How aromatherapy alleviates chronic pain


Chronic pain is something that affects a large percentage of our population. Chronic pain occurs as a result of injury or sometimes without any apparent physical cause. It can exhibit itself as arthritis, back pain, muscle pain or spasmodic pain.

Chronic pain is a result of a neurological disorder. This means that in many cases, the nerves keep sending signals to the brain which indicate pain when in reality nothing exists! That in itself can make you realize the foolishness of treating the pain directly without helping the brain or nerves. The brain keeps receiving these signals of pain and over time, a kind of signal strengthening takes place and there seems no solution at hand. That is where aromatherapy comes in.

Why aromatherapy?

The traditional pain medications bring only temporary relief. This is because they battle only the symptoms of the pain. They do not deal with the root cause of chronic pain. Apart from that, they also cause a host of side effects. In many cases, the pain medications do not even bring temporary relief. Aromatherapy is an alternative route making use of aromatic and volatile oils. It tries to deal with the root of the problem. If it is successful, that be sure that your problem will go away permanently and will never return.

The oils used are all naturally occurring oils from medicinal plants. The best thing about these oils is that they are at least 50 times more concentrated with the healing ingredient than the plant itself. A drop of the oil is as potent and strong as an ounce of the source herb. These oils are administered through a bath, massage or heated to release the scents into the air that we breathe.

How aromatherapy works?

Aromatherapy assists your body in healing itself. The scents of the oils are such that they trigger the receptors in the nose. These triggers get translated into chemical messages that are taken to the brain, via the nervous system. In response, the brain produces those chemical signals that make the body to relax itself. This relaxation eases the chronic pain and also ‘teaches’ the body a way to get rid of the pain. Such stimulus from the brain can reduce nausea, blood pressure, pulse and pain.

Another amazing fact about aromatherapy is that these oils are also anti-viral, anti-bacterial and anti-microbial. But while they destroy the harmful bacteria, they strangely, do not harm the useful ones! This must be due to their ‘natural’ origins. Traditional antibiotics make the bacteria resistant over time. This does not seem to happen with the aromatherapy oils.

The oils can also be diluted and used along with carrier oils like grape-seed oil and be used in large amounts to massage particular areas. They have other modes of application too. You can mix a few drops in your hot bath or you can inhale the vapors of the oils through steam. Given below are some of the commonly used aromatherapy oils and their specific strengths.

1. Eucalyptus oil

This is the most widely used aromatherapy oil. It is a natural pain-reliever and a strong decongestant. Along with that, it also has anti-viral and anti-bacterial properties. Massaging it over a particular region enhances the blood supply and energy to that part. It also has a sedating effect to relieve mental tensions also.

2. Camphor oil

This works mainly at the mental level for pain is many times located there! it calms and soothes the mind and therefore the body too. In the relaxed state, the body and mind do not concentrate on the pain. Camphor oil also works well against inflammations and muscular injuries.

3. Wintergreen oil

This oil has also gained FDA approval in the US as an alternate means of treating joint and muscle pain for it has no side effects.

4. Lavender oil

Lavender is a powerful anti septic and anti bacterial. Thus, it is highly recommended for wounds and injuries. It also is good for lowering the blood pressure and also doubles up as a blood thinner. Rheumatic pains, spasms, cramps and sprains have also been well treated with lavender oil.

5. Chamomile

This particular oil is known to have very powerful anti inflammatory properties. So, it is the recommended solution when you are suffering from headaches, lower back pains and muscular pulls. It works wonders during menstrual pains and dysmenorrhea also.

6. Helichrysum

This is the oil for many kinds of illnesses. It is a specialist when it comes to burns, shocks and bruises. It has healing properties and is very aromatic.

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