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Muscle Cramps or Spasms

Parts of this were taken with permission from Essential Oils Overview and Reference Guide, published by: The Family Tree, 2008


Arm MusclesInvoluntary contractions of muscles in the body are termed muscle cramps or muscle spasms.  A more common term for such a condition in the calf muscle is a charley horse.  Common causes of muscle cramps are over exercising, dehydration, lack of key nutrients, and/or nerve irritation.  In some cases cramps occur without any identifiable cause.  This is the case with night cramps (nocturnal cramps, rest cramps) that are usually in the leg muscles and are common in older adults.

Over exercising, especially coupled with dehydration or depleted levels of calcium, magnesium, or potassium, may cause muscle cramps. Depletion of these nutrients can also occur with pregnancy, while taking diuretics, or during dialysis making one more susceptible to cramping.

A muscle injury or irritation to the nerve may also cause muscle cramps.  A nerve irritation in the neck area may cause muscle cramps in the upper back, shoulders, or arms while lower spine irritations can affect the leg muscles.  The nerve irritation can be from stress, injury, or from problems associated with aging such as arthritis.


[search helps: Dystonic cramps, contractures, tetany, tetanic cramps, spasm]

Oils, blends & products recommended:

Oils & Blends:  Massage Blend, CypressC, Soothing BlendC, LimeC, MarjoramC, Tension Blend

Essential oils based products: Basic Vitality Supplements (LLV)

Also consider: Geranium, Helichrysum, Lavender, Roman ChamomileEC

Note: to understand the E and C superscript go to Home and scroll to New Helps.

Suggested protocols:

Topically apply 2-5 drops of Massage Blend, Soothing Blend, or Tension Blend directly to the muscle area affected with massage strokes for immediate relief.

For long term nutritional support use the Basic Vitality Supplements (LLV).  If there is a chronic problem (repeated cramps) consider using the Massage Blend Technique daily.

If nerve damage is suspected go to this page on nerve damage.

Experiences and Testimonials of others

Gale – I know a young man that is on a number of pharmaceuticals including tizanidine for muscle spasms and nerve damage.   Can anyone please help me figure out the best way to help this young man?

Laura – According to Dr. Hill Lime is great for reducing muscle spasms and cramps.  The furocoumarins in cold-pressed Lime are what helps with this.

Monica – From my notes during the (...) Convention I have that Bergamot essential oil reduces muscle spasms and cramps and that the Tension Blend (Tension Relief Formula) creates relief from sore, tense muscles.


Editorial comment - other muscle cramps experiences.

Rob - I woke up early this morning in excruciating pain as my calf muscle had tightened up.  It felt like a rock under my skin.  The first thing that came to my mind was Soothing Blend.  My wife obliged me with a massage of about 3-4 drops of Soothing Blend and 1 or 2 drops Helichrysum directly on the effected part of my calf.  Almost immediately, the muscle began to relax and the pain went away.

Even more remarkable, by experience I have learned that after a leg cramp like that, I usually spend the day limping around.  But I immediately started walking on the leg with no indication that I had experienced a cramping trauma.  Those that have ever experienced cramps will appreciate this experience.  I'm excited to share this treatment with athletes I know well at our local high school.  Then my goal will be to get some of these oils in the hands of trainers for colleges and let them experience what they can do....

Nettie - I use Tension Blend to relieve night cramps in my legs! I started to do that after one of my friends told me about it.  She got a night cramp and was walking around her bedroom when she remembered her newly acquired Tension Blend and thought she'd try it! She was amazed when it disappeared! After hearing this I tried it on my brother who also had a leg cramp whilst sitting in a restaurant and it vanished within a minute of using it! At that point I needed one for his jaw which had dropped down to his knees in astonishment

Rex - An experience with back pain.  Mid April of this year, out of nowhere, I developed a severe pain on the right back side near my shoulder blade.  Since we were about to travel from Arizona to Idaho I first went to a chiropractor (very little relief), then to a medical doctor.  Both found no structural problem but could see there were severe muscle spasms.  The pain was intense and continued.  I was using cold compresses and was sporadic with my oils use.  The medical doctor gave me pain meds that I tried off and on but they had their usual bad side effects (out of it, sluggish and constipated).  Finally, after making it to Idaho, I started getting serious about using oils.  My wife (after consulting with Robert James) did something similar to the Massage Blend Technique (the ATT had not yet been made public) on my spine a couple of times the first day and then daily for about a week.  This helped the pain a lot.  But without the oils, the pain was still very intense and now included pain in my right arm with numbness down to my fingers.  By then we were in Boise and I was seeing a chiropractor friend and also my regular doctor.  Both confirmed it was the 3rd or 4th vertebrae area (I forget which) and was a protruding (slipped) disc coupled with some arthritis putting pressure on the nerves.  The chiropractor recommended and the doctor prescribed a 5 day regiment of Prednisone to get ahead of the ongoing severe pain.  I did this but also continued the ATT.   The chiropractor helped with stretching and relaxing the muscles and also provided a traction device that I could use at home.

At this point the pain was under control but still a 5 or 6 on a 10 point scale and the strength in my right hand/arm was quite diminished (could not write well or zip my pants).  Further it wasn’t getting better any faster.  So again we reviewed the oils more seriously and decided on the following regiment.  Use Massage Blend and Soothing Blend on the areas of pain from the muscle spasms (shoulder blade area and arm) and apply Helichrysum (for tissue repair and nerve damage) directly on the disc and Frankincense (for inflammation) directly on the spinal column as well.  A standard “treat both the symptoms and the root cause” strategy.  At first it was three times a day on the Massage Blend and Soothing Blend (4 or 5 drops each with a carrier) and morning with Helichrysum (2 drops, no carrier) and evening with Frankincense (2 drops, no carrier).  During this time I continued using the traction device a couple of times a day.  After a week I continued the Helichrysum and Frankincense but only applied Soothing Blend once or twice a day with just 2 or 3 drops directly on the spinal area (the spasms had gone away and this helped with the remaining pain).  Now after two weeks of the well thought out strategy, I am 95% and have almost all strength back in my arm and hand.  I have not used Soothing Blend for a couple days but will continue the Helichrysum and Frankincense for another week.


Protocols folks recommend for children

Shannon - My little baby 2 years old as you know has had some issues with leg cramps and leg pains. She woke up with pains last night and said, "mommy, I need the water." I didn't know what she meant. I asked her if she needed a drink of water. She said, "No mommy, my leg hurts I need the water on it." I was so shocked! She wanted the oils on her! That is what she was talking about. I put the oil Peppermint on her feet and legs. She said, "Thank you mommy, night. " WOW!!!

I just thought I would share how funny that was, but also how amazing it was! 2 years old!!!!

Rebecca - Wow what a great story~!  I'm happy the Peppermint worked on her and she is aware enough to know what her body needs!!!!  Truly amazing!!

Lynda - Awesome!  Gives me chills to hear these kind of stories.  Aren't these oils amazing!


Diet and Nutritional complements to essential oils


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NOTE: The advice shared in this site has not been evaluated by the FDA. The products and methods recommended are not intended to diagnose, treat, cure or prevent any illness or disease, nor is it intended to replace proper medical help. As members offer or look for answers, kindly understand that essential oils work to help to bring the body into balance - thus helping the body's natural defenses to restore homeostasis. Essential oils are not used to "treat" medical problems.