Chronic Pain, Fibromyalgia & Sleep: How Aromatherapy Can Help

In Blog by Alyssa Reid2 Comments

Chances are if you are reading this, then you are struggling with sleep. When you have chronic pain and fibromyalgia, sleep disturbances and insomnia are a real issue.  Perhaps you have tried medications that either don’t work, or make you groggy during the day. But there is help!  And it is all natural, too!  It’s called aromatherapy...

Insomnia and sleep problems are a huge issue when battling with chronic pain. It’s a nasty cycle in regards to not sleeping, pain increasing and mental health issues such as depression and anxiety (not to mention brain fog increasing rapidly through lack of sleep, too).  Getting your sleep under control so that you are falling asleep quickly, staying asleep and getting up feeling refreshed is critical in regards to your health and well being.

Aromatherapy can be a huge help in regards to getting your sleep on the right track! It’s natural – and it smells awesome, too! 🙂

What’s Aromatherapy?

Aromatherapy is the use of concentrated essences (oils) and it is a completely natural option to combat insomnia  and sleep disturbances and has been practised for thousands of years.  These oils can be used for many things including depression as well as invigorating oils to wake you up, too!  The oils are the concentrated essences taken from the fruit, seeds, flowers, leaves, root or bark of certain plants.

There are more than 400 essential oils. Some are used to make perfumes or cosmetics. Holistic aromatherapy uses oils that are thought to have beneficial properties.

How Does it Work?

Working on a subconscious level, studies have shown that the human brain can strongly associate memories with smells and other senses in our body.

For example, the scent of freshly baked bread may instantly bring childhood memories to mind. Many different smells can trigger specific memories, emotions and feelings.

Mixing certain aromatherapy oils together you can create a sense of harmony, well-being and relaxation, which in turn will promote sleep.  Or, there are oils that can be used solely, such as lavender.Pro Breeze® Ultrasonic Aroma Diffuser and Humidifier with 7 Colour Changing LED Lights. Aromatherapy Mist for Home, Office and Spa

And you don’t need to go to a special aromatherapist either!  You can simply get the oils and a diffuser to create a relaxing environment in your bedroom.

You can also use the oils:

  • In your evening bath water. One of the most relaxing therapies for people of all ages is a warm essential oil bath taken at least 60 to 90 minutes before bedtime. Be sure to avoid taking a bath just before you go to bed. (This is because hot water will initially raise your body temperature making it hard to get to sleep). After an hour or so, when your body temperature drops you will start to feel sleepy.
  •  Use the oils for massage. If you are lucky enough to have a lovely person to give you a massage, a back or foot rub can be effective. Like bathing, however, massage can be initially stimulating for some people and generally should be avoided immediately before bedtime.
  •  On a cotton ball by your bedside, on your pillow or lightly spray your sheets prior to bedtime. The use of oils such as lavender,  melissa, chamomile and hops can help.  Or, you can buy essential oils already created specifically to aid in sleep, which is what I do. I love the Sleep Easy blend – and it’s under £2!  And just a few drops goes a long way…I use this in my bath as well as taking an old spritzer bottle, filled with some water and around 15 drops of this oil to spray on my pillow (and linen, and, well, all over me! lol).

Aromatherapy isn’t expensive IMG_20160810_095752and I find it certainly helps to relax me a lot!  Here’s a picture of my stuff! (The black bottle is just a small spritzer I used from some crystal deoderant that was going to go into the recycling).

Important Safety Tip:  Do NOT apply these oils directly to the skin. They are very strong and can cause irritation! You need to use what is called a ‘carrier oil’ if you’re using essential oils for massage/on your skin.  I use what’s called ‘fracionated’ coconut oil – it is liquid coconut oil that is also excellent for dry hair, skin and nails too!  Bonus!

The Essential Essential Oil Guide

Although there are over 400 different oils, here’s just a taster for some recommended oils for depression, insomnia, stress, anxiety, and relaxation.

  • Bergamot comes from the peel of a type of citrus fruit – it is also used in Earl Grey tea. The oil is refreshing and reduces anxiety and depression.
  • Chamomile is a therapeutic essential oil also well known as a soothing tea. It is commonly used to help insomnia sufferers.
  • Benzoin oil has sedative properties and promotes warmth and relaxation – a good cure for insomnia.
  • Frankincense helps produce spiritual mental peace and tranquility.
  • Geranium has a rosy scent is effective in alleviating hormonal imbalances. (It has a lovely scent and is wonderful in the bath!)
  • Clary Sage calms the nervous system and is useful in aiding depression, tension, stress and insomnia.
  • Jasmine oil is valued for its sedative and calming characteristics, making it a helpful aid for insomnia, stress and fatigue.
  • Lavender is known as a remedy for conditions such as anxiety and depression. It relaxes the nervous system, enabling restful sleep.
  • Mandarin oil is used to cure insomnia, stress, PMS mood swings, acne and oily skin.
  • Marjoram oil helps remedy anxiety, sleep problems, colds, and muscle and joint pain.
  • Neroli has a sweet and flowery scent and is known for its anti-depressant, aphrodisiac and sedative properties.
  • Rose essential oil, with its sweet floral fragrance is favored by women and has sedative, calming and aphrodisiac effects (!!!).
  • Sandalwood is known for its tonic, diuretic, and decongestant properties. It helps insomnia, anxiety and tension.
  • Spikenard helps relieve stress, acid indigestion, migraine headaches and sleep difficulties.
  • Ylang Ylang can calm and soothe hypertension and palpitations. It is used to help anxiety and promote relaxation.

Blending Oils

Blending oils to create a harmonious blend with a top, middle and lower note to fix your blend. The rule of thumb is not to use more than 4 different essences per blend. It is all about following your intuition in what you like.  Here is a great (and short!) video about blending.  It’s a lot of fun!

In Conclusion

Getting a good sleep is imperative when you have chronic pain and fibromyalgia. And it is a huge issue that’s important to get under control – as we all know, sleep helps in healing, ultimately reducing pain, not to mention brain fog! If you are struggling to sleep, why not try something that is all natural, relaxing and can really help make a difference? Aromatherapy can really help.  And at the very least, will make your home smell lovely, too!

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