Using Essential Oils as a Complementary Treatment for Psoriatic Arthritis
I’m not known as someone who supports homeopathic treatments or concoctions. As a sick teen, my mom was desperate to get me better and brought me to some questionable herbalist stores for help. Not only did the concoctions taste awful, but surprise, they did nothing.
That being said, waking up unable to make a fist or take a step without almost collapsing can open one’s mind up. Desperate times call for desperate measures. Here's how I found myself turning to essential oils for relief.
The pains of psoriatic arthritis
I was barely 30. The year I began experiencing crippling pain in my hands and feet. My ability to work was diminishing. Eventually, my doctors encouraged filing for disability. Psoriatic arthritis along with Crohn’s disease rendered me jobless.
My doctors felt I wouldn’t keep a new job for long if hired. They wanted my focus to be on diminishing inflammation and healing. The more I became educated on immune-mediated inflammatory diseases, like psoriatic arthritis, the more frustrated I grew. It wasn’t uncommon to get approached online by “natural healers” and snake oil salespeople.
Stumbling across essential oils
One thing that kept sticking out was essential oils. Even my science-minded and scientist friends used them in some way. So, I grew curious when a friend of mine who began to use oils for recurring migraines was hosting an oil party. I feel it's important to point out that essential oils should be used as a complement to treatment. They should not be your end-all, be-all. Think you have the flu or an infection? Go see a doctor.
As I entered the lion’s den, I fastened my skeptic hat firmly upon my head. The “party” went well. I even learned a few things about oils and how they work. I also may have rolled my eyes during a few parts of the presentation.
One of the other ladies at the oil party said that her physical therapist used the same rub on her after completing a session. Due to a bad car accident, she needed PT and came to the party with the intent of buying a tube for her “bad days.” The host was kind enough to give us all some samples to try at home. And try I did.
Using essential oils for the pain
Admittedly, my hands felt better the first time I used the rub. Even the most painful parts of my toes and the plantar fascia area of my feet felt relief for the first time ever. Not even my prescription anti-inflammatory gel provided a better feeling. However, this is not a cure. I wasn’t about to run a mile after applying.
A full-size tube of this rub is also expensive for the average person’s budget. I think it’s important for samples to be available, for this exact reason. Buying a tube, I considered, was an investment for my wellbeing.
I still use the rub to help with inflammation. It has worked better than over the counter topical rubs, and it smells better, too. I do not buy into the hoopla that a lot of the multi-level marketing companies utilize. They use tactics similar to snake oil sales from back in the old-timey days. The FDA watches these companies a little more closely today than in prior years. I am happy to admit when something helps.
When the psoriatic pains becomes just too much
I asked my scientist friend why she chose to utilize oils and she put it simply. “If something feels good, you feel good. And the oils can help you feel good.”
I recognize my biologic treatment does much of the heavy lifting. Also, it's hard to ignore that the placebo effect exists. But there are some days where the pain, stiffness, swelling, and overall uncomfortableness are just too much. That is when I use the rub.
Coming from a former skeptic, I have zero regrets using essential oils as a complementary treatment for psoriatic arthritis. Let us know in the comments if you choose to give them a try.
Do you have a sleep disorder (eg. insomnia, sleep apnea, RLS) in addition to your PsA?