Pain can be related to a person’s perception of what is happening physically or mentally. When you are happy and busy working or enjoying yourself, pain can go unnoticed whereas feelings of boredom, depression or sadness can bring increased perceptions of pain. If you feel you are in control of the pain management and involved in your own treatment, it is likely that less pain medication will be needed.
How aromatherapy works to help pain management
Tissue in the nasal cavity, which contains millions of nerve endings, are activated when inhaling the essential oil. This changes the scent into a nerve message that affects the limbic system in the brain, responsible for emotional reaction to injury, stress, and illness. Hormones are released by the limbic system which then cause a certain mood or emotion. As essential oils affect this “control center” in the brain, pain is lessened, thus improving sleep and reducing anxiety and depression.
Essential Oils that are helpful for painful conditions
Lavender essential oil
Lavender is very effective for skin conditions such as burns and shingles, and is also useful for its sedative effects. Headaches, migraine, neuralgia, sciatica, muscular pains and rheumatism can all be treated with lavender. A study into the pain relieving efficacy of postoperative lavender essential oil, in 50 patients undergoing surgery, was carried out by J. Kim and colleagues, at the New York University Medical Center. The results showed that the “patients in the lavender group reported a higher satisfaction rate with pain control than patients in the control group”. This oil is appropriate if you are a sensitive person who is easily embarrassed and inhibited. You may conceal your shyness by appearing efficient, practical and organized while being aware of your sensitivity and vulnerability to other people.
Chamomile aids long-standing chronic pain conditions, anxiety and insomnia. Its pain-relieving properties make it helpful for infants’ teething pains especially accompanied by earache. Menstrual cramps, the pain and inflammation of mastitis, neuralgia, sciatica, inflamed joints and aching muscles can all be helped with chamomile. This oil is appropriate for nervous and sensitive children, and adults who feel misunderstood as they hide their inner sensitivity under a layer of defensive behavior, irritability and emotional over-reaction.
Rosemary is very useful for pain of headaches and migraines, sore muscles, neuralgia, mental fatigue, rheumatic and arthritic pain (especially when worse in cold weather). Being analgesic and mildly anesthetic, it brings relief to sprains and strains, and is included in most sports oil blends. It is appropriate to use if you are cold, debilitated, weak and nervous, possibly resulting from unresolved grief or past emotional shock. Rosemary can unblock emotions, leading to a stronger, more emotionally resilient person.
Frankincense has long been used as an incense and an aid to meditation. It encourages deep breathing and meditative states which can help to manage pain effectively. It is appropriate for those people who life life at a fast speed and become overwhelmed by responsibilities and the material aspects of life.
Other methods of pain management are also useful including herbal and vitamin therapy, nutritional supplements, acupuncture and acupressure, visualization and others.