Acute pain – when experienced and left untreated – can turn into chronic pain which is challenging physically and mentally and prevents the sufferer from functioning normally. The common medical treatment for pain involves pain-killing medication and other adjunctive therapies. Over-the-counter painkillers, when taken for a longer term, can cause drug dependency and lead to fatal consequences.
Evidence suggests that those suffering from pain can benefit greatly from holistic approaches with an emphasis on massage therapy.
Massage therapy is one of the safest, most effective, and best natural methods for relieving various types of pain. Experts also say that it reduces local inflammation and diminishes the level of depression through relaxation.
There are different types of massage techniques performed depending on the area and extent of pain. These techniques relax the muscles and wash out the toxins and waste material in the form of lactic acid. They also promote increased blood supply and oxygen to the area.
According to the American Massage Therapy association, studies have proven that massage has several health benefits which include:
Besides the basic muscular benefits, massage also helps the entire body recover. By improving circulation it encourages nutrients, oxygen, and arterial blood components to visit the area being manipulated.
To achieve the maximum benefits of massage, herbal oils used during massage are useful in relieving aches and pains caused by inflammation. Herbal oils are made with raw and dried herbs mixed in a carrier oil. By doing this, the infused oil formed has doubled the effects from the carrier oil as well as the herb infused.
This works in two ways:
1) The aroma of herbs and carrier oil causes an emotional and physical response via the brain.
2) The oil penetrates the skin to underlying tissue and blood to distribute its therapeutic properties.
There are over 60 essential herbs with amazing properties which are used to make infused oils for relieving pain. Most of them can be found in the kitchen, but not all measure up. Knowing some of the differences can help you choose the appropriate herb which is best for the situation.
Here is the list of recommended herbs found locally in your kitchen which you can use for your infused oil:
Curcuma longa (also known as turmeric) can often be found right in our own kitchens. It is well-known from ancient times for its anti-inflammatory and antioxidant properties. It has been used for thousands of years as a spice and medicinal herb. This plant and its byproducts have an eventful history in alleviating various medical conditions.
Curcumin, the active component of turmeric, has strong anti-inflammatory properties which work at a molecular level to inhibit inflammation. Also, it increases the antioxidant capacity of the body. Oxidative damage is one of the mechanisms behind many diseases which involve free radicals. Curcumin neutralizes free radicals and boosts activity of antioxidant enzymes. Fresh or dried and ground turmeric root can be infused in oil and applied to joint or muscle pain affected by tenderness, stiffness or swelling.
This plant (Brassica nigra) has been used as a traditional remedy to alleviate various ailments for centuries. Mustard seeds are rich in sinigrin which possess anti-inflammatory and wound healing properties. Because of its topical irritant effects, when infused in oil it relieves congestion and increases blood circulation which relieves spasm and neuralgia.
This spice has been valued for thousands of years for its medicinal properties. Both raw and heat-treated ginger reduces pain associated with muscle injury by about 24%. It has antioxidant content which includes gingerols, shogals and zingerones. These compounds have anti-inflammatory and analgesic properties similar to NSAIDs.
This is a terpene commonly used in creams, ointments, and lotions extracted from the bark of camphor trees. It is a counter irritant. When infused in oil and applied to a painful area, it numbs the nerve endings. The nerve endings thereafter no longer transmit the sensation of pain.
This is a sterile hybrid of spearmint and watermint. Besides its use in food and beverages as a flavoring agent, it is widely used for its health benefits also. Peppermint’s antispasmodic and anti-inflammatory properties reduce muscle spasm induced by any injury or exercise. The main components of peppermint are menthol and menthone.
When infused in massage oil and applied to the body, the concentration of menthol acts as an antispasmodic and excites the anti-pain channel which causes the pain-sensing fibers to become less sensitive.
To make infused oil, you can blend 2 to 3 herbs or you can use it individually with any of the carrier oils. When mixed together with their diverse properties, it gives good results.
– Good blends for bone and joint pain: Ginger, Curcumin, or Mustard
– Good blends for muscle pain: Peppermint, Camphor, Curcumin, or Ginger
– For soothing and calming effects rosemary and lavender extracts can also be mixed with these herbs.
There are many carrier oils available and most are suitable to use with all kinds of herbs. But you need to consider a few things before choosing one.
The best oils to select for making infused herb oil is Olive oil and sweet almond oil.
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