Are you looking for the best Essential Oils for muscle strain? Yup… those kind of oil where you rub it over your body. This is definitely a natural alternative to the medicated deep heat treatment that most athletes use…
So Who Am I & What Is My Story
Hi there, my name is Jessica Hegarty and I am an Engineer by training. Part of my day job requires me to run around the chemical plant to fix, repair and make sure the plant’s equipment is operational. I must say it is a physically demanding job for a lady… Being in an industry ruled by men, it is not easy to get their respect if you cant lift those heavy ratchets and tighten those valves…
More often than not, I do get muscle strains as much as those who spend their time in the gym. It is always either my shoulders / deltoid regions or it will be my lower back. I went for basic massages and even the DIY ice-bath for muscle recovery… but it did not work. Only until I started experimenting with Essential Oils… that is when I saw the difference.
Of course… not all type of Essential Oils help with muscle strains. I have done my research and found that Lavender and Peppermint Essential Oil works best.
But personally, from my experience…. I prefer the Peppermint Essential Oil as it gives cooling after therapy effect 🙂
Massaging myself with Peppermint Essential Oil has helped me saved quite a number of trips to the massage parlor. It is cheap, cost effective and easy to use. And I am actually impressed with how well it is able to heal my muscle strains. I am now able to lift heavy stuff at work without worrying and also able to give my 100% at the gym.
What Are Some Symptoms of Muscle Strains ?
There are basically 4 different type of symptoms you’ll experience if you have muscle strains. These are quite common and is something that you should be aware of:
- Muscle Cramps & Spasms: This is something that I usually experience. The spasms are involuntary and can keep twitching for many hours. The reason for the twitch is because the muscles are contracting vigorously. I usually get it over my shoulders and my calves/feet.
- Muscle knots, which are basically small patches of localized muscle spasm.
- Delayed Onset Muscle Soreness: As the name suggest, it is basically muscle soreness that we usually get after an unfamiliar workout. But this usually fades after 3 days.
Essential Oils: Past Vs Present
In ancient Chinese and Greek civilisations, Essential Oils are renowned for their therapeutic purposes and are used in various types of medication. For example, ancient Greek athletes use Essential Oil as a muscle relaxant while ancient Chinese doctors used essential oil to treat muscle pains and burns.
However, in today’s world where the effect of Essential Oil is largely misinterpreted, we often neglect the effects of Essential Oil and dismissed their medicinal properties as unfounded myths.
However, there is strong scientific proof behind the effects of Essential Oil. Most Essential Oil are strong anti-inflammatory in their composition and this allows them to be able to rid muscles aches and pain. Also, most Essential Oil have strong anti-bacterial effects which can allow them to serve as strong antiseptic. These properties are the backbone behind the medicinal effects of Essential Oils.
Best Essential Oils For Muscle Strain # 1 : Lavender Essential Oil
Lavender is found primarily in Bulgaria and the Mediterranean. The plant itself is evergreen and the lightly purple coloured flower gives off a pleasant aroma. However, it is important to know that Lavender is in fact, a part of the mint family.
This would explain the over-lapping anti-inflammatory and antiseptic effects that both Lavender Oil and Peppermint Oil has. However, Lavender oil differs in terms of its chemical composition and in its sedative effect. Chemically, 30% of lavender consists of linalool.
Linalool is very similar to the menthol compound produced in mint. On its own, it has strong anti-inflammatory effect. It is this property that allows Lavender Oil to be able to alleviate muscle pain as the oil can reduce muscle inflammation, soreness and tension. Linalool also has slight sedative effect which can allow the user to feel more relaxed and keep his mind off his discomfort.
Best Essential Oils For Muscle Strain # 2 : Peppermint Essential Oil
Peppermint is found primarily in the Pacific Northwest region of the United States. It is evergreen with a distinct “cooling” flavour and sensation. As a form of plant, it is renowned for its medicinal purposes and is in fact, the earliest form of Essential Oil to be harvested and used.
Peppermint contains a huge amount of menthol which reacts with the ions of the body. Nerve impulses are sent via ions and interaction with ions can control nerve impulses. This allows relaxation of the muscles by allowing different muscle groups to relax. This forms the principal to its relaxant properties.
In addition, Mint also contains cooling properties which gives it relief for users living in hot tropical climate. The menthol gives them a cooling sensation and its relaxant properties help tense muscle pain by increasing blood flow in the applied area. This is something that I really like about the Peppermint Essential Oil, which makes it my “go-to” oil when I need help with my muscle aches and strains!
Lastly, it is important to note that it has strong antibacterial and anti-inflammatory properties as well.
So, after you have full understood the brilliance of these two types of Oil in alleviating muscle pain, we may start to wonder, how to apply them?
How Do You Apply Essential Oils For Muscle Strain
To treat your muscle strain, there are a couple of ways in which the Essential Oil can be applied, either individually or together. When the Essential Oils are used, it is important to note that it should not be applied directly to the skin. Hmm… what do I mean?
