Essential Oils for Fibromyalgia


Fibromyalgia is a debilitating condition that currently affects an estimated 5 million people in the United States alone. For a long time, doctors dismissed patients with fibromyalgia symptoms as being hypochondriacs. Fortunately, doctors now understand that the condition is real and causing patients great distress and suffering.

Common treatments that your doctor may offer you include anti depressants, sleeping pills, muscle relaxants and pain medications. You may also be prescribed medications that have been specifically approved for fibromyalgia pain. Sometimes these approaches work, sometimes they don’t.

If you’ve already been diagnosed and have followed your physicians treatment plan but are still no further forward in your quest for fibromyalgia relief, or if you feel that your symptoms match those of fibromyalgia but you don’t yet have a diagnosis or any effective methods of symptom control, then the rest of this article is for you.

What Causes Fibromyalgia?

What Causes Fibromyalgia

Medical authorities are unclear on the exact cause of fibromyalgia, although some physicians link fibromyalgia to low thyroid levels or thyroid hormone resistance. You can read more about that later in this article, but for now, we’ll just focus on the more widely accepted possible causes.

Doctors believe that patients with fibromyalgia have a problem with the way that the brain and spinal cord handle nerve impulses. This causes more intense pain sensations and an erroneous pain response to normally non-painful stimuli.

Risk factors for fibromyalgia include:

  • being female
  • having relatives with fibromyalgia
  • suffering from an emotional disorder like anxiety, depression, or post traumatic stress disorder
  • dealing with a chronic pain disorder like arthritis
  • not taking enough exercise

Fibromyalgia Symptoms

Fibromyalgia Symptoms

There’s a long list of fibromyalgia symptoms and you may be unlucky enough to suffer from most of them, or you may ‘only’ have a few to deal with

Fibromyalgia can manifest in many ways, some of the most common symptoms are:

  • muscle pain
  • joint pain
  • muscle twitches and tightness
  • tender areas
  • increased sensitivity to pain
  • overwhelming tiredness and fatigue
  • sleep disorders – difficulty falling asleep or staying asleep
  • anxiety
  • depression
  • irritable bowel syndrome (IBS) – constipation, diarrhea, bloating, lower abdominal pain
  • headaches and sensitivity to light
  • brain fog
  • feeling too cold or too hot
  • needing to urinate more frequently
  • feelings of numbness or tingling in your extremities – arms, legs, toes, fingers
  • dry eyes
  • increased thirst

How Essential Oils Can Help with Fibromyalgia

How Essential Oils Can Help with Fibromyalgia

There is no single essential oil that you can use as a miracle remedy for your fibromyalgia. Instead, there are a number of essential oils that you can turn to for relief from specific symptoms. When used diligently, these oils can make a significant difference to your daily life.

As well as offering symptomatic relief, essential oils also give you emotional balance which helps you to cope with this frustrating condition.

By using essential oils you can manage the pain, insomnia, depression, fatigue, mood swings, and brain fog (fibro fog) that are the most common symptoms of fibromyalgia.

Essential Oils For Fibromyalgia Pain Relief

Essential Oils For Fibromyalgia Pain Relief

There are a few ways that essential oils can help to relieve pain. Some oils relieve the stress and tension in your body that make the pain more intense while others have analgesic (pain relieving) properties. Some of these oils have been used in studies with both acute and chronic pain sufferers and the results have been very promising.

Using essential oils for pain relief is a safer option than using the commonly prescribed nonsteroidal anti-inflammatories (NSAIDs) which are now linked to an increased risk of heart attack and stroke, as noted in the revised FDA guidance.

The essential oils that you’ll find most helpful to replace NSAIDs (or to allow you to take lower doses of nonsteroidal anti-inflammatories), are ginger, German chamomile, lavender and rose geranium.

Ginger contains a substance called gingerol which is a powerful anti-inflammatory. One double blind clinical trial found that ginger was as effective at controlling pain as the nonsteroidal anti-inflammatories, ibuprofen and mefenamic acid.

German Chamomile is a safe and effective analgesic which is very helpful for headaches, nerve pain, and aching muscles and joints.

Lavender can often be overlooked when it comes to pain relief, but this would be a mistake because lavender can bring much needed relief for a wide variety of aches and pains.

In studies, lavender essential oil has demonstrated pain relieving abilities similar to Tramadol which is an opioid pain medication, and dexamethasone, a corticosteroid. Researchers have also discovered that inhaled lavender can exert a morphine like an effect in postoperative patients.

