Thursday, 28 May 2009

Castor Oil

Castor Oil
Photo by Pro-Zak.
“Castor oil will leave the body in better condition than it found it” says Dr McGarey, author of Oil That Heals.

Castor Oil (Ricinus communis), also known as Palma Christi or the palm of Christ, is derived from the seeds of the Castor plant.

It penetrates deeply into the skin and is able to reach the Stratum Corneum layer of the epidermis making it excellent for all skin disorders and complaints. It is an anti-inflammatory due to its main constituent Ricinoleic acid (89.5%).

Castor oil derivatives are often added to modern pharmaceutical drugs to enhance it or as a carrier for the active ingredients.

The properties of castor oil include laxative (when taken orally), anti-inflammatory, antibacterial, antiviral, antifungal, digestive, hepatic, analgesic, antimicrobial, cleansing, stimulates the lymph system, strengthens the immune system, and it balances the autonomic nervous system.

It can be used for constipation, endometriosis, menstrual cramps, acne, burns, colitis, irritable bowel syndrome, crohn’s disease, cuts/abrasions, fibroids, breast lumps, bunions, sprains/strains, sciatica, gallbladder and liver problems, ovarian cysts, back pain, sunburn, headaches, muscular and joint aches and pains, inflammation, psoriasis, eczema, rheumatism, warts, ring worm, athlete’s foot, moles and liver spots, arthritis, skin disorders and infections, pain. The list is endless – it probably could be used for any common ailment going – try it out and see what results you get.

Castor Oil can either be massaged directly on the area you wish to treat or using it in a heated compress. Edgar Cayce advocated the use of Castor Oil in a compress to help with various ailments although they were used centuries before this in Eastern European countries. Castor Oil can also be taken internally for constipation as it is a very effective laxative but I do not recommend this method of administration and its use should be discussed with your GP if you wish to use it in this way.

To make a castor oil compress, you will need castor oil, a hot water bottle, a small hand towel, a sealable container, a piece of plastic, water, and baking soda. Although traditionally only castor oil was used in these compresses, essential oils can be added to help with a specific ailment. Fold the towel into three and place in the container and pour the castor oil over it. The container will collect any leftover oil which can be poured back in to the bottle. Ensure that the towel is saturated in oil but it should not be dripping. Place directly on the skin on the area in which it is needed. Cover the towel with the piece of plastic, and then place the hot water bottle on top. Leave the compress in place for about an hour. Remove the compress, and wipe the area with the water and baking soda solution to remove any residue. Once you have finished using the compress, store in the sealable container and keep in the fridge for your next treatment. The compress can be used many times – approximately 30 applications. It is recommended that you use the compress three days in a row and then four days without to help with any of the above. If it is an acute problem, you may only need to apply once leaving the compress in place until the symptoms/pain subsides.

Wednesday, 27 May 2009

Aromatherapy to Help your Studies

Aromatherapy to help your studies
Photo by davidhc.
It’s that time of year again when students are revising hard and preparing for their exams this summer. Whether it is a GCSE, AS/A2 level, or university exam, many students find it difficult maintaining concentration when studying for long periods of time, and often find it hard to recall facts and figures. Most students would also admit to feeling anxious or nervous before and during an exam.

Research has shown that aromatherapy positively affects the mood reducing stress and anxiety which are often felt at exam time; increases alertness giving you that much needed focus to revise with; and improves memory recall. In one study, 40 participants were given three minutes of aromatherapy using two different essential oils – lavender (a relaxing oil) and rosemary (a stimulating oil). They were given simple maths computations to perform prior to and after using the essential oils. Although the participants who used the lavender oil reported that they felt drowsier, they felt more relaxed, felt less depressed, and most importantly, they performed the math computations faster and more accurately following aromatherapy compared to without the use of essential oils. Those who used the rosemary oil benefitted from increased alertness, reduced anxiety, and felt more relaxed. It was also found that they performed the math computations faster but the accuracy was no different compared with not using essential oils.

