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“Natural Treatments For Frozen Shoulder”

Emi Hata, CMT 

This is a personal column about the human body and function and is not a medical advice article.  

What is frozen shoulder?


Frozen shoulder is a condition that affects your shoulder joint.  It usually involves pain and stiffness that develop gradually, gets worse and then finally goes away.  Your shoulder is made up of three bones that form a ball-and socket joint.  They are your upper arm (humerus), shoulder blade (scapula), and collarbone (clavicle).  There is tissue surrounding your shoulder joint that holds everything together.  This is called the shoulder capsule.  With frozen shoulder, the capsule becomes so thick and tight that it is hard to move.

Three phases with frozen shoulder


Freezing stage ( 6-9 months )

  • You develop a pain in your shoulder anytime you move it.  

  • It slowly gets worse over time and may hurt more at night.

  • You are limited in how far you can move your shoulder.

Frozen stage ( 4-12 months )  

  • Your pain might get better but your stiffness gets worse.

  • Moving your shoulder becomes more difficult and it becomes harder to get through daily activities.


Thawing stage ( 6 months-2 years )

  • Your range of motion starts to go back to normal.




It is not clear why some people develop it, but frozen shoulder happens more likely if: 


  • You are between the ages of 40 and 60

  • you have hormonal imbalances, including a thyroid disorder or recently going through menopause

  • You have high levels of inflammation due to factors like eating a poor diet and living a sedentary lifestyle

  • You have diabetes.  10% to 20% of people with diabetes get frozen shoulder

  • You are recovering from a stroke or cervical disc disease that affects the nerves around the shoulder


Natural treatments for frozen shoulder


warming up the area

Warming up your shoulder for 10-15 minutes will help boost blood supply in the affected area.  It will also prevent further injuries.  You can use a heating pad or take a warm bath.



Magnesium deficiency causes fatigue and muscle weakness. Taking magnesium supplement helps the muscles to relax, destress, and improve your sleep quality. 


physical therapy, massage therapy, and acupuncture

They will help control swelling and improve range of motion.   

( At my massage studio, I practice cupping therapy, hot stone massage, and therapeutic massage for frozen shoulder treatment. )



Some essential oils help relax your muscle stiffness.  When you take a bath, add maximum of 5 drops of essential oils in your bath tub.  Lavender essential oil, marjoram essential oil, and peppermint essential oils are great for muscle stiffness and inflammation.  If your skin is sensitive, add 2-3 drops of essential oils instead of 5.


anti-inflammatory food

Fresh veggies and fruits, probiotic rich food, healthy fats like nuts, seeds, avocado, coconuts oil, and olive oil will help reduce inflammation.  Avoid or reduce inflammatory food such as sugar, alcohol, wheat, dairy and processed vegetable oils.


Lastly, patience is key when it comes to treat a frozen shoulder.  The pain does not go away instantly.  Give yourself time to heal and progressive slowly.  No forcing.  No rushing.

Emi Hata, CMT

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