Top 10 Aromatherapy Oils for Treating Chronic Pain

If you have chronic pain, you know it’s persistent. It is generally diagnosed after three to six months. Unlike acute pain that arises suddenly, chronic pain lingers. This type of pain can be resistant to conventional medical treatment. However, here’s good news! There are potent plant oils with pain-relieving properties. Following are the top 10 essential oils that melt away the aches.

The Science of Aromatherapy

Aromatherapy is the use of aromatic plant oils for healing. It has been used to treat pain for thousands of years by various cultures.

Research confirms the pain-relieving benefits of aromatherapy. Essential oils affect the amygdala, the emotional center of the brain that reacts to pain. Scent receptors in the nose communicate with the amygdala. This stimulates the release of stress-relieving hormones. In this way, the sensation of pain is decreased. The mind and emotions are soothed as well.


Basil is known as the “Oil of Renewal.” Its scent is similar to licorice. Inhaling basil banishes anxiety and strengthens the mind. It calms the sense of feeling overwhelmed.

As a massage oil, basil relieves bursitis, carpal tunnel syndrome, frozen shoulder, hernia, migraine, muscle spasm, and stomach cramps. It reverses muscle fatigue by increasing blood flow.


Bergamot is a citrus fruit. The essential oil is extracted from the rind. The scent of bergamot is sweet and spicy. The oil stimulates hormones that decrease pain sensitivity. Bergamot relieves headaches, ligament sprains, and muscle strain. It calms cramps. It increases metabolic rate. Use bergamot to spark joy and energy! It will also reduce anxiety and stress.


Eucalyptus has a pungent camphor scent with a sweet undertone. It has cooling and stimulating properties. Inhaling the vapor clears blocked sinuses and knocks out migraines. It also quells fever. Take a deep breath of eucalyptus to relieve fatigue and boost alertness.

Used in massage, it rubs out muscle aches, spasms, and sprains. Eucalyptus is an effective treatment for arthritis. Tannins in the leaves reduce swelling and pain. Eucalyptus also increases circulation.


This golden flower is commonly called “Everlasting.” Helichrysum reduces swelling and inflammation. It relaxes tight muscles and heals skin. It effectively treats injury to muscles, joints, tendons, and ligaments. It resolves bruises, strains, sprains, and sciatica. The only caveat with helichrysum is that it acts as a blood thinner. If you take anti-coagulant medication, you should obtain medical clearance before using it.


Jasmine is a vine with an exquisite scent. It is known as the “King of Oils.” The name has a Persian origin and means “a gift from God.” It is one of the most expensive oils since extraction is labor-intensive. It takes approximately 8 million jasmine blooms to produce one kilogram of essential oil! The flowers also need to be harvested at night, when their aroma is most potent. The benefits of the oil are well worth the cost.

Jasmine eases muscle aches, sprains, and stiffness. It is also very calming. It wards off depression and promotes optimism. Its uplifting effect reduces fear and anxiety. It also bolsters confidence. Applied to the skin, it improves elasticity and fades stretch marks. A few drops in a warm bath will dissolve stress and tension. Use jasmine to feel relaxed and rejuvenated.


Lavender oil is renowned for pain relief. Inhaling lavender eases muscle soreness and joint aches. It lowers blood pressure and improves circulation. It quenches fever. One study has demonstrated a reduction in back pain by 39 percent when combined with acupuncture.

Lavender improves mood and outlook. It reduces emotional and mental stress and fends off depression. Lavender dissolves anxiety. Like an aromatic lullaby, it coaxes sleep.


Rosemary is related to mint and resembles lavender in appearance. Its leaves are thin, flat, and striped with silver. It has a bright, citrus-like scent.

Inhaling and ingesting rosemary sharpens memory. Studies have shown it to improve cognitive function in dementia and Alzheimer’s disease. Rosemary also melts anxiety by decreasing levels of the stress hormone cortisol.

Rosemary has anti-inflammatory qualities. Apply the oil to temples to relieve a headache. It also reduces joint and muscle pain. It is especially effective for arthritis when used in massage. Rosemary’s antiseptic action soothes a sore throat. Consuming the herb eases stomach cramps and bloating.


The sandalwood tree is an evergreen native to Asia. The earthy, warm aroma of sandalwood is grounding. It calms a busy mind, relieving anxiety and worry. It also treats depression, obsession, grief, and aggression.

Use sandalwood to massage away backache. It reduces muscle spasms and sciatica. It soothes the itch and sting of insect bites and poison ivy. Inhaling sandalwood will ease you into sleep.

Sweet Marjoram

This herb is a member of the mint family. Marjoram is a Greek word meaning “Joy of the Mountain.” It’s also known as the “happiness herb.” Applied to a tissue, the oil can be inhaled to relieve migraine, sinusitis, asthma, and bronchitis.

Marjoram oil excels when used in massage. It soothes away muscle aches, spasms, stiffness, and sprains. It relieves the pain of arthritis. It has a warming action, increasing circulation to promote tissue healing. The oil can be massaged over the stomach in a clockwise direction to treat cramping.

Sweet marjoram also has culinary benefits. It can be ingested to calm digestive upset and irritable bowel.

Marjoram has a sedating effect on the body and mind. It soothes away stress and anxiety. It also generates happiness. It resolves anger, grief, and heartache. Inhaling the scent before going to bed promotes sweet sleep.


Vetiver is known as the “Oil of Tranquility.” Its deep, earthy scent is grounding and relaxing. It resolves muscle knots and reduces stress. Vetiver vanquishes headache. It balances mood swings and helps restore calm when life events seem out of control. It soothes the anger and irritability that can accompany chronic pain. Vetiver can be used to combat flashbacks and hysteria. It nourishes the dry, irritated skin conditions of eczema and psoriasis. It also promotes sleep.

Methods of Use

Essential oils can be used in two ways:

  • inhalation
  • massage

They should be applied to skin in diluted form rather than used full-strength.


For adults, a safe dilution is 2 percent. The essential oil is diluted with a carrier oil, such as olive, sesame, sunflower, or sweet almond. Mix 12 drops of essential oil with 1 fluid ounce of carrier oil. Then bottle the mixture.

For children or the elderly, make a 1 percent dilution by adding 6 drops of essential oil to 1 fluid ounce of carrier oil.

Methods of Inhalation

You can receive the benefits of inhalation in five ways:

  • Diffusion — Use a machine designed for aromatherapy, following manufacturer directions.
  • Direct — Sniff the scent directly from a bottle. You can also apply 2–4 drops of the mixture on a tissue or cotton ball and inhale.
  • Palm — Rub the mixture into your palms and inhale.
  • Spritz — Mix 10–15 drops of essential oil with 1 ounce of water. Pour into a spritzer bottle, shake, and spray into the air.
  • Steam — Place 3–7 drops of essential oil into a quart of boiling water and let the fragrance fill the room.


For adults, use a massage blend of 1 percent, which is 1 drop of essential oil mixed with 1 teaspoon of carrier oil. Massage into skin using a clockwise motion.

Bid Pain Good-Bye!

Use aromatherapy for its healing effects. Add essential oils to your medicine chest. Stock up on:

  • basil
  • bergamot
  • eucalyptus
  • helichrysum
  • jasmine
  • lavender
  • rosemary
  • sandalwood
  • sweet marjoram
  • vetiver

Oil of Renewal, King of Oils, Gift From God, Joy of the Mountain, Happiness Herb, Oil of Tranquility. These are the names of oils that bring healing. Use aromatherapy to bid pain good-bye!


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