Fibromyalgia is a chronic pain disorder that causes pain and tenderness all over the body. Injury, stress, and a family history of the condition can trigger the pain.
You can use over-the-counter (OTC) medications to temporarily ease pain and discomfort. But research shows essential oils can also be used as a home remedy for stress and pain such as fibromyalgia-induced fatigue.
These essential oils may help with your fibromyalgia pain, but they must be diluted with carrier oil when applied directly to the skin. Essential oils should not be swallowed.
6 essential oils for fibromyalgia pain
1. Lavender oil
The lavender flower is known for its stress relieving and calming properties. According to a 2015 study, lavender is also a pain relief agent.
When properly diluted and applied to the skin, lavender provides a pain relieving and anti-inflammatory response similar to analgesic medications. It can also be a sleep aid when inhaled using aromatherapy techniques.
In a similar 2016 study, lavender was used as an effective pain reliever in people with knee osteoarthritis.
2. Peppermint oil
Peppermint oil, which is distilled from the herb, can reduce pain and improve mental stimulation. One review found that applying peppermint oil, mixed with eucalyptus oil and ethanol, helped to:
- increase cognitive performance
- relax muscles
- reduce pain sensitivity from headaches
3. Sandalwood oil
Sandalwood is a type of aromatic tree. Sandalwood oil is widely used for its antiseptic and anti-inflammatory effects. It’s also recognized for its ability to calm and sedate.
Sandalwood contains santalol, a compound known to have sedative and depressant effects on the central nervous system. Sandalwood oil can be inhaled to improve sleep and increase non-rapid eye movement (NREM) sleep, as shown in a 2007 study.
4. Eucalyptus oil
Eucalyptus is a powerful tree used as a decongestant and anti-inflammatory healing agent.
A 2013 study tested the effects of eucalyptus oil compared to almond oil on people who had total knee replacements. The study concluded that after three days, eucalyptus oil significantly lowered pain and inflammation, and also lowered participants’ blood pressure.
5. Nutmeg oil
The spice nutmeg is commonly used to flavor food and help indigestion. It’s also known to improve cognitive function and soothe pain.
A 2016 study on animal models tested the use of nutmeg oil for joint swelling and central pain. The study successfully proved the anti-inflammatory effects of nutmeg oil and the potential pain-relieving properties.
6. Ginger oil
In addition to flavoring food, ginger root has a number of health benefits. It can ease nausea and improve digestion. This spice is also helpful in pain management.
A 2013 study found using ginger oil for one month significantly reduced inflammation and blocked pain sensations. Ginger was also reported to increase antioxidant activity in the body.
How to use essential oils
Essential oils can be used in a number of ways:
- Pain Relief. Diluted essential oils can be applied to the skin. You can do this yourself, or it can be used during physical therapy or massage. As the diluted oil is absorbed in the skin, it reduces inflammation and fibromyalgia pain.
- Aromatherapy involves aerating essential oils so you can inhale their scent. Using an oil diffuser can help with migraines, stress, anxiety, pain, and insomnia.
- You can combine both pain relief and aromatherapy through soothing techniques such as a hot bath. The warm water improves blood circulation, which helps with pain. Adding essential oils to the bath allows the oil to permeate the skin and block pain. The steam from the bath also creates aromatherapy.
Don’t take essential oils by mouth, as many are toxic.
Prior to application to the skin, essential oils must be diluted with carrier oil. Dilute three to five drops of essential oil in an ounce of carrier oil. This prevents skin irritation. Common carrier oils are:
- olive oil
- coconut oil
- grape seed oil
- almond oil
- avocado oil
- massage oil
- unscented lotions
Essential oils can be an effective home remedy for fibromyalgia symptoms. They can improve sleep, soothe anxiety symptoms, and reduce chronic pain.
Essential oils must be diluted before applying to your skin to prevent irritation or allergic reactions. They can also be diffused in the air as an aromatherapy technique.
Before you start using essential oils for your fibromyalgia, talk with your doctor to discuss the risks.