Aromatherapy in the treatment of Raynaud's phenomenon
Raynaud's is a rare disorder of the blood vessels. Although for the main part confined to the fingers and toes, it can sometimes affect other parts of the body. Attacks cause blood vessels to narrow, preventing blood from reaching the surface of the skin. When this happens, the skin turns white and blue, and throbs upon returning to normal. The pain can be excruciating, and severe cases can result in tissue death and even gangrene.
The cause of Raynaud's is as yet unknown, but it is most likely to affect people living in colder climates, and those more sensitive to lower temperatures. Emotional stress can also be a trigger.
Raynaud's may present as primary (Raynaud's disease), when there are no secondary conditions observed. It tends to be worsened by use of tobacco and caffeine, and often develops in the early teens. It is most prevalent in females.
Secondary Raynaud's is known as Raynaud's syndrome, and is diagnosed when there are secondary conditions present. These can include connective tissue disorders such as Scleroderma, Lupus, and Arthritis; Eating disorders such as Anorexia; and obstructive disorders such as Atherosclerosis and Buerger's disease.
The use of drugs such as beta-blockers, and close proximity to low temperatures are known to exacerbate Raynaud's syndrome.
Since little is known publicly of either type, the condition can be particularly debilitating. However, there are some effective holistic methods of treatment, including Aromatherapy, which can benefit sufferers enormously. Presented here are two essential oil blends which can be used to ease the symptoms of Raynaud's. Presented below each blend is a 'Caddy' blending profile, detailing the composition of each essential oil.
As with any alternative therapy, please consult your doctor before using these blends.
Cooling, Soothing, Centering Blend
Purpose: Analgesic – Antispasmodic – Assist Circulation – Decongestant – Repair fragile skin – Balance Endocrine System – Sooth Nervous System
- Peppermint (middle note) 2 drops - Analgesic, antispasmodic, reduces inflammation, clears congestion, opens sinuses, promotes nerve health, and cools fever. This oil is cooling, invigorating, refreshing, relaxing, revitalizing, stimulating & particularly good for muscle aches & pain. Caution – May irritate sensitive skin, stimulates menstrual flow, stops flow of milk, should not be taken in conjunction with homeopathic remedies.
- Patchouli (base note) 2 drops - Antidepressant, anti-inflammatory, carminative, dry skin, wrinkles, nervine. This oil is calming, clearing, relaxing, soothing & particularly good for easing anxiety.
Sandalwood (base note) 3 drops - Antispasmodic, carminative, catarrh, immunity stimulant, sedative, skin conditioner, wrinkles. This oil is calming, centering, grounding, relaxing & excellent for osteoarthritis.
Note: If skin irritation occurs with this blend, substitute Lavender for Peppermint.
Cheering, Energising, Stimulating & Warming Blend
- Orange (top note) 2 drops - Antidepressant, antispasmodic, nervine, sedative. This oil is calming, cheering, inspiring, invigorating, refreshing, relaxing, uplifting & good for muscular aches & pains. Caution – Avoid use in sun. May irritate sensitive skin.
- Nutmeg (middle note) 1 drop - Antispasmodic, tonic & immune stimulant. This oil is energizing, rejuvenating, uplifting & warming. Particularly good for anxiety. Caution – NEVER use if pregnant or lactating, high toxicity, may cause skin irritation
- Rosemary (Middle note) 3 drops - Analgesic, antidepressant, anti-inflammatory, antispasmodic, antiviral, carminative, circulatory stimulant, decongestant, immunity stimulant, nervine. This oil is inspiring, invigorating, nervous tension, stimulating & warming, specifically recommended for Raynaud’s Disease! Caution - Avoid during pregnancy. Avoid if history of high blood pressure or epilepsy. Avoid use on damaged skin.
- Ginger (base note) 2 drops - Antispasmodic, carminative, circulatory stimulant, normalizes blood pressure. This oil is anchoring, energizing, invigorating, stimulating, strengthening & warming Excellent for rheumatism of any kind, bronchitis, chilblains, cramps, frostbite. Caution – May irritate sensitive skin. Slightly photo toxic
Note: Substitute Ylang Ylang for Nutmeg if pregnant