Do you fear “leg day”, or worse, the day after leg day? Do you struggle to hold your toothbrush the morning after a workout, or even walk down the stairs?
I feel you!
Although muscle soreness is completely normal 24 to 48 hours after working out, it can still be quite a bummer and make your day more difficult than it needs to be.
To be able to prevent and relieve muscle soreness, it helps to know where it comes from. When we perform muscle contractions in a higher intensity than our normal activity, it creates microscopic tears in the muscle tissue1. This process is actually a good thing for your body; your muscles are going to be repaired with stronger and tougher fibers, resulting in creating bigger muscles – like the coveted six pack!
Essential oils can provide various therapeutic effects to address muscle soreness: They can be anti-inflammatory, analgesic, and antispasmodic, but can offer even more than that. Antirheumatic and detoxifying essential oils can also make sure your joints are soothed, as physical exercise is sometimes strenuous on our whole musculoskeletal system.
As a fun side note, my post workout blend is what actually convinced my husband of the benefits of essential oils. He plays soccer, and one night when he came home, I made him a body oil. I can still remember his exclamation the next day: “Wow, I can walk down the stairs!”
Some Post Workout Essential Oils
Roman chamomile (Anthemis nobilis)
Very soothing, calming, a strong antispasmodic and anti-inflammatory, this oil is perfect to relieve the body from general muscle tension.
Juniper berry (Juniperus communis)
Detoxifying, antirheumatic, analgesic and anti-inflammatory, Juniper is excellent to ease stiffness and promote elimination of waste.
Laurel (Laurus nobilis)
Analgesic, and antispasmodic, this is a wonderful oil to soothe musculoskeletal aches and pains (not surprising that it was used to crown Ancient Greece’s athletes and Olympians).
Peppermint (Mentha x piperita)
A powerful analgesic, cooling, anti-inflammatory and antispasmodic, peppermint is a wonderful oil to use for any musculoskeletal trauma (and that includes injuries). It helps reduce swelling, ease pain, and brings a welcome cooling effect.
Sweet Marjoram (Origanum majorana)
Relaxes tension and muscle pain. An analgesic, antispasmodic, antirheumatic – excellent to relax the muscles, and avoid both muscular and joint pain.
Body Oil Recipe
I love to use a body oil after working out, running or hiking. I apply it in the shower and use an exfoliating glove on my skin, enjoying the dual effect of the massage and the scrub. You can also, of course, apply the body oil right after your shower.
I chose a 3% dilution, as your whole body will likely be covered by the oil (for focus on small, local areas, you can use a higher percentage).
Here is my recipe for a 2oz post-workout body oil:
Roman chamomile: 4 drops
Juniper berry: 16 drops
Laurel: 8 drops
Peppermint: 4 drops
Sweet marjoram: 8 drops
Carrier oil: I use jojoba oil, because it absorbs right into my skin and does not leave a greasy feeling.
If you don’t like body oils, don’t worry – you can also use this synergy in aloe vera gel. The gel itself is very soothing and cooling. However, I always add at least a teaspoon of a carrier oil to make sure essential oils are diluted and well blended into the gel.
Enjoy your workout, and the day after!
Shutes, Jade. Foundations of Aromatherapy.