How Essential Oils Help Pain and Make You Healthier

Natural Medicine Overland Park KS

If it seems like essential oils are everywhere, you are not alone. While the popularity of and credible medical and academic research on essential oils is increasing rapidly, it is important to remember that essential oils are not new. It is actually the original medicine available to humans. Before the innovations of scientists, chemists, researchers, and medical doctors developed medications and nutritional supplements, plants were, and continue to be, the most powerful healing source for humans. The ways in which plant-based medicine works synergistically with humans and animals has been undeniable for decades. Now, these natural and effective health solutions are mainstream. However, with mainstream popularity can come confusion and in-effective substitutes for the real thing. We will make understanding and using essential oils for pain simple.

A review of 12 essential oils studies shows the effectiveness of essential oils specifically on pain. The results showed a significant effect on reducing pain. Essential oils reduced more pain for neuropathy and acute pain more than inflammatory and chronic pain, however, effectiveness was found for all types of pain. The highest level of effectiveness for pin was in postoperative (acute) and gynecological pain.

Arthritis pain is the most common source of pain for which essential oils have been found to be as effective as ibuprofen.

How Essential Oils Work

Essential oils are chemical compounds found naturally in the leaves, flowers, bark, and resins of plants that interact with cells in the body to send signals to the brain. Plants contain chemical compounds designed to help them survive. For example, Oregano has properties that protect it from viruses, bacteria, and parasites that occur in nature. This is why it is considered a natural antibiotic. We can benefit from the survival mechanisms in plants by using essential oils for immunity, mood support, pain, anti-inflammation, and digestive support.

The proper growing, harvesting, and distilling of the right type of plant are what makes certain parts of plants into an essential oil. The actual essential oils are volatile aromatic compounds. These are small organic molecules that change quickly from liquid to gas at room temperature which is why you can smell the oil as soon as the bottle is opened.  There are over 3,000 varieties of volatile aromatic compounds known at this time. The interaction of the compounds with the cells in the body can elicit a physical and emotional response because of the interaction of the compounds with the cells in the body that signal the brain. This brain signaling supports other normally occurring brain signals in the body that affect mood, pain, immune system, hormones, and more.

Selecting Oils for Arthritis Pain

Finding the right combination of oils that works best for you is personal, but there are many tried and true applications for essential oils that will point you squarely in the right direction for using oils for pain. Here are the most common oils used for arthritis pain:

  • Frankincense
  • Copaiba
  • Lemongrass
  • Wintergreen
  • Marjoram
  • Peppermint
  • Ginger

Here are just a few more of some of the most reliable oils for other health conditions:

  • Inflammation: frankincense
  • Muscle pain: peppermint, deep blue
  • Joint pain and function: peppermint, marjoram, lemongrass, cypress, and copaiba
  • Relaxation: lavender, Roman chamomile, Serenity, Balance, and frankincense
  • Energy: peppermint, lemon, grapefruit, and rosemary
  • Immune support and defense against bacterial, viral and fungal infections: oregano, OnGuard, eucalyptus, lemon, myrrh

How to Use Essential Oils

There are three ways to use essential oils. Aromatically (smell), topically (on the skin), and internally (ingesting). All three ways are safe when common sense is used, and when you know and trust the quality of your essential oils. We only recommend the highest quality essential oils which should always have the CPTG (certified pure therapeutic grade) standard.

Particularly when using oils internally, the highest quality is absolutely required. Internal use of essential oils is best done with 2-4 drops at a time 2-3 times a day. Get more about essential oils safety here.


Rubbing oils into the skin is the most common way to help pain with essential oils. Applying only a few drops of essential oil with a carrier oil (coconut oil, jojoba oil, avocado oil, etc) can relieve pain in just a few seconds. Less essential oil applied more often is best. Using a carrier oil helps more essential oil get into the cells of the skin faster to affect all cells in your body rather than being absorbed into the air.

To easily apply a mixture of essential oils quickly and easily, a blend can be made in a 5mL or 10mL (standard size) rollerball. Simply put in the desired amount of essential oils and fill the rest of the roller with your carrier oil of choice. See recipe for a pain rollerball below.


Aromatic use of essential oils can be done by simply inhaling the oil directly from the bottle, or using a diffuser to distribute the oil into the air. Diffusing oils can quickly and effectively shift emotions (mood), kill bacteria in the air, and support sleep.


Ingesting essential oils should be done with only the highest quality and when quality and common sense are in place, they can be very effective to support decreases in pain and inflammation, support a healthy immune response, and increase antioxidant levels in the body. Internal use of essential oils is considered safe when using CPTG oils and over the age of 8 years old.

To have ongoing support with how to use essential oils and information on discounts available, contact us at in2GREAT and they will get you connected with our natural medicine and essential oils expert.

DIY Pain Ointment

(if DIY isn’t your thing, try the ready to go Deep Blue Rub available at in2GREAT)

2oz shea butter or coconut oil

1 Tbsp jojoba, almond, or fractionated coconut oil (liquid at room temperature)

10 drops Eucalyptus

10 drops Marjoram

7 drops Lavender

7 drops Rosemary

7 drops Peppermint

Mix together and store in a 2oz glass jar (available at most natural food stores or on Amazon)

Pain Support Rollerball

Drop into a 10 mL rollerball and fill the rest with jojoba, almond, or fractionated coconut oil

10 drops Frankincense

10 drops Lemongrass

10 drops Marjoram

Apply to areas of pain as often as needed.

Dr Corey Priest, DC - Functional medicine practitioner

About the author

Dr. Corey Priest has been practicing functional medicine since 2001. in2GREAT was founded in 2014 by Dr Priest after 13 years of experience with his other practices. Over his career, Dr. Priest has worked with and helped well over 10,000 patients under a functional medicine model.

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