Essential Oil Therapeutic Charts: Muscular and Skeletal Problems

Arthritis and Reumatism

Description: There are many forms, including bursitis, gout, rheumatoid arthritis. All forms are painful and restrict movement. There may also be inflammation and swelling (this comes and goes), calcification of the joints, loss of synovial fluid which lubricates the joints.

Methods of Use: Massage, compresses, baths (including Epsom salts bath), aromatic ointment.

Possible Causes: Heredity, sedentary, lifestyle, chronic, emotional disharmony, advancing age, food allergy, injury, overuse of muscles and joints (dancers and sports people are especially prone).

Suggested Herbal Remedies: Internal: Meadowsweet; celery seed or yarrow (or make an infusion using equal quantities of each), or devil’s paw (available in tablet form). External: Hypericum oil rubbed into the affected areas.

Aggravated By: A cold, damp environment stress, obesity.

Recommended Essential Oils: Cajeput, chamomile, cypress, eucalyptus, ginger, coriander, lavender, lemon, marjoram, rosemary, thyme (sweet), vetiver, juniper berry cedarwood.

Caution: Never apply massage over inflamed and swollen joints. This state comes and goes, so massage over affected areas is fine in between flare-ups.

Nutritional Supplements: One tablespoonful cod liver oil daily (available in capsule form to disguise the foul taste), or three x 500 mg evening primrose oil daily.

Further Suggestions: If there is little or no improvement after three months. seek the advice of an holistic practitioner. Preferably someone who can carry out allergy tests. Also, Bach flower remedies (to address emotional disharmony). Other helpful therapies include acupuncture, homoeopathy, medical herbalism.


Description: A painful, inflammatory condition of a bursa (a fluid-filled sac which helps muscle and tendons move smoothly). It may affect the knee (housemaid’s knee), elbow (tennis elbow), shoulders or hips.

Methods of Use: Cold compress, aromatic ointment.

Possible Causes: Injury, infection, inflammatory arthritis, gout, rheumatoid arthritis, repeated friction.

Aggravated By: Use of the joint.

Recommended Essential Oils: Chamomile, lavender, peppermint.

Caution: Never massage inflamed or swollen joints as this will cause further pain and tissue damage.


Description: An extremely painful form of arthritis causing swelling and inflammation around joints. especially the big toe. Common in middle-aged men.

Methods of Use: Foot bath, cold compress, ointment.

Possible causes: Build-up of tissue wastes such as uric acid forming crystals in skin, joints and kidneys. Mainly caused by faulty diet and/or incomplete elimination of drug residues.

Suggested Herbal Remedies: Celery seed. nettles, yarrow.

Aggravated By: Stress.

Recommended Essential Oils: Angelica, coriander, Juniper. pine, rosemary, thyme (sweet).

Caution: Never massage directly over the swollen joint as this will cause further pain.

Further Advice: Holistic treatment is essential. Seek to reduce stress and improve diet aid lifestyle.

Further Suggestions: It a recurring problem unrelated to injury, holistic treatment is essential.

Muscular Aches and Pains

Description: If caused by a recent injury or fibrosis, the pain will be sharp or searing. Old injuries and chronic muscular tension usually manifest as a dull ache. There may also be stiffness in the joints.

Methods of Use: Massage, baths, compresses.

Possible Causes: Over-exertion, poor posture, emotional trauma, or the condition may be related to an arthritic or rheumatic complaint.

Suggested Herbal Remedies: If stress is a contributing factor: camomile, lemon balm, lime flowers, valerian (available in tablet form),

Aggravated By: Stress.

Recommended Essential Oils: Black pepper, camomile (Roman or German), coriander, cypress, eucalyptus, ginger, grapefruit, lavender, lemon marjoram, pine, rosemary, thyme (sweet), vetiver.

Caution: Never massage if the muscle is inflamed and swollen. Use cold compresses instead.

Nutritional Supplements: If associated with arthritis and rheumatism see relevant entry.

Further Suggestions: Aromatherapy massage is the best treatment, If you are prone to muscular aches and pains other useful therapies include: Bach flower remedies (for stress), Alexander Technique (to correct postural faults), yoga.


Description: A form of neuralgia caused by pain along the sciatic nerve extending from the bullocks to the foot

Possible Causes: Injury resulting in a slipped disc causing irritation to the spinal nerve roots and spasm in the surrounding muscles. Also, incorrect lifting of heavy loads. Misalignment of the spine, constipation, childbirth related changes in bones and ligaments.

Methods of Use: External:  Massage (especially to lower back. buttocks, hips and legs), oath.

Suggested Herbal Remedies: Massage with hypercium oil.

Aggravated By: Coughing, straining, bending, from a seated position, getting out of bed.

Recommended Essential Oils: Camomile (German or Roman), coriander, eucalyptus, geranium, lavender, peppermint. pine, rosemary.

Further Suggestions: If aromatherapy massage does not help, consult an osteopath or chiropractor. Or try Alexander Technique to correct postural faults. If associated with chronic constipation and/or arthritis, seek to cure stress and make appropriate changes to diet and lifestyle.

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