In continuing our managing Fibromyalgia series, our next tip is using essential oils/aroma therapy to help manage your Fibromyalgia symptoms. I'm obviously not a doctor, and any new treatment method should be discussed with a medical professional, but there are more than 17,000 medical studies on essential oils that prove their therapeutic benefits for a number of health concerns—among these are chronic pain, depression, and stress, so it's worth discussing. Because each essential oil is different, you can customize your experience and combine specific oils to maximize the healing medicinal properties that you need to help battle the symptoms that you have.
Essential oils are essentially plant extracts, and contain the essence of an herb or plant. It is the healing properties of these plants that are infused into these oils, and it’s not the scent that can make you feel better- it's the herbal/healing components that you take in. Chemicals from the herb get absorbed, these chemicals eventually reach your limbic system — the network of nerves in your brain that controls your instincts and emotions- so using essential oils can alter your perception of pain and potentially improve your mood. After using, you can feel the affects in as little as 30 minutes, and the affects can last hours and can be easily reapplied as needed.
You can use essential oils via aromatherapy (it's important to note that smelling perfumes, air fresheners or scented candles isn’t aromatherapy. True aromatherapy uses extracts from the leaves, stems and other parts of healing/aromatic herbs and plants and allows you to utilize the healing properties derived from those herbs), topically, or by ingesting them directly- whether you inhale the scent, or absorb it, the healing properties end up in your bloodstream where the healing happens, and here's a few ways to use essential oils:
There are a number of essential oils that provide relief not only from the discomfort of chronic pain, but also the anxiety and stress that come along with it, and with the rise of holistic therapies and popularity of essential oils in popular culture, it makes sense that Spoonies use essential oils to help them manage their Fibromyalgia symptoms.
Here is a list of some popular essential oils commonly used in the chronic pain community:
It is important to note that not all essential oils are created equal, and you should always research brands as well as oil types, and because these are plant based oils, it is important to try small amounts first to ensure they do no trigger an adverse or allergic reaction before using them more regularly, but hopefully this information gives you another tool to help you feel your best.
Heather, Fabulous Fibro-Fighter and FSC Founder