Which essential oils are best for sore muscles?
How can you use essential oils to relieve muscle aches?
I’ll answer those two questions today as I review the best essential oils for muscle pain.
Plus, I’ll share essential oil muscle rub recipes.
- What Causes Muscle Pain?
- How Can Essential Oils Help Relieve Aching Muscles?
- Essential Oils Found in Commercial Pain Relief Creams
- A Bath Recipe to Ease Muscle Aches
- Muscle Balm
- Essential Oil Blend for Muscle Knots
- Muscle Recovery Recipe
What Causes Muscle Pain?
Most muscle aches are caused by two things: a buildup of lactic acid or injury from overwork or strain (1).
Generally, muscle pain fades within a few days when it’s not from an injury.
If you experience pain for more than three days, or the pain increases, please contact your doctor.
How Can Essential Oils Help Relieve Aching Muscles?
Essential oils can reduce inflammation and provide a soothing sensation. Some oils may help you recover faster.
The best way to treat muscle pain with essential oils is to use a muscle rub or soak in a relaxing bath.
Essential Oils Found in Commercial Pain Relief Creams
You might be interested to know that sports creams like Bengay and Tiger Balm rely on plant-based ingredients to soothe stiff muscles. For example, they both contain menthol derived from the mint plant and camphor from the camphor tree.
Perhaps you’ve heard of doTerra’s Deep Blue blend. It features camphor and peppermint as well as wintergreen, helichrysum, chamomile, and more.
Each of these products creates a cooling sensation on the skin. Meanwhile, their aromas encourage the user to breathe deeply and relax.
Now let’s get into the top essential oils for muscle pain and see some recipes to help you feel better as soon as possible.
Peppermint essential oil is one of the best choices to alleviate muscle aches.
It works well by itself, or you can blend it with other oils for other benefits.
The secret to mint’s success is menthol. Menthol gives peppermint its powerful fragrance while it cools down the skin.
Mint is an analgesic that diminishes inflammation and calms muscle spasms (1).
***Please, always dilute mint oil before applying it to your skin. It’s a potent oil that may cause irritation when used uncut.
The next time you have a charley horse or muscle soreness, give yourself a massage with peppermint. Put five drops in a teaspoon of carrier oil (like fractionated coconut). Then rub the sore spot for a few minutes.
You’ll feel a tingling or burning while your muscles relax. The invigorating scent will also clear your mind.
A Bath Recipe to Ease Muscle Aches
Draw a bath with warm water and stir in four drops of lavender and six drops of peppermint.
Then soak for fifteen to twenty minutes.
Enjoy as your tight muscles loosen.
Now Peppermint Essential Oil, 4-Ounce
Save money by purchasing a large bottle of peppermint essential oil.
After all, peppermint is one of the best essential oils for headaches, too.
Now Foods, aka Now Solutions, is based in North America. They steam-distill mint from the aerial parts of the Mentha piperita plant. Then they do extensive in-house testing to ensure the purity and quality of the oil.
Lavender essential oil calms and relaxes the mind and body.
It’s one of the top essential oils for sleeping and massages.
When you use lavender for muscle pain, it reduces inflammation and soreness (2). You’ll notice that it has a slightly camphor-like smell.
Majestic Pure Lavender Oil
Majestic Pure’s lavender oil is packaged with a glass dropper. It’s steam-distilled from the Lavandula angustifolia plant of Bulgaria and the Lavandula hybrida of France.
Rosemary will help you recover from sports injuries. It promotes blood circulation and lessens inflammation.
If you complain of sore joints or muscles to your massage therapist, they may use rosemary oil to treat you. After all, it’s one of the best essential oils for massages.
Radha Beauty Rosemary Essential Oil
Radha Beauty packages their oil in the USA in cobalt blue glass bottles with a glass dropper. It’s made from steam-distilled Rosmarinus officials. If you’re not happy with it, they offer a full refund.
Measure out a tablespoon of your favorite unscented lotion or carrier oil. You can also use cocoa or shea butter.
