Ringing Ear (Tinnitus) Relief
By Liana Carbón, PhD
Tinnitus is noise or ringing in the ears. The Mayo Clinic suggests that it is a common problem, affecting about 1 in 5 people. Tinnitus isn't a condition itself — it's a symptom of an underlying condition, such as age-related hearing loss, ear injury or a circulatory system disorder. It involves the annoying sensation of hearing sound when no external sound is present.
A number of health conditions can cause or worsen Tinnitus. In many cases, an exact cause is never found. According to the Mayo Clinic, a common cause of Tinnitus is inner ear cell damage. Tiny, delicate hairs in your inner ear move in relation to the pressure of sound waves. This triggers ear cells to release an electrical signal through a nerve from your ear (auditory nerve) to your brain. Your brain interprets these signals as sound. If the hairs inside your inner ear are bent or broken, they can "leak" random electrical impulses to your brain, causing Tinnitus.
Other causes of Tinnitus include other ear problems, chronic health conditions, and injuries or conditions that affect your auditory nerves or the hearing center in your brain. Allopathic treatments and drugs include removing ear wax, identifying any possible vascular conditions and treating them, or possibly changing a medication one may be on which may appear to be the cause of the Tinnitus. While drugs themselves cannot cure Tinnitus, they may help reduce the severity of the symptoms.
Often patients with Tinnitus are told to adjust their lifestyle, which may make the symptoms less bothersome. Stress seems to be one of the worse culprits in exacerbating Tinnitus. Finding ways to manage one’s stress, whether through meditation, exercise, relaxation therapy or other means, often provides some relief.
Reducing one’s alcohol intake will also help enormously. Alcohol increases the force of blood by dilating the blood vessels, causing greater blood flow, especially in the inner ear area.
While some alternative healing methods have been partially successful in relieving the physical distress of Tinnitus, one which has begun to yield good results is essential oil therapy.
When the aroma of essential oils enters the nose, it immediately stimulates the olfactory nerves. This then alerts or signals the Limbic system ((the control mechanism in your brain for emotions and memory). This sets in motion a series of neuro-chemical signals and response mechanisms that create a natural healing response within the body.
Many essential oils contain healing properties that address the body, mind and spirit. They assist in natural pain relief, are anti- inflammatory, reduce stress and anxiety, support the circulatory system and assist the endocrine system. It is important to choose therapeutic grade essential oils. When working with essentials oils, it is often more effective to create a synergistic blend that will work more efficiently than a single essential oil might. There are several options for creating synergistic blends that will work for Ringing Ear, or Tinnitus.
Four oils that are particularly helpful are Cypress, Juniper, Lavender and Helichrysum.
The first three essential oils help strengthen and revive the body. In addition, they are powerful decongestants in that they relieve or reduce congestion, vasoconstrictors that stimulate blood circulation, detoxifiers, and sedatives that calm and soothe nerves.
Cypress (Cupressus sempervirens) oil is distilled from the needles and cones of the evergreen Cypress tree located in the Mediterranean. It has a distinctly clean, fresh, woody aroma that has a hint of spice. Cypress oil stimulates blood circulation and at the same time calms the nervous system. Because it has powerful astringent properties, Cypress is an effective tonic for the circulatory and nervous systems. In addition, it also relieves conditions associated with congestion of lymph or blood circulation, such as rheumatism, arthritis, and sinusitis. It is a potent vasoconstrictor and antispasmodic.
Juniperberry (Juniperis communis) has a resinous aroma with woody undertones similar to pine, but more peppery and hot. Juniper is a powerful detoxifier and an excellent blood cleanser. It is said that it helps excrete uric acid crystals, thus promoting the release of excess toxins from the body.
Lavender (Lavendula augustifolia) has a distinctly sweet floral-spice aroma that's a little woody. It is a decongestant and stimulates cellular repair and regeneration. Lavender also has sedative and relaxing actions, which soothe, tranquilize and calm nervous tension, stress, insomnia, anxiety and palpitations.
Helichrysum (italicum, spp serotinum) is often known as Everlasting or Immortelle essential oil, sometimes called the curry plant because of the strong smell of its leaves. There are over 600 species of Helichrysum, but it is the Italicum species that has many therapeutic benefits. It is known for its ability to regenerate nerves, improve skin conditions, and reduce inflammation while speeding healing. It heals physical and emotional scarring, opens the heart, connects body and spirit, and opens human beings to spiritual life.
Synergistic Blend Preparation
To a 1-oz bottle, add equal parts of the Cypress, Juniper and Lavender. Begin with 15 drops of each oil. Once I have the three oils in the bottle, I then add 5 drops of Helichrysum. Blend well by rolling gently between your palms. In another 1-0z bottle, add a total of 15 drops of the synergistic essential blend. To that add your favorite carrier oil. I tend to use either Fractionated Coconut oil, which I find less greasy, or Jojoba Oil. Shake well. Allow the new synergistic blend (the essential oil blend plus the carrier oil) to blend for at least 24 hours, or longer if you can. Keep out of the light and store in a dark, cool spot.
