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The 6 Best Essential Oils For Athletes

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According to the Mayo Clinic, research shows aromatherapy can be beneficial in providing relief for anxiety and depression. Many people also report certain oils can help improve their sleep, so they are more rested.

Lastly, those with chronic health conditions state that some oils help improve their respiratory function, reduce stress levels, reinvigorate the nervous system, and better their overall quality of life. 

Aromatherapy is thought to actually engage the receptors in the nose when the oils are inhaled. They travel through your nose through your limbic system. The limbic system is the portion of your brain that controls your emotions. 

Some people report the use of essential oils used topically for injury or illness.

Do Athletes Use Essential Oils?

The use of essential oils for athletes has increased dramatically over the past few years. One reason for that is, of course, that the service has become much more mainstream.

In addition to that, many people are constantly looking for ways to improve overall health, immune support, wellness, and happiness by non-medical means. Non-western approaches to overall wellness, such as the best essential oils use, is one example. 

essential oils for runners
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Speaking in the most general terms, if using a diffuser to put an essential oil blend into the air helps you restful sleep or relax, that would give a person an athletic advantage and better sports performance. 

Think about it. What do you struggle to do in the days leading up to a big goal race? That is exactly right: rest and sleep. 

The 6 Best Essential Oils For Athletes

1. Lavender Oil: Lavender oil is a top choice for rest and relaxation. Diffuse some when you do your post-run stretching, as you practice yoga, or as you drift off to sleep.

2. Lemon Essential Oil: This oil helps some people with nausea and other gastro issues. If you are a runner whose guts get all in a rumble when you run, using this before and after runs could help you. Some athletes swear by using lemon oil topically for athlete’s foot. This one is also energizing for some people. 

3. Eucalyptus Oil: Eucalyptus is a key ingredient in many medicinal rubs and cough drops; eucalyptus can help an athlete breathe more freely through their workout. It improves lung function and supports the respiratory system.

4. Lemongrass Oil: Often used as a rub for massages, this oil can be used to provide relief for sore muscles and soreness in general.

5. Orange Oil: Known as a natural energy booster, this oil can give you some “oomph” when used pre-workout.

6. Helichrysum Oil: This oil contains an anti-inflammatory and acts as pain-relief medicine; it can be used for healing bruises, sore muscles, and other issues. 

How To Use Essential Oils

  1. Diffuser: Most oils are diffused. 
  2. Hot Bath: Put a few drops into a hot bath and enjoy an aromatic soak. 
  3. Wrap or Compress: You can put some diluted oil on a warm, damp cloth and wrap it around a sore muscle.
  4. Drops on Skin: Although some oils should not be used topically unless diluted, others use no problems at all. 
  5. Roll-ons: You can purchase some oils in a roll-on. These are meant to be topical, so it’s okay!

Note: Most oils are not meant to be ingested. It is also worth mention that some people have allergic reactions due to topical oil usage. Try it on a small patch of skin first to test for allergy. 

What Essentials Oils Are Good For Working Out?

I would argue that when choosing essential oils for working out, you should think about a few things.

  1. How are you feeling?
  2. What are you struggling with?
  3. What are you trying to achieve for that day?

If I wake up tired and groggy, Orange oil might be just the trick. Have a touch of a cold and struggling to feel clear-headed? Consider some Eucalyptus oil

Trying to do some intense yoga and relax? Diffuse some Lavender and dim the lights, baby!

What Are Essential Oils Good for Sports Injuries?

essential oils for sports injuries
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If you are experiencing swelling and bruising, there are multiple oils you might try. The list includes Peppermint, Helichrysum, and Marjoram oils

Do you have pain and swelling? Try Lavender, Eucalyptus, or Rosemary

Sandalwood may help with muscle spasms. If you are experiencing actual muscle pain, you may try Pepper or Clove oil. 

What Essential Oils Are Good For Swelling And Bruising?

Athletes experiencing swelling and bruising should reach for the Lemongrass oil as it will help relieve that. Arnica oil is another option as it is known to help reduce swelling. 

Sometimes it pays to combine multiple oils together to achieve your desired result. Don’t be afraid to try that!

What Essential Oils Kill Athletes Feet?

Oregano oil has been very effective as a natural remedy for killing the athlete’s foot. You can soak your foot in a warm basin of water with Oregano oil or apply it topically, just like an oil. 

Tea tree oil is another oil that can be used topically for athlete’s foot treatment and as an antimicrobial oil.

Can You Mix Oils?

You absolutely can mix oils! If you see multiple ones listed to help remedy a problem, don’t hesitate to add a few drops of each. 

There is a good chance you can find your own personal, perfect fix for what ails you. If you do, share the love with runners everywhere, folks!

When Should You Not Use Essential Oils?

how to use essential oils

According to most warnings, essential oils are not recommended for use while pregnant. Pregnant women should never use some oils, and others can be safely used after the first trimester. 

Many products also warn against use by the very young or elderly. I do know people who use essential oils in their homes with children present. I will certainly proceed with caution if you have children. Check the labels of your oils.

Lastly, some oils are not recommended for use in homes with dogs and/or cats. Again, do your research!

The Benefits Of Essential Oils For Runners

When asked if essential oils are shown to improve athletic performance, I would argue that sufficient evidence can help. Is it a magical fix to help you shave minutes off of your 5K time? Nope. However, it might give you just the subtle edges you need to power through that next workout. 

Get yourself a diffuser, buy a few simple oils to start yourself out, and start experimenting. If a few of these scents sound intriguing to you, those are the ones you should start with!

If I had to recommend a few that everyone should play with as beginners, I would suggest Peppermint, Lavender, and Orange. Maybe throw some eucalyptus in the cart. 


  1. Debra Rose Wilson, Try This: 18 Essential Oils for Sore Muscles, Health Website
  2. Brent A. Bower, What are the benefits of aromatherapy?, Clinic

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