Essential oils are in trend now, but there is nothing new. Essential oils have long been a component of holistic medicine and alternative treatments, being derived from plants into potent extracts. The studies show the can help to reduce stress and anxiety, fight bacteria, reduce pain and even improve sleep. Recently, researchers started a new study to demonstrate that these oils can even improve athletic performance.
They must enter the body through inhalation or the skin in order to be effective. You may have experienced essential oils without even realizing it, if you’ve ever received a massage, facial or walked by an aromatherapy diffuser. Most experts agree ingestion carries serious risks, including possible organ toxicity, so it’s probably best to skip that route even though you completely trust the oils’ benefit features.
It’s usually recommended to dilute essential oils by mixing them with lotion or another less concentrated oil when applied topically. The oils can stimulate the limbic system, that complex network of nerves responsible for everything from heart rate and blood pressure to emotion, stress and memory when inhaled. The end result – an overall state of wellness.
Essential Oils Reduce Stress
A variety of essential oils can prove effective against anxiety, depression and fatigue, and promote improvements in quality of life across the nervous, endocrine, immune and circulatory systems according to a study published in the American Journal of Nursing Science.
There’s a lot of literature on the topic and more than 100 essential oils available to experiment with. But a few of the most popular (and studied) options for reducing stress and anxiety include lavender, ylang-ylang, sage, peppermint, bergamot, neroli, lemon and orange.
Benefits for Athletic Performance
There has been some exciting data in recent years to illustrate their possible application for athletes, but the research into essential oils for athletic performance is less robust. A BMJ study noted that essential oils can play a role in preparing the body and mind for optimum sports performance. Furthermore, it can help the body to recover more quickly by reducing the effects of fatigue.
There is even a study that appeared in 2013 that looked at how peppermint oil (heavily diluted in water and ingested) impacted runners during a treadmill test. The research showed that those who supplemented with peppermint showed improved respiratory efficiency, heart rate and blood pressure. Furthermore, they also reported lower levels of perceived workload.
Inhaling spearmint and orange oils improved lung function and exercise performance of athletes as it was shown by another study. From the recovery point of view, aromatherapy with ginger oil shows promise for relieving pain and inflammation in the muscles and joints.
There’s more to learn about how essential oils impact athletic performance. They’re easy to use and may give you an advantage over the athlete next to you if you’re interested in trying them. If you’re interested in a more detailed article, write to us and we will do our research to keep you well informed.