Do you have knee pain? How about a large knot or cyst on the back of the knee? Perhaps you have an official diagnosis of a Baker’s cyst.
No matter where you are in the process, a Baker’s cyst can be a painful nuisance, and I’ll bet you are looking to heal it fast.
A Baker’s cyst is a fluid-filled sack or cyst that causes a bulge on the back of the knee.
This leads to a feeling of tightness behind your knee. It often worsens when you are active, and sometimes even just with routine bending and extending of the knee.
Don’t worry! Essential oils can help get you going again. The goal of using essential oils for Baker’s cysts is to help reduce the pain and inflammation to regain your mobility.
Essential oils are a way to do this without taking medications that affect your entire body at once. Think of them as a spot treatment.
The Best Essential Oils for Baker’s Cysts
Essential oils are powerful plant medicines. They are extracted from common medicinal herbs, maybe even some that you use in cooking.
Typically the process used to extract the plant essence is a steam distillation or mechanical press technique.
The resulting plant oils are highly concentrated versions of the plant’s medicinal properties and can be used for all sorts of healing, in this case physically.
These oils are for Baker’s cysts. But they will help with most knee pain and inflammation.
Here are a few essential oils that will help:
1. Wintergreen essential oil
It helps to reduce both pain and inflammation. You can simply apply it topically to the affected knee.
Use caution, as you don’t want to get wintergreen in your eyes. It will burn.
The active molecule in wintergreen essential oil is closely related to over-the-counter anti-inflammatory medications.
I used this to help reduce swelling for sprained ankles as well as for treating symptoms of trigger finger and the ever-excruciating tennis elbow malady.
2. Cypress essential oil
This helps to reduce the swelling associated with this injury.
Do you have a swollen bump or lump that you can feel on the back of your knee? Cypress can help bring that swelling down.
It’s also antispasmodic, meaning it can reduce the stiffness in the knee that is giving you trouble.
3. Ginger essential oil
It brings the heat to make the stiffness burn away from your knees.
Tension is a common theme with these injuries and can reduce your mobility.
4. Frankincense essential oil
It is famous for many ailments, and it can take inflammation down faster than you can click your heels.
Frankincense is an oil made from distilling the gum or resin of the Frankincense tree.
This is great for any inflammation but particularly useful in targeting inflammation.
I like this one treating bedsores as well – it’s simply wonderful!
My Go-to Recipes and Pairing Suggestions
It’s important to know that these oils are very strong, especially if this is your first essential oil adventure. This makes them very useful and practical healing tools, but it also means you need to use caution and use them safely. You must respect the oils, as they say.
First of all, you should know that if you get essential oils in your eyes because they are all over your fingers, they can cause permanent damage.
I encourage you to have some plant oil on hand to flush your eyes because adding water will enhance the pain.
Next, even though it is common advice on the internet, know that essential oils and water don’t mix.
Essential oils are hydrophobic, which means they don’t mix well with water if you think back to middle school science class.
It can be dangerous to ingest essential oils, so don’t mix them in your water and don’t swallow them unless you are under the care of a qualified clinical aromatherapist.
Finally, know that the most effective way to use essential oils for Baker’s cysts is topically, directly on the affected knee. Even more specifically, on the back of the knee, although these oils can feel good all over a painful and stiff knee.
How to Apply Essential Oils for Baker’s Cysts
As mentioned, the best way is on the skin, topically. The first step is to select the oil or oils you are going to use.
You can choose a single oil, in which case wintergreen would help the most with pain.
Or, to amp up the healing properties, you can combine two or more oils. Many oils have similar properties, so use your gut and go with the ones that resonate the most.
If gut feelings are your thing, here are a few suggested combinations to help you maximize the relief you are looking for:
1. Wintergreen and Frankincense.
This is the best and possibly the strongest combo for knocking out the pain and inflammation.
2. Wintergreen, Frankincense, and Ginger.
Here we are just amping up the above combo by adding a nice dose of ginger to help warm the knee joint and release some of the stiffness and tension.
3. Cypress and Ginger
These two combined will help best if you can feel the swollen knot behind the knee.
Sometimes this can cause additional symptoms, but this combo will provide a fair amount of pain relief and more reduction in swelling.
Application Methods for Baker’s Cyst Relief
Safety first! Make sure you dilute your essential oil and have a plant-based oil nearby if your skin starts to get warm or irritated.
1. Essential Oil Massage
Remember, safety is key! Dilute your essential oils appropriately with a nice plant-based carrier oil.
Castor oil works beautifully for this because it will help the fluid from the swelling move on into the lymph system, but any plant-based kitchen oil will work just fine too.
Place one tablespoon of castor oil (or plant-based oil of your choice) into a small glass bowl. Select your oil(s) from above and drop 2-4 drops of each oil or 4-6 drops total into the tablespoon of olive oil.
Swirl the bowl lightly so that the oils mix. Then dip your fingers into the oil. Massage the oil into the back of your knee and up your thigh towards your trunk. This will help relieve the pain, swelling, and stiffness.
It’s best to use a circular or figure 8 motion with your massage to activate the oil properties and quickly release the inflammation.
You can also hold firm pressure on tender areas for 30 seconds each. Remember to breathe in and out through your nose with sound. Breathing with sound will help to activate the vagus nerve and further reduce the pain.
2. Cold or Warm Compress
Recall that water can increase the sensation of essential oils. So when working with a compress, make sure you have a plant-based oil nearby in case of skin irritation.
Cold and warm compresses can help relieve the pain, inflammation, and swelling on their own.
But once we add a dose of essential oils, we give the compresses superpowers. You can choose to work with a single oil or one of the pairings noted above. Here’s how:
1. Scoop a tablespoon of Epsom salt or Himalayan salt into a small glass bowl.
2. Add 2-4 drops of each oil you choose, for a total of 4-6 drops to the salt, and stir it around a bit.
3. Fill your sink or bowl with hot or cold water. Hot water for pain, cold water for inflammation. Generally, you want to work on the inflammation, and the pain will take care of itself.
4. Pour your salt into the water and stir to dissolve.
5. Place an old towel in the bowl and submerge it.
6. Gently wring out the towel and apply it to your hand where the pain and swelling are occurring.
7. Leave the towel on for about 15 min. You can store it in an airtight container and use the same towel multiple times.
3. Aromatic Uses
When you use essential oils for this injury or any injury, topical application is the application of choice. You can energetically stack healing properties and amp up your topical application by using the oils aromatically too.
Some of this will happen naturally by unavoidably smelling the oils you are using on your fingers. Your limbic system will send the message to your brain to switch off pain centers.
You can enhance this property by cupping your hands and focusing on inhaling the essential oils that are applied to your fingers. It only takes 3-4 good deep belly breaths to get the effect of the oils.
You can choose to work with one of these methods or all three for an even more potent effect. Using essential oils for Baker’s cysts gives you natural alternatives to help ease the pain, swelling, and stiffness so that you can return to your activities faster.
As a bonus, essential oils don’t have the systemic effects that taking over-the-counter or prescription anti-inflammatory medications carries. Remember that essential oils are simply a natural way to mask the symptoms, and you should still seek out the root cause of your knee troubles.