8 Essential Oils for Joint Pain and Muscle Spasms & An Invigorating DIY Muscle Rub
As many of you know, essential oils have been used for centuries to treat almost every kind of illness, irritation, disease, physical or mental trauma in existence.
Colds, flu, allergies, chronic pain, abrasion, stiffness, spasm...you name it. There is an essential oil, or combination of essential oils, for each issue, just waiting to work its magic.
At UpNature, we believe strongly in the healing power of plants and the important role they play in our lives. Harnessing that power to find natural ways to feel better, stronger, and filled with vitality is one of the most important steps you can take on your path to a more well-balanced and healthy life.
A very common condition that affects millions of people, all over the planet, is joint pain. Another is sore, tired muscles. Whether you are a triathlete, an occasional walker into town, an avid mountain biker, or anything that involves moving your body, chances are you have experienced some of these issues; aches that just won't stop, muscle pain and spasms, stiffness, or general all-over soreness.
In fact, these symptoms are so common that many people simply ignore them, rather than addressing the root of the issue. In these cases, many of us choose something that numbs or quiets the pain, even if only temporarily. Even worse, and probably the most common, we do nothing and just hope for the best. Unfortunately, hoping for the best isn't the way to address a problem, nor is it effective pain management.
A Delicate Balance of Just Enough But Not Too Much
Whether we like it or not, we live in a world of quick fixes and temporary solutions. When something isn't right, we either ignore it or find some way to make it disappear.
Over the counter "solutions", such as various rubs, salves, and creams offer limited assistance, if any at all. In fact, more often than not, these end up leaving us greasy and sticky, with lotion all over the place, instead of actually relieving pain. Other, more manufactured aides such as pain relievers and muscle relaxers also promise a lot as well. Many conventional doctors are quick to prescribe something that helps to lessen the intensity of pain.
Unfortunately, those prescriptions are synthetic and chemically created and almost always have side effects that can be potentially very hazardous to your health, as well as the safety of others. Although some of us don't realize it, all of these "relaxers" also slow down the brain's response time to almost every situation, making everything feel different. Perception changes, as does awareness and response time.
So yes, although the pain might disappear, both the brain and the body's response to the world around it are altered, making everything feel just a bit different.
Another negative and sometimes life threatening issue that can occur is chemical dependency. As the medication builds up at the base of the brain in the pituitary gland, in the adrenal glands, and elsewhere, the body receives a steady flow of chemicals and never has any time to restore itself to its natural state.
Essentially, this means that the brain begins to believe that everything is fine and sends signals to the body that make the body think the same. When the brain becomes dependent upon any medicine to make it feel better, it needs to continue receiving that medicine.
If it doesn't get what it thinks it needs, issues such as depression and withdrawal can occur, leaving us trapped in an unending cycle of a steady flow of chemicals in the bloodstream and a man-made illusion of relief.
The world is filled with people who struggle with dependency issues that completely alter the course of their lives. Little did they know that everything would change simply because they had a nagging shoulder pain or some kind of ache that just wouldn't go away and went to the doctor looking for for some relief.
Chemical dependency is very real and extremely dangerous. In fact, "The Opioid Epidemic" is a serious and extremely destructive crisis that is becoming more and more pervasive in our culture today. Whether doctors are writing more and more prescriptions or more and more people are finding ways to obtain prescription drugs, we can't be sure.
What is clear is that all of us, at some point, seek relief from pain. How we choose to find that relief differs from person to person and can mean the difference between life and death.
The Importance of Stretching
Here at UpNature, we know that the most powerful medicine is natural and holistic. When we combine the amazing and organic power of plants with a daily routine of strengthening and toning to soothe frazzled, tired, and wounded parts of the body, healing begins.
We know too that, whenever you exert yourself physically, there are always repercussions. Tired and sore muscles, stiff joints, aches and pains; all of these go hand in hand with physical activity.
Whether you are a marathon runner, a triathlete, or just a casual jogger, aches and pains happen. When they do, it is important to be find ways to help reduce the inflammation. Stretching before and after periods of activity can be one of the most beneficial things you can do for your muscles, joints, tendons, and ligaments.
If you don't warm up properly, your body will not be ready for the strain it is about to receive, leaving it tight and rigid. When that happens, muscles tense up much more quickly and remain inflexible, resulting in stiffness, swelling, sprains, and many other painful conditions.
Stretching after a workout is equally as important for a number of reasons. When you exercise or move your body, lactic acid builds up in your muscles which often leaves them sore and tired. If you stretch after activity when your muscles are warm and flexible, blood flows more easily, increasing circulation and removing the acid from the body.