Then stir in the following essential oils:
- three drops rosemary
- two drops peppermint
- two drops lavender
Warm the mixture with your hands then spend a few minutes rubbing it in well.
You can also add two drops of chamomile.
Chamomile comes in two varieties, German and Roman. Both are known for their relaxing qualities.
But in the case of body aches, use German chamomile as it’s better at easing inflammation from muscle pain and arthritis.
Plant Therapy Chamomile German Essential Oil
Plant Therapy has certified aromatherapists available to answer your questions. They also provide purity and quality test results on the oils they manufacture. The results are verified by third-party laboratories.
German chamomile is made from the Matricaria chamomilla plant.
If you take supplements for joint pain, you’ve probably seen turmeric and black pepper packaged together. The black pepper enhances the healing ability of turmeric.
Black pepper essential oil on its own is ideal for a warming massage. The only downside is that not everyone appreciates the scent. That’s why you’re likely to see blends containing black pepper to boost their effects.
Black Pepper Essential Oil by Plant Guru
Plant Guru suggests blending black pepper essential oil with clove, frankincense, ginger, and juniper. Their oil is steam-distilled from the dried berries of the Piper nigrum vine of India.
Essential Oil Blend for Muscle Knots
Pour out a tablespoon of carrier oil. Then add the following:
- two drops black pepper oil
- four drops peppermint
- two drops rosemary
- two drops German chamomile
- two drops helichrysum
- one drop juniper berry
If you have an empty roller top bottle, pour the blend inside so that it’s ready to use on the go.
Eucalyptus essential oil isn’t just good for unclogging a stuffy nose. It’s also useful for arthritic joint pains and muscle aches.
Pay attention to the type of eucalyptus oil you purchase. Use Eucalyptus globulus, not radiate, as globulus contains more 1,8-cineole to reduce inflammation.
Eucalyptus Pure Essential Oil by Fabulous Frannie
Fabulous Frannie packages Eucalyptus oil in an amber glass bottle with a Euro dropper cap. This style of orifice reducer allows one drip at a time to emerge.
If you don’t like the medicinal fragrance, blend eucalyptus with lemon, peppermint, cedarwood, or clary sage.
Muscle Recovery Recipe
Here’s a simple blend to help you bounce back from CrossFit.
In 1 teaspoon of carrier oil, put:
- three drops eucalyptus
- two drops rosemary
- one drop juniper berry
Take a few minutes to rub this recipe into the sore spots. Then stretch gently and go about your day.
Clove oil is spicy and potent and should be diluted to 0.5% before you put it on the skin. Never use more than one drop of clove (or 1%) per teaspoon of carrier oil.
If you’re nervous about using too much, stick a clean toothpick into the opening of the bottle and use that amount per teaspoon of carrier oil instead.
Clove is not just useful for soothing muscle pain, but it also relieves toothaches with its numbing power.
Plant Therapy Clove Bud Essential Oil
Plant Therapy derives clove oil from the buds of the Syzygium aromaticum evergreen plant. It’s 100% pure with no additives.
Frankincense is all-around useful for healing the body and mind. Add a drop or two to any recipe above to fortify it.
Plant Therapy Frankincense Serrata Organic Essential Oil
Frankincense from the Boswellia serrata tree is the type most often recommended for curing the body. It diminishes inflammation, redness, and soreness.
Cinnamon essential oil is all-around useful. The fragrance promotes a positive outlook and peace of mind. Then, it supports good digestion and fights nausea. Additionally, cinnamon boosts the immune system.
When you apply cinnamon oil to the skin, it alleviates muscle tiredness and exhaustion.
Cinnamon Essential Oil by SenseLAB
SenseLAB bottles cinnamon oil in amber glass to protect it from UV degradation. The oil is made in India and tested to be pure and highly concentrated.
Helichrysum mitigates muscle spasms and pain. It decreases inflammation, too.
Helichrysum 100% Pure, Undiluted Essential Oil Therapeutic Grade by Fabulous Frannie
Fabulous Frannie provides helichrysum oil in amber glass bottles with Euro dropper caps. It’s safe to use for aromatherapy, massages, and DIY skincare products.
