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The Best Essential Oils for Post-Workout Recovery

If you’ve ever woken up the morning after a heavy workout with serious muscle pain, you’ll know exactly how frustrating the post-workout recovery process can be.

From weight training to yoga, any type of intense resistance training can lead to a post-workout recovery period in which your muscles feel sore, cramped and tired. Complete a tough workout without adequate stretching and this post-workout pain can often last for several days.

Luckily, essential oils can play a helpful role in the post-workout recovery process by reducing muscular pain and relaxing your muscle fibres. Below, we’ve listed the three best essential oils for speeding up and simplifying your post-workout recovery period.

Black Pepper Oil

Anyone who’s trained with weights knows the feeling of waking up the next morning with serious muscle soreness. If you have sore quads, glutes or other large muscle groups after a workout, a quick application of black pepper oil is often enough to reduce cramps and improve mobility.

Black pepper is an antispasmodic, meaning it’s effective in the treatment of muscle spasms and cramps. It also improves blood circulation, which can reduce the amount of time for your muscle fibres to rebuild and recover after a challenging weight training or bodyweight training session.

Another effect of black pepper oil for athletes and bodybuilders is that it’s a diaphoretic, which means it will temporarily increase sweating and encourages urination, helping you flush away toxins and rehydrate your body after your workout.

If you have sore muscles or muscular cramps after a workout, topical use of black pepper oil could be all it takes to speed up your recovery. To get the best effects, use three to five drops with a warm compress on the sore muscles to ease pain and improve circulation.

Ginger Root Oil

Because ginger oil is an analgesic substance, it’s a great natural alternative to pain medication that can be very helpful in treating post-workout muscle soreness.

Ginger root oil is also anti-inflammatory, meaning it will help reduce the effects of welling from gym injuries. If you pull, twist or tear a muscle at the gym, using ginger root oil could make the pain much more tolerable.

One of the most effective ways to use ginger oil is to massage it into injured areas. Mix a few drops of ginger oil (three to five is usually enough) with a moist warm compress and massage the oil into sore muscle groups to keep pain at bay and reduce inflammation.

You can also add a few drops of ginger oil to a warm bath to soak your muscles and cut back the effects of post-workout inflammation across your entire body. A warm ginger oil detox bath can be a great way to deal with the effects of post-workout pain before you sleep for the night.

Lavender Oil

Lavender oil is one of the most versatile essential oils, and it’s just as essential for athletes and bodybuilders as it is for non-athletes. Although most people associate lavender oil with migraine relief, it’s also a useful oil for treating post-workout muscle aches and soreness.

One reason lavender oil is so useful for athletes is that it’s a mild anxiolytic. This means that it has relaxing qualities similar to drugs used to treat anxiety disorders, without the addictive and other undesirable side effects.

If you take a pre-workout energy supplement (or just prefer a shot of espresso) before a tough workout and need help getting back into “relaxation mode” once you get home, a few drops of lavender oil diffused using an electric or candle diffuser can make relaxing far easier.

Lavender oil is also a mild anti-inflammatory substance, meaning you can apply it directly with compression massage to help reduce swelling and soreness after a workout. Just like the two oils above, it’s best to apply three to five drops of lavender oil to a warm compress towel.

Essential oils can make post-workout recovery easier

Sore muscles are a normal part of working out, and there’s nothing bad about feeling a slight soreness in your major muscle groups after a tough workout. If your post-workout pain starts becoming an annoyance, the three essential oils we’ve listed above can all help.

When used right, essential oils can speed up post-workout recovery and make dealing with muscular soreness and cramps much easier. If you’re a bodybuilder or fitness guru, consider adding one of the essential oils we’ve listed above to your post-workout recovery stack.


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