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The Aromahead Blog - Aromatherapy Education and Resources

Which Essential Oils Help Tight Muscles?

by Andrea Butje on January 23, 2020

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There are a lot of essential oils that help tight muscles.

I’m going to help you sort through the huge amount of information about this, and give you clarity about which essential oils to use, and how to use them.

Let’s narrow our focus to 6 essential oils, so we don’t get too overwhelmed with possibilities.

You’ll learn about 3 oils that are cooling (great for tight muscles that feel warm!) . . .

. . . and 3 oils that help warm and loosen up cold, tight, inflexible muscles.

One thing that you’ll notice about all 6 essential oils is they’re great for encouraging circulation. These are energetic oils, and can help you feel mentally sharp and motivated to check things off your to-do list.

Let’s jump right in!

3 Essential Oils for Tight Muscles – Cooling!

If you get relief from putting a cold pack in the freezer and then resting it on your sore muscles, you’re going to love these oils!

1. Eucalyptus – Eucalyptus globulus

Eucalyptus globulus essential oil contains high quantities of the natural component 1,8-cineole.

This little component has a big presence—it helps make Eucalyptus one of the best oils for respiratory health.

But did you know Eucalyptus is also helpful for physical pain and inflammation? That’s largely thanks to 1,8-cineole, too!

2. Saro – Cinnamosma fragrans

Saro essential oil is from Madagascar. It smells fresh and camphoraceous—very similar to Eucalyptus, but with a warmer, softer aspect.

Like Eucalyptus, Saro contains a lot of 1,8-cineole. These two oils complement one another very well! Try blending them together in jojoba and making a cooling rub for a red, warm, tight muscles.

3. Rosemary ct. camphor – Rosmarinus officinalis camphor

In Aromatherapy for Healing the Spirit, author Gabriel Mojay says:

“Moving both the Qi-energy and blood, Rosemary oil is an excellent tonic of the muscles, and is used for muscular stiffness, cramping, and pain.”

There are several “chemotypes” of Rosemary essential oil. This one contains high quantities of the natural component “camphor.” Camphor is famous for the way can work out deep knots of tension.

Your Cooling Blend for Tight Muscles

Here’s a recipe to use all three of these essential oils to help tight muscles in a single blend. This feels comforting and cooling, helps create free and easy movement, and encourages circulation.

Triple-Cool Muscle Treat

  • 1 oz (28 g) unscented natural lotion
  • 6 drops Eucalyptus essential oil (Eucalyptus globulus)
  • 6 drops Saro essential oil (Cinnamosma fragrans)
  • 6 drops Rosemary ct. camphor essential oil (Rosmarinus officinalis camphor)

Put the lotion into a 1 oz (30 ml) bottle. Add the essential oils, and stir gently with a glass stirring rod. Take your time and be sure to mix the essential oils in thoroughly (once they’re mixed in, they won’t separate from the lotion.)

Treat your tight muscles as needed!

tripe cool muscle treat

3 Essential Oils for Tight Muscles – Warming!

If you’ve ever put a warming pack in the microwave and then laid it on your sore neck . . . or rested in a warm bath and felt knots of tension seem to melt away like butter . . . these oils will be your new best friends!

1. Ginger – Zingiber officinale

Ginger “brings the heat,” encouraging circulation and loosening up tight muscles.

It’s a great essential oil to help joints, too. Ginger is an all-around energizing oil, inspiring confidence and motivation, and removing obstacles to action (like muscle pain).

Be sure to dilute Ginger essential oil well in topical blends, so you can sidestep skin irritation. Fortunately, a few drops go a long way.

2. Black Pepper – Piper nigrum

In The Complete Guide to Aromatherapy, author Salvatore Battaglia tells us:

“Black Pepper oil is recommended in a massage blend for . . . muscular aches and pains, tired and aching limbs, and muscular stiffness. It can be used before training or a performance to prevent pain and stiffness.”

Black Pepper isn’t known to cause skin irritation, but I still like to dilute it well in a carrier. (Just a precaution I take with spicy essential oils.)

3. Cardamom – Elettaria cardamomum

Cardamom essential oil is warm, sweet, and spicy—just like the spice!

This is a truly versatile essential oil, and can fill a lot of purposes in your collection.

I adore Cardamom oil so much, I created an immersion class all about it.

You can learn to use Cardamom essential oil (safely!) for issues like indigestion, tight muscles (and joints), colds and flu, feeling more energetic and confident, and more—and you can study anytime, anywhere.

The class is called the Cardamom Essential Oil Spotlight. Learn more about it here!

Your Warming Blend for Tight Muscles

I’m going to use fewer drops of essential oil in this blend, because these oils are spicy. I don’t need that many drops to help tight muscles, and I want to be cautious and protect my skin.

Triple-Heat Muscle Treat

  • 1 oz (30 ml) jojoba (Simmondsia chinensis)
  • 5 drops Ginger essential oil (Zingiber officinale)
  • 5 drops Black Pepper essential oil (Piper nigrum)
  • 5 drops Cardamom essential oil (Elettaria cardamomum)

Make this blend in a 1 oz (30 ml) glass bottle. Combine the jojoba and essential oils, and shake gently. Use it as needed to massage sore, tight muscles—or to prevent stiffness from setting in after a workout.

triple heat muscle treat

Now you know two recipes to use essential oils to help tight muscles.

If you’re saying, “Andrea, I have all of these essential oils! Which one is the best?”

The answer is . . . they’re all great! There is no “best” one. It’s all about what appeals to your nose.

Even though there is a LOT more to know about each of these 6 essential oils, you now have some solid information about how to use each of them, and why they work.

If you have any questions, ask me in the comments. Your question could help clarify things for someone else!

Join us in the Cardamom Spotlight Class!

Andrea Butje is an internationally-recognized Aromatherapist who has changed the educational paradigm through her inspired approach to teaching essential oils and Aromatherapy Certification. Check out her book, The Heart of Aromatherapy, at Aromatics International!

Topics: muscle pain, pain relief with essential oils, essential oils for back pain, natural remedy for back pain, essential oils for muscle tension, essential oils for joint pain, essential oils for neck pain, essential oils for knee pain

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