As I share essential oils with others, way too often when I ask “what is your number one health concern?” I get the answer joint ache.
This answer is more common with older people but since it’s so common, I think the younger crowd has to pay close attention too, because in many cases when it comes to health it’s much easier to prevent than to treat or cure.Even though I don’t personally suffer from joint pain at the moment, I wanted to take some time and really learn about this condition so I can better help others with their pain. I can’t imagine how hard it is to go about your life with a constant ache that never goes away.
So in this post, I will go over the basics of arthritis and osteoporosis, what they are and how are they different, and I will share with you the best essential oils and a few natural supplements that are based on essential oils that can help you support healthier joints and bones.
What is Arthritis?
Arthritis is not a single disease, it is an informal way of referring to joint pain or joint disease.
There are actually more than 100 different types of arthritis, we will go over the main few later.
Arthritis is more common among women (but is definitely affecting men too) and occurs very frequently as people get older, but there are around 300,000 kids in America that also suffer from some kind of arthritis.
More than 50 million adults in the US have some type of arthritis and it’s the leading cause of disability in America.
In order to really understand arthritis, I think we have to learn the basic structure of joints.
The Basic Structure of Joints
Joints are formed where two or more bones meet, makes sense, right?
Joints that move freely, like those of the limbs, are called synovial joints.
Semi-movable joints, such as those of the pelvis and spine, are less flexible and give more stability to our body.
Some joints are fixed, and allow no movement at all, such as joints in the skull.
Arthritis is mostly affecting mobile joints so we will concentrate on the structure of synovial joints here.
The outer joint capsule of a synovial joint is made out of tough, fibrous connective tissue. It connects the bones and provides stability and strength.
The inside of the joint capsule is lined with a membrane called synovium. The cells of the synovium are responsible for secreting synovial fluid.
Synovial fluid, along with water, acts as a lubricant that helps smooth the sliding motion between the bones of the joint.
Another important part of the joint is the cartilage. The cartilage is a type of connective tissue that is like a sponge and has the ability to soak up and squeeze out water. The cartilage functions as both another form of lubricant and a shock absorber.
4 Main Types of Arthritis:
Degenerative Arthritis – or in other words osteoarthritis (this is where a lot of people get confused with osteoporosis…) is the most common type of arthritis.
Osteoarthritis is happening when the cartilage (the shock absorbent, spongy, connective tissue on the end of the bones) wears away. The bones of the joints start rubbing against each other causing pain, swelling, and redness.
Over time pain might become chronic, the joint will lose its strength, and there might be deformation in the bones of the joint since the bones are trying to compensate for the loss of cartilage. This can become so severe that joint replacement might be necessary.
Inflammatory Arthritis – or in other words Rheumatoid Arthritis is an autoimmune condition.
In a healthy immune system, the body’s white blood cells fight against invaders like bacteria and viruses. But the immune system can go awry and instead attack healthy tissue (read more about essential oils to support a healthy immune system here). This happens when the immune system can not tell the difference between foreign invaders and healthy body tissue.
In Rheumatoid Arthritis, white blood cells enter the synovium and attack the joint. The result is uncontrolled inflammation, redness, stiffness, warmth, and, of course, pain.
It is important to note here that other autoimmune conditions can cause Rheumatoid Arthritis and the other way around. So people with Hashimoto’s disease (an autoimmune disease that prevent the thyroid from working properly) are at high risk for developing Rheumatoid arthritis and visa verse (read more about essential oils to support a healthy hormonal balance here).
Lupus, which is an autoimmune disease that can destroy the body’s healthy tissue, is another disease to mention here. Rheumatoid arthritis is often a symptom of Lupus since along with the skin and other organs, Lupus attacks joints as well.
Metabolic Arthritis – or in other words gout, is a form of arthritis caused by the body’s failure to break down purines, a substance found in the body’s cells naturally and in many foods.
Purines break down to uric acid which the body removes in the urine. Sometimes there are high levels of uric acid in the body; maybe because the kidneys which are responsible for breaking down purines don’t function as they should, the acid crystallizes and the crystals deposit in the joints.
