Using Essential Oils to Heal Sports Injuries
Recovering from a sports injury can be frustrating as it causes you to stop doing your favorite activities. In response, many people rush themselves back too quickly, only to re-aggravate the injury.
Essential oils have been used as medicinal purposes for centuries. Even with advances in modern medicine, the use of essential oils has not been replaced. The oils themselves have a complex chemical makeup and are gathered by steam or hydro-distillation. Many essential oils are used in aromatherapy, which can be useful for some sports-
Although broken bones can happen, most sports injuries are to softer tissues. Muscle pulls, joint strains and sprains contribute to the bulk of all sports-related injuries. The most common treatment for them is referred to as RICE (Rest, Ice, Compression, and Elevate). While this is effective and should still be used in most cases, the use of essential oils can also help you get healthier sooner.
Inflammation is one of the biggest problems a recovering athlete deals with, particularly with joint injuries. The activity required during physical therapy or rehabilitation often creates inflammation that can set back the recovery process. Oregano oil is one of the best essential oils for reducing inflamed joints so that your rehab sessions lead to progress and not more time away from the sport you love. Myrrh is another oil that can reduce inflammation.
Pain relief and muscle relaxation is one of the areas where essential oils excel. Deep tissue massage is one of the more common forms of rehabbing muscular injuries in athletes, and the use of oils like wintergreen, thyme, pine, helichrysum italicum and lavender can enhance the restorative effects of massage.
Oxygenation and Circulation
Well-oxygenated blood cells aid in general health and are especially important to healing from an injury. Oil of black pepper, fennel, goldenrod, nutmeg, rosemary, cypress, spruce and spearmint help in getting more oxygen to the cellular level of your body where it is needed.
Nutmeg provides benefits for circulation and muscle aches but also helps to improve the health of the adrenal gland, which can lead to more energy (always a bonus for athletes). Juniper is known as a general detoxifier which helps to clear the entire body of harmful toxins. Beyond oregano’s ability as an anti-inflammatory, it has been shown to be an effective anti-bacterial agent. Peppermint oil can sooth issues in the digestive system.
While not directly related to rehabbing a sports injury, many essential oils are used to for aid in sleep and stress reduction, which can be extremely beneficial for athletes. The rest and recovery phase is extremely important for better performance and injury prevention. Valerian has shown tranquilizing properties that aid in relaxation and dealing with insomnia or poor sleep.
Lavender is perhaps the most popular essential oil. Although it is most commonly known for its ability to help with stress and insomnia, it also has pain-relieving properties that can be useful when dealing with a wide range of sports-related injuries. One of lavender’s other traits is its ability to help the body heal bruises, cuts and sore muscles. Also, its ability to help you rest can be useful when the discomfort of a major injury makes it difficult to sleep.
Although few of these will be your primary recovery method, with correct usage, there are many essential oils that can decrease the time it takes to recover from a sports injury. In competitive sports, where days off mean a decline in your skill, the quicker you get back to practicing and playing, the better.
Since he started writing for Bulk Apothecary on natural living, essential oils and alternative health remedies, Joel Halstead has explored topics ranging from natural culinary ingredients to aromatherapy. When he isn’t writing, you’ll find him outside, hiking something, climbing stuff or just generally moving about.