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Using essential oils for sore muscles offers gentle, soothing relief from persistent pain. As an additional bonus, the aromas of the oils have an overall soothing effect so they help you feel more relaxed even as they go to work on your muscles.
What Causes Sore Muscles?
Sore muscles are an occupational hazard for all athletes and sportspersons. They can be the result of playing or working out too hard or because of insufficient warming up before the action.
But it’s not just athletes who suffer muscle soreness. Age, medical conditions such as arthritis and even persistent stress and tension are all common causes.
Muscle soreness can get in the way of everyday life, making it challenging to perform simple everyday activities like walking and driving. Household chores can become a complete nightmare.
Yes, there are anti-inflammatory medicines that work but you don’t want to take them for extended periods of time. Using essential oils for sore muscles can help provide much-needed relief without any adverse side effects.
How Essential Oils Work to Soothe Sore Muscles
Essential oils are extracted from the leaves, petals, bark, and roots of different plants. Each essential oil has its own therapeutic properties that work to manage different medical conditions. They are a natural, effective option to help alleviate the pain and increase your flexibility.
The best essential oils for sore muscles have anti-inflammatory, antispasmodic, and analgesic properties. When massaged over the affected area, they get absorbed into the skin quickly, reducing inflammation, easing spasms, and boosting blood circulation. All of these help to reduce localized muscle pain from within.
Many oils also have relaxing properties, which can be particularly useful for calming muscle pain associated with arthritis or tension. These oils help reduce muscle pain by reducing stress and encouraging rest, calm, and healing. All of these are major factors associated with pain. Lower stress levels are known to reduce pain too.
Two of the most important things you need to know before you start using essential oils for sore muscles – which essentials to use and how to use them.
Best Essential Oils for Sore Muscles
The best essential oils for sore muscle work by relaxing sore muscles, decreasing tightness and spasms and alleviating pain from inflammation. Many of these oils also promote feelings of relaxation and calm, which is the key to reducing painful feelings.
The following essential oils can provide a wide range of benefits, from reducing muscle spasms to improving circulation to inducing feelings of calm.
Black pepper essential oil is one of the best oils for easing muscular soreness and pain. The oil is rich in b-caryophyllene and d-limonene and has a warming effect on the skin. It warms up the muscles when applied over the affected area, which promotes blood circulation and facilitates faster absorption of its analgesic properties. All of these properties make black pepper oil excellent for soothing muscle pain.
Black pepper is the best essential oil to soothe sore muscles brought on by an intense workout or because of arthritis or some other medical condition.
Marjoram essential oil is known for its pain-relieving properties. This is also a warming oil with strong analgesic properties. It soothes stressed and tired muscles, while also helping to calm the nervous system.
Marjoram is the best essential oil to use before going to bed. When applied over the affected area at night, it relieves muscle soreness and discomfort while its relaxing properties help you unwind so you can look forward to a night of peaceful, pain-free sleep.
Rosemary is another warming, analgesic oil. It has a warming action on the body. When rubbed into the painful muscle, rosemary oil warms up the area and soothes the aches and pains caused by over-exercising and other sports injuries. Its fresh herbaceous aroma is calming and grounding, which helps to lessen the painful sensations.
Its antispasmodic, anti-inflammatory properties make peppermint essential oil another excellent choice for soothing sore muscles. This oil works differently from black pepper, marjoram and thyme.
Peppermint essential oil provides a cooling, comforting sensation that dulls the pain when applied to sore muscles. Meanwhile, its antispasmodic property works to decrease muscle spasms and relax the muscles, while its anti-inflammatory property works to reduce inflammation, tension, and pain.
Peppermint is especially beneficial to soothe muscle spasms and ease muscle pain related to arthritis and fibromyalgia.
Lemongrass essential oil has potent anti-inflammatory and analgesic properties that help reduce inflammation, swelling, and pain. Its aroma also has an uplifting and balancing effect that works to alleviate discomfort and pain of the injured muscles and ligaments.
Lemongrass works wonderfully to soothe sore muscles when added to your bath. Read more about the right way to use lemongrass in your bath.
The combination of cooling, heartening and painkilling properties, makes eucalyptus essential oil particularly effective for easing sore muscles. It also contains anti-inflammatory and antispasmodic properties, which help loosen tight muscles and relieve tenderness, soreness, and aching joints.