Rose Geranium is another very effective anti-inflammatory essential oil. In studies, rose geranium has been shown to reduce some types of inflammation by up to 88%. Controlling inflammation is often the key to controlling pain, so rose geranium is a very good essential oil to include in your pain management regimen.

Other oils which are beneficial for pain relief include sweet marjoram and eucalyptus which are very good for nerve pain, peppermint for muscle pain, rosemary for muscle pain and cramps, and thyme for muscle pain and inflammation.

Incidentally, researchers have found that rosemary essential oil, while an effective pain reliever in its own right, can also provide a much needed boost to common pain relieving medications. So if you’re using over-the-counter or prescription pain meds that aren’t quite managing to control your pain, rosemary essential oil could make a big difference for you.

Essential Oils For Better Sleep

Essential Oils For Better Sleep

One essential oil, lavender, has quite a reputation for assisting with sleep disorders, thanks to its sedative properties. Several studies have confirmed lavender’s effects, including one study where the use of lavender improved the quality of sleep of 60 heart patients in the intensive care unit – a place where anxiety and the constant activity of the unit make sleep particularly difficult.

In addition to its sedative qualities, lavender will also ease tension, anxiety and stress, and as we’ve already seen, it’s an effective pain reliever.

Bergamot is another essential oil known to help with insomnia and disturbed sleep. Its citrus scent blends nicely with lavender, so you could combine the two oils to make a restful essential oil blend to use in a diffuser in your bedroom.

Other sedative essential oils you could try, either as single oils or part of a blend include:

  • Lemon Balm
  • German or Roman Chamomile
  • Sweet Marjoram
  • Neroli (Orange Blossom)
  • Rose
  • Valerian
  • Lemon Verbena
  • Ylang Ylang

Managing Stress With Essential Oils

Managing Stress With Essential Oils

Having to deal with the discomfort and disruption of fibromyalgia can cause a great deal of stress, and stress is known to make fibromyalgia symptoms more severe.

Stress intensifies pain sensations, makes sleeping more difficult, wreaks havoc on your digestive system and compromises your immune system. All of which make your condition worse, leave you vulnerable to picking up any bug that’s going around and increase your risk of developing other chronic disorders.

Stress has been implicated in a wide range of conditions, from relatively benign acne to far more serious conditions like high blood pressure and cardiovascular disease.

Some people turn to antidepressants to help them cope with the stresses in their lives, but antidepressant use can lead to addiction, and they are also known to cause many unwanted side effects.

Others try to self medicate with alcohol, food and recreational drugs – all of which introduce their own problems.

Essential oils give you a third option for stress relief. They’re safe, effective, non-addictive, cause no unpleasant side effects, and compared to other methods of coping with stress, they cost next to nothing.

When you inhale an essential oil, the molecules enter your nose and travel directly to your brain where they work to moderate your hormones and your mood. Inhaling oils, whether directly from the bottle or through a diffuser, is the most effective way to use essential oils for stress.

But, inhalation isn’t the only way, and for those who find the aromas of the oils too strong, massage with diluted oils will also work very well.

The molecules in essential oils are very, very tiny indeed, which makes it possible for them to be absorbed easily through the skin – in the same way as the drugs delivered via patches enter the body.

Once absorbed through the skin, the molecules enter the bloodstream and quickly make their way to the brain. Because of their tiny size, the molecules are able to pass through the blood brain barrier and reach their target. This route is a little slower but you’ll still feel the effects of the calming oils fairly quickly.

Incidentally, massage doesn’t have to be a full blown affair with a massage therapist, although a regular, relaxing massage from a qualified aromatherapist would be very beneficial for both pain and stress relief.

The term ‘massage’ simply refers to the application of the diluted oils to your skin with a massaging motion. This motion which consists of gentle sweeping strokes encourages blood flow to the massage site which allows the essential oil to be absorbed into your circulatory system more quickly.

So, which essential oils are the best at stress busting?

German and Roman Chamomile are both great choices for decreasing stress and anxiety levels, and a preliminary study conducted by the University of Pennsylvania School of Medicine found that chamomile also has antidepressant properties.

Bergamot essential oil induces relaxation and calms anxiety. When blended with lavender for a study in 2011, the combined essential oils were able to reduce the high blood pressure and increased heart rate associated with stress.

Ylang Ylang is a heady, floral essential oil with sedative and euphoric properties, so this oil not only relaxes you, it promotes feelings of well being too. Because of its sedative properties, ylang ylang is best used in the evening, or at times when you can stay at home and take a nap.