Eventually, this causes sudden attacks of pain, redness, and swelling.
Infectious arthritis – is caused when a bacteria, virus, or fungus enters the joints and triggers inflammation.
Most of the time, infectious arthritis develops when infection somewhere else in the body travels to the joints and causes redness, swelling, pain, stiffness, fever, and chills.
Many times treatment with antibiotics will clear the infection, but sometimes the pain becomes chronic.
What Causes Arthritis?
After learning the types of arthritis, you can see that there are many different causes for it.
Normal wear and tear of the cartilage can lead to osteoarthritis. Age, obesity, joint injury, or family history might play a role here.
No one really knows what triggers the immune system to attack healthy body tissue, but the cause for Rheumatoid arthritis might have something to do with your genes.
Bad kidneys or large consumption of foods containing high levels of purines, like red meat, anchovies, and dry legumes (lentils, peas, and beans), might cause metabolic arthritis.
And infection like salmonella, shigella, hepatitis C and others might bring on infectious arthritis.
So Now, What is Osteoporosis?
Many people confuse between osteoarthritis and osteoporosis, clearly, the name can be a bit confusing. But where Osteoarthritis and other forms of arthritis affect the joints, osteoporosis is a condition in the bone itself.
Osteoporosis is a condition where the bones become brittle and fragile from the loss of tissue typically as a result of hormonal changes or deficiency of calcium or vitamin D.
Bones become less dense therefore there is a decrease in strength and the result is a very fragile bone that can easily break but not easily heal.
Causes of Osteoporosis
Many factors can increase the risk of developing osteoporosis…
Being a female, having a small body frame, or a family history of osteoporosis.
Cigarette smoking, excessive alcohol consumption, lack of exercise.
Poor nutrition, a diet low in calcium, lack of vitamin D, or the body’s inability to properly absorb nutrients from the gastrointestinal system (diseases like celiac can contribute to this).
Low estrogen, low testosterone, chemotherapy, and hyperthyroidism.
And lastly, chronic inflammation, like arthritis such as rheumatoid arthritis and liver disease can cause osteoporosis.
Essential Oils to Support Healthy Joints and Bones
**Please be advised, I am NOT a doctor, NOT a doctor. I’ve been using oils for a couple of years. I’ve always believed in the power of plants, oils simply bring to me powerful plants that I can’t grow in my backyard. I also love how simple it is to use them. I am passionate about sharing this info with others, my ultimate goal is to transfer you to natural remedies that don’t cause a bazillion side effects.
This is really exciting, you guys, because there are a lot of oils you can use to both support healthy joints and bones as a prevention and use if you are already experiencing joint discomfort and bone deterioration to help relieve the ache and improve the situation.
The best oils to support healthy joints and bones are frankincense, rosemary, marjoram, eucalyptus, white fir, peppermint, lavender, cypress, juniper berry, ginger, roman chamomile, helichrysum, cedarwood, wintergreen, basil, oregano, turmeric, and clove.
I also recommend copaiba essential oil to help relieve the pain.
A great premade blend to use is doTERRA’s Deep Blue that is specifically formulated to support muscles and joints.
All those oils can be defused around your house all the time. But I think that with arthritis and osteoporosis using them topically or internally will be more effective.
It is important to learn a bit more about essential oils safety before using oils, especially pure oils, but generally speaking, and this information applies to doTERRA only, I do not know about other brands, if you see “ingredients” listed on the bottle, you can only use this oil topically or aromatically. If you see “Supplement Facts” listed on the bottle, you can use it internally.
So for example, Deep Blue can only be used aromatically or topically but basil can be used internally, aromatically, and topically.
(**doTERRA’s essential oils are sold by Wellness Advocates like myself so you have a personal connection with someone that has more experience. DO NOT hesitate to ask any question you might have before using essential oils, this is what we are here for!)