In addition to this, post-activity stretching allows the muscle to remain more lithe, which helps the entire muscular system. Have you ever worked out and didn't stretch after you were finished? If so, did you notice that your lower back and hamstrings felt tight and stiff long after the workout ended?
This is because the hip flexors and hamstrings are attached to the pelvis and need to be stretched in order to properly and comfortably move and bend. When not given a proper cool-down period, these important muscles that help hold up your entire skeletal system cannot function properly, resulting in pain from the back of your thighs all the way up into your back and spine. Not only is it uncomfortable or sometimes painful, but it is extremely detrimental to your overall health.
Movement for Health and Restoration
In addition to stretching before and after any kind of more intense physical activity, there are many other things you can add to your routine to help the body become more receptive and responsive. Less intense disciplines such as yoga, pilates, and t'ai chi are all excellent ways to help the muscular and skeletal system stay strong, lithe, and limber by extending range of motion, enhancing flexibility and even increasing energy.
They also provide immense mental, spiritual, and in many cases, social stimulation through focused meditation, relaxation, and an enhanced awareness of the present moment, which is crucial to anyone who values the importance of daily exercise and motion.
After all, when we feel clarity in our lives, stability and strength naturally follow.
The Many Benefits of Essential Oils
Now that we have spent some time thinking about the importance of flexibility to health and well-being, let's take a minute to talk about some of the ways in which we can more fully support that positive state of being with essential oils.
Throughout history, we have evidence of plants as medicine. Some of the earliest proof we can find comes from China during the time of Huangdi, the well-known "Yellow Emperor". Huangdi was extremely interested in the role that holism played in health, healing, disease, and treatment. Because of his keen interest, he decided to write a book chronicling discussions between himself and his physician called "The Huangdi Neijing," or "The Yellow Emperor's Classic of Medicine."
This book is steeped in Taoist philosophy and the way of Tao, the natural path of the universe. Taoism ascribes to the belief that health and illness are ultimately caused by an imbalance of yin and yang (life forces), and that the body is heavily influenced by the five elements; water, metal, wood, earth, and fire.
Huangdi and his contemporaries knew that herbal medicine held the key to internal balance, which would ultimately lead to vitality and well-being. And what was the medicine they believed was the most powerful and effective?
Why, herbal medicine of course, in the form of powders, teas, tinctures, supplements, and essential oils.
Another contemporary of Chinese medicine is Ayurvedic medicine, which is the Indian equivalent of herbalism. "Ayur" means life. "Veda" means science.
Ayurveda is the belief that the mind and the body are completely connected and that creating a balance, or synergy, between the two is the key to health and wellness. In effect, because everything is connected, achieving balance and synergy leads to a long and vital life.
Indian physicians and herbalists learned to work with the plants that grew locally to their region, such as Ashwagandha, Holy Basil, Triphala, and Turmeric. They extracted the vital essences from as many parts of the plant as they could, creating tonics, tinctures, balms, salves, teas, and steam distilled essential oils that could be personalized to the individual to help that person find balance and achieve optimal health.
These ancient medicines were taken very seriously and became viable options for health and wellness. Time after time, herbs and plants were exactly the remedy needed for any type of illness, disease, and malady possible. Although some people are wary of these non-conventional practices, it is almost impossible to discredit their potency and effectiveness because evidence shows one important fact; this stuff really works!
Our goal at UpNature is to bring you the most natural and effective essential oils on the market today. We comb the globe for ethical and organic producers and growers so that we can offer you the most potent and balanced oils with high extraction levels and fresh, vital medicine to improve, enhance, relieve, and re-invigorate.
Now let's take a look at some of the best essential oils for the relief of muscle and joint pain, as well as many muscular, skeletal, and overall physiological aches and pains.
Essential Oils For Muscle & Joint Pain Relief
What are some of the best ways to reap the healing and soothing benefits of essential oils? There are a number of different ways, such as diffusion, steam, and massage. When your body is stiff and sore, and your muscles are crying out for relief, sometimes a massage is one of the best ways to increase blood flow, stimulate the limbic system, and quiet buzzing muscles, joints, and everything in between.
The following essential oils are great for use in a warm and steaming bath where the healing properties of the oils surround you and heal you from the outside in.
They are also really wonderful for massage. Whether on your own or with a partner, 10-20 minutes of massage can have miraculous effects.
By heating up and invigorating the body, blood flows more easily, reaching all necessary areas. Muscles can be soothed and loosened, making them more lithe and flexible.
In addition to this, touch comes into play here, which is a crucial component in many holistic beliefs and practices. Touch can be one of the most healing gifts that we offer each other.
