Most of us have experienced sore and over-exerted muscles at one point or another. Muscle soreness is caused by a lactic acid build up within the muscle tissue, which is the result of overexertion and muscle exhaustion (read: exercise or muscle stress). The lactic acid accumulates, causing muscles to become mildly inflamed and sore. While this pain is temporary, it can be quite uncomfortable, especially after sitting or lying down for a long period of time.
Peppermint oil (mentha arvensis) has wonderful analgesic, anti-inflammatory and anti-spasmodic properties, so it can relieve pain, inflammation, and also calm the spasms that cause muscle cramps. Additionally, when peppermint oil is inhaled and absorbed, it passes the blood-brain barrier in the body and this increases the transmission of oxygen and other nutrients to the brain and the rest of the body. This can also help to reduce both the pain and inflammation caused by mild to moderate exercise.
How to use peppermint oil to soothe sore muscles:
Add 3-5 drops of straight (neat) peppermint oil directly onto sore muscles. Slowly massage into skin.
Add 15-50 drops of peppermint oil to a hot bath. Combined with the benefits of the oil, the heat of the water encourages muscles to relax and helps reduce next-day stiffness. For additional benefits, Epsom salts can be added to the water as well.
Add 5 drops of peppermint oil to a small squirt of lotion or carrier oil (such as almond or jojoba oil). Run into palms to mix and massage into affected muscles.
For a convenient and portable muscle rub, add 10-20 drops of peppermint oil to a small spray bottle of water. Sprat directly onto the sore site and massage for several minutes.
If muscles are already sore, a pre-activity rubdown is a fantastic way to warm and prepare muscles for exercise. Rub 3-5 drops generously into muscles until a warming sensation is felt.
This information is for educational purposes only, and is not intended to prescribe, treat, prevent, or diagnose any disease or condition. As always, before you begin any sort of regimen using essential oils, please consult with your physician, naturopath, or aromatherapist before doing so. The use of oils can be very empowering and effective in the treatment of a variety of ailments. However, use your own discretion; the medical community is there to help us when oils can't.