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Quick Answer: Best Essential Oil for Muscle Pain

  1. Bergamot Essential Oil
  2. Black Pepper Essential Oil
  3. Cajeput Essential Oil
  4. Chamomile Essential Oil
  5. Coriander Essential Oil
  6. Fir Essential Oil
  7. Lavender Essential Oil
  8. Lemon Grass Essential Oil
  9. Marjoram Essential Oil
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Muscles in the body ache, become sore, swell or inflame which leads to muscular pain. It can be specific to the neck, back, and limbs or generic to the whole body.

The intensity of pain can be mild, moderate or severe and duration; acute or chronic pain such as arthritis. [1]

Muscular pain is also known as Myofascial pain syndrome (MPS) in which fascia faces injury or strain and lead to pain. [2]

The causes are tension, stress, fatigue, fibromyalgia; muscle cramp, minor injuries, infection or even illness can lead to pain throughout the body. [3]

Non-drug treatments such as physical and massage therapy are the most reliable techniques to ease the pain. Cold compress by ice [4] reduces inflammation in the area.

Essential oils relieve pain and relax the tensed muscles. They are beneficial to reduce inflammation.

Read further to know the benefits of essential oils and their use in relaxing and combating pain.

What are Essential Oils?

Essential oils are natural plant products that have been extracted from flowers, rinds, leaves, barks, wood, roots and twigs of plants without any chemical modification or intermediate synthesis.

They are volatile aromatic substances, also known as essence, volatile oil, etheric oil, aetheroleum [5]

Essential oils are widely used in aromatherapy, cosmetics, flavor, fragrance, food, and perfumery.

They are highly potent and concentrated; therefore they are used in diluted forms.

Volatile oils are constituted of saturated and unsaturated hydrocarbons, alcohol, aldehydes, esters, ethers, ketones, oxides phenols, and terpenes.

Essential oils can be administered by aromatherapy as baths, diffuser, orally as gelatin capsules and topical use in creams, lotions. [6]

How Essential Oils Help in Muscular Pain

Essential oils are miraculous in relaxing tensed muscles and in decreasing muscular pain [7] and have an Analgesic response on the body.

Tonic: They act as muscle tonic and have a sedative action on the body. They are helpful in curing muscular strains.

The oils are Anti-inflammatory and Antiphlogistic meaning they suppress and reduce inflammation caused by muscular spasms or muscle pulls.

Blends to soothe aching muscles: In bathwater add 5 drops of eucalyptus [8] oil, 2 drops of peppermint oil [9] and 2 drops of lavender oil.

This blend can be used for inhalation by adding it to warm water. For massage, add the blend to 15 ml base oil and massage. [10]

This therapy is beneficial for over-exercised muscles and includes a hot bath blend, which is, add 3 drops of marjoram and 2 drops of lemon oil and soak yourself in it for relaxing activities to take place.

Thereafter, massage with the following blend for added benefit, 5 drops each of eucalyptus [11], peppermint, and ginger essential oil diluted in 15 ml of vegetable oil. [12]

Blend for sore Muscle: Take 60 ml of sweet almond base oil and add 5 drops of peppermint, 3 drops of ginger, 5 drops of sweet marjoram and 3 drops of cypress and massage.[13]

Best Essential Oils for Muscle Pain

Essential oils are great pain relievers [14] [15] [16] and are warming to the body, they soothe the sore muscles and increases blood circulation.

They are also beneficial in reducing inflammations. [17]

Eucalyptus oil is very effective in muscle pain and aches. [18] A research study on guinea pigs showed essential oils from Pelargonium species relaxes smooth muscles. [19]

Rosemary oil, rich in camphor is used to relieve muscular pain. [20]

In the following section, I have mentioned the most beneficial essential oils having a remedial action on muscle pain.

Bergamot Essential Oil

Bergamot essential oil is expressed using the rind of a small and round fruit that belongs to a small tree. It has a greenish yellow tinge. It smells floral, sweet and citrus.

The oil helps to relieve muscular strains. It has an analgesic effect on the body and relieves pain in muscles.

It is constituted of 30-60% lynalyl acetate which is a powerful ester in calming and relaxing nerves. It reduces inflammation.

The oil can cause irritation and photosensitivity in a person.

Best way to use: Administered orally, topically, and baths.

Black Pepper Essential Oil

The oil is extracted from black peppercorns or berries of a woody vine as it is highly aromatic and yields more percentage of oil. It has a warm and spicy aroma. [21] [22]

The oil primarily works on muscle toning. It is a good analgesic and alleviates muscular pain and stiffness. It contains piperonal which is calming on the body.

