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Aromatherapy for Chronic Fatigue

Chronic fatigue syndrome (CFS) causes persistent fatigue (exhaustion) that affects everyday life and doesn't go away with sleep or rest. CFS is also known as ME, which stands for myalgic encephalomyelitis or SEID (systemic exertion intolerance disease)

It's not known exactly what causes CFS but it is estimated that around 250,000 people in the UK have CFS. These are just those that are diagnosed, with many of the symptoms being similar to other diseases it can take a long time period before diagnosis.


Symptoms of chronic fatigue include:

1) Muscular pain, joint pain & severe headaches

2) Poor short-term memory/concentration, & difficulty organising thoughts or finding the right words ("brain fog")

3) Sleeping problems, such as insomnia and feeling that sleep isn't refreshing as well as sensitivity or intolerance to light & loud noise

4) Psychological difficulties, such as depression, irritability and panic attacks

5) The fatigue


The cause can be very different for each person.


Sweet basil essential oil is a general tonic to the whole body. It is antispasmodic, antiseptic, antiviral, carminative, a nervous system regulator and a decongestant. This suggests that basil will be useful for muscle cramps and keeping the nervous system in balance. Studies have also shown basil to be effective for CFS, Martins et al. (1999) reported that basil oil is beneficial for the alleviation of mental fatigue and it has a high linalol content which is an uplifting component to help with depression and low moods.



Sweet Marjoram helps to stimulate circulation and is antispasmodic due to having a 50% alcohol content chemically. The 40% terpenes also stimulate and give analgesic (pain relieving) properties. Marjoram has an impressive effect for the good on many mental and emotional conditions too.


Ylang Ylang essential oil is incredibly sedative, it is used to control hyper-activity in children and for insomnia, frigidity & stress. Chemically ylang ylang is made up of sesquiterpenes which are balancing and calming. The oil is renowned for calming the mind, treating nervous depression and expelling feelings of anger & frustration which commonly accompany those whose lives have changed drastically due to CFS.


Massage is one of the most recommended types of alternative therapies to treat the symptoms of Chronic Fatigue Syndrome. It’s a good option for patients who are not well enough to exercise because physical manipulations of the skin and muscles help promote good circulation and thus benefit the lymphatic system and stimulate the immune system. Combined with appropriate essential oil choices massage can help alleviate many of the symptoms that CFS causes.



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