Rosemary is believed to have been woven into a garland and worn by students in ancient Greece as it was believed even then to strengthen the memory.

A couple of drops of the oils listed above can be burned in an oil burner when studying at home. You can also use them in the exam hall, simply add a couple drops of lavender or rosemary (or both) essential oils on to a tissue to take in with you.

Other oils which can help improve your brain power include lemon, sage, basil, eucalyptus, thyme, cypress, marjoram, and peppermint.

Those of you who aren’t students could benefit from using these essential oils in the workplace too.

If you are feeling really stressed and you don’t think the aroma of the essential oils is enough to help you relax, why not try an Indian head massage or an aromatherapy back massage. Balance Holistics offers a 10% student discount on all holistic treatments offered. Please mention you are a student when booking an appointment.

Good luck to everyone taking exams this summer.

Diego MA, Jones NA, Field T, Hernandez-Reif M, Schanberg S, Kuhn C, McAdam V, Galamaga R, Galamaga M. Aromatherapy positively affects mood, EEG patterns of alertness and maths computations. Int J Neurosci. 1998 Dec; 96(3-4):217-24

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Tuesday, 26 May 2009

Massage and Body Image

In Cancer Nursing: Care in Context by Jessica Corner and Christopher Bailey, it says “Body image is subjective, an inner representation, and may bear no relationship to how a person’s body appears to others. One might, for example, imagine one’s body at different times as fat, thin, ugly, pretty, when in reality one’s external physical appearance has not changed.”

In Body Image: A Handbook of Theory, Research and Clinical Practice, massage is named as being helpful in positively affecting body image “by helping the client reconnect to the body in a very concrete manner.” Massage gives you the chance to reflect on your thoughts and emotions. It allows you to become aware of your body giving you the chance to listen to what it has to say. It also allows your body time and space to be nurtured and pampered – just as it deserves.

Just by agreeing to a massage indicates that you are accepting yourself and, in turn, changing your own body image, says Mario-Paul Cassar and Clare Maxwell, authors of Handbook of Clinical Massage: A Complete Guide for Students and Practitioners. They say that massage helps you to build up a new body image and, in doing so, restarts the process of loving yourself.

Massage is just one way of altering your body image but there are hundreds of ways that can help to improve how you feel about yourself and your body. Take time to do nice things for your body such as taking a relaxing bath, putting on a face mask, having a massage, a manicure or a pedicure, or treating yourself to a new moisturiser or perfume.

Being truly happy about yourself is about changing your head, not your body, says Marcia Germain Hutchinson, author of Transforming Body Image: Learning to Love the Body You Have. She suggests that if body image is a product of the imagination, then it can also be changed using the imagination. By incorporating activities such as meditation, visualisation, going for a walk in nature, and positive affirmations in to your life, your body image will become more positive.

In 2007, a researcher from Korea studied the effects of Aromatherapy massage on abdominal fat and body image in post-menopausal women. Participants received six weekly full body massages and massaged their own abdomens twice a day for five days a week for the duration of the study. The results of the study were very positive showing a reduction in fat and waist circumference in the experimental group compared to the control group (they also received massage but without any essential oils). The study also showed that body image was also significantly better after receiving the aromatherapy massage compared to those receiving normal massage although their body image was also improved.

If regular massage and aromatherapy helped reinforce a more positive body image for these women, then I would suggest it can help improve everyone’s body image – male or female, young or old.

Research on the effect of massage on body image has also been carried out on people with eating disorders such as anorexia nervosa and bulimia, people with Multiple Sclerosis, and on women who have had a mastectomy all showing positive results.

Effect of aromatherapy massage on abdominal fat and body image in post-menopausal women. Taehan Kanho Hakhoe Chi. 2007 Jun;37(4):603-12

Buy One Get One Half Price

Balance Holistics is offering a buy one get one half price on a number of therapies during June.