For Peppermint Essential Oil, when used individually, users can add 2 drops of Peppermint Essential Oil into a glass full of cold water. Next, soak a piece of flannel or cloth in the Peppermint Essential Oil-Water solution and then lay it directly over the affected area. The combination of the cooling effect of the solution would be able to reduce swelling, improve blood flow in the applied area and reduce muscle strain.
For Lavender Oil, users can add 2-4 drops of Lavender Oil into any Carrier Oil. An example would be coconut oil. The recommended volume is no more than 15ml so as to avoid over dilution of the Lavender Oil. Next, apply over painful area.
In addition, Lavender Oil can be added into a bath so as to reduce various aching muscle groups over the body. Simply add 10-15 drops into a warm bath before soaking in.
Apart from being used individually, Peppermint Oil and Lavender Oil can be used combined as well. It is recommended for the following ratio to be observed, two drops of Peppermint oil with 4 drops of Lavender Oil are to be mixed in a warm bath simply soak in and enjoy the relieving effect that the body experiences.
Which Essential Oils For Muscle Strain Is More Effective?
Honestly… I cant decide which is the more effective Essential Oils for muscle strain. They are both very unique in their own ways! The Lavender Oil has potent sedative properties that gives it it’s ability to be a strong relaxant and a pain reliever. When you apply it over your skin, you’ll feel your stiff muscles relax.
The Peppermint Oil on the other hand gives the cooling sensation that allows your sore muscles to feel numb and relaxed. When you rub a Peppermint-Water Concoction over your muscles… It instantly brings the coolness to your skin… Soothing the pain over on the strain muscles.
The Key Ingredient – Methanol
What you probably don’t know is that Methanol, the key ingredient in Peppermint Essential Oil tackles the tightness in your muscle at different angles all at once. It is commonly found in many pain relief cream which is supposedly the “medicinal” ingredient that helps with pain relief. So why pay so much for some pain relief cream when you can get it naturally from it’s plant source?
Methanol is a natural pain reliever and when applied over your skin, the ligand molecules attach themselves to the receptors of our skin cells, the kappa Opioid receptor, resulting in a numbing effect.
Rubbing Peppermint Essential Oil on your skin also causes vasodilation, where the blood vessels widens and causes an increase in blood flow towards the area. When the blood flow on your muscle increases, it flushes the muscles with more nutrients, allowing them to repair and recover faster.
One of the biggest culprit behind muscle strains is also due to inflammation. The word inflammation actually comes from a latin word, inflammare which means “to set on fire.”
Peppermint Essential Oil brings you the cooling sensation by stimulating the thermoreceptors in the skin. It allows your body to recognize the temperature change. But the truth is… your skin doesn’t actually change temperature. But instead it sends a signal to your brain which interprets it as cold… Thus relieving the inflammation on your muscle.
For those reasons… I feel that Peppermint Essential Oil is something that I prefer to use as compared to the Lavender Essential Oil.
Quick Summary Of The Best Essential Oils For Muscle Strain
|Peppermint Essential Oil||Lavender Essential Oil|
|Price||The price of Peppermint Essential Oil is generally cheaper. It is approximately 15%-20% cheaper than Lavender. Price can range from $15 to $65.||Lavender Essential Oil can be more expensive generally. This is because Peppermint is usually readily available due to it’s extensive use as a food flavoring. Price can range from $15 to $90.|
|Medicinal Effects||Useful as a muscle relaxant in relieving pain, nausea and indigestion. Has great effect on headache and boosting focus too!||Both a muscle relaxant and an antiseptic lotion, the oil can be used to treat insect bites and bruises while it still possess the properties of a great muscle relaxant. Its sedative vapor has soothing effect that reduces stress and anxiety.|
|Relief Effects||Cooling and warming sensation in which the heat is carried away from the skin while the muscle feels warm. It is extremely effective for pain relief as the warmness increase blood flow to the affected area, therefore reducing pain and inflammation.||Lavender oil has anti-inflammation properties which helps to reduce muscle pain. However, it has neither the cooling effect nor the warming sensation given by peppermint. Hence, the puts lavender oil slightly on the losing end when treating muscle pain.|
If you are someone who prefers something sweet smelling, you should go for the Lavender Essential Oil. Whereas, if you’re like me and want something that give you the cooling effect… Go for the Peppermint Essential oil instead.
However, if you are someone who doesn’t mind any and cost is the most important factor in deciding which Essential Oil to get, my suggestion is get the Peppermint Essential oil because it is definitely much cheaper. This is mainly because of their supply in the market. As Peppermint is a multi-purpose commodity, they tend to be readily available.
Both the Peppermint and Lavender Essential Oil are excellent muscle relaxant, pain reliever and great antiseptic. Being very similar in their genome, both plants carries chemical with anti-inflammatory properties. It is such properties that allow these Essential Oils from both plant to be able to reduce muscle pain and swelling. Since all healing properties are almost equal, choose the Essential Oil based on what suits you best. Make your recovery an enjoyable one!