I am often asked if essential oils work against sore muscles, anxiety and pain. What I found is that there is no single right answer to the question. First, let’s take a quick look at where essential oils come from and what essential oils are.
Quick look at the history of essential oils
Essential oils are concentrated, volatile, aromatic liquids extracted from various parts of plants that grow on this earth. It is important to understand that essential oils are highly concentrated and only a small amount is needed for potent effects. For example, it takes approximately 242,000 rose petals to make five milliliters of pure rose oil. Depending on the brand, the oil purity and effectiveness of the oil may vary. So before you go to the store and buy the first essential oils you can find, do your own research to make sure the product you are buying is safe for what you are using it for.
Oils can be used individually or in combination with others. Combinations can produce reactions in which two or more oils are more effective than either one on its own.
The power of the oil depends on the person and the application.
Each person has a unique upbringing that makes different smells either more effective or less effective for an individual. For example, my employees and I have different odor preferences when it comes to the diffusion of oils. An interesting fact about oils is that when an essential oil is within the same group of plants it will have similar effects overall regardless of the specific plant it is derived from. For example, a lot of citrus smells have a bright, cheerful or clarifying effect on a person. It’s not necessarily the name or brand of the oil, but how you tolerate and perceive the scent of the essential oil.
There are aromatic, topical, and internal application doses that you must be aware of before using the product. Make sure you do further research before using the essential oils to ensure that the oil you have is being used safely and correctly.
Essential oils and physical therapy
I have used essential oils in my practice for patients who want to learn more about them. I use them in conjunction with traditional practices to provide a holistic approach to patients upon request. I mostly use peppermint oil for muscle aches and pains. I usually use peppermint oil as a topical agent. I have also used lavender oil as a flavoring for general muscle relaxation when the patient is under increased stress, which limits the body’s ability to relax muscles. Lavender and peppermint are both great for relaxing and upset stomaching. Essential oils are not for everyone and it can be a trial and error finding the best oil for you.
Megan Fuhrman is a physical therapist at In Touch Physical Therapy, 123 W. Broadway St., Owatonna. Reach them at 507-451-7888.