Simply book an appointment, quoting reference BLOGM09, to benefit from this fantastic offer. You could choose two of the same treatments or try two completely different ones — the choice is yours! Choose from Aromatherapy Massage, Swedish Massage, Indian Head Massage, Reflexology, or Reiki. This offer is only available throughout June and may be used once only.

For further information or to book and appointment, please contact Sarah on 07851 307 062 or enquiries@balanceholistics.co.uk.

Monday, 25 May 2009

Steam Inhalation for Hayfever

Steam Inhalation for Hayfever
Hayfever affects everyone differently. Symptoms include sneezing, blocked or runny nose, sinus congestion, itchy eyes, nose and/or throat, headaches, lack of concentration, sleep disturbances, and generally feeling unwell.

It is possible for you to be allergic to one or more types of pollen and this determines when your symptoms will be at their most severe. If you are allergic to grass pollen for example, your symptoms will be at their worst May through to July/August.

There are many different types of medication available including nasal sprays and anti-histamines which help to relieve the symptoms associated with hayfever. Another way to help relieve these symptoms is to use steam inhalation which can also be used in conjunction with prescription and over-the-counter remedies.

For a steam inhalation, you will need a non-metallic bowl, 2-3 drops of the appropriate essential oils, a towel, and some boiling water. Pour boiling water into the bowl. Position your head over the bowl and cover with the towel; this will help prevent the steam and vapours being lost. Place the essential oils into the hot water. Breathe in the vapours slowly. Steam for 5 to 10 minutes. This can be done up to three times daily. Ensure that your eyes are closed throughout the steam inhalation. You may find that you need to blow your nose after the steam inhalation as the steam helps to loosen any congestion.

There are many essential oils which can help relieve the symptoms of hayfever especially oils with expectorant, mucolytic, anti-inflammatory, and immune system stimulating properties. Ones which are particularly helpful for hayfever include eucalyptus, lavender, rosemary, pine, frankincense, thyme, niaouli, chamomile (German and Roman), cajuput, myrtle, tea tree, and peppermint. Several essential oils are anti-histaminic such as manuka, plai, orange, tangerine, blue tansy, and lemon.

My personal favourites to use in a steam inhalation for hayfever are plai, eucalyptus, and thyme.

If you don't have any essential oils and don't want to buy any, you can still benefit greatly from a steam inhalation without essential oils. The warm, moist steam alone helps clear and soothe the nasal passages and throat - the essential oils just enhance this affect adding in their individual properties to the mix.

I was told that inhaling a drop of Roman Chamomile on a tissue every day in the lead up to the hayfever season can help to lessen any reaction you might have to pollen. I haven’t personally tried this out but Chamomile is known for its anti-histaminic property so I don’t see why it shouldn’t work.

Steam inhalations can also help relieve the symptoms of colds/flu, sinusitis, headaches, asthma, bronchitis, and other upper respiratory problems.

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Sunday, 24 May 2009

Psoriasis and Essential Oils

While surfing the net for information on essential oils, I came across a forum which had a post regarding Psoriasis and the use of essential oils. It said: “Avoid oils which promote cell regeneration as the psoriasis symptoms are caused by excessive cell growth. Lavender essential oil, and shea butter are just two of the oils to avoid”.

I have no idea whether this person was a trained Aromatherapist or not and as I wasn’t a member of the forum, I was unable to get involved in the discussion and ask more information about what they had said. I went and had a look in my books for other oils which are cell regenerators and came up with a long list but some of these oils were also listed as being beneficial for Psoriasis. This confused me somewhat.

MedicineNet.com describes Psoriasis as “a noncontagious common skin condition that causes rapid skin cell reproduction resulting in red, dry patches of thickened skin. The dry flakes and skin scales are thought to result from the rapid buildup of skin cells. Psoriasis commonly affects the skin of the elbows, knees, and scalp.”

