Essential oils have long been touted to have dozens of benefits, from pain recovery to even helping heal depression. And while there has been some promising research over the years, some of the benefits have been exaggerated.
The question remains, do essential oils help relieve plantar fasciitis pain?
At Sidekick, our mission is to give you the tools and resources to help you perform optimally in your everyday life. From recovering in competitive sports to ensuring you can take on the day no matter your goals.
We also believe that trusting science is important. In this article, we’ll look at what the science says about essential oils for plantar fasciitis pain relief and whether you should consider using essential oils in your recovery.
Essential oil for plantar fasciitis, what does the science say?
The current science is clear; there’s just not enough evidence to broadly support essential oils as a tool for plantar fasciitis relief specifically.
“Although people claim essential oils are natural remedies for a number of ailments, there’s not enough research to determine their effectiveness in human health. Results of lab studies are promising — one at Johns Hopkins found that certain essential oils could kill a type of Lyme bacteria better than antibiotics — but results in human clinical trials are mixed.
Some studies indicate that there’s a benefit to using essential oils while others show no improvement in symptoms,” says Johns Hopkins Medicine
That said, while most of the current research points to being non-conclusive, some promising studies suggest essential oils may benefit pain relief and inflammation.
For example, one study on the antioxidant and anti-inflammatory effects of lavender oil found that it had analgesic and anti-inflammatory properties. Other research suggests that lavender oil “can lower levels of the stress hormone cortisol, and inhaling lemongrass aroma before a stressful event can prevent anxiety.” Essential oils have even been used to help neck pain in some cases.
Oils beyond lavender have also shown some promise.
Examine, which provides independent analysis on supplements and nutrition, concludes that Rose oil has, “sufficient (preliminary) evidence to suspect rose has biologically relevant relaxing properties when used as an aromatic, although larger trials to validate its aromatherapeutic potential would be needed to support its usage as monotherapy.”
While many studies have been done around essential oils on pain and inflammation, there have yet to be multiple reputable studies focused exclusively on plantar fasciitis relief.
Which brings us to the question…
Should you use essential oil for plantar fasciitis?
Despite the evidence lacking for essential oils being an effective tool to treat pain specifically, there’s very little risk to giving them a try.
Purchasing a wide variety of essential oils is relatively inexpensive, so you can experiment with little downside. If you find them effective, great! But we don’t recommend going out of your way to load up your online shopping cart.
However, it is important to note that because essential oils aren’t regulated, there is some risk you may not be getting exactly what you buy. Some companies may use low-quality ingredients to save on cost, or worse, mislead you on exactly what you’re buying.
Using essential oils can be enjoyable and promote relaxation
Regardless of what the science says about essential oils and pain relief, many find simply the act of using essential oils to promote relaxation and reduce stress, similar to practicing mindfulness, which has been proven to help manage pain overall.
If you’ve ever had a hot oil massage, you know how relaxing it can feel. The smell of essential oils such as peppermint and lavender is incredibly soothing to many. Looking forward to using your favorite essential oil after a long day could be just enough to ensure you consistently practice your recovery routine, which in turn will help you see maximum results.
Whether you’re massaging your feet or just want to promote a more calm and relaxing atmosphere at home, essential oils may be worth trying out.
Essential oil for plantar fasciitis, popular essential oils to try
Remember, essential oils are not necessary for optimal relief when it comes to your recovery, though they may help in your specific case.
We do not recommend investing heavily in essential oils, especially if you’re on a tight budget or if your plantar fasciitis pain is especially severe.
It’s also important to always dilute oils before applying to your skin and follow any label instructions of the essential oils you purchase. Additionally, not all essential oils can be applied topically, so be sure to confirm whether it’s safe to apply to your feet.
Here are a few popular essential oils to consider.
A favorite of essential oil enthusiasts, peppermint oil contains menthol, a common ingredient found in hot/cold sprays such as BioFreeze and Icy Hot and known to help relieve minor aches and pain. It doesn’t hurt, it smells great too! Use 1 teaspoon of oil per 3-5 drops of peppermint oil.
Another fan favorite, lavender is believed to have “anti-inflammatory, antifungal, antidepressant, antiseptic, antibacterial and antimicrobial properties, as well as antispasmodic, analgesic, detoxifying, hypotensive, and sedative effects.” Like peppermint oil, aim for 1 teaspoon of oil for every 3-5 drops of lavender.
One of the most versatile essential oils used for everything from pain relief to mosquito repellent, eucalyptus extract has shown promise of providing pain relief.
As Medical News Today notes, “In a study published in the American Journal of Physical Medicine and Rehabilitation, scientists applied Eucalyptamint on the anterior forearm skin of 10 people. The scientists concluded that “Eucalyptamint produced significant physiologic responses that may be beneficial for pain relief and/or useful to athletes as a passive form of warm-up.” Consider adding 6-7 drops of eucalyptus oil to 1-2 teaspoons of your favorite massage oil.
We understand that if you suffer from plantar fasciitis, you’ll do almost anything to relieve the pain. And while many claim essential oils to be the ultimate cure for your pain, current science doesn’t yet fully support it as a reputable treatment for your pain.
However, as the current research stands, there’s very little harm in adding them to your recovery tool kit, just don’t expect a miracle. You can try a variety of essential oils out while doing plantar fasciitis massage at home.
If you decide essential oils aren’t your thing, and you want an effective and proven way to help with your plantar fasciitis, muscle scraping might just be your best bet.
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