8 Effective Essential Oils for Muscle Soreness: Natural Relief & Recovery

June 15, 2023
8 Effective Natural Essential Oils for Muscle Soreness
8 Effective Natural Essential Oils for Muscle Soreness

Injuries occur in the body from small to big doings. Sleeping with the wrong pillow or pushing your workout routine, perhaps your line of work puts your body under stress and tension. Whatever the reason, find ways to alleviate the discomfort. A natural option is essential oils for muscle soreness. 

Sore muscles can be an uncomfortable, tedious part of everyday life. Many people seek relief through over-the-counter medications and painkillers, but some natural alternatives can provide relief with fewer adverse effects. 

Essential oils have an array of health benefits and can be used to help soothe sore muscles. 

Join this reading session to learn about essential oils for sore muscles, how to use them safely, and the benefits of using essential oils for muscle soreness.

What happens when your muscle tense

8 Effective Natural Essential Oils for Muscle Soreness
8 Effective Natural Essential Oils for Muscle Soreness

When muscle tension occurs, your body releases neurotransmitters that activate the muscles, causing them to contract. This contraction of the muscle fibers can cause pain, tightness, and stiffness in the muscles.

Moreover, the neurotransmitters can stimulate other body parts, such as the nervous system, which can lead to a heightened state of stress and anxiety. With chronic tension, these symptoms can become more pronounced and cause further complications. 

Learn tips to relieve sore muscles after a workout

Essential oils for muscle soreness

Depending on the grave situation of your muscle soreness, you can evaluate which essential oils can help. 

Eucalyptus oil extract comes from the leaves of the eucalyptus tree, native to Australia. It contains a compound called 1,8-cineole, which has potent anti-inflammatory and analgesic properties. 

These properties help in reducing muscle soreness and pain. Further, eucalyptus oil has a refreshing scent that can help clear nasal congestion and improve mental clarity. 

Lavender oil is derived from the flowers of the lavender plant and is well-known for its calming and relaxing effects. Its anti-inflammatory and analgesic properties can help soothe muscle pain and inflammation. Lavender oil promotes better sleep, indispensable for muscle recovery and overall well-being. 

Peppermint oil is extracted from the leaves of the peppermint plant and contains a high concentration of menthol. Menthol is a natural analgesic and anti-inflammatory compound that provides a cooling sensation, helping to soothe sore muscles and reduce inflammation. Peppermint oil can also boost energy levels and improve mental focus.

Rosemary oil is obtained from the leaves of the rosemary plant and has analgesic and anti-inflammatory properties that can alleviate muscle pain and stiffness.  It also helps improve circulation, promotes faster muscle recovery, and reduces the risk of muscle cramps and spasms. Discover other benefits of rosemary

Chamomile oil, mainly German chamomile, is known for its powerful anti-inflammatory and analgesic properties. It can help reduce muscle pain and inflammation while promoting relaxation. This calming effect can also help alleviate stress and anxiety, which may contribute to muscle tension. 

Frankincense oil derives from the resin of the Boswellia tree, and for centuries its therapeutic benefits prevailed. It has anti-inflammatory and pain-relieving properties that can help ease muscle soreness and promote overall well-being. Frankincense oil also supports the immune system, aiding in faster muscle recovery. 

Marjoram oil extract comes from the leaves and flowers of the marjoram plant. It is known for its warming and soothing effects on muscles, making it an excellent option for treating muscle soreness and spasms. It also helps improve circulation, aiding muscle recovery and lowering muscle cramp risk. 

Read how essential oils can also help with acne here

How to use essential oils for sore muscles 

8 Effective Natural Essential Oils for Muscle Soreness
8 Effective Natural Essential Oils for Muscle Soreness

Essential oils are highly concentrated plant extracts that can cause irritation or adverse reactions if applied directly to the skin. Carrier oils help dilute essential oils, reducing the risk of skin irritation and ensuring proper absorption.

Choosing a carrier oil: There are several carrier oils, each with unique properties and benefits. Some popular carrier oils include:

  1. Sweet almond oil: Lightweight and easily absorbed, sweet almond oil is suitable for all skin types and is rich in vitamins A and E.
  2. Jojoba oil: Closely resembling human sebum, it is an excellent choice for balancing oily skin while keeping it moisturized.
  3. Coconut oil: Ideal for dry or sensitive skin, its antibacterial and antifungal properties can help soothe conditions like eczema.
  4. Grapeseed oil: A lightweight oil that absorbs quickly, grapeseed oil is ideal for oily or acne-prone skin types.
  5. Olive oil: Rich in antioxidants and vitamins, olive oil is suitable for dry or mature skin but may feel heavier than other carrier oils.

Diluting essential oils with carrier oils: The recommended dilution ratios depend on various factors such as the essential oil's potency, the intended use, and the individual's age and sensitivities. 

A general guideline for adults is to use a 2-3% dilution, approximately 10-15 drops of essential oil per ounce (30 ml) of carrier oil. For children, elderly individuals, or those with sensitive skin, the dilution ratio should be lower, around 0.5-1%.

How to mix essential oils with carrier oils: Choose your desired essential oil(s) and carrier oil to create a blend. Mix the appropriate ratio of essential oil with the carrier oil in a small, dark glass container using the recommended dilution ratio. 

Secure the lid and gently swirl the mixture to combine the oils. Be sure to label your container with the ingredients and date.

Applying the blend: Before using any essential oil blend on a large skin area, perform a patch test. Apply a small amount of the mixture to the inside of your elbow or wrist, then wait 24 hours to check for any adverse reactions. If no irritation occurs, you can safely use the blend. 

Massage the mixture onto the desired area, such as sore muscles or joints, or apply it to pulse points for aromatherapeutic benefits.

Storage and shelf life: Store your essential oil blends in a cool, dark place away from direct sunlight to prolong their shelf life. The shelf life of a mix depends on the carrier oil used; most blends last between 6 months to 1 year.

Always follow proper safety guidelines when using essential oils and consult a healthcare professional if you are pregnant, nursing, or have any pre-existing health conditions.

Use essential oils in various ways, including 

  • massaging directly onto the skin
  • adding to a warm bath
  • using a diffuser
  • inhaling the oil directly from the bottle. 

These methods are all safe and effective ways to use essential oils to reduce muscle soreness.


When muscle tension occurs, your body produces certain hormones, such as cortisol, which can cause muscle stress and soreness. This tension can lead to inflammation, which can cause further pain and discomfort. Essential oils help reduce inflammation and improve muscle soreness. 

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