Fibromyalgia

Fibromyalgia (FM) is according to some sources of information the most common of all rheumatic conditions despite the fact that it has been recognized and diagnosed as an ailment for only the past 10 years. It manifests as a multitude of symptoms that cause much distress and pain to the sufferers. So far, allopathic medicine is only able to relieve the discomforts and pains with analgesic and antidepressant drugs to ease daily life.

My work with fibromyalgia began more than 4 years ago at a request from the local Fibromyalgia Group of the Rheumatic Association. Initially, the aim was to find some way to ease the pain and to help with the sleeping problems experienced by those who suffer from FM. The first stage in programme was to create a self-help blend of essential oils. For this, case histories were taken from 20 FM sufferers. Information on their past and current state of health and medications was collected and then a blend of essential and base oils was formulated the (subsequently called Fibromix) and the group then tested its efficacy.

Half the group served as controls and the other half used the blend. Next, the control group used the blend and the original test group served as the control. Two of the subjects did not complete their part of the test, but sufficient positive information was gained to encourage making another shorter, simpler trial. In this second trial, seven FM sufferers took part in a 3-week test. Each of them recorded on a numerical scale their level of pain for I week without using the blend and then continued the same style of recording whilst using the oil blend for 2 weeks. The result showed lowered pain experience in all but one of the test subjects.

Following this success, aromatherapists here in Finland began to treat FM sufferers with aromatherapy massage. This article reports on these treatments (case studies) and shows efficacy of aromatherapy as a possible treatment for FM.

The treatment offered by allopathic medicine to those with FM aims to improve the quality of life by reducing pain and improving sleep. Combining the available information on FM and its treatments with my knowledge and experience of essential oils, the aim was to give the same relief as allopathic medicine offers by using essential oils and aromatherapy massage. The results of the treatments were very positive.

Three recent research works made here in Finland (Mikkelsson, 1998; Hyyppa et al., 1998; Rahinantti, 1998) as well as other older reference sources on FM provide background information about the currently known facts on the FM symptoms and their possible causes.

The International Journal of Aromatherapy, Vol. 11, No. 1, 2001