On the WebMD website it says that a variety of factors can cause an episode of psoriasis “ranging from emotional stress and trauma to dry skin and streptococcal infection.” They also report that “80% of people having flare-ups report a recent emotional trauma, such as a new job or the death of a loved one. Many doctors believe such external stressors serve as triggers for an inherited defect in immune function.”

I contacted the Psoriasis Association to see if they could assist me on which products I should and shouldn’t use with psoriasis. I know Shea butter isn’t an essential oil but was interested that it has cell regenerating properties. The Psoriasis Association commented that “many people with psoriasis do use it [Shea butter] due to its intense moisturising properties.” They couldn’t comment on individual essential oils as they said “unfortunately there has been very little research into the use of essential oils and psoriasis.”

I contacted the Aromatherapy Council to see if they could help me further. They suggested that I “should not look at the condition in isolation but look at the whole picture and blend oils to suit the individual at the time of treatment.” As a holistic therapist, this is something that I do naturally. Although lavender and other essential oils maybe cell regenerators (cytophylactic) they will only stimulate the growth of healthy cells so are therefore ok to use.

Essential Oils which can help Psoriasis include bergamot, clary sage, thyme, tea tree, cajuput, niaouli, lavender, chamomile, geranium, juniper, melissa, sandalwood, frankincense, benzoin, myrrh, and rose.

Carrier Oils which can help Psoriasis include avocado, carrot seed, jojoba, sesame, and wheatgerm.

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Friday, 22 May 2009

Eucalyptus Variations

Eucalyptus Essential Oils
Photo by ximenatapia.
When I first trained as an aromatherapist I thought I new what Eucalyptus smelt like and that there was only one. Recently, I discovered that there are in fact over two hundred varieties of Eucalyptus trees and five different Eucalyptus essential oils all with slightly different aromas.

The most common Eucalyptus oil is Eucalyptus Globulus, the other lesser known ones include Eucalyptus Citriodora, Eucalyptus Radiata (this one I am particularly fond of), Eucalyptus Staigeriana, and Eucalyptus Smithii.

They all have similar healing properties although some are better at one thing than another.

Eucalyptus Radiata has a similar composition to that of the essential oils from the Melaleuca family (e.g. tea tree). It stimulates the immune system making it beneficial to people who are tired, run down, and/or prone to frequent colds and infections. It is less likely to cause skin irritation compared with Eucalyptus Globulus. Eucalyptus Radiata is excellent for reducing inflammation helping with arthritis, sprains, strains, torn ligaments and tendons. It can also be beneficial in cases of Endometriosis. It is said to be absorbed by the skin better than the other Eucalyptus oils.

As the name suggests, Eucalyptus Citriodora is lemon scented and is often called Lemon Eucalyptus. It is a very rich source of citronellal making it a powerful insect repellent, it is hypotensive, calming to the nervous system, and a febrifuge (lowers body temperature to prevent or alleviate fever). It has a similar strength anti-inflammatory property as Eucalyptus Radiata.

Eucalyptus Smithii is anti-viral and an expectorant. It is considered to be the mildest of the Eucalyptus essential oils making it more favourable for use with children and the elderly. It is less likely to cause skin irritation and the aroma isn’t quite as strong.

Like Eucalyptus Citriodora, Eucalyptus Staigeriana is also lemon scented. It is another gentler Eucalyptus so can be used on people with more sensitive skin including children and the elderly. It has similar physical properties to Lemon oil.

Eucalyptus Globulus is used in both Eastern and Western medicine especially in preparations which aid the respiratory tract such as colds/flu, coughs, and asthma.

Below is a table comparing some of the properties of these five Eucalyptus essential oils. It is not a definitive list as information about the lesser known Eucalyptus oils is not as widely available as that of Eucalyptus Globulus.