Here are some of the best essential oils for muscle and joint pain.
1. Peppermint Essential Oil
Peppermint essential oil is a fierce healer. It contains the active ingredient menthol, which acts as both an invigorating scent as well as an antispasmodic and mild analgesic, helping to reduce pain, pressure, and tension. It's cooling effect soothes and relieves tired and sore bodies and also has a magical way of calming the mind at the same time, relieving stress and offering a minute of peace.
For best results, mix 4-6 drops oil with 1 tsp. of a neutral carrier oil, such as Jojoba or Olive oil. When fully mixed, massage into affected areas for 5-20 minutes as many times a day as you feel necessary.
2. Lavender Essential Oil
Lavender is, without question, one of the most well-known and widely recognized essential oils for pain relief. Due to its mildly but active sedative compounds, it has been used and trusted for centuries for pain and pressure relief, which makes it a perfect essence to be made into an essential oil.
It also contains anti-inflammatory and analgesic properties when used topically, which is perfect for a tired and overworked, strained body
Unlike other essential oils, lavender essential oil is gentle enough to be used on it own and does not need to be mixed with a carrier oil for dilution. You can massage it directly into the skin without worry of irritation.
If you are on the go and need some relief, simply rub a few drops into your palms and cup them around your nose, breathing deeply and slowly. It's quick and easy, and is very effective.
Lavender oil is also wonderful in the bath, where the steam diffuses the aroma all around you and the water soaks it into your skin. Add 10-15 drops into the bath just before you step in. Your body will thank you for it.
3. Juniper Essential Oil
Juniper essential oil has been used for centuries as a detoxifying agent, a stress reducer, an antioxidant, and a pain and inflammation reliever. It has powerful anti-rheumatic, antiseptic, and even analgesic properties which are all so beneficial to each and every one of us.
When using in the bath, drop 10-15 drops of the oil into warm, steaming water. Get in and relax, feeling the pain and pressure subside.
If using it for massage, mix 2-4 drops of the oil with a neutral carrier oil such as Jojoba or Olive oil. Spend 5-20 minutes massaging affected area(s). Between the aroma and its healing properties, your body will benefit greatly.
It's important to note that juniper essential oil, in its distilled nature, is very strong and should not be used on its own. It also should not be used by pregnant women or children 3 years of age or younger.
4. Turmeric Essential Oil
Turmeric has been used for more than four thousand years in India and surrounding countries as a spice, a dying agent, and a holistic healer. Turmeric is one of the most heavily used herbs in Ayurvedic medicine because it helps to support and realign imbalances in the body.
Taken from the root of the turmeric plant, turmeric essential oil boasts strong anti-inflammatory, antibiotic, antioxidant, antiviral, and antimicrobial properties. It is also known to have properties that help the body relax and heal.
Many of these properties block harmful enzymes that could otherwise affect the muscular and skeletal system in a negative way, making turmeric a go-to for those who suffer from joint and muscle pain, as well as arthritis and other painful conditions.
For a soothing and healing massage, mix 4-6 drops of the oil with a carrier oil like Moringa, Coconut, or Jojoba. Massage for 5-20 minutes. Enjoy the deep and penetrating feeling as the oil works its magic. We recommend 1-2 massages with turmeric essential oil per day for best results.
5. Rosemary Essential Oil
With its mildly evergreen, somewhat earthy aroma and it high levels of naturally produced oil in its leaves and on its stalk, Rosemary is one of nature's miracle plants.
It is extremely high in antioxidants and is rich in anti-inflammatory and anti-spasmodic properties. One antioxidant in particular, carnosol, well-known to focus in on inflammation, making rosemary oil one of the best choices for pain relief.
If using as a massage oil, mix 4-6 drops of oil with your favorite neutral carrier oil. Massage for 5-20 minutes.
Rosemary essential oil is also wonderful mixed with peppermint oil. For a soothing and invigorating experience, combine the following;
- 3-6 drops rosemary oil
- 2-4 drops of peppermint oil
- 1 teaspoon coconut or olive oil
With regular use, this easy-to-make combination can be extremely beneficial to overall pain relief and relaxation.
6. Clove Essential Oil
Clove is one of nature's strongest forms of pain relief. It has been used for centuries as an anti-inflammatory and anti-bacterial/anti-microbial agent.
Clove essential oil is known to have warming effects on the body, making it particularly adept at revitalizing and reinvigorating tired and aching muscles, as well as soothing them and allowing them to loosen up, reducing tension and pressure.