Other oils you might like to experiment with include:

  • Benzoin
  • Cedarwood
  • French Basil
  • Geranium
  • Jasmine
  • Juniper Berry
  • Lavender
  • Orange Blossom
  • Rose
  • Valerian
  • Lemon Verbena
  • Yarow

Essential Oils To Ease Digestive Troubles

Essential Oils To Ease Digestive Troubles

Digestive problems are an utter misery to deal with. Eating good, nutritious food (and even comfort foods when you’re feeling rough) is essential for physical and emotional well being. But when the act of eating brings pain, bloating, cramps, constipation, or diarrhea on a regular basis, it’s easy to become discouraged and thoroughly worn out.

Regular digestive upset can come to your dominate your life as you try to find foods which cause you the least problems. Dining, which should be an enjoyable and restorative affair, becomes fraught with anxiety and turns into a chore, with its after-effects something to brace for and endure.

The following essential oils can be used to ease digestive troubles. You may need to experiment a little to find which oils work best for your particular situation. Of all of these essential oils, ginger and peppermint would be the best ones to start with.

For constipation and sluggish digestion:

  • Cinnamon Leaf
  • Sweet Fennel
  • Yarrow
  • Black Pepper
  • Sweet Marjoram

For cramps and spasms:

  • Cinnamon Leaf
  • Ginger
  • Lavender
  • Peppermint
  • Neroli
  • Black Pepper
  • Lemon Verbena
  • Yarrow

For heartburn:

  • Cardamom
  • Black Pepper

For indigestion and trapped gas:

  • Lemon Balm
  • French Basil
  • Cardamom
  • Chamomile
  • Cinnamon Leaf
  • Coriander
  • Sweet Fennel
  • Ginger
  • Lavender
  • Lemongrass
  • Peppermint
  • Neroli
  • Black Peppermint
  • Lemon Verbena
  • Yarrow

For nausea and vomiting:

  • Lemon Balm
  • French Basil
  • Cardamom
  • Chamomile
  • Sweet Fennel
  • Ginger
  • Lavender
  • Peppermint
  • Black Pepper

You’ll notice that several of these oils are also common culinary herbs and spices. As well as adding flavor to a dish, they act as an aid to digestion. So think about using more black pepper, ginger, fennel, mint, basil and cardamom in your cooking.

In addition to using essential oils to ease your digestive complaints, you may want to consider adding some specific nutrients and herbs to your daily regime.

If you suffer from bloating and trapped gas, drink peppermint tea. It’s important to use good quality peppermint for this because you need the essential oil that’s contained in the peppermint leaf. A lot of peppermint tea bags on the supermarket shelves are filled with what is essentially dust, and while they still have a minty aroma, the essential oil content is essentially nil. The tea bags should contain shredded leaves, not powder.

The best option by far is to grow your own mint plants and pluck the leaves straight from the stem – harvesting a good amount for drying and storage for use over the winter months when the plant has shed its leaves and gone to sleep until spring. You can also pick a fresh sprig of mint and chew it directly for quick relief from trapped gas and indigestion.

For constipation, a daily dose of magnesium citrate will almost certainly help. Magnesium citrate is the substance given to patients in the hospital to clear out their digestive system before an operation.

Magnesium citrate is an osmotic laxative. It draws water into your bowel which bulks up and softens the stool, making it easier to pass. Magnesium also relaxes your intestinal tract and eases spasms allowing your food a smoother transit. The amount you’ll need to take depends on the severity of your constipation.

Another option for constipation is vitamin C. Unlike magnesium which has an upper limit on the amount that you can safely take, you can take vitamin C all day long until you get things moving.

Again the amount you’ll need to take depends on your situation. Start with 2 grams (2000 mg) and wait for half an hour. If you don’t feel the urge to use the bathroom, take another dose and wait. Keep repeating the dose at 30 minute intervals until you’re able to go. If a 2 gram dose isn’t enough, you can take much higher amounts. You may need as much as 10 grams in one go to stimulate a bowel movement.

Boost Your Energy Levels With These Essential Oils

Boost Your Energy Levels With These Essential Oils

Any of the citrus family of oils will help to restore flagging energy, but lemon and grapefruit are particularly effective.

An easy way to use these oils is to add them to your shower gel or shampoo for a revitalizing morning shower. You could also diffuse them while you’re getting ready in the morning, eating breakfast or traveling into work (you can find diffusers with reusable pads that work off your car’s lighter adapter).