Dispense 1-3 drops of your essential oil blend for Tinnitus into the palm of your hand, and inhale deeply. Apply to the back and front of your ear lobe and the back of your neck on the affected side(s). First massage each ear lobe, then behind the ears. Always move either in an up and down movement, or in a circular movement. Do not apply pressure, simply gently massage the oil blend into the suggested area. In the front of your ear there is a small pointed “bump,” called that tragus, that is in front of the auditory canal, the opening to your ear. Massage gently directly in front of that in an up and down movement.
Then from under the ear lobe, gently massage down and under the jaw line. The oils will enter the neurovascular gateways located in these areas to effectively trigger your relaxation and healing response.
* DO NOT put the oil in your ears! *
Other options include applying 1 drop of the synergistic essential oil blend on a cotton ball, then place it carefully in the opening of the ear canal. Leave it there overnight. Remove and discard the cotton ball in the morning and gently clean the ear with a warm washcloth. Do NOT place oils directly in the ear canal.
Another application method involves using only Helichrysum essential oil. It is recommended that you use the Helichrysum without diluting it in a carrier oil. However if you feel more comfortable diluting it, make a 10% solution with Jojoba oil. Apply 1 – 2 drops to the area in front of the auditory canal, the opening to the ear canal. Use your fingertip or a cotton swab.
Be very careful not to put the oil inside the ear canal, or to swab anywhere other than in front of the ear. Once you have applied the Helichrysum, gently grasp the ear lobe, and firmly but gently pull in a circular motion. Do this 10 times. This will allow the oil to be absorbed and will increase circulation in the ear canal. Continue by gently stretching and massaging the ear lobe, and directly behind the ear lobe.
The following lymphatic drainage massage will reduce swelling and reduce the pain that often comes with Tinnitus. Choose either the synergistic blend or the Helichrysum neat. With your fingertips, add 1-3 drops on the ear lobe and behind the ear. Begin by gently massaging the ear lobe, gently stretching it downward and out. Continue massaging behind the ear lobe. Be sure to spend several minutes doing this preliminary massage technique.
Then begin to use a technique called “milking” that will increase lymph drainage in the neck and throat. This will help reduce the swelling that often comes with Tinnitus.
Just behind your ear there is a slight indentation, just under the ear and behind the jawbone. Place your finger there. In long, gentle but firm strokes, rub your finger downward under the jawbone all the way to your collarbone. There is a natural groove that your finger will fall into naturally. Repeat this motion 10 times. If you should find that your finger is begin to meet resistance, that is, not sliding down the throat smoothly and easily, apply 1 or 2 more drops of the synergistic blend or the Helichrysum, whichever you have been using. Once the fluids that are trapped in the tissues of the Eustachian tubes and inner ear are drawn into the lymphatic system and the swelling has subsided, the Tinnitus will be relieved.
For maximum effect, begin the massage with the synergistic blend, then complete the milking technique using the Helichrysum.
While these procedures will not completely eliminate the Tinnitus, they will provide relief from the pain and the noise. The most important aspect to any holistic treatment is to be patient. Because essential oils are generally so gentle, you can safely repeat the procedures every few hours. Just remember to be patient and be persistent! Allow the oils to work their magic!
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From Dr. Liana Carbón, The Mystical Shaman * Liana@shamanicwisdom.com
Dr. Liana Carbón is a certified Master Practitioner in Energy Medicine and Luminous Healing, Shamanic Spirit Coach, Author, Teacher and Spiritual Director with a private healing practice in San Diego, CA. She received certification as an Aromatherapist from the Pacific Institute of Aromatherapy, and has been using essential oils in her healing practice for over 15 years. She teaches online and in-person classes in Aromatherapy and other energy medicine. Liana has presented at the National Association of Holistic Aromatherapists’ conventions, and is a member of Alliance of International Aromatherapists.
NOTE: I love the information that Dr. Carbón has shared and so appreciate her generosity in sharing it! I have to take issue with one point. In my experience and in all my research I have never found any indication that Helichrysum italicuum is more effective used neat or undiluted. Even Dr. Schnaubelt, of the Pacific Institute recommends using it in dilutions as low as 1%, stating that for most of its intended purposes it is equally effective in a 1% dilution. Because of my personal experience with sensitization as a result of unwise use of undiluted essential oils, I cringe when I see neat usage recommended. I would hate to see someone become sensitized to such a miraculously healing oil as Helichrysum. If it were MY tinnitus, I would follow the protocols suggested above, but I would be very sure to dilute the helichrysum before using. Marge Clark, Nature's Gift.