Juniper berry is one of the unsung heroes among essential oils. It smells like fruity pine cones and blends well with citrus oils.
When used to treat muscle aches, it stops spasms and helps the body to relax.
Edens Garden Juniper Berry
Edens Garden sends juniper berry oil through multiple rounds of testing to ensure that it’s 100% pure. They offer a variety of bottle sizes from 5 mL to 100 mL.
Cypress is another that you might be unaware of if you’re new to essential oils. It’s an anti-spasmodic to stop muscle cramps. It also improves circulation to get rid of excess water and move lactic acid out of your muscles.
Don’t use cypress oil if you’re pregnant or taking medication that would conflict with it. Be sure to dilute it properly.
Aura Cacia Essential Oil Cypress
Aura Cacia offers cypress oil derived from the Cupressus sempervirens tree of Spain. It’s distilled from the needles and twigs.
3-Pack Variety of NOW Essential Oils
If you need to restock, or you’re new to essential oils and want to get started, try this variety pack from NOW. It contains one-ounce bottles of rosemary, peppermint, and cinnamon cassia.
Take note that each oil is 100% pure and undiluted. They are ready to be diffused for aromatherapy.
Please combine them with a carrier oil before you apply them to your skin.
PURA D’OR Carrier Oil: Organic Fractionated Coconut Oil
Yes, I keep mentioning carrier oils. Today I’ll only include this one. Fractionated coconut oil is one of the least expensive you can buy for diluting essential oils.
It’s a good moisturizer, and it absorbs quickly into the skin. It’s also odorless and colorless and shouldn’t stain clothing or clog pores.
PURAD’OR offers a full refund if you’re not satisfied with their product.
NOW Solutions, Arnica Warming Relief Massage Oil
Have you heard of arnica? It grows in the mountains of Siberia and Europe.
It’s a traditional remedy for muscle soreness, joint pain, and bruises (3).
NOW’s massage oil with arnica also contains lavender, wintergreen, and other healing ingredients. You can use it up to three times a day.
Dr. Christopher’s Formula Cayenne Heat Massage Oil
Dr. Christopher’s cayenne massage oil alleviates joint and muscle pain. It relaxes away tension with a gentle warming sensation.
doTERRA Deep Blue Rub
No review of essential oils for muscle aches would be complete without including Deep Blue. This proprietary blend created by doTerra provides temporary relief for arthritic joints and sore muscles.
It contains peppermint, wintergreen, camphor, ylang-ylang, blue tansy, helichrysum, blue chamomile, and osmanthus.
This well-known formula has been copied by other essential oil manufacturers because it’s effective.
It comes in roll-on, oil, or cream versions.
Muscle Relief Synergy Blend Essential Oil by Edens Garden
Edens Garden combines the power of clove, peppermint, wintergreen, and helichrysum to create their Muscle Relief blend. It’s available in a variety of sizes between 5 mL and 100 mL.
Deep Muscle Synergy Essential Oil Blend
Plant Guru bases the Deep Muscle recipe on wintergreen, peppermint, eucalyptus, and camphor. These are all analgesics proven to relieve pain. Please be sure to dilute the oil before putting on your skin.
The next time you experience muscle pain, I hope you have essential oils on hand. Give yourself a massage with peppermint, rosemary, or eucalyptus.
Blend the oils together to achieve maximum results. Then rub them into the sore places to relieve cramps and pain.
I’d love to know what your favorite essential oils for pain are. Feel free to leave me a comment below.
1. https://www.livestrong.com/article/181132-peppermint-oil-for-muscle-aches/ by Alison Boots, accessed July 3, 2019
2. https://www.healthline.com/health/fitness-exercise/essential-oils-for-sore-muscles by Emily Cronkleton, published May 15, 2019, accessed July 3, 2019
3. https://www.healthline.com/health/pain-management/arnica#1 by Joe Bowman, published October 31, 2017, accessed July 3, 2019