Millions of Americans live with chronic pain, and treating it has proven difficult for conventional medicine. Aromatherapy, perhaps unexpectedly, is offering a measure of relief to some patients. The practitioners at Apex Medical Center can help you understand how aromatherapy could help lower your pain levels.
Aromatherapy is more than a pleasant scent
Aromatherapy is the use of essential oils, either on the skin or via your olfactory system, with specific purposes in mind. You may have seen massage therapists offer aromatherapy as part of a massage package; in that case the oils are to help you relax. Aromatherapy as a treatment for pain or other medical conditions is thought to date back 3,500 years to ancient Egypt.
When it’s used for pain relief, essential oils are usually applied to a gauze pad or cotton ball or a small, diluted amount may be rubbed onto your skin. The specific oil that’s most likely to help you depends on the cause of your pain. For example, lavender promotes relaxation, while ginger may ease nausea.
It’s never a good idea to ingest essential oils. For one thing, oils aren’t regulated by the Food and Drug Administration. Additionally, it’s the chemical compounds in the oils that ease your pain, and that may well cause damage if taken internally.
In the last few years, poison control centers have received nearly 100,000 calls about essential oils. Of those, more than 1,000 resulted in high fevers, disorientation, seizures, and even cardiac arrest. The compounds in essential oils work because they are powerful, but they can also do harm.
Aromatherapy may address an array of issues
Aromatherapy may help with chronic pain, including inflammation and headaches, but it can also help with depression, nausea, sleep problems, and some respiratory problems. The Arthritis Foundation recommends the use of aromatherapy to decrease pain as well as improve your sense of well-being.
One meta-analysis, or examination of many studies on the same topic, included investigations in the use of aromatherapy to treat chronic back pain, neck pain, knee pain, menstrual pain, pain related to childbirth, postoperative pain, shoulder pain, cancer pain, and pain in children, among others.
The researchers concluded, “aromatherapy should be considered a safe addition to current pain management procedures, as no adverse effects were reported in any of the included studies.”
It’s important to note that aromatherapy is usually most successful when it’s used in conjunction with other methods of pain relief. It’s also important to have the guidance of a qualified professional, so that you are using the most appropriate essential oils, in a way that is most likely to benefit you and ease your pain.
If you’d like to learn more about aromatherapy, schedule an appointment at one of three locations of Apex Medical Center in Las Vegas today. You can schedule at the one that works best for you online or by giving us a call. We’ll be happy to help you.