Aromatherapy won’t cure your arthritis, but it may ease certain symptoms and help you feel better. For example, lavender is sometimes used to relieve anxiety and promote sleep. Some research shows aromatherapy may even have benefits for pain. Two small studies found aromatherapy massage with lavender or ginger and orange oils led to short-term relief of knee pain.
“It doesn’t work for everyone, but some have good outcomes,” says Sue Cutshall, a Mayo Clinic integrative health clinical nurse specialist. However, as with other “natural” treatments, you should exercise caution when using them; in rare cases, they can be hazardous.
Essential oils are the foundation of aromatherapy. The oils – extracted from plants, flowers, herbs and trees – are most often used for their scent, but they can also be mixed with lotions or alcohol and used as bath or massage products.
Most essential oils have few side effects or risks when used as directed, but some can cause harm. Undiluted essential oils can provoke skin problems, and citrus essential oils can increase sun sensitivity.
Essential Oil Tips
- More is not better; follow dosing instructions.
- Don’t ingest essential oils.
- Don’t use on babies, children or if you are pregnant.
- The words “therapeutic grade” are for marketing purposes and don’t have any clinical significance.
- Look for 100 percent pure oil without additives like alcohol.
- Heat and light can degrade oils; look for those in dark bottles.
Author: JENNIFER DAVIS
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