So while pain medications can be a helpful part of a treatment plan for chronic joint pain, care should be taken to use them sparingly. Luckily, there are a lot of natural treatments available that can reduce your dependence on meds by taking care of the factor that drives the pain in the first place – inflammation.
If you are able to reduce your inflammation, your pain will also go down. Your joints will also feel less stiff and will move more easily. A diet high in fruits, vegetables, and plenty of water goes a long way toward naturally reducing inflammation, but it’s not always enough.
To get even more benefit from natural anti-inflammatory substances, we are going to share the recipe for massage oil that is applied topically. It has two active ingredients – olive oil and salt – so you may be eating this oil already. We think you’ll be surprised by how much better you feel if you also rub it into painful joints. For starters, let’s look at each of the individual ingredients.
Olive oil is recommended highly over vegetable oils because it is naturally extracted, rather than chemically created. It is high in a group of antioxidants called polyphenols, which studies show are able to slow down the aging of your cells. Therefore, chronic conditions that cause joint pain, such as arthritis, take longer to affect cells to the point that you experience pain.
But olive oil also attacks inflammation directly via a compound called oleocanthal. Oleocanthal is able to prevent enzymes responsible for inflammation from ever being activated. This mechanism is the same as that used by ibuprofen to reduce inflammation.
Sea salt is a different breed of salt that contains much more nutritive value than table salt. While table salt has been heavily processed to remove minerals and prevent clumping, sea salt is grainier but delivers a good amount of magnesium, potassium, calcium, copper, and zinc. Because sea salt is harvested rather than processed, the level of these minerals varies depending on the source.
Now, despite the healthy minerals contained in sea salt, it does contain about as much sodium as table salt. Eating too much sodium is known to cause inflammation, so we recommend getting your vitamins and minerals from other healthy food sources like lean meat and organic produce. However, when rubbed on the skin during massage, sea salt can impart the benefit of its minerals without the price of eating sodium.
The magnesium in sea salt may be especially beneficial as a deficiency has been shown to drive inflammation. Beyond reducing inflammation, magnesium is involved in hundreds of bodily processes, notably muscle contraction, energy levels, and brain function.
Potassium is also a mineral with a diverse set of jobs. One of them is keeping your muscles strong and working effectively. You may not immediately think of your muscles when your joints hurt, but reliable support is really important to keep joints stabilized. If you have a chronic joint condition, building up the muscles around the area can also do wonders for the pain.
And finally, sea salt in general has been linked to a healthy immune system. Inflammation is actually an immune response that is valuable for certain types of injuries and conditions. Unfortunately, it can go haywire and cause unnecessary pain all the time. One way to improve your immune system is through diet, but another major one is stress reduction. And to that end, let’s talk about massage.
The oil recipe we are going to share is applied through gentle massage to the affected joints. Massage itself is an excellent remedy for inflammation for a couple of reasons. One is that it relaxes the body and reduces stress. Stress causes a major drain on our immune systems. Another is that it increases blood flow to affected areas.
However, when you are dealing with inflammation, it is important that your massage be gentle. Too much pressure will cause micro tears in your muscle fibers – this is normally okay because repairing those tears is how stronger muscles are built. But it also causes inflammation, the very thing you want to reduce in areas around painful joints.
Making the Oil
The recipe is simple and easy to prepare.
- 1 cup (200 ml) water
- 20 tablespoons (300 ml) of olive oil
- 10 tablespoons (150 ml) of sea salt
Simply mix the ingredients until the salt has dissolved fully. For ease of application, we recommend storing your oil in a spray bottle; just remember to shake it before use to reintegrate the ingredients. When you are ready to apply it, simply spray a light coating over your affected joints and massage them gently for a few minutes.
Start with just a minute or two upon your first application, but gradually work up to 15 minutes of massage per day. For even better results, you can prepare your skin to receive the oil by applying a warm wet compress for 10 minutes prior to the massage. This opens up pores and relaxes the muscles around your joints, which may be clenched due to pain. The heat is also great for easing stiff joints.
This all natural joint pain remedy may or may not be enough to eliminate your need for pain pills all together, but it can certainly reduce your reliance on them and therefore protect you from the dangerous side effects of chemical remedies.
Applying the oil is a process that is calming and pleasurable in itself, so we encourage you to set aside some non-negotiable time for the kind of self-care that can make a huge difference in your pain levels day to day. Along with a healthy diet and adequate hydration, massage with an olive oil and sea salt combo is one of nature’s many gifts for healing.