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Aromatherapy Blends for Sore Muscles

pure eucalyptus oil

Whether your muscles ache due to everyday wear and tear, the flu, or a hard workout, there’s a blend of essential oils out the to offer relief. The following oils and blends are useful for relieving pain and the symptoms that cause it.

eucalyptus oil

Eucalyptus and Bergamot

Pure eucalyptus oil blended with bergamot provides much relief. This is a potent blend, and the only reason it might not be your first choice is the scent. Eucalyptus is polarizing: you love it, or you hate it. It is, however, your best option if you’re looking to soothe muscles worked to near exhaustion or a body that aches due to an illness. In many blends, the uplifting, citrus-like scent of bergamot tempers more “medicinal” notes. Further, it is very soothing to the skin and tissues.

When purchasing bergamot oil, look for “bergaptene-free” varieties of C. bergamia.  These bergamot essential oils will have the photosensitizing element removed making them safe for use before, after, or during sun exposure. When purchasing pure eucalyptus oil, you are likely to find oil produced from E. globulus. This is an excellent plant for oils, but the E. radiata variety of eucalyptus makes a stronger, therapeutic-grade oil. In either case, take care to avoid using pure eucalyptus oil if you suffer from epilepsy as it may interfere with your condition or treatment.

Chamomile and Lavender

This blend is best for muscles that are merely worn out. It may also be used in a bath or diffuser to lull the affected person to sleep. Pure chamomile oil is calming, as is lavender but to a much milder degree. Any other blend on this list may also benefit from the inclusion of chamomile if the pain is caused or worsened due to swelling or fluid retention as chamomile is a mild anti-inflammatory.

When purchasing chamomile oil, only buy the common German chamomile. Rare is “blue” or “Roman” chamomile and for a good reason: it can cause intense hormonal disruption and may disrupt pregnancy.

Rosemary, Thyme, and Grapefruit

Grapefruit oil, though a citrus type, is not photosensitizing. When used in combination with rosemary it helps to encourage the drainage of excess fluid and provide mild relief from soreness. The addition of thyme will help restore energy and bring about restful sleep. This blend is also useful if the pain is due to an injury that involved broken skin as thyme oil has strong antiseptic properties.

Rosemary or Eucalyptus, and Juniper

Using rosemary oil will have similar effects to pure eucalyptus oil. This blend is powerful either way and may even be mixed up with equal parts of all 3. These oils, in combination, when used in a balm or massage oil can stimulate the muscle and surrounding tissue to reduce inflammation and swelling as they soothe the pain.

Keep in mind that neither rosemary or eucalyptus should be used by anyone with a history of epilepsy or on strong medications. Further, rosemary, like many other potent oils, should be avoided during pregnancy or by anyone attempting to become pregnant.

Peppermint and Juniper

A milder alternative to the blend listed immediately above; this combination can offer more immediate relief and an “easier to like” scent. Peppermint, especially when used in a bath, can provide immediate relief to stressed muscles. When applied to the skin at an appropriate concentration it gives off a cooling sensation that many find pleasant and relaxing.

How to Use These Blends

You can use these blends in some different preparations: massage oils, aromatherapy baths, and showers, diffusers, or added to balms or lotions. They are simple 1:1 blends, as well. Just add an equal number of drops of each oil mentioned. Remember to dilute any oils you plan to allow to come into contact with the skin in a carrier oil. High quality, fragrance-free oils like camellia or grapeseed and recommended over things like coconut oil and cocoa butter.

Making Your Own Blends

If you feel like you have a good understanding of what each of the oils can do, there’s no harm in making your own blend. Remember to keep the quantities small. Use only a few drops for each preparation. Finding a mixture that smells pleasant is just as important as what the oils do. If the smell of a stronger oil puts you off, but you like the effect, there’ almost always an alternative.

Don’t like the pungent smell of pure eucalyptus oil? Try the familiar, stimulating scent of peppermint and juniper. On the other hand, do you prefer that your balms smell strong to “prove” that they’re helping? Go for the pure eucalyptus oil as your main ingredient. Though the research behind essential oil use is starting to stack up, the placebo effect some of them give off is a wonder in and of itself.

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