Essential Oils For Inflammation
Inflammation is a natural response of the body to help combat infections and repair damage. This often occurs in response to an illness or an injury and can contribute to/worsen discomfort while simultaneously making it difficult to walk and go about your usual activities.
If you find yourself experiencing inflammation then, treating this is very often one of the most important steps to take. So how do you accomplish this?
There are actually a number of different methods you can use to combat swelling. Before we address those however, we will first look at one particular type of treatment that is somewhat overlooked: essential oils.
How to Use Essential Oils for Inflammation
A great number of essential oils are very beneficial when used to treat inflammation and swelling. This is because they contain natural anti-inflammatory properties which can reduce the swelling and help to bring the affected area back to normal size.
At the same time though, essential oils also often offer a lot of additional benefits including analgesic properties to help reduce the pain and a cooling sensation which can distract from the pain further. If you have very severe or chronic swelling from a condition such as arthritis or gout, then one of the most common treatments recommended by doctors are NSAIDs (non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs). However, essential oils can offer a lot of the same benefits but in a much more mild manner and without the same expense.
To use these essential oils, you have a few options:
One option is simple to massage the essential oil into the affected area. Take your chosen oil and mix about 10 drops with two ounces of ‘carrier oil’ (where necessary). Now apply directly to the affected region using gentle circular motions. This will help the area to absorb the essential oil through the skin, while the massage itself will encourage blood flow to the region.
If you can get a friend to provide the massage, then this will be even more relaxing and therapeutic – but it also works if you do it yourself.
Another option is to add your essential oil to your bath water. Here you will normally use about 10-20 drops to a full bath. You can this way simply like in the bath and relax while the oil will provide its benefits throughout the body. This is also a good way to enjoy the aroma therapeutic benefits of any oil.
What’s particularly effective about this method is that the bath itself can also help to reduce inflammation thanks to the warmth. It’s also very soothing and relaxing which can further help.
Finally, try adding just a few drops of your chosen oil to a warm compress and holding it against the area. This is a good way to provide immediate relief and comfort while also getting the benefits of the oil.
Best Oils for Inflammation
So what are the best essential oils for inflammation? There are a number of different options and several of these work in different ways. Let’s take a look at some of them here…
Marjoram oil is effective in particular thanks to its benefits as a vasodilator. This means that it has the ability to help widen the blood vessels (the veins and arteries), thereby allowing more blood and oxygen to circulate. In turn, this means that it can deliver more essential nutrients wherever they are needed in the body.
What this also means is that marjoram oil can help to reduce blood pressure and thus allow the site of the swelling to deflate as the fluids are directed elsewhere throughout the body. Marjoram is also antispasmodic and helps to release muscle tension. This is particularly useful then in cases where the swelling is the result of muscle pain.
Peppermint oil is a great essential acid for reducing pain and swelling. This is simply a topical anti-inflammatory agent and when added to a site of injury will help to immediately start help the area to stop welling. What’s also great about this essential oil is that it contains l-menthol which helps to provide a cooling and tingling sensation such as you may associate with mint. What this means is that you may not notice the discomfort so strongly because you will be distracted by the light tingling sensation.
That said though, this is a very strong essential oil and will work best when used alongside a carrier oil. Otherwise it may be a little harsh used directly on the skin.
Basil oil is a popular essential oil that is very good when applied topically. It is commonly used to help treat hives, rashes and allergic reactions. This is a good choice then when that is the cause of the discomfort.
Tea Tree Oil
Tea Tree Oil is another topical anti-inflammatory oil that can be applied straight to the area for immediate relief.
Eucalyptus oil is a great essential oil for reducing swelling and localized pain. It is an anti-inflammatory and analgesic and is commonly used to treat all manner of injuries and reactions. Simply apply to the chosen area gently. This also requires a carrier oil for dilution however.
Other Strategies to Reduce Inflammation
To get the most from the essential oil in treating your swelling, there are a few other things you can do to further bring it down. One particularly important step is to elevate the affected region. You can do this by placing cushions underneath your foot for example if it’s a twisted ankle, or by wearing a sling if the damage is to your arm or wrist.
The aim is to get the area above your heart. This way, the amount of fluids being sent there will reduce while what’s already there will gradually drain. Another benefit that can work in a similar manner is to use some kind of blood thinning medication such as aspirin or ibuprofen which is one of the best treatments for swelling and inflammation.
Compressing the area can also be a good idea. You can accomplish this by using a bandage or support, or by holding a warm or cool compress to the area. Immediately following an injury, a cold compress is often recommended.
Finally, rest is also incredibly important. If you continue to walk around on a damaged ankle, or to use a sprained wrist, you will only further exacerbate the pain and the swelling will increase. Conversely, if you give yourself time to rest, this will allow the inflammation to gradually reduce.
To remember this, try to remember the acronym ‘RICE’. This stands for:
Adding some essential oil to the mix and taking some ibuprofen as well will only further help to accelerate the reduction in swelling. So perhaps we could extend this popular acronym with a few more letters to spell: COPIER…
If you find that your inflammation does not start to die down after a short amount of time, then consider seeing your doctor and asking them. It might be that you have a fracture or a chronic condition such as arthritis.
Note that if you have twisted your ankle or had a fall, then it can be helpful to also address the shock. A good way to do this is usually by having a sugary cup of tea. You should also follow these steps if someone you know twists their ankle or otherwise bruises or hurts themselves.
Tip: How to Make a Warm Compress
Want to know how to make a warm compress to use with essential oils?
A simple solution is to fill a sock with a small amount of rice and then tie a knot in the top. Now place the sock in the microwave and heat on a low heat. The rice will retain the temperature and you’ll be able to feel this through the sock (make sure it isn’t too hot before applying).
Now simply add a few drops of oil to the sock and apply with gentle pressure to the area.
And there you go – you now know how to use essential oils, ice and elevation to treat swelling and inflammation. Give it time to heal and use this as a great excuse to take some time off and catch up on your favorite box set. The worst thing you can do is try to rush back to work or your usual activities!