With its first use dating all the way back to medieval times, essential oils have been used to improve both psychological emotions and physical well-being. These oils are also widely known for their therapeutic properties to aid in more restful sleep, calming the senses and rejuvenating emotions.
Apart from the common uses of essential oils that most of us are familiar with, these oils are also beneficial when it comes to sports. Essential oils can play a part in preparing the muscles, maximise your performance, facilitate a quicker body recovery and can reduce the effect of fatigue. Whether you’re looking for motivation to attend your next HIIT workout class or if your inner athlete is wanting to ace or beat a personal record – here are some ways essential oils can aid help in boosting mood and rev up one’s fitness routine.
The use of essential oils prior to a workout is great for boosting energy, focus, and motivation. When you find yourself reaching for the snooze button to skip that morning jog, or lack the motivation to attend your after-work barre class, reach for these essential oils or blend for an energy boost:
Lemon: When diffused, the lemon essential oil exudes a citrusy, invigorating scent that helps to uplift and energise. Just like how drinking an ice-cold lemonade can be refreshing on a hot summer day, the scent of this essential oil would help lift your mood and motivate you to kick start a workout.
Lemongrass: Apart from its traditional use as a remedy for various health conditions, the lemongrass essential oil also helps to clear the mind for meditation, inspires one to feel centered, promotes good energy and ignites the senses.
Peppermint: Used for centuries as the most versatile oil in the world, the active components in peppermint essential oil gives off a cool and refreshing scent – increasing focus, energises and provides an invigorating environment when diffused, a perfect wake-up call for your workout in the AM.
Other than pure essential oils, blended essential oils can also bring about great benefits to provide that little boost before hitting the gym. The combination of one or more complementary essential oils creates a unique blend. Just as aromatic compounds in a single oil work together to provide more complete therapeutic capabilities, blending different oils can optimise the health benefits of multiple oils together for a synergistic effect.
Banyan Tree Uplift and Energise essential oil blend
Uplift: Formulated using grapefruit, peppermint, and juniper berry, this blend’s citrusy, delicate scent with refreshing undertones inspires moments of mindfulness, lifting one’s mood and spirits.
Energise: This essential oil blend combines the earthy undertones of rosemary with citrusy top notes of lemon, lime, and oranges, pulling together aromatherapeutic properties of these natural ingredients to help create moments for focusing with every stretch to come.
How to use:
Banyan Tree White Ceramic Oil Burner
Before exercising, fill up half of the diffuser or burner with water and add a few drops of essential oil (depending on its size). For topical use, simply dilute the essential oil with a suitable carrier oil – Essential Oil Safety, an aromatherapy textbook used by aromatherapy practitioners internationally, recommends a 2% essential oil dilution for “topical application of essential oils on adults when an essential oil does not have a more restricted dermal recommendation.
Then, rub the diluted blend on your temples and pressure points to bask in the restorative powers of each oil. It is good to note that it takes approximately 30 minutes to fully absorb essential oils into the body and for it to take effect, so it will be great to pre-plan your essential oil application prior to your workout to maximise its benefits.
Besides stimulating energy before a workout, essential oils are great in providing support for going the extra mile or hitting that additional rep while exercising. Whether getting ready for a run or setting up for a home yoga session, diffuse some essential oils while you’re at it to help set the mood for your exercise. Here are some essential oils you could explore:
Frankincense: Also known as “The King of Oils”, frankincense has always been prized as an incense material, often used around the world in religious practices and ceremonies as well as for its versatility and multitude of benefits. This essential oil has a warm, spicy, incense-like scent that calms the senses, promoting a sense of peace while helping one stay concentrated and grounded – ideal for spiritual connectedness.
Grounding: Aimed at stabilising and de-stressing, the grounding essential oil blend is formulated with properties that help stimulate the immune system. Orange essential oil aids in building up energy, frankincense, and rosemary helps to minimise feelings of stress and anxiety while enhancing concentration – guiding you towards your moment of clarity.
