The holiday season is a time when parties and gatherings can be overwhelming. It is always wonderful to reconnect with friends and family, but sometimes entertaining can be difficult for those who suffer from chronic pain conditions. Knowing that chronic pain patients made the effort to open their home to people for a holiday gathering, there are pain-friendly hostess gifts that you can bring to make their holidays a little brighter.

Bath salts

A long, hot bath after a day of entertaining can be a welcome rest for a person suffering from chronic pain. The best salts are those that use all-natural ingredients with essential oils that focus on loosening and relaxing sore muscles and joints. Here is an easy, DIY recipe that can be used to make a pain-friendly hostess gift.

Combine and mix well:

  • 2 cups Epsom salts
  • 2 cups borax (a water softener and a cleanser)
  • 50 drops each: eucalyptus, lavender, and peppermint

Fill a wide-mouth Mason jar and include a scoop. Tie with a festive ribbon or rustic twine.

Hot tea sampler

Hot tea and a hot bath: do you see a trend? With the pressure of a party or even a small gathering looming, people with chronic pain will put on their best face and get through it, even if they are hurting. This gift is a lovely way to relax after the party, helping with the mental aspect of stress as well as the physical aspect of relaxation.

There are many teas that are effective for pain relief, including ginger tea. Another delicious tea is coconut ginger tea with lime, honey, and turmeric. Find a pretty mug, make a small pot of the honey/turmeric paste, and include a small pouch of shredded coconut and a lime. Write out the recipe on a tag and give them this delicious, therapeutic, pain-fighting powerhouse.

Hot sauce

It may seem counterintuitive, but hot sauce has capsaicin, a compound that helps fight pain in joints, which makes it a perfect pain-friendly hostess gift. And another DIY bonus: hot sauce is simple to make. Be sure to wear gloves when dealing with hot peppers, and feel free to experiment with different types of peppers for different flavors. This site has a flexible guide to making your own hot sauce, with tips on making sauce from mild to no-more-taste-buds hot. You can also skip the DIY and head to the grocery store, selecting a few different types of sauce and packaging them together with a colorful ribbon. This hostess gift is the spiciest of them all!

Scented candles

Aromatherapy is a great way to promote relaxation and rest. Make this hostess gift more personal by using your host or hostess’s favorite containers to make your own. If high tea is their thing, make a candle in a tea cup. Craft stores offer every vessel for candles you can think of, including cowboy boots and football helmets. If you purchase scented candles, look for candles that use essential oils and not chemicals for scent. Easy candle-making is just that. Melt a block of wax in a dedicated pot on the stove, or carefully in the microwave, stir in the essential oil of your choice, then pour into your vessel after setting a pre-waxed wick in place. Pour carefully into the vessel, let cool, and your candle is ready. There are great step-by-step instructions on this site, including the basics of aromatherapy and a primer on essential oils.

Massage oil 

Some chronic pain patients are very sensitive to touch, while others find great relief under the skilled hands of a massage therapist. Even the most sensitive of patients can benefit from a light massage with scented oil, releasing tense muscles. A small jar of a luscious oil will also soothe dry skin and promote rest or rejuvenation, depending on the oil. The recipe for a pain-friendly hostess gift is simple and affordable. Choose ¼ cup of carrier oil (sweet almond, apricot kernel, jojoba, or coconut) and add the essential oil of your choice (do not use nut oils for people who are allergic to nuts).

Two delicious combinations:

  • Mood elevation: Fifteen drops each of citrus and bergamot
  • Pain/stress relief: Five drops each of orange, frankincense, and marjoram and one drop each of jasmine and vetiver

To find more combinations for everything from strep throat to cardiovascular health, visit Young Living Essential Oils’s site.

Gifts to avoid

The above pain-friendly hostess gifts would be welcomed and appreciated, but there are a few gifts that would likely not benefit a chronic pain patient. Although some of the following can be enjoyed in moderation, the holiday season isn’t known for holding back. Best to avoid giving them all together.

  • Alcohol: This can exacerbate existing pain and trigger new pain, including headaches.
  • Sweets: Anything with added sugar should be avoided. If you want to give a sweet treat, try a crisp Asian pear, a deep red blood orange, and a bunch of champagne grapes on a beautiful antique plate. The citrus is a mood elevator and the anti-oxidants in the grapes help fight inflammation-triggering free radicals in the body.
  • Highly refined or processed food: A cheese spread and some water crackers may seem like a good idea, but highly refined carbohydrates are not pain-friendly. If you must give cheese and crackers (or something similar), try organic, whole grain crackers and a small wedge of pungent, organic cheddar.

The best hostess gifts are thoughtful, reflective, and chosen with the host or hostess in mind. What are your favorite pain-friendly hostess gifts to give (and receive)?

Image by aresenat29 via Flickr

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