Focus on Conditions: Arthritis

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Arthritis (Arthro Joint, +Itis Inflammation)

The clue is in the name – arthritis is a condition which involves different forms of inflammation of the joints. I am often asked for advice on its treatment; however, most people do not realize that there are over 100 types of arthritis & thus diagnosis is important when giving advice. The symptoms, causes & treatments are as varied, but symptoms can generally be given as: joint pain, stiffness, locking, inflammation, swelling & sometimes effusion – fluid at the joints. The main forms of arthritis are listed below, of which the first two are the most common:


Arthritis joints-Nature To Nurture Aromatherapy & Massage in Hemel & St Albans

Arthritis most commonly affects the joints of the hands and feet

Osteo (bone) arthritis (OA)

This form of arthritis can be hereditary but may also result from wear & tear. The pain is usually described as a burning or a sharp ache with loss of mobility due to stiffness of the joints. In the long-term it can result in the loss of cartilage & the formation of bony nodules, which can form on smaller joints such as hands & feet. It can be assisted with gentle mobility but is made worse with prolonged, repetitive & excessive use of the affected joints. 

Rheumatoid Arthritis (RA)

Although it can have similar symptoms RA is an auto-immune condition, one in which the body’s own immune system doesn’t recognize & effectively attacks itself, which results in inflammation of the membranes surrounding the joints. Whereas OA tends to get progressively worse with age or use of the joints, RA tends to ‘flare-up’ & calm down in more sporadic bursts & is characterized by ‘rheumatoid nodules’, swellings on the joints. The main symptom is the inflammation, often symmetrical in the body, with the joints being stiff, swollen, warm & tender, most noticeably worse in the morning or after periods of inactivity.

Ankylosing Spondylitis (AS)

AS is a chronic inflammatory disease, with a strong genetic/hereditary link which tends not to show symptoms until the 20’s or 30’s. It only affects the axial skeleton – in other words the bones of the head & trunk. Often the lower back & sacrum are worse affected, with it sometimes spreading to the shoulders & hips, or the ribcage which can result in breathing difficulties. Pain & inflammation tends to be worse during rest & improve after movement but this can vary widely with each individual. Lack of mobility is usually the main issue, although fortunately now complete fusion of the spine is rare & medical intervention can be very effective in treating this form of arthritis.

Other Forms

Other forms of arthritis are more rare, but include Gouty Arthritis (caused by the formation of crystals in the joints), Psoriatic Arthritis (caused by Psoriasis, occurs in about 30% of sufferers), Juvenile Idiopathic Arthritis (no known cause, usually lasts no longer than 3 months), Septic Arthritis (caused by an infection of the joints) & Still’s Disease (a rare systemic disease).

Aromatherapy Essential Oils and Massage

There are many essential oils which can alleviate the symptoms of arthritis and greatly help to support those with the condition. I have many clients with different forms of arthritis, and in general both massage and aromatherapy can be very effective and soothing treatments. However, care must also be taken; for example, if OA has led to Osteoporosis or if bones are weaker, and a clear contraindication is during an RA flare-up we would not massage the affected area (although we can massage other areas of the body) so ensure you see a fully-qualified massage therapist who has followed a full training (like me!)

Arthritis Massage-Nature To Nurture Aromatherapy & Massage in Hemel & St Albans

Massage with Aromatherapy essential oils can be a highly effective treatment for arthritis


General – for use with massage

Bay Laurel, Black Pepper, Cajeput, Carrot Seed, German Chamomile (Matricaria recutita), Clove Bud, Eucalyptus globulus, Eucalyptus lemon, Eucalyptus radiata, Eucalyptus staigeriana, Ginger, Juniperberry, Lavender (Lavandula angustifolia), Lavandin, Lavender stoechas, Sweet Marjoram, Nutmeg, Pine, Plai, Rosemary (Rosmarinus officinalis), Thyme linalool, Turmeric



German Chamomile (Matricaria recutita)

German Chamomile (Matricaria recutita)

Osteoarthritis (OA)

Eucalyptus globulus, Helichrysum, Lavender (Lavandula angustifolia), Lavandin, Plai, Turmeric

Rheumatoid Arthritis (RA)

Eucalyptus globulus, Frankincense, Lavender (Lavandula angustifolia), Lavandin, Peppermint, Plai, Ravensara, Rose, Turmeric, Vetiver, Yarrow

Ankylosing Spondylitis (AS)

German Chamomile (Matricaria recutita), Ginger, Lavender (Lavandula angustifolia), Lavandin, Lemongrass, Plai


Essential Oil Blends

I would recommend a blend at 2.5% for general massage, and have made some suggestions here for effective blends which I use with massage for clients with arthritis. Use 30mls of carrier oil such as Sweet Almond or Sunflower Seed Oil and add the drops of essential oils below. If you wish to use less, use 15mls of carrier oil and halve the amount of drops below.

