I know what you’re thinking. Essential oils are for making the house smell nice, or maybe a natural replacement for perfume? You’re not wrong. But they’re also much, much more. A lot of essential oils are antimicrobial, antispasmodic, and antifungal.
And what does that mean to runners?
Do you know when you run so much in that same pair of stinky sneakers? Your feet are aching to the point where it hurts to walk. Maybe you’ve got a blister or two. Possibly even an athlete’s foot beginning to form…
Well, essential oils are your go-to natural medicine. There are essential oils for muscle pain, sore feet, and leg cramps, as well as the aforementioned, and highly dreaded, athlete’s foot.
You can mix them with carrier oils and apply them directly to the skin, or you can add them to a diffuser so that they’re breathed in naturally.
It’s advised that you don’t apply them directly to the skin without mixing with a carrier first. It can cause irritation otherwise. Adding several drops to a bath or a hot water-soaked cloth can do the job just as good (if not better!).
Let’s take a look at 5 of the best essential oils for runners and discuss each one in more detail.
5. Lemongrass Oil
What’s so special about lemongrass oil, you ask? For starters, it’s one of the top essential oils for leg cramps. Often used in massages for overworked muscles, it can cure even the harshest of cramps. If that’s not enough, lemongrass is also famed for its ability to prevent stomach cramps, nausea, and even alleviate period pains. Perfect for the nervous runner, it empowers you to release tension and relax.
It’s also a natural antiseptic that can be used on cuts and/or open wounds if your toes have been rubbing or drawn blood.
4. Cypress Oil
Another antispasmodic oil, cypress is up there with the best essential oils for sore muscles and cramps. It takes its name from the evergreen cypress tree and leaves you feeling evergreen and constantly refreshed too. It relieves involuntary muscle spasms and increases circulation, improving blood flow around the anointed area. Reducing lactic acid, it doesn’t just stop cramps, it prevents them from happening again!
Add a few drops to a carrier oil and massage it into the afflicted muscles. It’s one of the all-time great essential oils to improve circulation in the legs and feet.
3. Lavender Oil
One of the most popular essential oils for muscle pain, lavender oil is a must-have for soothing aches and strains. It’s a natural relaxer and its stress-relieving benefits are second to none. It’s great for getting a good night’s sleep before a big race. Rest days are critical for athletes, and lavender is critical for rest days! It’s been said to accelerate recovery time from strains and pulls too, making it one of the best essential oils for sports injuries.
Another antiseptic, lavender oil is a great soother of pain caused by cuts and scrapes to the feet and toes.
2. Eucalyptus Oil
Known far and wide for its respiratory benefits, this is a fantastic oil for the lungs and long-distance runners. It’s also a very refreshing scent. Because of this, it’s perhaps a good idea to inhale it after a long bus journey if your race is far away from home. It’ll wake you up and refocus your mind. Rarely are races won with legs alone. If altitude training, then this is the go-to oil for you. It boosts lung capacity and lets you take in more oxygen. For this reason, it’s also brilliant for asthmatics.
A nice little idea for eucalyptus oil is to mix it with a carrier and put it in a spray bottle. This can cool you down in hot weather and refreshingly reminds you of your goals.
This is only just scratching the surface of what eucalyptus oil can do for you and your body.
1. Peppermint Oil
Possibly the best pick of the essential oils for runners, peppermint oil is a natural painkiller and muscle relaxer. It helps with aches and pains in the feet and legs and soothes you after a long run. Mix it with a carrier oil like coconut and apply it directly to the skin. Dab it on the painful area and relax as your aches melt away.
Peppermint oil has also been known to relieve headaches while simultaneously increasing alertness and mental clarity, The smell of this sensual oil is said to reduce perceived effort, tricking your mind into thinking you’re doing less than you actually are.
This isn’t just one of the best essential oils for muscle pain, it’s probably the single best essential oil for foot pain there is. It doesn’t get much better than a foot massage with peppermint oil.