Lavender essential oil works very well to relax sore muscles because of its powerful anti-inflammatory, analgesic, and antispasmodic properties. This oil also improves blood circulation and reduces swelling, making it a catch-all solution for your aches and pains.
Its gentle and soothing actions help you feel more relaxed and comfortable, which can reduce your level of pain considerably.
2 Essential Oil Synergies for Sore Muscles
Muscle Aid is formulated by Plant Therapy’s Certified Aromatherapists and essential oil expert Robert Tisserand. This synergy blend combines Wintergreen, Camphor and Pine essential oils, which work together to soothe sore muscles, especially after a hard workout.
The minty herbaceous fresh scent of the Muscle Aid Blend has a calming, cool effect when used topically on the areas of concern. This blend is most effective when mixed with a carrier oil and massaged into muscles before or after you work out. For topical use, dilute to 3-6%.
Muscle Aid is also available as a Roll-On that is super convenient to carry and use when traveling. The Roll-On is pre-diluted and ready to use as it. Just open it and massage gently over the affected area.
Tension Relief is specially formulated with a combination of essential oils that help to ease sore muscles and tight tendons and muscles. This is especially effective if tightness in your shoulder and neck muscles are brought on by tension.
Mixing a few drops of Tension Relief with a carrier oil and gently massaging this diluted oil into the area can release the tightness and reduce the pain so you can move your head and neck more freely.
Tension Relief is also available as a pre-diluted Roll-On that’s easy and convenient to use when you’re on the go.
Muscle Aloe Jelly for Sore Muscles
Muscle Aloe Jelly contains a combination of soothing and relaxing essential oils mixed with hydrating aloe jelly. This soothing jelly goes to work to help reduce the achy soreness that comes from a marathon, an intense gym workout, or playing with the kids.
Apply Muscle Aloe Jelly liberally to areas of concern. Avoid the eye area. Be certain to wash hands thoroughly after application to avoid irritation of eyes and mucous membranes.
How to Use Essential Oils for Sore Muscles
There are several ways to use essential oils to reduce the pain. To get maximum pain relief benefits, it is important to know the correct way to use essential oils for muscle soreness.
Massaging with essential oil is the single most effective way to relieve muscle pain and soreness.
Essential oils should not be applied directly to the skin as they can cause skin irritation especially if you have sensitive skin. Before applying any essential oil for muscle soreness, always dilute with a carrier oil. Fractionated Coconut Oil, Almond Oil and Avocado Oil are best for the purpose.
Blend 1-2 drops of oil with a teaspoon of carrier oil and massage deeply into the problem areas. The essential oil combined with the healing touch of the massage should result in immediate relief. Regular massage will help provide long-term relief.
In the Bath or Shower
Just soaking in a tub of warm water can help relieve muscle soreness and joint pain. Adding a few drops of essential oil complements the soothing effect of the warm water to further relax sore, achy muscles.
Be sure to avoid peppermint in the bath, however, as this can lead to irritation.
Read more about Using Essential Oils In the Bath.
Hold & Cold Compress
Alternating between a hold and cold compress is known to relieve swelling, pain, and inflammation. Adding a few drops of essential oil to the water can boost the soothing, pain relieving properties of the compress.
In a Diffuser
Aromatherapy diffusers fill the room with the therapeutic vapor of the oil and is an effective way to use essential oils for muscle soreness. This unobtrusive practice allows you to enjoy the healing scents of these oils without applying them directly to the skin.
Whether you use massage, a diffuser, candles, or a bathtub with essential oils, don’t expect the pain to subside after just one session, especially if your muscles are very sore. You may need to have multiple massage sessions or soak yourself in the tub once a day for several days before you experience the healing effects of the oil.
Precautions When Using Essential Oils to Soothe Sore Muscles
Never apply concentrated essential oils directly to your skin. These extracts are very strong and can cause skin irritation when used topically without dilution. Before you use any of the above essential oils to soothe sore muscles, you must dilute it in a carrier oil. Place this dilution chart sticker in a convenient place to ensure you are always applying the correct dilution.
Avoid using essential oils for younger children. Also, avoid if you are pregnant or breastfeeding.
Always speak to your doctor first and inform them about your plans to use essential oils for sore muscles. It’s equally important to consult with your doctor if the pain intensifies or continues for an extended period of time, or if the pain is accompanied by bruising, bleeding, or tenderness following an injury.
Disclaimer: This information is not intended to serve as medical advice. Please consult your doctor before using any natural medication or if you experience any unusual symptoms. See Full Disclaimer here.