Peppermint: Strength training or high-intensity circuit workouts requires an invigorating oil like peppermint to help open up the lungs, increase circulation and alertness. Based on a study conducted by Raudenbush, peppermint essential oil was shown to improve the athlete’s running performance and enhance respiratory function. This essential oil also aids in supporting accelerated breathing and staying pumped up, and might just be the one you need to get in more reps to beat your personal record.
Aside from diffusing essential oils, aromatherapy jewelry is perfect for experiencing aromatherapy on-the-go. Some people choose not to diffuse essential oils in burners or diffusers because of the shared space they’re in as they do not feel as comfortable when there’s company.
In this circumstance, aromatherapy bracelets come in handy and serve as an easy solution as it can be kept close to one’s skin. Before heading out to the studio for any fitness class, add a few drops of essential oil on the aromatherapy bracelet and wear it throughout the workout to catch occasional scents as you move about.
Banyan Tree Aromatherapy Bracelets in Onyx and Malachite.
Most of these aromatherapy bracelets are often made of lava stones – a grounding stone that gives energy and strength. Its porous nature makes these stones suitable for the absorption of essential oils and wearing it close to the skin is one of the most effective ways to harness restorative purposes.
Muscles often feel a little sore, cramped and tight after a workout. Such issues are bound to happen but should these post-workout pain starts to hinder everyday routine, or if a natural way to relieve stiff, overworked muscles is preferred, explore these essential oils to help recover from your workout:
Eucalyptus: Known for its anti-inflammatory, immune-boosting benefits, eucalyptus essential oil is great for aromatherapy and for topical use. When performing any strenuous workout, muscles are strained and may suffer micro-tears. This essential oil provides relief to fatigued muscles and helps to soothe aches, pain and nervous tension when massaged.
Lavender: With analgesic, calming and pain-relieving properties, the lavender essential oil can be considered as one of the most used essential oils in aromatherapy. The botanicals in the oil work deeply into the muscles, soothing nervous tension and treat stress-related pains, while its calming and relaxing scent complements the post-workout recovery process, enhancing blood circulation.
Marjoram: As one of the go-to essential oils for post-workout recovery, marjoram essential oil has soothing and warming properties. When used in warm baths, or applied on the skin after exercising, aids in muscle repair and regeneration, making it ideal for recovery.
Winding down after a high-intensity workout can also be tough especially if it is late at night. When the exercise makes it difficult to wind down, prepare a bath with the Calming and Sleep blended essential oil or add a few drops to a diffuser or burner to help soothe, relax and prepare for a more restful night.
If you’re searching for natural ways to help you feel energised, boost performance or enhance post-workout recovery, essential oils may be the answer when used the right way. Whether pure or blended essential oils, try experimenting with each of the essential oils we’ve mentioned above to your work out today and reap its benefits.
- Worwood, V. A. (2016). The complete book of essential oils and aromatherapy: over 800 natural, nontoxic, and fragrant recipes to create health, beauty, and safe home and work environments. Novato, CA: New World Library.
- Han, X., & Parker, T. L. (2017, March 21). Lemongrass (Cymbopogon flexuosus) essential oil demonstrated anti-inflammatory effect in pre-inflamed human dermal fibroblasts. Retrieved from https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC5801909/
- Peppermint Oil - Benefits, Uses, and Varieties of Peppermint Oil. (n.d.). Retrieved from https://www.newdirectionsaromatics.com/blog/products/all-about-peppermint-oil.html
- Raudenbush, B., Corley, N., & Eppich, W. (2001). Enhancing Athletic Performance through the Administration of Peppermint Odor. Journal of Sport and Exercise Psychology, 23(2), 156–160. doi: 10.1123/jsep.23.2.156
- Hongratanaworakit, T. (2011). Aroma-therapeutic Effects of Massage Blended Essential Oils on Humans. Natural Product Communications, 6(8). doi: 10.1177/1934578x1100600838