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Essential Oils for Soothing Muscle Pain and Soreness

Casey Bloom



Muscle pain and soreness can cause excruciating sensations for patients with the symptoms. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) reported that in 2016 up to 40% of Americans have chronic pain(1)

Other holistic pain-relieving therapies include tension-relieving light exercise. Such movements may be less likely to aggravate painful or sore muscles than high-intensity workouts. Know more about it from Motherhood Community

What Exactly Is an Essential Oil?

Essential oils are concentrated plant-based extracts that may provide therapeutic benefits for humans. As the name suggests, essential oils represent the “essence” of the plant’s scent and flavor(2).

A massive amount of plant material is required to produce essential oils.

How Essential Oils May Benefit Muscles

Research shows that essential oils may provide various therapeutic benefits for improved wellness.

A review published in Pain Research and Treatment examined the potential of aromatherapy to relieve pain, including muscle pain(3).

Aromatherapy is the therapeutic usage of essential oils absorbed through the olfactory system or skin.

The researchers reported that essential oils may help relieve pain when combined with conventional treatments(4). However, researchers must conduct more studies on the effectiveness of essential oils on muscle pain.

In a randomized controlled study published by the Journal of Alternative and Complementary Medicine, researchers investigated the potential effectiveness of essential oils for relieving neck pain(5).

The experimental group received a 3% concentration cream composed of lavender, peppermint, black pepper, and marjoram.

The researchers reported that the study’s results suggest essential oils may help relieve neck pain(6). However, more research is warranted on the effectiveness of the individual essential oils to help relieve neck pain.

Cannabidiol (CBD) is a nonpsychoactive cannabis-derived compound known as a cannabinoid(7). Individuals may blend CBD with essential oils.

In a 2020 study, researchers suggested that CBD may have potential therapeutic benefits for relieving chronic pain when traditional treatments are insufficient or impossible(8).

Essential Oils to Try for Muscle Pain and Soreness

People with muscle conditions may use particular essential oil therapies for various therapeutic effects. 

 

Lavender Essential Oil (Lavandula)

Lavender purportedly may have pain-relieving, antioxidative, and anti-inflammatory properties(9). It has become among the most popular essential oils on the market.

A study that examined the therapeutic effects of lavender and acupuncture suggested that the essential oil may help relieve low back pain(10).

However, researchers should complete more studies on the potential effects of lavender topicals for relieving other localized pain.

Due to lavender being a gentle essential oil, people can use it in various ways to help relieve symptoms of painful or sore muscles. Some examples include:

  • Aromatherapy bath
  • Diffuser as aromatherapy
  • Massage oil with a carrier oil

Eucalyptus Essential Oil (Eucalyptus globulus)

Eucalyptus produces a unique cooling effect when one applies it to the skin utilizing a carrier oil.

Research shows that eucalyptus may help alleviate muscle pain(11). In addition, eucalyptus oil may help reduce muscle soreness-associated inflammation(12).

Chamomile Essential Oil (Matricaria chamomilla)

Chamomile is an essential oil that people often use for purported calming effects. Humans have historically used it for various therapeutic effects, including muscle spasms(13).

Meanwhile, research suggests that chamomile may also have anti-inflammatory properties(14).

These purported therapeutic effects may help relieve muscle pain or soreness. However, more research is warranted.

Juniper Essential Oil (Juniperus communis)

Some individuals apply juniper essential oils to muscles and joints to relieve pain. Research suggests that juniper may possess anti-inflammatory properties(15).

However, medical researchers should conduct more studies regarding the plant’s potential to reduce inflammation and related discomfort.

Myrrh Essential Oil (Commiphora myrrha)

A 2017 study suggested that a water extract of frankincense and myrrh may help relieve neuropathic pain in mice(16). Neuropathic pain results from damage or malfunctioning of the nervous system(17).

Researchers must complete more studies to determine whether myrrh essential oil produces the same benefits in human subjects. They should also research if it may help provide therapeutic benefits such as muscle-soothing.

Ginger Essential Oil (Zingiber officinalis)

Research suggests that garlic may help improve blood circulation(18). Blood circulation can help maintain healthy organs, muscles, and tissues, according to the Cleveland Clinic(19)

Helichrysum Essential Oil (Helichrysum italicum)

A 2013 review suggested that helichrysum may have anti-hematomal properties(20).  Hematoma is the collection of blood outside the blood vessels.

Bruises and hematoma are similar yet different conditions. Researchers should conduct more research to determine if helichrysum essential oil may help relieve bruises.

How to Use Essential Oils for Muscle Pain or Soreness

While you can use essential oils in various ways to help relieve painful or sore muscles, many patients use them as a massage oil. Here are some tips for using essential oils to help relieve symptoms of muscle conditions:

Carrier Oils

  • Individuals can use a carrier oil to dilute the essential oil before applying it to the skin to help reduce the risk of irritated skin or rashes.
  • The carrier oil does not impact the essential oil’s therapeutic effects. Various options for carrier oils include coconut oil and olive oil.

Roll-On Bottles

People can use roll-on bottles before or after gym workouts. These roll-on bottles provide a tidier application of diluted oils compared to other options.

Pre-packaged roller ball bottles include an essential oil or blend. With these products, there is no need for you to produce your own blend.

However, if you want to customize diluted essential oils, you can purchase an empty roller bottle instead and add the blend of your choice.

Massage Oil

You can apply essential oil-based massage oils topically after a challenging day at work, school, or gym. Diluting the essential oil before using it is crucial.

Aromatherapy Bath

An essential oil bath may help soothe stiff muscles. Combine the essential oil and carrier oil, then add the blend to your bath.

Research suggests that essential oils and blends may help relieve painful or sore muscles. If you have any particular questions, then please reach out to 21drops.com. We can also help create a custom blend to achieve your therapeutic goals for muscle conditions.