Lavender oil has been popular since ancient times. Lavender oil was used extensively on the battlefield during both World Wars when medical supplies became scarce to prevent infection and as a pain reliever. Soldiers suffering from the pain of their wounds would be administered lavender oil to ease the pain and often to kill the bacteria in the wound. Lavender oil would be applied directly to the wound itself.
Lavender oil is one of the most popular essential oils in the world due to its magical aroma and wonderful qualities widely utilized in the skin care, cosmetics, aromatherapy, flavor and medicine industries. A French chemist , Rene-Maurice Gattefosse, began his research into the healing powers of essential oils after burning his hand in his laboratory and immersing in it in lavender oil and being impressed by how quickly the burn healed. Lavender oil has many uses; it is a powerful antiseptic containing more than 200 compounds that are active against fungi, viruses and other microbes.
The oil has such a variety of practical uses and one area of special interest is the use of lavender oil for chronic pain patients who generally experience sleepless nights due to pain. The pain creates in the patient sleep deprivation which serves to aggravate the pain as well as lowering the body's ability to fend off other infections and disease processes. When rehabilitation is started the patient is often tired and irritable due to the loss of sleep and the pain cycle is exacerbated.
One older method of helping the pain patient to sleep is to take a cotton ball and drop a few drops of essential lavender oil onto the cotton ball and insert it between the pillowcase and the pillow. The heat and pressure from the patient's head releases the oil and for many patients the oil helps them sleep and relieves anxiety. Today with the advanced technologies of gel matrix the oil is combined with extra virgin olive oil and the lavender and olive oil are absorbed into the gel patch which can then be worn by the patient releasing the oils for up to 24 hours. Other oils can be mixed with the lavender oil to help the chronic pain patient. It may also help to relieve pain from tension headache when breathed in as vapor.