Muscle stiffness and soreness are facts of life. Sometimes it’s a good kind of hurt, from pushing our bodies to the limits of what they're capable in accomplishing by way of late-night dancing, outdoor hiking or running, yoga, zumba, or whatever else your workout of choice may be. And sometimes, it can be a pretty painful experience that makes ordinary routine tasks feel nearly impossible. Muscle soreness presents itself after we've reached the edge of physical glory due to small micro-tears that occur within our muscle fibers, and thus causes painful inflammation. The clinical name for this being Delayed Onset Muscle Soreness (DOMS, which kinda sounds like DOME, which is what are body's think is happening). As soon as this soreness creeps in, our presh bods need rest and relief stat so that our muscles can prepare to repair themselves... And while it's easy to reach straight for the pharmaceutical anti-inflammatories or chemical products, skip those and opt instead for your very own and super effective essential oil sore muscle rubs. It's easy to make, easy to store, and yr stiff limbs will love you for slathering it all over.
Using essential oils on sore muscles has several benefits. Not only do the potent botanicals work deeply into the tissue to naturally relieve pain and inflammation, but the aromatherapeutic effects can help to calm and relieve stress associated with pain and discomfort. Nothing feels better than coming home after a run, taking a hot shower, and rubbing this on aching muscles and joints. While there are several essential oils you can use to treat muscle soreness, we chose to use Clove and Cypress. Paired with healing carrier oils and fresh cayenne and ginger powder, you have yourself the ultimate healing salve:
Coconut Oil, Shea Butter
The combination of coconut oil and shea butter as a base makes it super silky and moisturizing. Coconut oil is composed of saturated fats that keeps skin smooth by helping to retain moisture. This oil also contains vitamin-E and beneficial proteins which encourages skin cell repair and regrowth. Shea butter, best used from raw, is also high in essential fatty acids and vitamins E, D, and A, which help to hydrate and moisturize the skin. More importantly for our rub, shea butter contains natural anti-inflammatory properties, specifically the compound lupeol cinnamate, that reduced skin irritation and inflammation.
Clove (essential oil)
Clove is considerably high in the anti-inflammatory nutrients magnesium, potassium, and calcium. Clove contains the important property eugenol, which works as both an anti-inflammantory and an anesthetic. This compound provides a slight numbing sensation to the body which can sooth sore muscles, as well as relieve the pain caused by inflammation. Its high amount of eugenol combined with its huge antioxidant value definitely supports external healing.
Capsaicin is a compound found in hot peppers and may work as a natural pain reliever. When topically applied to the skin, the capsaicin tricks your brain into thinking it’s been exposed to extreme heat, which results in a release of neurotransmitters that eventually block the pain.
We've been long fans of the magical ginger root, which is known to reduce inflammation more commonly to the delicate gut and aching joints from its powerful compounds gingerols. Apply ginger topically to receives its same benefits that will circulate the blood and reduce pain from inflamed muscles.
Cypress (essential oil)
Cypress has many health benefits, one of importance to our muscles is its antispasmodic properties. This helps to receive muscle spasm and cramps. It can also work as a sedative to relax a sore body.
**PS, don't forget to stretch!!
½ cup shea butter
¼ cup coconut oil
1 tsp ginger root powder
1 tsp cayenne pepper
5 drops cypress essential oil
5 drops clove essential oil
1. Melt the coconut oil and shea butter. Use a mason jar as a double broiler in a pan with water on medium heat.
2. Once your mixture starts to melt, mix in the ginger powder and cayenne pepper. Mix together and remove from heat.
3. Now add your essential oils.
4. Stir and transfer to a small jar and place in the fridge to cool.
5. Try a small amount on your hand first! Sensitive skin could react to the cayenne so make sure you test it out. If all is ok - rub those sore muscles and joints as needed!