PropertyEucalyptus GlobulusEucalyptus RadiataEucalyptus CitriodoraEucalyptus SmithiiEucalyptus Staigeriana
AnalgesicY Y Y
Anti-inflammatoryYYY Y
Anti-microbialYYY Y
Anti-viral YYYY
Boosts immune system Y   
DecongestantYY  Y
Diuretic    Y
Febrifuge  Y  
Hypotensive  Y  
Insect repellant  Y  
Lowers blood sugarY   Y
MucolyticYY YY
Nervine  Y  
Sedative  YY 
StimulantY YY 

Wednesday, 20 May 2009

How to make your own Aromatherapy Dough

Make your own Aromatherapy dough
Photo by katharos.
Play dough infused with essential oils can be played with to aid relaxation, help reduce stress, improve flexibility and mobility in the finger and wrist joints, and reduce stiffness and pain in the hands. It’s also great fun. Ready made aromatherapy dough is available but I thought in this post I would explain how to make your own aromatherapy dough.

To make your dough, you will need: 2 cups flour, 2 cups warm water, 1 cup salt, 2 tbsp vegetable oil, 1 tbsp cream of tartar, food colouring (optional), essential oils of your choice

Mix all the ingredients together (except the essential oils) in a saucepan and place over a low heat, stirring continuously. When the dough starts to form a clump in the middle of the pan, remove from the heat and allow to cool. The dough shouldn’t be sticky so if it is, you need to cook it for a bit longer. Once it has cooled, make a hollow in the dough ball, add your essential oils to it, and need well to distribute the oils throughout the dough. And there we have it – your very own aroma dough! In between use, store your dough in an air tight container.

Add lavender, neroli, sandalwood or frankincense essential oils for stress relief and relaxation. Add eucalyptus, cajuput, plai, black pepper or ginger essential oils for rheumatism, arthritis, and repetitive strain injuries.

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Wednesday, 13 May 2009

Athlete’s foot from a Reflexology point of view

According to the TheFreeDictionary's Medical dictionary , athlete’s foot is “a common fungus infection between the toes in which the skin becomes itchy and sore, cracking and peeling away. Athlete's foot (also known as tinea pedis or foot ringworm) can be treated, but it can be tenacious and difficult to clear up completely.”

Athlete’s foot can affect any area of the foot but it is mainly found between the fourth and fifth toes and sometimes between the third and fourth toes. In this post, I will discuss the meaning of Athletes’ foot at these two sites on the foot from a Reflexology point of view.

When Athlete’s foot presents in between the fourth and fifth toes (the most common site it occurs), it can be indicative of congestion or an imbalance in the bladder meridian which ends on the outer edge of the back of the little toe. This meridian starts at the inner corner of the eye, travels up over the top of the head, down the back into the legs and finishing at the little toe. An imbalance in the bladder meridian can also cause weak joints of the feet and ankles, various toe conditions including pigeon toe, bent toes and athlete’s foot as already discussed; painful, tight calf muscles; leg cramps and varicose veins; haemorrhoids; sciatica, back pain, neck tension, and stiffness; and headaches and eye problems.

When Athlete’s foot occurs in between the third and fourth toes it can be an indication of an imbalance in the gall bladder meridian which ends on the back of the fourth toe. Like the bladder meridian, the gall bladder meridian starts at the eye but in this case on the outer edge, and travels across the temples and down to the shoulders, then goes down the length of the body through the legs and ending on the fourth toe. Congestion along the gall bladder can also cause other foot problems such as corns and hammertoes on the fourth toe in particular; knee problems; skin conditions along the course of the meridian including eczema, psoriasis, and varicose veins; pain in the hip, groin, and shoulder areas; asthma; migraines, headaches and eye problems.

The reflex points at which Athlete’s foot appears are the ear, Eustachian tube, and upper lymphatics.

As athlete’s foot is contra-indicated for Reflexology, the area around it should be avoided. It is very important to minimise the risk of spreading the condition so wash your hands thoroughly after treating the feet.

I would work on the bladder, kidneys, adrenals, liver, and gall bladder reflexes to help balance the affected meridians – all of which are located far from the site of the Athlete’s foot.

