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Essential Oils for Joint and Muscle Pain


Sore muscles and painful joints can happen to anyone, no matter what age or gender. This is one of the reasons why exploring the benefits of essential oils isn’t just for women. If foam rollers and over-the-counter pain relievers aren’t working anymore, it may be time to try essential oils for a change. When your body is stiff and sore, and your muscles are crying out in pain, you may need a soothing massage with the help of essential oils with healing properties.

But remember, essential oils are potent, so you shouldn’t apply it directly to your skin as it can irritate it. To be safe, dilute your essential oil first with a carrier oil such as olive oil, coconut oil, jojoba oil, and/or argon oil before using it as a massage oil. Essential oils can also be added to a relaxing bath or to a cold or warm compress to ease pain, inflammation, and swelling.

Here some of the essential oils you can use to quickly ease joint and muscle pain:

1. Lavender

Lavender is perhaps the most common and most widely-recognized essential oil, so this goes first in the list. It helps ease joint and muscle pain through aromatherapy. Due to its mild yet active sedative compounds, it has long been used for relieving pain and inflammation. The scent of lavender essential oils can trigger the “feel good” hormones, relaxing you and relieving stress that can increase pain levels. It is also helpful as a sleep aid. As you improve the quality of your sleep, you can also reduce your pain levels.

When used topically, lavender essential oil doesn’t need to be mixed with a carrier oil as it is gentle enough on its own, but if you’re using it as a massage oil, you will want to dilute it in a carrier oil. Lavender contains anti-inflammatory and analgesic properties, which can help relax a tired and strained body.

Lavender essential oil is also great in a bath, as the steam diffuses its relaxing aroma all around you. Add 10-15 drops of the oil to the bath before you step in. It can help relax your stressed body and reduce pain.

2. Peppermint

Peppermint contains ingredients like menthol, which acts as an antispasmodic and mild analgesic to relieve pain or pressure on sore and achy muscles. Menthol has a cooling effect that can easily soothe and relieve tiredness and pain. Infuse it in your massage oil and it can help relax and ease tensions in your muscular aches and spasms. Besides painful muscles, peppermint is also a great remedy for migraines, headaches, and stomachaches.

For best results, mix 4-6 drops of peppermint essential oil with 1 teaspoon of carrier oil like olive oil or jojoba oil. Mix it well and massage into affected areas. For added relief, you can try mixing it up with a couple of lavender drops or drops of rosemary oil to enhance its pain-relieving effect.

3. Rosemary

Rosemary is an effective remedy for relieving pain and inflammation, especially joint and muscle aches, as well as headaches. It contains anti-inflammatory and anti-spasmodic properties, and it’s even high in antioxidants. One particular antioxidant – carnosol – focuses on inflammation, making rosemary essential oil one of the best choices for relieving pain. This is also why it’s great to blend with other essential oils (such as lavender, peppermint, chamomile, and clary sage) to strengthen its pain-relieving properties. To add to its wonders, the compound rosmarinic acid in rosemary oil is also said to inhibit the progression of arthritis.

When using rosemary oil as a massage oil, mix 4-6 drops of it with a carrier oil. Mixing it with peppermint oil can bring wonderful results. Try mixing 3-6 drops of rosemary oil with 2-4 drops of peppermint oil and 1 teaspoon of coconut or olive oil. This combination can bring a soothing and invigorating massage to ease pain and induce relaxation.

4. Frankincense 

Like lavender, frankincense is known for its pleasing aroma. It’s actually one of the most gentle and versatile essential oils on the market today. But besides its aroma and gentleness, it’s a great pain-reliever because of its analgesic, anti-inflammatory, anti-spasmodic, and anti-anxiety properties. In particular, the active ingredient in frankincense (boswellic acid) has powerful pain relief and anti-inflammatory effects that target cartilage damage and immune dysfunctions.

Even though it’s gentle, frankincense still needs to be diluted when applying on the skin. Mix 2-4 drops of the oil with 1 teaspoon of a carrier oil. Frankincense is also perfect for diluting in the bath, as its aroma can soothe you and make you feel peaceful. Mix 10-15 drops of it into your warm and steamy bath water and let it work.

5. Juniper

Juniper is a good tension reliever and muscle spasm eliminator. It has anti-rheumatic, anti-spasmodic, analgesic, antiseptic, and anti-inflammatory properties. It can also strengthen the nerve and relieve neuropathic pain.

Juniper essential oil is strong in its distilled nature, so it should never be applied topically on its own. When using it for massage, mix 2-4 drops of it with a teaspoon of carrier oil like olive or jojoba oil. When using for a soothing bath, dilute 10-15 drops of oil into warm water.

6. Clove

Clove is known for its warming effects, making it an effective pain reliever and refresher of tired and aching muscles. Because of its anti-inflammatory and anti-neuralgic properties, it can allow your muscles to loosen up, reduce tension and pressure, and numb the surface of the skin when it’s applied topically. The numbing properties of clove oil makes it a great reliever for toothache and throat pain.

Like juniper oil, clove oil is also strong – it can give a burning sensation to the skin when undiluted. You must test it first on your skin before using it entirely, and make sure you mix 2-4 drops of it with 1 teaspoon of carrier oil before using for massaging tired/sore muscles and joint pain. Clove oil is best mixed with jojoba, olive, moringa, or coconut oil.

7. Eucalyptus

You may have been familiar with eucalyptus as it’s an active ingredient in many over-the-counter ointments and creams. But as an essential oil, it has amazing anti-inflammatory and analgesic properties. It’s recommended for treating sprains, strains, muscular pains and aches. It’s also soothing and relaxing to use in aromatherapy. It can even help alleviate pain and inflammation in patients who underwent a total knee replacement procedure.

Mix a few drops of eucalyptus essential oil with a carrier oil to dilute, as this oil is very powerful on its own. When combined with lavender essential oil, it adds a whole new level of relaxation and pain relief. However, be careful about using eucalyptus essential oil as it can be toxic when used in excessive amounts.


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