Over the past few years I have received many enquiries from people with ME/CFS (chronic fatigue syndrome) and fibromyalgia seeking aromatherapy treatments to help manage their symptoms. As a consequence, I decided to look into specialising in this area and have done a lot of research on how aromatherapy can benefit these conditions.
Aromatherapy is recommended for ME/CFS and fibromyalgia because it is traditionally a more gentle form of massage; more often than not, a deep or vigorous massage can leave clients feeling worse afterwards. Muscle pain is one of the main complaints of ME/CFS and fibromyalgia, and many people can only tolerate a light touch. A gentle massage combined with a tailor-made blend of essential oils depending on the needs of the client on that day (clients may feel fine during one visit, other times they may have severe fatigue or need help to relax and improve sleep patterns) is therefore an ideal holistic treatment for people with ME/CFS and fibromyalgia.
I was recently invited to the Helston ME Group, which meets at the Old Cattle Market on the second Tuesday of every month, to give a talk on the benefits of aromatherapy for ME/CFS and fibromyalgia. I thoroughly enjoyed my visit, where I also gave hand massages to some of the members and chatted to them about how they are affected by their condition. They all told me that muscle/joint aches and pains were their main symptom, along with fatigue. Studies have shown that aromatherapy massage can help to manage this pain. One such study, a double-blinded placebo controlled trial carried out on 153 fibromyalgia patients, found that a topical blend containing camphor, aloe vera oil, eucalyptus, lemon, orange, peppermint and rosemary was effective in reducing pain levels.
Aromatherapy has also been shown to relieve fatigue. In a study to determine the effectiveness of a mixture of essential oils (peppermint, basil, and helichrysum) on mental exhaustion or moderate burnout, it was found that the aromatherapy group had a much greater reduction in perception of mental fatigue/burnout compared to a control group.
Many of my clients who have ME/CFS or fibromyalgia find that regular aromatherapy massages help to manage their symptoms. Some have a favourite blend that I make up and use every time, others find that their needs vary and so I usually change the essential oils depending on the desired treatment outcomes. I also make bespoke oil blends for my clients (sometimes these are a better option for people who are unable to receive massage treatments) to use at home in between treatments. The rollerballs are very popular; they can be used to help relieve fatigue during the day, especially when clients are at work and need a boost, or to help improve sleep patterns, relieve stress and anxiety, boost the mood, improve memory and concentration or relieve headaches. Another option is a bath and body blend, which is especially good for self-massage to help relieve aches and pains, be it all over the body or a specific area.
I will be writing further blog posts about research on aromatherapy and the symptoms of ME/CFS and fibromyalgia, so do check back soon. If you think you or someone you know could benefit from aromatherapy massages, or you would like a bespoke oil blend created for you, then please do not hesitate to get in touch and I will be more than happy to offer my advice.