Tea tree essential oil is extremely good at getting rid of Athlete’s foot. More information on Tea Tree can be found in the Essential Oil of the Week – Tea tree post.

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Sunday, 10 May 2009

15 Ways to Use Essential Oils

1. Therapeutic massage. Add up to 8 drops of your chosen essential oils to 10ml of carrier oil and either massage yourself or get someone else to do it. Professional therapeutic massage is very relaxing and beneficial for many common ailments.

2. Inhalation. Add 4-6 drops of your chosen essential oils to hot water. Cover your head with a towel, lean your face over the bowl of hot water ensuring that your eyes are closed, and breathe deeply.

3. Baths. Add 6-8 drops of essential oils to the bath water just before you get in. For a foot bath, you will only need 4 drops. With both, add the essential oils to a teaspoon of milk or dispersing agent and stir well before adding it to the bath water.

4. Room sprays. Add 8-10 drops of your chosen essential oil to 250ml of water. Distilled water is best for this. Pour into a spray bottle, and shake well before use.

5. Potpourri. Add 4-6 drops of essential oils to dried flowers, petals, leaves, fruit, etc. and shake up in a plastic bag. Place in a bowl in the room you wish to fragrance. Also, if your old potpourri has lost its fragrance, add some essential oils as above to bring it back to life.

6. Oil burners. Oil burners can be used therapeutically or to fragrance a room. Learn how to use an oil burner .

7. Ring burners. These are an alternative to an oil burner and do not require water or a candle. A specially designed terracotta or metal ring is placed on top of a standard light bulb and you can add 2-3 drops of your favourite essential oil to it to fragrance the room.

8. Aroma-stream. These are quite expensive items but are excellent to use if you have children or pets as there is no need for a candle making it a safer option. Also they can be left on over night so you can use oils to help aid sleep, relieve congestion, or to relax while you are sleeping.

9. Car diffuser. This device plugs in to your car cigarette lighter and diffuses the essential oils in to the car. Only a couple drops are required. Use essential oils to keep you focused and alert such as rosemary or peppermint; or oils to wake you up in the morning such as grapefruit; or even lavender to help reduce anxiety levels when you are stuck in traffic.

10. Aroma-dough. Essential oil scented dough can be handled and squished about to help reduce stress and to help mobilise fingers and wrist joints.

11. Scented candles. Essential oils can be added to a lit candle (but not near flame) to fragrance the room.

12. Pillows and handkerchiefs. If you don’t have an oil burner, add 2-3 drops of essential oils to a cotton wool ball and place on top of the radiator. Place one drop of essential oil on to a handkerchief and breathe in deeply – this is especially good using Eucalyptus or other decongestant oil when you have a cold, sinus congestion, hayfever, or other respiratory problems. Add 3 drops of essential oil to your pillow (or on a tissue which you can place on your pillow) – this is great if you suffer with insomnia and headaches. Lavender is always a good choice for this.

13. Body and facial creams. Essential oils can be added to unscented cream for use as body and facial moisturisers and can also be added to aloe vera gel and applied to cuts, burns, and various aches and pains to help alleviate the pain and speed up healing. Add up to 8 drops of essential oil to 10ml of base cream or gel for use on the body, and up to 4 drops to 10ml for use on the face.

14. Toiletries. Essential Oils can be added to unscented base toiletry products such as shampoos, conditioners, bubble bath, and bath oils. Use in same dilutions as for the body and facial creams above.

15. Compresses. Add 5-8 drops of essential oils to either hot or cold water. Soak a flannel in the water, wring out, and apply to the affected area. This is great for aches and pains, inflammation, and headaches. Learn how to make a compress.

Wednesday, 6 May 2009

Aromatherapy Bath Salts

Aromatherapy Bath Salts
At Christmas, I made a whole batch of Aromatherapy Bath Salts as gifts for friends and relatives. Everyone really liked them as I tailored each one to their own skin type and other needs. My favourite was the one I made for my mum scented with Geranium, Rose, and Lavender.