In addition to these wonderful properties, clove essential oil a mild anti-neuralgic which means it numbs the surface of the skin temporarily when applied topically. This offers much needed relief to those suffering from pain. Those who suffer from tooth pain can place a few drops of the oil on a cotton ball or swab and wipe the affected area for a few seconds. The oil will numb the area, thus temporarily relieving the pain.
It is important to mention that clove oil is extremely strong and should be tested before use to be sure you are a compatible fit. Pregnant and nursing women should not use this oil, nor should children 3 years of age or younger.
Due to its strength, clove essential oil must be diluted when used due to its high levels of eugenol so that it doesn't burn the skin. Use your favorite carrier oil such as Jojoba, Olive, Coconut, or Moringa.
Mix 2-4 drops of clove oil with 1 teaspoon of carrier oil. Massage into affected area(s) for 5-20 minutes and be ready for a stimulating and invigorating experience.
7. Thyme Essential Oil
Acute and chronic pain sufferers, rejoice! Thyme essential oil is here to save the day.
Thyme oil has been used for years for muscle pains, inflammation, and soreness. it contains a compound called carvacrol which is proven to reduce the activity of COX-2, an enzyme linked with inflammation, in the body. Thyme oil offers high levels of analgesic and antispasmodic properties, all which work together to reduce and sometimes alleviate pain.
For a soothing massage, combine 2-4 drops of oil with 1 teaspoon of your favorite carrier oil. Massage the affected area(s) for 5-20 minutes, breathing deeply and relaxing into the touch. You will feel an immediate release of tension and a reduction of pain.
Thyme essential oil is also wonderful when use in the bath. Mix 10-15 drops of the oil into warm bathwater and get ready to let it all disappear.
8. Frankincense Essential Oil
Frankincense has been used for centuries in many holistic and Ayurvedic practices. Native to India, the Boswellia serrata tree offers leaves, roots, and stalks that all contain very therapeutic properties. Frankincense is a well-known anti-inflammatory, anti-anxiety, analgesic, anti-bacterial, and anti-spasmodic properties, all which make it one of nature's most understated heroes.
Overall, frankincense essential oil is one of the most versatile and gentle essential oils on the market today. Although usually recognized for its refreshing and very pleasing aroma, this essential oil is gaining recognition as being a very formidable pain reliever.
Although gentle, frankincense essential oil should still be diluted by a carrier oil when applying topically. Mix 2-4 drops of oil with 1 teaspoon of your favorite neutral carrier oil, such as Jojoba or Olive, or even Tamanu.
Frankincense oil is phenomenal in the bath. The aroma alone will send you off to a land of peace and tranquility and your pain will slowly melt away. Mix 10-15 drops of oil into a warm, steamy bath just before you are ready. Then, simply slip in and allow this healing plant to work its magic.
A Simple and Invigorating DIY Muscle Rub in Six Easy Steps
If you want to experience deep muscle relaxation and a soothing feeling like you haven't felt in a long time in those tired, achy muscles and joints, here is a do-it-yourself rub that you can make in no time.
Use it after a long day at work. Rub it on after a workout or any extended period of physical activity. Whenever your body hurts, this is a go-to remedy that works like a charm.
You'll need these ingredients to create your masterpiece;
- a glass container, such as a small mason jar
- small round metal tins with lids
- 1/4 cup shea butter or beeswax, grated or chopped
- 1/2 cup coconut oil, unrefined
- 4-6 drops turmeric essential oil
- 1-2 drops ginger essential oil
- 12-15 drops peppermint essential oil
- 12-15 drops rosemary essential oil
Now simply follow these steps to achieve DIY muscle rub success and satisfaction;
- Warm about 2 inches of water in a saucepan or small pot on low to medium heat
- Combine all shea butter or beeswax and coconut oil in the glass container. Place in the warm water and allow all to melt
- Remove from sauce pan and turn off heat, allowing the mixture to cool just a bit
- Add essential oils and stir well to combine all ingredients
- Transfer into round tins
- Allow to cool completely
This muscle rub will store for 3-6 months if kept out of direct sunlight and away from extreme heat.
A Natural Solution for Pain Relief
In a world of synthetic medicine and many artificial ways to mask pain rather than heal the body from the inside out or the outside in, many of us are looking for an alternative to the risky business of pharmaceuticals.
Purely formulated, high quality, potent essential oils are that alternative. They provide documented and scientifically tested results that are similar to many over-the-counter or prescription medications and offer none of the harmful or detrimental effects on the body.
Next time you are in pain and your body is aching for relief, reach for essential oils and get ready to feel the powerful healing benefits of plants. You might find that they offer the relief you need to live a fuller, more vital life that is free from tension, pressure, and, most importantly, pain.