Osteoarthritis (OA)
  • Eucalyptus globulus 3 drops, Black Pepper 7 drops, Rosemary 5 drops (general)
  • Pine 4 drops, Lavender 8 drops, Eucalyptus globulus 3 drops (general)
  • German Chamomile 2 drops, Plai 6 drops, Lavandin 7 drops (inflammation)
Essential Oil For Aromatherapy - Nature To Nurture - Aromatherapy In Hemel & St Albans

Rose essential oil (Rosa damascena) is an incredibly soothing natural anti-inflammatory

Rheumatoid Arthritis (RA)
  • Rose 4 drops, Yarrow 2 drops, Frankincense 6 drops (general & inflammation)
  • Lavender 9 drops, German Chamomile 2 drops, Plai 4 drops (inflammation)
  • Juniperberry 8 drops, Ginger 5 drops, Peppermint 2 drops (worse in cold weather)
Ankylosing Spondylitis (AS)
  • Lavendin 7 drops, Lemongrass 3 drops, Ginger 5 drops (during seize-up)
  • German Chamomile 2 drops, Plai 6 drops, Lavandin 7 drops (inflammation)


Herbal Remedies – Support

The below remedies are recognized as effective in supporting those with arthritis, but as with all conditions they are not designed to replace prescribed medication and please check with your GP, specialist nurse or a qualified herbalist first to check if you are ok to use them.


Feverfew (Tanacetum parthenium)

Anti-inflammatory & muscle relaxant so is good for pain & inflammation. I would recommend seeing a naturopath or herbalist for specific advice on its use.

£5 for 50g (Neal’s Yard Remedies) – use loose herb to make tea or an infusion to make a cold compress

£10 for 150mls (NYR) – take as directed by herbalist, naturopath or instructions, in water


  • Viridian is an excellent source 350mg, £10.40 for 60 capsules, take as directed on bottle


Turmeric (Curcuma longa) is increasingly being studied for its health benefits for those with arthritis

Turmeric (Curcuma longa) is increasingly being studied for its health benefits for those with arthritis


Turmeric (Curcuma longa)

Curcumin, the active ingredient, is a powerful anti-inflammatory, used for centuries in Ayurvedic and Chinese medicine and increasingly being studied to relieve arthritis.

£3 for 50g (Neal’s Yard Remedies). Ask a herbalist or naturopath for advice on preparation


  • Holland & Barrett 400mg £8.99 for 100 capsules, take as directed on bottle

  • Viridian 400mg £7.10 for 30 capsules or £16.50 for 90 capsules, take as directed on bottle



Known to be beneficial for joint issues and in particular OA, Glucosamine is recommended by Arthritis Research UK and in the book ‘The Arthritis Cure’. I would recommend the below, which I take myself

  • Holland and Barrett, Glucosamine Chondroitin & MSM with Omega 369 Capsules, £17.49 for 60 capsules, take as directed on bottle

Also an excellent source:

  • ViridianGlucosamine & Chrondroitin Complex, £8.70 for 30, £13.36 for 60 or £18.70 for 90 capsules, take as directed on bottle


Omega Joint Oil

Also highly beneficial for joint pain and inflammation

  • Viridian, Joint Oil, £14.30 for 200mls (from website below or Neal’s Yard Remedies), take as directed on bottle


Natural Joint Supplements

Natural supplements to relieve joint pain and inflammation

Frankincense - Nature To Nurture - Aromatherapy In Hemel & St Albans

Frankincense (Boswellia carterii) a recongized natural anti-inflammatory and wound-healer, often included in joint care supplements

  • Viridian, Joint Complex, £9.35 for 30, £22.06 for 60 or £26.50 for 90 capsules, take as directed on bottle

Contains Glucosamine, Indian Frankincense, Vitamin C, Turmeric, joint-supporting antioxidant Quercetin, Bromelain, Ginger & Manganese

  • Neal’s Yard Remedies, Superfood Joint Supplement, £15 for 60 capsules, take as directed

Contains Indian Frankincense, Vitamin C, Turmeric, joint-supporting antioxidant Quercetin, Bromelain, Ginger, Green Tea, Rosemary, Celery Seed & Cayenne Pepper


 Arthritis as a condition can affect people in many different ways, but increasingly there are also many different natural treatments which can help to bring support, relief & work effectively alongside conventional allopathic medicine


If you suffer from any form of arthritis and wish to discuss how massage or aromatherapy treatments can work for you please do get in touch with me via my Contacts or Facebook page