As the winter wears on, many with depressed immune systems or nutritional deficiencies become more and more prone to catching the flu. One minute you’re fine, the next minute you’re starting to feel one of the first early flu symptoms – body aches!
Today, we’re going over my top home remedies for body aches so that you can feel a bit more comfortable while your body fights off infection.
Home Remedies for Body Aches
When your whole body aches because of the flu, it can leave you feeling like you’ve been through the wringer. Resting is less comfortable, getting up feels like the biggest task you’ve ever undertaken, and doing any sort of physical activity is just exhausting.
So, what causes body aches?
Basically, when your body is fighting off the flu, it’s giving everything it’s got in order to overcome the invading flu virus. It’s essentially an all-out war that leaves casualties in the form of dead and dying virus and immune cells as well as an overabundance of cellular wastes.
Your immune system is also releasing a lot of inflammatory chemicals (like cytokines) into the bloodstream that signals our white blood cells to fight off infection which is what causes body aches. (source)
So, having body aches during the flu is actually a good sign that your immune system is doing exactly what it needs to be doing – fighting off infection! Though not everyone will experience body aches, it really just depends on your immune system.
However, if you have severe body aches, there may be something more serious going on and it would be wise to see a doctor!
7 of The Best Home Remedies for Body Aches
Dehydration is one of the leading causes of prolonged body aches during the flu. This is because our tissues aren’t as fluid and supple as they should be, making it difficult for the body to flush out inflammation and wastes.
This accumulation of toxins is what exacerbates flu symptoms and ultimately makes it last longer.
Drinking enough electrolyte-rich fluids like homemade electrolyte drinks, broths, and herbal teas is a great way to support the body’s natural detoxification processes during illness.
Having a hydrated body will also allow your white blood cells to get where they need to go more easily since your tissues and bodily fluids will be topped up with moisture, so drink up!
I often use the lotion version after a good workout to help my muscles recover and repair themselves more quickly so that I can avoid muscle soreness. This also works as a great home remedy for body aches when sick!
Magnesium is known to be involved in over 300 biochemical reactions in the body, some of which help to maintain healthy nerve and muscle function. It also helps support the immune system and plays a vital role in ATP usage and production which is the fundamental unit of energy within the body’s cells. (source)
Without the steady production of ATP, your white blood cells can’t do their jobs to their full potential. Using magnesium is a great way to help boost their efficacy and strength when fighting the flu.
To do this, I like to soak in magnesium bath salts or use a magnesium massage oil or lotion and work it into my achy muscles after a hot bath when down with the flu. It really helps get things circulating again and soothes the pain associated with body aches.
3. Epsom Salts
Taking a nice hot bath with a good amount of Epsom salts is another fantastic home remedy for body aches.
Not only does the hot bath water soothe away aches and pains on its own, the Epsom salts themselves help relieve muscle pain due to the fact that it breaks down into magnesium sulfate.
And, as we mentioned before, magnesium is great for soothing aches and pains!
The magnesium sulfate found in Epsom salts get absorbed into the body through the skin and help relax stiff joints and achy muscles. (source)
I usually have a big ol’ bag of Epsom salts on hand not only for treating body aches naturally but also for bath bomb recipes and other bath time goodies.
4. Use a Heat Pad
When I was down with the flu a couple of weeks ago, my heating blanket was a complete lifesaver because I could use it to cover my whole body and leave it on the desired heat setting for hours at a time if I wanted.
Not only did this help with easing my body aches, it also helped me deal with the chills that come along with having the flu.
You may even find that a cold compress might feel better so use whichever feels best for your needs.
5. Take White Willow Bark for Pain
If you’re able to take aspirin, you may want to look into white willow bark! This handy little bark is actually what the original aspirin was made of and for good reason – it helps reduce inflammation and alleviate the pain and discomfort associated with body aches, arthritis, and other forms of bodily pains. (source)
You can also take turmeric (make sure it’s paired with black pepper for best results) to help further reduce inflammation and pain in the body and boost immunity.
6. Take Immune-Boosting Herbs
The stronger your white blood cells are, the quicker you can overcome a cold or flu and the sooner you can get rid of body aches.
Echinacea is especially good at boosting white blood cell activity, increasing interferon activity which is known to protect our cells against viral attack, and increasing the production of alpha-1 and alpha-2 gamma globulins which help control and even prevent infection at the first sign of flu.
Elderberry is known to be effective against 10 strains of the flu virus and can cut the duration of a cold or flu in half, so while it doesn’t directly affect aches and pains, it will get rid of them more quickly by eradicating the flu virus. (source)
7. Essential Oils
Using pain-relieving essential oils like German and Roman chamomile, ginger, black pepper, peppermint, wintergreen, birch, sweet marjoram, eucalyptus, and rosemary is another great way to ease body aches and pain in general. (source)
These oils each have powerful analgesic properties that help reduce inflammation and penetrate deep into the skin to alleviate pain. They also stimulate circulation and fight off infection by boosting the immune system.
To use these essential oils, it’s best to dilute them well in a carrier oil and apply it to areas with the most soreness, avoiding sensitive areas.
I like to use a good pain-relieving massage oil after a bath or shower in order to really get the essential oils worked into the skin when it’s most permeable.
Essential Oil Recipe – Body Ache Massage Oil
• A 1oz dropper bottle
• 1oz carrier oil of choice (I like sweet almond oil since it isn’t too greasy)
• 5 drops peppermint essential oil
• 5 drops sweet marjoram essential oil
• 2 drops black pepper essential oil
• 2 drops eucalyptus essential oil
• 2 drops rosemary essential oil
• 1 drop birch essential oil
• 1 drop German chamomile essential oil
This makes a 3% dilution, so feel free to adjust as needed.
Also note that you need to take caution if you choose to use this blend on your children. Read more HERE.
This lovely massage oil is great for treating both body aches and fatigue since it not only relieves pain, the oils in this blend also uplift your emotions and steady your mood.
Apply a dropperful of massage oil to each leg and 1/2 a dropperful for each arm and massage it into the skin thoroughly.
Bundle up and get in bed to rest.
What have been your favorite home remedies for body aches that you swear by? Please share them in the comments below!
You may also enjoy reading:
Oregano Oil Roll-On for Cold and Flu Care
12 Ways to Feel Better During a Cold or Flu
The Best Remedies You can Buy for Cold and Flu
Sickroom Spray Recipe for Cold and Flu
Essential Oils for Boosting the Immune System and Fighting Cold and Flu
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