Essential Oils for Athletes
We talk a lot about the healing benefits of essential oils for people from all walks of life, every ailment and every home remedy. But one thing we haven’t talked much about is essential oil for athletes.
Essential oils are powerful tools for athletes for many reasons and specific treatments, and we’ll cover those shortly. But first, let’s make sure you know which essential oils you should have on hand for your athletic remedies and solutions:
Clove essential oil has been found to boost the immune system by increasing white blood cells in the body.
Frankincense is also a powerful infection fighter and immune booster. It helps the body produce more white blood cells and fights germs and bacteria.
Lavender is possibly the most commonly-used of all essential oils. It’s fantastic for inflammation, pain and infection. It’s gentle enough to use without dilution, or can be added to cream or carrier oils to massage into painful areas.
Tea tree essential oil has powerful antibacterial properties, making it one of the best oils for healing and combatting germs.
Eucalyptus essential oil is an antimicrobial, inflammatory, antispasmodic, antibacterial, and stimulant. It’s been shown to boost immune support, reduce inflammation, calm muscle spasms, stimulate blood flow and fight germs.
Peppermint has analgesic and antispasmodic properties, which help combat pain and muscle spasms. It’s considered a “hot oil” and MUST be added to a carrier oil to be applied to the skin to prevent irritation. It is also only suggested for use on children over 6, as it can be toxic to younger children.
Wintergreen is perhaps the most important tool in an athlete’s arsenal. It is also a “hot oil” and must be diluted for application. Its healing properties include analgesic, anti-arthritic, anti-rheumatic, antispasmodic, antiseptic, diuretic and stimulating. It’s great for deep pain relief, poor circulation, infection, swelling and muscle spasms.
So, why are essential oils especially important for athletes? I told you we’d get to it, so here it is:
This tops the wish list for all athletes, proved by the massive amounts of supplements produced and sold to them every year. The problem is, however, that all these artificially produced substances contain toxins and unnatural ingredients.
It’s nice to know that some or all of their supplements can be replaced with all-natural essential oil remedies, and sometimes with even more effect.
Peppermint is one of the most effective essential oils for boosting performance. Studies have shown improvement in endurance, pain tolerance, respiration and fast-twitch muscle abilities with the use of peppermint essential oil. That means they can run faster, jump higher and perform longer than they could before the use of peppermint.
Recent studies have shown suppressed immune systems in athletes with rigorous training schedules. One of the biggest killers of an athletic career is a lengthy illness that wreaks havoc on an athlete’s body and mind. And while they may recover faster than someone who is not in shape, it may take them longer to bounce back to their normal training conditions.
For this reason, combatting germs and illness ahead of time is always a good idea, especially during flu season, or in areas where particular illnesses are a huge concern.
A simple way to do this is to diffuse frankincense, lavender and eucalyptus every night at bedtime. Follow your diffuser instructions for amounts and use equal amounts of each oil.
Muscle Aches and Inflammation
Feel the burn!
It’s just a given that as an athlete, you’ll have your fair share of muscle pain, and most people consider this a good thing because it means your efforts are paying off.
The problem is that if your pain causes you to under-train the next day or week, you could lose performance effort and muscle mass may not increase as efficiently.
Make a rub with whipped coconut oil, 10 drops eucalyptus, 10 drops wintergreen and 10 drops peppermint to use when needed.
Athletes who participate in rough or contact sports such as soccer or boxing, will inevitably experience their share of cuts and scrapes. Sure, these aren’t usually a big deal, but occasionally, they might be severe enough to hinder your performance.
Lavender, tea tree and frankincense make fantastic anti-microbial and antibacterial solutions. You can keep treatments on hand by mixing a few drops of these oils with a carrier oil in a glass jar to apply as needed.
You can also make a spray for quick relief by adding 10-15 drops essential oil to a glass spray bottle and filling with witch hazel.
Smelly Athletic Gear
Smelly gear and shoes just come along with the territory of being an athlete and essential oils are far more effective than most over-the-counter products available.
To freshen up and kill bacteria in shoes and gym bags, mix 10 drops lemon, 5 drops peppermint and 5 drops tea tree oil with about 50 ml baking soda and sprinkle liberally where needed.
You can also make a spray with the same oils or experiment with various citrus oils. Combine your oils in a glass spray bottle with about 50 ml rubbing alcohol, 5 ml baking soda and fill the rest with water. Shake well and spray as needed in air or onto equipment and shoes.
Wrapping it Up
Understanding your own needs as an athlete will help you concoct the perfect solutions to heal your muscles and treat your body. For the safest treatments, try using essential oils and natural ingredients before buying those expensive and unnatural over-the-counter products.
Treat your body right so you can enjoy a long and health athletic career!