When fluids are trapped and collected in your lower limbs, they are unable to circulate through the rest of your body and cause your legs, ankles, and feet to become swollen. This condition is known as edema. While edema is not known to be life-threatening, it can be a symptom for a more serious condition or illness. If you begin experiencing this, it is best to consult a medical professional to receive proper treatment and diagnosis. However, most of the time, swollen limbs can be treated with a simple massage using several essential oils. The effects of these treatments for each person vary highly depending on body composition, so it is important to be careful when you try them out.
Essential Oils for Swelling
1. Chamomile Oil
Chamomile possesses anti-inflammatory properties that make it widely known as a treatment for poison ivy. However, it also works wonders as a treatment for swollen limbs. Use it by applying a few drops to the affected areas, and then kneading until the swelling subsides. Alternatively, you can apply the oil on a damp cloth that you can rub on your feet and legs. Chamomile also has a nice and relaxing scent you can enjoy as you massage yourself.
2. Lavender Oil
It can be used to massage and ease the discomfort of swelling in different body parts. To use, apply a few drops directly onto the affected areas and massage slowly, using moderate pressure. Continue doing this until the pain is relieved or until the swelling subsides.
3. Tea Tree Oil
Unlike most other essential oils, tea tree oil can be applied directly onto the skin without mixing or diluting it with other carrier oils. A few drops should be enough to treat the swollen area. Massage using outward strokes, moving from the feet up towards the knees to allow the trapped fluid to spread out. For best results, use twice a day until the swelling subsides.
4. Juniper Oil
Juniper oil is another one of the essential oils for swelling. It is great for easing inflammation that results from fluid retention. To use it, add half a teaspoon of juniper oil to a small tub of warm water and soaking your feet. However, take care that you don’t use too much of the oil, as it has been reported to cause irritation to the skin.
5. Fennel Oil
Another effective way to get rid of swelling is by using fennel oil, which can also be mixed with other types of essential oils. A recommended mixture of oils would be 15 drops each of cypress oil and fennel oil, mixed in with about 30 ml of evening primrose oil. Massaging the affected swollen areas is a quick way to relieve the pain and discomfort and help the inflammation go away.
6. Geranium Oil
Finally, geranium oil, otherwise called rose geranium oil, works by balancing the oil glands that cause skin to become inflamed. You can add a few drops of this to your bath water and soak in it to get rid of any swelling caused by the collection of fluids in your limbs. Alternatively, you can mix it with carrier oil and apply directly to swollen body parts. As an added bonus, geranium oil can also get rid of bug bites, acne, hemorrhoids, and cold sores.
How to Use Essential Oils for Swelling
1. Lemongrass, Grapefruit and Cypress Blend
These three essential oils contain properties that help reduce inflammation of the skin in only a few minutes. Measure 2 tablespoons of melted coconut, sunflower, or canola as carrier oil and mix in 2 to 3 drops each of lemongrass, cypress, and grapefruit essential oils. Alternatively, you can choose to mix ten drops of each of the three oils into a separate container, mixing well and then transferring 6 to 8 drops of the mixture into the carrier oil. Either way, apply the finished mixture on the swollen areas and start massaging well for about ten minutes. Remember to put your feet up as you massage to promote good blood flow. For best results, repeat this massage 2 or 3 times per day.
2. Wintergreen Essential Oil Soak
Wintergreen is not very popular, but it is another one of the great essential oils for swelling. Add about 2 or 3 drops to warm water sparingly, as this is a very strong oil. You can also add 5 to 8 drops each of cypress, lemongrass, peppermint, geranium, or lavender oils to the water to complement the wintergreen. For best results, soak your feet for at least ten minutes about 2 to 3 times per day. Alternatively, you can raise your feet and rub them with the essential oils mixed in carrier oil. You can even add small pebbles in the tub and rub your soles if you have swollen ankles. Be careful not to do this for swollen feet, as it will worsen the pain.
More Tips to Relieve Swelling
Aside from using essential oils, you can also take other measures to relieve swelling in your lower limbs:
- Keep yourself hydrated with water to flush out salt from your body.
- Avoid wearing tight clothing that can restrict blood flow to your limbs.
- Avoid eating food with lots of sodium. High levels of this can contribute to swelling.
- Take an Epsom salt bath. Epsom salt has anti-inflammatory properties that can reduce swelling.
When to Call Your Doctor
Combined with other symptoms, swelling can actually be a sign of problems with the kidney, liver, or heart. See a medical professional if you start experiencing fever, chest pain, and shortness of breath, if you are pregnant, or have been diagnosed with liver and heart problems, or if the swollen areas are warm to the touch.