In this post, I am going to share the recipe that I used to make these heavenly bath salts so that you too can give it a go for yourself. They are simple and quick to make.

You will need 2 cups of Epsom Salt or Dead Sea Salt, 2 teaspoons of bicarbonate of soda; and 10-12 drops of essential oils.

To make the bath salts, mix the salt with the bicarbonate of soda in a bowl. Add your chosen essential oils to the salt and mix well. Pour the salts in to clean glass jars and put the lids on.

For dry and sensitive skin, you could use lavender, chamomile, geranium, rose, neroli, frankincense, sandalwood, jasmine, or ylang ylang essential oils.

For oily skin, you could use bergamot, lemon, tea tree, clary sage, lemongrass, petitgrain, cypress, geranium, juniper, lavender, rosemary, cedarwood, ylang ylang, sandalwood, or patchouli essential oils.

For mature skin, you could use clary sage, cypress, lavender, melissa, rosemary, geranium, benzoin, frankincense, neroli, patchouli, rose, or jasmine essential oils.

Friday, 1 May 2009

Natural Remedies for Bunions

This post outlines several natural remedies to help alleviate the inflammation and pain of bunions.

Epsom Salts Foot Bath. Soak your feet in a bowl of hot water with a couple tablespoons of Epsom Salts and soak for 10-15 minutes. It will soothe the pain, reduce inflammation, and reduce any stiffness in the joint. As a bonus, Epsom Salts help eliminate odours! More information on Epsom Salts can be found in The Wonder of Epsom Salts Baths post. You could also try taking alternating hot and cold foot baths (with or without the Epsom salts) as the contrasting temperatures can help relieve pain and speed up healing.

Iodine. I read in several books and websites that Iodine can be beneficial for bunions. I’ve never tried this but will definitely be giving it a go. I believe you can get an iodine cream which can be applied, or normal iodine can be combined with castor oil and massaged over the toe joint. Edgar Cayce, a renowned healer in his time, always advocated the use of castor oil packs in relieving pain and discomfort in the body. Castor oil has anti-inflammatory and analgesic properties.

Massage and Reflexology. Both Massage and Reflexology can be very beneficial if you are suffering from bunions. They can help to reduce inflammation and relieve pain in the area.

Homeopathy. This is one complementary therapy which I know very little about, but I have heard that the Sulphur homeopathic remedy can be beneficial for bunions.

Acupuncture. As mentioned in another post, Bunions can be indicative of an imbalance along the spleen/pancreas meridian. Acupuncture points are situated along the meridian lines throughout the body and are stimulated using Acupuncture needles to help remove any blockages and restore the normal flow of chi around these energy channels. Apart from treating with needles, there are two other techniques in Acupuncture to help with bunions – the first is Zheng gu shui which is an ointment which warms the joint and helps to break up calcium deposits like which are found in bunions; and the second is Moxa. I do not know much about these remedies so if this sounds like something you would be interested in trying, please consult with a qualified Acupuncturist.

Essential Oils. Chamomile, eucalyptus, cajuput, peppermint, ginger, cypress and juniper essential oils are recommended for helping various joint problems due to their analgesic and anti-inflammatory properties. Plai is also extremely good for joint pain.

Arnica and Calendula. Arnica and Calendula have been used medicinally for centuries. They both have anti-inflammatory properties so may help reduce the pain and inflammation around the toe joint. They can be purchased in cream form, as a salve or tincture, and as carrier oils.

Tiger Balm. Tiger Balm contains menthol, camphor, cajuput, clove, demontholised mint, and cassia – all of which are excellent for pain relief and inflammation. I’d recommend using the red version for bunions as it is a stronger pain reliever than the white version. More information on Tiger Balm can be found in The Wonder of Tiger Balm post.

More information about bunions can be found in the Bunions from a Reflexology Point of View post.

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