You can decide to own a few of the oils or collect all of them over time and use them separately throughout the day. So you might apply a couple of drops of frankincense in the morning, then a couple of drops of clove at lunchtime, and a couple of drops of Deep Blue before you go to sleep.
You can also purchase roller bottles (I have those ones and I love them) and make your own blends.
You can choose 3 or 4 of the above oils, add an equal number of drops from each of them to the roller bottle (let’s say 10 drops of each), fill it the rest of the way with fractionated coconut oil and carry it around with you. Apply it on the joint throughout the day every few hours.
Another way to use the oils topically is to add them to a therapeutic salt bath. Just choose an oil from the above list and add 2 drops to 1/4 cup of bath salt before you dissolve it in the warm water. Soak in, close your eyes, relax, and envision healthy bones and joints and strong body (no joke, your mind is more powerful than you give it credit!)
As for internal use, you can add a drop of basil or turmeric or rosemary (or one of the other oil that are safe for internal use) to a glass of water or add it to your bottle of water and sip throughout the day (make sure the bottle is glass or stainless steel, not plastic).
If you don’t care for the taste, doTERRA has veggie capsules that you can add a drop of oil to and swallow.
Essential Oils Supplements to Support Healthy Joints and Bones
Lifelong Vitality Pack – I am not sure how to convey in words how amazing this natural product is. This pack of vitamins is the best thing you can give yourself. It will give your body a boost of energy and strength that you will feel within a few days.
As one of doTERRA’s most popular products, doTERRA Lifelong Vitality Pack is full of essential nutrients, metabolism benefits, and powerful antioxidants designed to help promote energy, health, and lifelong vitality. The list of benefits is just too long to list, this complex works on improving you as a whole, improving every function and cell and preparing it and enabling it to receive the benefits of the other oils you use.
Bone Nutrient Lifetime Complex – this complex is a blend of vitamins and minerals that are essential for bone health.
The Bone Nutrient Lifetime Complex is formulated with bioavailable forms of natural nutrients that include vitamins C and D, calcium, magnesium, and other trace minerals that support healthy bone density as a person ages.
This is a must-have, and although doTERRA includes it under their women line of products it’s just as beneficial to men, so don’t let that confuse you.
Deep Blue Polyphenol Complex – (and other Deep Blue Products) although in the description of this product you will read a lot about its role in soothing muscles, it is very important for healthy bones and joints as well.
This complex includes oils like frankincense and ginger that will help reduce inflammation but it also includes turmeric which we don’t see in many other products.
Curcumin is the key chemical in turmeric, and it’s found that it can reduce pain, inflammation, and stiffness in the joints. It’s a good idea to add turmeric to your diet if you have Arthritis.
Now (2018), doTERRA added turmeric oil to its collection of exclusive oils and I can’t be more excited about it! I have a passion for old-fashion/grandma medicine and if you ask your grandma she’ll tell you that turmeric is the best thing to support healthy joints. Now we have it in essential oils.
Wholesale vs. Retail
So you see that there are a lot of ways you can naturally help your body support better joint health.
But, you guys, please remember, it’s so important where you get your oils from! I’ve seen many oils that stated 100% pure tested and found to not be an essential oil at all. The market of essential oils can be very deceiving.
I purchase my oils every month from doTERRA. And I trust them completely. Every one of their oils is tested multiple times before it’s sold to us and the plants that the oil is extracted from are sourced from their natural growing environment.
doTERRA gives us a couple of different ways to purchase oils and supplements.
You can purchase oils retail or you can choose to join our doTERRA family and purchase oils at wholesale prices. This works just like a Cosco membership, you pay a yearly fee of $35 and all your oils and supplements are 25% off retail price. There are many other benefits to becoming a doTERRA member, you can find more information here, and also visit my essential oils page here.
I know this can be confusing and I want you to know that I am here to help you find out what will be the best way for you to improve your health. Don’t hesitate to contact me, we can figure out together the right course of action for your particular situation.
Please join my essential oils email list. I send one email at the beginning of each month with essential oil information and our current promotions at doTERRA.