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Essential Oils Studied for Pain Relief

Essential oils have long been used as the ‘active’ ingredients in massage oils to relieve pain an improve circulation. We’re particularly fond of Helichrysum essential oil for its dramatic pain relieving effects. Researchers have been studying essential oils for their effects on arthritic conditions. Note that the results do not show long-term healing action with [...]

Essential oils have long been used as the ‘active’ ingredients in massage oils to relieve pain an improve circulation. We’re particularly fond of Helichrysum essential oil for its dramatic pain relieving effects. Researchers have been studying essential oils for their effects on arthritic conditions. Note that the results do not show long-term healing action with the essential oils used; however, the oils chosen are noted for temporary results, not long term regeneration. For this, again, we recommend Helichrysum. One of our favorite blends is the combination of Helichrysum, Cypress and Ginger for its warming and regenerative actions. Here’s the studies:

Study: An experimental study on the effectiveness of massage with aromatic ginger and orange essential oil for moderate-to-severe knee pain among the elderly in Hong Kong.

Yip YB, Tam AC. 33A Holt Street, North Ryde, Sydney, NSW 2113, Australia.

OBJECTIVES: To assess the efficacy of an aromatic essential oil (1% Zingiber officinale and 0.5% Citrus sinesis) massage among the elderly with moderate-to-severe knee pain. METHOD: Fifty-nine older persons were enrolled in a double-blind, placebo-controlled experimental study group from the Community Centre for Senior Citizens, Hong Kong. The intervention was six massage sessions with ginger and orange oil over a 3-week period. The placebo control group received the same massage intervention with olive oil only and the control group received no massage. Assessment was done at baseline, post 1-week and post 4 weeks after treatment. Changes from baseline to the end of treatment were assessed on knee pain intensity, stiffness level and physical functioning (by Western Ontario and McMaster Universities Osteoarthritis index) and quality of life (by SF-36). RESULTS: There were significant mean changes between the three time-points within the intervention group on three of the outcome measures: knee pain intensity (p=0.02); stiffness level (p=0.03); and enhancing physical function (p=0.04) but these were not apparent with the between-groups comparison (p=0.48, 0.14 and 0.45 respectively) 4 weeks after the massage. The improvement of physical function and pain were superior in the intervention group compared with both the placebo and the control group at post 1-week time (both p=0.03) but not sustained at post 4 weeks (p=0.45 and 0.29). The changes in quality of life were not statistically significant for all three groups. CONCLUSION: The aroma-massage therapy seems to have potential as an alternative method for short-term knee pain relief.

Study: An experimental study on the effectiveness of acupressure with aromatic lavender essential oil for sub-acute, non-specific neck pain in Hong Kong.

Yip YB, Tse SH. School of Nursing, Faculty of Health and Social Sciences, The Hong Kong Polytechnic University, Hung Hom, Hong Kong, PR China. hsvyip@inet.polyu.edu.hk

OBJECTIVES: To assess the efficacy of acupressure using an aromatic essential oil (lavender) as an add-on treatment for pain relief and enhancing physical functional activities among adults with sub-acute non-specific neck pain. DESIGN: Experimental study design. SETTING: The Telehealth clinic and the community centre, Hong Kong. INTERVENTION: A course of 8-session manual acupressure with lavender oil over a 3 week period. OUTCOME MEASURES: Changes from baseline to the end of treatment were assessed on neck pain intensity [by Visual Analogue Scale (VAS)]; stiffness level; stress level; neck lateral flexion, forward flexion and extension in cm, and interference with daily activities. RESULTS: The baseline VAS score for the intervention and control groups were 5.12 and 4.91 out of 10, respectively (P = 0.72). One month after the end of treatment, compared to the control group, the manual acupressure group had 23% reduced pain intensity (P = 0.02), 23% reduced neck stiffness (P = 0.001), 39% reduced stress level (P = 0.0001), improved neck flexion (P = 0.02), neck lateral flexion (P = 0.02), and neck extension (P = 0.01). However, improvements in functional disability level were found in both the manual acupressure group (P = 0.001) and control group (P = 0.02). CONCLUSIONS: Our results show that eight sessions of acupressure with aromatic lavender oil were an effective method for short-term neck pain relief.

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