About a year ago, a good friend started selling Essential Oils and I thought I would see if something would help with my circulation problems. It was winter at the time, and my hands were really blue all the time.
I have heard very positive things about essential oils helping with respiratory symptoms via a diffuser, for making natural home cleaners and soaps, and adding them to a carrier oil (like coconut oil) to make massage oils. I have certainly not trialed them to their full potential, but I did experiment with a couple as a massage oil to improve circulation.
My friend gave me a sample of Cypress and Cedar oil. Below are my results:
The cypress oil seemed to cause vasoconstriction and decreased blood flow. I have since read that cypress oil is more for toning blood vessels, which mine were not in good enough condition to handle. I have not used the cypress oil again.
The cedar oil felt good as massage oil, and it seemed to provide some vasodilation and improved circulation. I did, however, find that the effect was quite similar when I massaged my arms and hands with plain coconut oil (without any essential oils). It helps to extend my hands downward and massage away from my body toward my hands to increase blood flow toward my hands. It was more effective with coconut oil but also works for quick relief without any oil or lotion.
Since that time, I have used peppermint and eucalyptus for massage as well. My overall thought is that the aromatherapy experience helps me relax and enjoy some quiet time, or just to make a night-in for pampering seem more special.
Generally speaking, it is a really awesome experience to be massaged; all of my cold, tense muscles get more blood flow and warmth. My Spouse-Heater often buys a massage gift certificate for my birthday, and I certainly enjoy it. I always need a blanket to keep warm while my shoulders are massaged though.
Sometimes essential oils make me feel cold during massage. For example, peppermint is great when diffused for respiratory congestion, but it makes me feel cool and tingly when it’s massaged into my skin.
Overall, I think there is more to explore in this area of essential oils.