Essential Oils for Intermittent Claudication
Intermittent claudication is a cramping pain, usually in the calves when walking. It is due to poor circulation of blood in the leg muscles – caused by the narrowing or blockage in the main artery. It generally affects the legs, but can affect the arms too. In the beginning, the pain is mostly noticed during exercising, but as the claudication gets worse, the pain may be felt even when at rest. The level of pain can range from mild to severe, and may go away when the legs are resting.
The risk factors for intermittent claudication are:
- If you smoke
- have high cholesterol
- have high blood pressure
- are obese
- are diabetic
- are aged over 70 years
- are aged over 50 years AND smoke or have diabetes
- a family history of peripheral artery disease, atherosclerosis, or claudication
There are many types of treatment options available that the doctor will recommend, such as medications, angioplasty, vascular surgery and lifestyle changes. There are also many herbs and supplements that may help. As a supportive treatment, essential oils are wonderful in easing certain symptoms of intermittent claudication.
Essential oils may help to:
- ease muscle pain and spasms
- improve circulation
- provide some pain relief for sore, aching muscles
- relax tight and tense muscles
- stimulate blood flow
Useful Essential Oils for Intermittent Claudication
Peppermint – a great natural painkiller and muscle relaxant, helps to release tight muscles
Lemongrass – improves blood circulation, and so aids in relieving muscle spasms and cramps.
Cypress – this has anti-spasmodic qualities, so helps with problems associated with spasms and cramps.
Eucalyptus – has analgesic and anti-inflammatory properties, so will be useful for muscle and nerve type pain.
Rosemary – the pain relieving and anti-spasmodic action make it a good choice for muscle and joint pain.
Thyme – good anti-spasmodic properties, so wonderful for easing joint and muscle pain as well as backache.
Clary Sage – contains soothing and calming properties, as well as anti-spasmodic and anti-inflammatory properties. Useful for relieving muscle tension, spasms and even PMS pain.
How to use
Mix together equal parts of the applicable essential oils (as described above) – you can choose around 3 or 4 different ones to mix together. Add a base oil to this – as a general rule, use 5 drops of essential oil to each 1 teaspoon of base oil (for a base oil – coconut, olive, avocado, jojoba and sweet almond are good choices, or any vegetable oil will do). Store this mixture in a glass bottle to use when required.
Massage: Massage the oil blend into the affected area around twice a day. Before using for the first time, please do a skin patch test, to check for sensitivity.
Some example blends
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Peppermint – Organic, strong, menthol-rich and refreshing. It is free from synthetic fragrances, and not tested on animals.
Lemongrass – Organic, sharp, zesty and lively. It is free from artificial fragrances/parabens, and not tested on animals.
Avacado Oil – 100% pure Avocado Oil, a carrier oil that is good for moisturizing the body, face, hands, and cracked heels. Contains Oleic Acid, vitamins A, B1, B2, D and E, potassium, phosphorus, magnesium and calcium. Not tested on animals and vegan friendly. Packaged using sustainable paper and cardboard.
Sweet Almond Oil – A wonderful base oil that contains vitamins A, B1, B2, B6 and E, and is particularly suited for nourishing the skin and moisturizing eczema.
Jojoba Oil – A beautiful golden oil, high in natural oils that resemble those found in the skin. It is able to dissolve into the skin and help soothe any damage or irritation. Particularly suited for use with acne, dry skin and scalp, eczema, psoriasis, inflammation, rheumatism and arthritis.