The oil in combination with rosemary produces less muscle fatigue and pain after strenuous work. The antispasmodic action helps to soothe muscles.

The oil should be avoided in people with severe kidney disease or having sensitive skin.

Best way to use: It can be administered orally, topical application and in aromatherapy baths.

Cajeput Essential Oil

The oil is steam distilled from thick leaves and twigs of an evergreen tree. It has a fruity and camphorous smell.

The oil primarily reduces muscular pain [23] and shows analgesic and anti-inflammatory action on muscles.

Best way to use: Using in baths resolves muscular aches.

Chamomile Essential Oil

The oil is extracted from daisy-like white flowers of aromatic herb. The scent is warm, sweet, and herbal. [24] [25]

The oil has anti-inflammatory, analgesic action on the body and lessens muscular pain and inflammation due to high azulene content. The oil calms all types of muscular tension.

The oil should be avoided by pregnant women and it can cause skin irritation.

Best way to use: Massage the area in severe pain with Chamomile oil.

Coriander Essential Oil

The oil is extracted by crushing ripe coriander seeds of a strongly aromatic herb. It has bright green delicate leaves that are used for garnishing and making chutneys/dips.

The oil is sweet and has a musky scent and has a pale yellow tinge.

The oil primarily eases muscular pain and aches. It has a warming action on the body and, therefore, it corrects muscle spasms.

Best way to use: It can be taken orally.

Fir Essential Oil

Fir essential oil is steam distilled from needles and young twigs cones and broken pieces of a large leathery branched plant. It smells sweet, fresh and has a pale yellow tinge.

The oil is beneficial for muscular aches and pain and associated inflammation. It is rich in bornyl acetate and terpinyl acetate contents which have excellent calming properties.

It is highly sedative thus pacifies the central nervous system.

Best way to use: It can be used in topical application.

Lavender Essential Oil

Lavender essential oil is steam distilled from violet-blue flowering tops of a woody green shrub having a pale yellow tone. The oil has a sweet and floral scent. [26] [27]

The oil cures muscle sprains, it is useful to ease the stiffness of muscles [28]. It has analgesic properties, that is, it relieves pain.

It also possesses anti-inflammatory action [29] on the body. The oil sedates the nervous system and brain and relaxes the body.

Lavender oil acts as a tonic and sedative for heart muscle and calms them.

Best way to use: The oil is beneficial in the topical application and in baths to relieve from muscular pain after exercise

Lemon Grass Essential Oil

Lemongrass essential oil is extracted by distillation from finely chopped lemongrass having reddish-brown tinge. It has an earthy, fresh and citrus-like scent.

The oil eases muscular aches. It also tones muscles, by showing an analgesic effect on the body.

The oil has a soothing effect on headaches. For headaches always mix lavender oil with a carrier oil and gently massage into temples and forehead.

It is rich in citral, citronella and farmesal content and constitutes 80% aldehydes of total contents. They are excellent in the calming body.

The oil can cause photosensitivity among individuals and is prohibited in children below 2 years.

Best way to use: It can be used in baths and topical application.

Marjoram Essential Oil

Marjoram essential oil is steam distilled from a dried flowering herb from a bushy perennial plant. The plant is aromatic.[30]

The oil has multiple benefits in muscular pain and spasm, sprains, strain and stiffness.

The oil reduces inflammation and reduces pain. It’s warm, analgesic and sedative action calms and relieves spasms.

The oil can cause drowsiness and therefore, should not be used in large dosage.

Best way to use: The oil is used as a diffuser, in baths and topical application. To relax a sore muscle, add sweet marjoram and cypress oil to olive oil and mix, rub this blend directly to muscles. [31]

Precautions While Using Essential Oils

Essential oils should not be used on mucous membranes, eyes, wounds or genitals.

After using one must avoid direct sun exposure for up to 6 hours.

Pure essential oils can be toxic to health or when they are used in large amounts, therefore, always ensure to dilute them before use and less is more!

They should not be used for children below the age of 5 years and pregnant women must use them cautiously due to their abortive nature.

Store the oils in tightly capped bottles due to their volatile nature and proper storage will maintain the potency for years.

Final Words

Muscle pain can be very tiring and exhaustive for the body. Pain and inflammation add on to more discomfort for the sufferer.

As potent curative, essential oils have long been used in easing out the pain of muscles and reducing the inflammation.

They are extremely soothing on muscles and relax them; moreover, the use of massage blends, bath oil and inhalation enhances the therapeutic properties of these oils and gives you a natural and effective treatment.

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