It’s official: humans have a lot of muscles. And a proliferation of muscles means a proliferation of pain, tightness, tension or immobility if we push them too hard.
We’ve all experienced that deep, slow (sometimes slightly satisfying) pain in our muscles after an intense workout at the gym or a hard hike up a mountain. Likewise, everyone at some point in their lives has experienced the highly unenjoyable muscle fatigue and aching during the onset of a particularly vicious flu.
Or perhaps you’ve just slept in a weird position and woken up with a stiff, sore neck? Maybe you pounded the pavement a little too hard during that last run and now you have bruised heels or shin splints? Your muscle pain could originate from any number of possibilities, from chronic conditions like arthritis to back injuries from sports. Whatever the cause, most people would probably agree that muscle pain is a serious pain in the ass (metaphorically, but sometimes also literally!).
The good news is that relief from your muscle pain can come in the form of a small bottle of oil. Yep, those essential oils everyone seems to be harping on about these days are actually highly effective in reducing inflammation, encouraging blood flow, blocking pain receptors, and increasing mobility — all good things in the sore muscle department! Here’s some of our best essential oil picks for muscle relief, and some of the ways in which you can use them for optimum effectiveness.
1. Lavender essential oil
Lavender essential oil almost always ends up at the top of any list I create for health conditions or ailments, purely on account of it being so amazingly versatile. It reduces inflammation (one of the leading causes of muscle pain), calms frayed nerves and reduces stress, alleviates pain, reduces swelling and improves blood circulation.
There’s almost nothing this oil can’t do, so make it your go-to oil whenever you experience any muscle aches and pains.
2. Black pepper essential oil
How they manage to squeeze oil out of those tiny, dry peppercorns is beyond me. But however they manage it, black pepper essential oil makes an excellent choice for muscle relief. It promotes circulation, encouraging blood flow to the area of pain or swelling and helping your body to heal it faster. And like lavender, it also possesses pain-relieving properties, meaning you can get on with your day without being crippled by pain.
3. Ginger essential oil
As a spice, ginger provides all kinds of vital nutrients and body-healing compounds, so it’s no great surprise that it can also be an effective treatment for muscle pain and stiffness. Studies have shown that ginger essential oil can lessen pain associated with arthritis and other muscular and joint conditions, by directly interacting with the vanilloid receptors located on sensory nerve endings.
Ginger oil also has a powerful anti-inflammatory effect on muscles and joints, with one study showing that it reduced pain and stiffness in knee joints by 40 percent when compared to a placebo group.
While a bottle of frankincense essential oil may be expensive, a little goes a long way. The compounds in frankincense have been shown to inhibit the production of key inflammatory molecules associated with arthritis and a range of other muscular conditions. Frankincense has also been shown to prevent the breakdown of cartilage, dramatically reducing inflammation and making this oil a great option for those suffering from long-term muscle and joint conditions.
— Liivi Hess
Muscle relief is but one of the many benefits of using essential oils. Here’s 59 more!