Using Essential Oils to Cope With Chronic Illness

  • By Jennifer Mulder
  • 26 March 2018
  • 3 minute read

This is a guest post by Trysh Sutton from Pure Path

The use of essential oils is an underrated, natural approach to dealing with the symptoms associated with many chronic illnesses. Individuals who go this route are usually able to save money on medication and reduce side effects that come with them.

But what are essential oils?

Essential oils are extremely concentrated, organic compounds that are in liquid form and sporting many of the benefits of certain plants without the need to have an unusual number of these plants physically available. As an example, it takes over 240,000 rose petals to create just 5ml of rose essential oil and almost 3,000 lemons to create 15ml of lemon essential oil.

How to Use Essential Oils

One way you can apply essential oils is through skin application. Since our skin is absorbent, the active chemicals in essential oils can go through our skin and into our body where they work their magic. You can put the oils on the stomach, arms, neck and hands.

You can also inhale essential oils. When you inhale the oils through your nose, they are absorbed by your olfactory system and activate (or inhibit) certain hormones to achieve desired results.

Finally, you can also ingest the oils, but there are certain precautions that should be taken by consulting with an aromatherapist or your doctor.

The oil and administration method you choose to use will depend on the symptoms you’re looking to address. For example, some popular oils that are massaged into the problem areas to manage pain are ginger, frankincense, lavender and peppermint. On the other hand, stress and anxiety is usually addressed by inhaling oils such as lavender, bergamot or roman chamomile.

To get an understanding of how to use essential oils for your health and wellness, consult an essential oils reference guide.

Evidence Supporting the Use of Essential Oils

For centuries, essential oils have been used as health remedies and aids, but we are now in the age of information where it’s important to separate effective remedies from placebo. This is why, over the past few decades, hundreds of studies have been carried out to discuss the effectiveness of essential oils for various uses.

Some of these studies are discussed below:

  • In 2014, a Taiwanese study was completed to assess the efficacy of a 3% essential oil cream on participants with chronic neck pain. The study included a control group to reduce the influence of placebo and it was found that the essential oil cream did indeed reduce neck pain in those who used it. The oils used in the cream were marjoram, black pepper, lavender, and peppermint.
  • In 2005, researchers from the College of Nursing at the Catholic University of Korea found that aromatherapy was an excellent intervention technique for reducing pain (and depression) in arthritis patients. The oils used in the study were lavender, marjoram, eucalyptus, rosemary, and peppermint.
  • Many individuals who suffer from chronic illness also have associated symptoms or disorders such as anxiety or stress, or at least an increased sensitivity to these conditions. Several studies have shown positive results for managing these conditions using essential oils. Some of the most recent ones were completed in 2013, 2014 and 2015.
  • In 2006, JH Hwang from the Department of Nursing at Geochang Provincial College in Korea, performed a study on hypertensive individuals which suggested that essential oils could be a useful intervention for reducing psychological stress responses and blood cortisol levels in patients, as well as reducing their blood pressure. This does not mean that essential oils cure hypertension, it instead suggests that they are useful for reducing the stress associated with hypertension.
    Another Korean study produced similar results.
  • Even the byproducts of essential oils have been shown to have huge benefits. For example, one study with end stage kidney disease patients showed that inhaling rose water (a byproduct of rose essential oil) significantly reduced anxiety of the participants. Anxiety is a common mental disorder that develops during the end stages of kidney disease. The conclusion of the study was: “Inhalation of rose water can improve the patient’s emotional and spiritual condition during hemodialysis treatment.”

Final Word

Chronic illnesses are hard to deal with but you can rest assured that essential oils can help you to cope by reducing symptoms such as pain, stress and anxiety. Furthermore, essential oils are all natural and don’t present noticeable side effects for most people.

Trysh Sutton is a wife, mother, strategic leader and teacher. She runs a website called Pure Path, which is a naturopathic wellness site that promotes healthy living and healing through the use of essential oils and sustainable living. You can follow her on social media to learn more about the benefits of essential oils, and healthy living practices.

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