The term rheumatism is used medically to include a whole group of disorders that involve pain in the muscles or joints, including rheumatism, the various forms of arthritis, gout and fibrositis. General use, however, distinguishes between those that involve joint pain (arthritis and gout) and those in which the pain is experienced mainly in the muscles (rheumatism and fibrositis) which are discussed here.
Anti-rheumatic essential oils include those which give local relief from pain and those which may help to eliminate some of the toxins which are involved in rheumatic conditions as causes of pain. Any of the analgesic oils can be helpful locally, but those which have been found most effective are Camomile, Lavender, Marjoram and Rosemary. Hot compresses give considerable relief but should not be relied on as the only, or main, form of treatment, as the repeated application of heat may lead to congestion in the area which will eventually make the condition worse. Massage should be given as often as possible, to stimulate local circulation and thus remove toxins more effectively. Baths are always a good back-up treatment, and this is perhaps the best way of using those oils which aid elimination of toxins. Juniper is the most important of these, but Cypress, Lavender and Rosemary are almost as valuable.
If the sufferer can bear it, the application of alternate hot and cold compresses is very beneficial. Dietary adjustment, such as described for arthritis, is important.
See also the entries for Arthritis and Gout.
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