Essential Oils for Pain Relief


Strenuous workouts, injuries and medical conditions can all cause pain. Many people turn to essential oils for relief either instead of over-the-counter or prescription medication or in conjunction with it. Many essential oils help to relieve pain, swelling, and tension.

Common Essential Oils Used for Pain Relief

Peppermint Oil

Peppermint is a hybrid of spearmint and water mint. Its oil is extracted from the flower. Peppermint oil has been used topically to relieve headache, pain of the muscles and nerves and aches associated with myofascial pain syndrome and fibromyalgia. It contains menthol which has a cooling effect on sore muscles. Two to three drops can be applied to the affected area three times a day or it can be combined with other ingredients for a muscle rub. Peppermint oil can cause skin rashes or irritation in some people.

Marjoram Oil

Marjoram oil is steam distilled from the leaves, flowers or bud of the marjoram plant. It is used to relieve muscle, menstrual and abdominal pain and headaches. Marjoram oil blends well with a range of oils including evening primrose oil, tea tree oil, orange sweet and sandalwood. It can be added to a carrier oil to ease tired muscles after exercise. It can also be used with other oils and Epsom salts in a warm bath. Marjoram oil should be diluted before use and you should do a patch test before using it on large areas of the body. It should be stored in a cold, dark place.

Rosemary Oil

Rosemary oil is extracted from the plant’s leaves and flowering tops. It can help to relieve sore muscles and aching joints. Rosemary oil can be mixed with peppermint oil and coconut oil for a muscle rub. Rosemary oil helps to increase circulation and decrease inflammation. It should always be diluted and you should avoid getting it into your eyes and mucous membranes.

Lavender Oil

Lavender oil is distilled from the flower spikes of certain species of plants. It helps to relieve tension and migraine headaches along with other pains. Lavender oil can be inhaled or mixed with peppermint oil and rubbed on the back of the neck and temples. It can also be applied to other aching or inflamed areas including the abdomen in cases of dysmenorrhea. In addition, lavender oil can be placed in a diffuser. It is gentle enough to be applied to the skin without a carrier oil. However, if your skin is particularly sensitive, you should still do a patch test.

There are only limited studies showing the positive effects of essential oils on pain. However, many people have reported that inhaling or topically applying certain oils have helped to relieve their discomfort. Lavender oil, rosemary oil, marjoram oil and peppermint oil are among the best-known pain-relieving oils. Others include eucalyptus oil, yarrow oil and helichrysum oil.

What Are Essential Oils?

Essential oils are natural compounds which are extracted from plants. They may be drawn from the leaves, flowers, fruits, roots or stems through distillation, cold pressing or other mechanical methods. The aromatic compounds are usually mixed with carrier oils before they are packaged. Not all products labeled as essential oils are truly essential oils – such as those produced through chemical processes – so you should do your research on brands before purchasing.

Essential oils are inhaled or diluted and rubbed on the skin. It should be noted that there are few high-quality medical studies done on the effects of essential oils on pain. However, there are many proponents of their use and many people report that they have helped to lessen their pain.