By Guest Blogger: Liz Palmer
Pelvic floor discomfort is literally a pain in the ass. The journey from disease to health can be long and frustrating, especially in a culture where doctors shrug their shoulders at pelvic pain. Taking advantage of holistic modalities can make the pilgrimage to health a less arduous one. One such method is essential oils—highly concentrated substances that are extracted from various parts of flowers, plants and trees.
In this blog post, I’m going to give you an overview of essential oils and how they can help with chronic pelvic pain.
Have you ever taken a mint leaf and rubbed it between your fingers? The aroma it releases is caused by the breaking up of hundreds of microscopic essential oil sacs within the leaf. Essential oils are literally the life-blood and immune system of a plant. Because they are highly complex chemical compounds, they can be used for multiple aliments.
For example, essential oil of peppermint can be used for nausea, stomach upset, relaxation, energy, headaches, inflammation, colic, fever, depression, coughs and the list goes on. The molecules of the oils are tiny and when applied to the skin or swallowed, diffuse into the bloodstream. If inhaled, the molecules enter our lungs, are absorbed by tiny air sacs and into our capillaries.
The majority of essential oils on the market today are extracted by steam distillation, a method that can be traced back to ancient Mesopotamia. Many people are surprised to find out that essential oils are used in a lot of common products. Gum uses peppermint essential oil for that minty taste and Vix Vapor Rub uses eucalyptus essential oil to clear nasal passages, just to name a couple.
Essential oils can be used therapeutically in three ways:
- aromatically by diffusing the oil into the air;
- topically by putting a drop or two into a carrier oil, such as coconut oil or sesame oil and applying it directly to the affected area;
- and, lastly, internally by dropping them under the tongue, adding them to a glass of water or other beverage, or to an empty gel capsule, which is then swallowed.
It’s important to note that internal use must be done very carefully with essential oils. Not all essential oils can be taken internally. For example, eucalyptus oil should only be diffused into the air. Make sure you find an essential oil manufacturer that has been approved for internal use, and that it is stated on the bottle. (doTERRA Essential Oils are great for internal use: http://www.mydoterra.com/elizabethpalmer/) And follow the directions on the bottle.
Essential oils can be used for almost any ailment, including chronic pain. For instance, research shows that essential oil of thyme has the same anti-inflammatory effects as ibuprofen. For example, a triple-blind clinical study was conducted on 84 women suffering from dysmenorrhea (painful menstruation). Participants took 25 drops of thyme internally or 200 mg capsules of ibuprofen. The results suggested that essential oil of thyme was just as good as ibuprofen for relieving pain.
Another example is xylopia laevigata (the equivalent of black pepper), a plant historically used in folk medicine to treat pain and inflammation. A study showed significant pain relieving qualities when the essential oil xylopia laevigata was applied topically. In addition, many studies have proven the benefits of inhalation of essential oils for relieving anxiety and depression. The theory is that the essential oil molecules enter the olfactory bulbs at the back of the nose and immediately affect the limbic system, our emotion and behavior center. Lavender, frankincense and vetiver all have anti-depression and anti-anxiety properties.
While treating generalized pain in the body is beneficial for those suffering from pelvic pain, specific application works even faster. Here are a few ways to use essential oils specifically for pelvic discomfort.
- Put two-three drops of peppermint into the toilet, sit over it for a few minutes and take some deep breaths. The vapors from the oil will relax the pelvic floor.
- Dilute one drop of black pepper essential oil and two drops of rosemary essential oil in an ounce of fractionated coconut oil and rub it on the sacrum, low back and thighs. You should feel relief within ten minutes.
- Place one drop of lavender essential oil along with one drop of geranium in your palms and rub your hands together. Put your hands up to your nose and take a few deeps inhales. Actively relax you pelvic floor muscles (the opposite of a Kegel) with each exhale. Lavender and geranium are known for the relaxing qualities and strengthening the mind-body connection.
Finding holistic ways to treat pelvic pain, and chronic pain of any sort, can be a long and daunting journey. Incorporating essential oils into your regimen can allow you to find that healthy balance between prescription medication and natural healing methods.
About Liz: Liz Palmer, C.H.t., M.A., is a professional hypnotherapist and essential oil educator in Los Angeles and uses essential oils with most of her hypnotherapy clients. She first discovered the power of hypnosis and the oils as a Certified Birth Doula, helping dozens of women give birth naturally and comfortably. After using hypnotherapy and essential oils to successfully treat her own chronic pain, she went on to become a certified hypnotherapist. She specializes in several areas of hypnotherapy and has an advanced diploma in treating chronic pain. Liz provides hypnotherapy and essential oil health consultations via webcam or in her Santa Monica office. Contact her at: [email protected]
Sources: Caspian J Intern Med. 2014 Spring; 5(2):82-8.Comparative effect of thymus vulgaris and ibuprofen on primary dysmenorrhea: A triple-blind clinical study. (http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/24778782)  ScientificWorldJournal. 2014;2014:816450. doi: 10.1155/2014/816450. Epub 2014 Jul 3. Evaluation of the Anti-Inflammatory and Antinociceptive Effects of the Essential Oil from Leaves of Xylopia laevigata in Experimental Models.
 Phytomedicine. 2013 Mar 15;20(5):446-52. doi: 10.1016/j.phymed.2012.12.005. Epub 2013 Jan 23.;Neuroprotective effects of inhaled lavender oil on scopolamine-induced dementia via anti-oxidative activities in rats.Pharm Biol. 2013 May;51(5):589-94. doi: 10.3109/13880209.2012.751616. Epub 2013 Jan 31;.Antidepressant-like effects of essential oil and asarone, a major essential oil component from the rhizome of Acorus tatarinowii.Nutr Neurosci. 2014 Mar 25. [Epub ahead of print]Antihyperalgesic and antidepressive actions of (R)-(+)-limonene, α-phellandrene, and essential oil from Schinus terebinthifolius fruits in a neuropathic pain model.