Lavender, surprisingly, is another good choice for fatigue. But you must only use a small amount otherwise you’ll get a sedative effect. Mix a few drops with a carrier oil and store in a small roller-ball bottle for easy application to your pulse points.

Peppermint essential oil restores flagging energy and increases alertness thanks to its menthol content. A quick sniff straight from the bottle will help you to ward off lethargy at any time of the day.

Also think about switching to peppermint tea instead of coffee (if coffee is your beverage of choice). With coffee you get a caffeine boost but then comes the caffeine crash which you fix with more coffee, keeping you on a rollercoaster of rising and falling energy levels all day long.

What’s more, caffeine consumed after midday will almost certainly interfere with your sleep cycle. A good quality peppermint tea, rich in peppermint essential oil will help to keep you alert without any of caffeine’s downsides.

Patchouli – Sweet, spicy and earthy, patchouli is an intense essential oil that can increase alertness and energy levels. It’s a good oil to use when you’re exhausted and frazzled because of the actions or emotional demands of others. Patchouli provides a grounding energy rather than an exuberant energy like the citrus oils, so you won’t experience any agitation with your energy boost.

Beyond Essential Oils

Beyond Essential Oils

While essential oils are a valuable home remedy for managing fibromyalgia symptoms, they only deal with the symptoms and not the underlying cause of the problem.

While symptom relief is invaluable when you’re suffering, the most desirables outcome has to be figuring out what is at the root of your problems and addressing that problem.

Fibromyalgia is unlikely to have one single cause that’s applicable to everyone suffering from fibro symptoms. So, to uncover your own root cause, be prepared to embark on what could be a prolonged journey.

Numerous theories abound as to the cause of fibromyalgia. Some believe that an unknown pathogen or multiple pathogens are responsible, some point to the unnatural environment that we are forced to live in, one chock full of pollution, debased food, tainted water, and electromagnetic smog.

However a far more plausible theory and one backed by years of dedicated research points to another cause. Dr. John Lowe, a renowned expert on thyroid disorder, author of The Metabolic Treatment of Fibromyalgia, and founder of the Fibromyalgia Research Foundation, believes that thyroid hormone dysfunction is behind many cases of fibromyalgia.

In the course of making a fibromyalgia diagnosis, your doctor may have tested your thyroid levels and given you the all clear on that front. However, the level of thyroid hormone circulating in your bloodstream doesn’t tell the whole story.

You may be familiar with the terms hypothyroid and hyperthyroid. With hypothyroidism, the thyroid gland doesn’t produce enough thyroid hormone to maintain normal metabolic functions. Whereas with hyperthyroidism, the thyroid gland produces too much.

What is commonly overlooked, according to Dr. Lowe, is thyroid hormone resistance, where the thyroid hormones fail to adequately regulate the behavior of certain tissues.

This is a condition where normal amounts of thyroid hormone are present – and these levels will, therefore, show as normal on your blood tests and lead your doctor to conclude that there is no thyroid problem.

But with thyroid resistance, your body can’t make good use of the hormone, so you’ll experience the symptoms of hypothyroidism even though your thyroid gland is operating normally. And crucially, many of the symptoms of hypothyroidism are the same as those for fibromyalgia, including:

  • Fatigue
  • Weakness
  • Sleep disorders
  • Mood problems
  • Widespread pain
  • Poor body temperature regulation

In fact, Dr. Lowe stated the following,

“… there simply is no competitor to inadequate thyroid hormone regulation that accounts for about 43 of the 46 subjectively verified findings in fibromyalgia.”

It’s also the case that many people diagnosed with hypothyroidism are later diagnosed with fibromyalgia too. Why? According to Dr. Lowe, it’s because conventional medicine fails to treat hypothyroidism properly and the disease then progresses.

If you think that undiagnosed hypothyroidism (or inadequately treated hypothyroidism) could be the cause of your fibromyalgia symptoms, it would be a good idea to check out the website Stop The Thyroid Madness, particularly this page –Fibromyalgia It’s Not What You Think.

Hopefully, this article has given you some ideas for managing your symptoms and a possible way forward to perhaps control them for good.

While mainstream medicine is invaluable for many conditions, it often falls short where conditions are poorly understood and drug therapies few and far between.

With fibromyalgia, your best hope is to become as educated as you can about your condition and to act as your own treatment advocate, compiling the best evidence to present to your physician so you can get the help you need.