Tension is something most of us learn to live with. It is a state of being tight in your muscles or having mental or emotional strain. When you experience tension or stress, your body tightens up. Your muscles hold the tension and it manifests in knots, tightness and discomfort. The most common places we feel it are in the neck, shoulders and jaw.
In the last 16 years of working on massage clients, I cannot recall one person who did not have some degree of tension. It is so common that our threshold for holding stress increases overtime making our bodies incredibly tight that the slightest movement in the wrong direction can throw out our back, neck or shoulder.
A natural solution I turn to for tension relief are my essential oils. I typically rub them on the skin after a long day to ease away stress and promote relaxation in the muscles where stress is stored. There are four essential oils I use the most because they are the most effective in my experience. You can use them individually or combine them in a blend, that includes them all. Follow this Essential Oil Dilution Chart for tips on blending.
Essential Oils For Tension Relief
My top four essential oils to relieve muscle tension are lavender, basil, peppermint, and wintergreen and here’s is why.
One of the most versatile essential oils to have in your home is lavender. It promotes restful sleep, soothes the nervous system and relieves stress. This is the first oil to reach for when you’re feeling tense because its therapeutic effects work wonders in bringing stress, anxiety and other unsettling emotions back to neutral.
Basil Essential Oil
Basil essential oil is great for tension relief. It has antispasmodic and anti-inflammatory properties that reduce muscle spasms and inflammation. Applying it to muscles can help release the buildup of tension, which overwork muscles and can lead to spasms.
Peppermint’s versatility is equal to lavender in that its spectrum for use is broad and very effective. It’s an excellent oil for digestive support and also for tension because peppermint is both cooling and warming. When you first apply peppermint to the skin its cool, then as it gets absorbed a warming effect settles in. It is similar to over-the-counter hot cold ointments, but natural. Like basil, it is also known for its antispasmodic and anti-inflammatory properties. It works great for tired muscles and tension headaches.
You’ve probably experienced the flavor of wintergreen in chewing gum. It has a sweet and cool taste, but as a pure essential oil it’s natural properties go far beyond the taste buds. Wintergreen has long been used to help alleviate pain. It is chemically composed of methyl salicylate a compound that resembles what aspirin is made of, making it an effective natural analgesic. It soothes, reduces inflammation, supports joints and bones and is recommended for muscular tension.
There are three ways to use essential oils – aromatically, topically and internally. However, when it comes to stress and tension relief I find that the most practical way to use them is topically. Apply a couple of drops of oil in your hand or blend with carrier oil and massage it into the affected area. You can also rub the oil on the area and then apply a hot pack or warm towels. As an alternative, placing a few drops of these oils in a hot bath will also do the trick.
Want to purchase my tension relief blend or these single therapeutic oils? Email me at email@example.com
Tension Relief BlendPrint This
- 10 ml roller ball
- fractionated coconut oil
Add 5 drops of each oil into a 10 ml roller ball. Fill roller ball with fractionated coconut oil to the shoulder. Place cap on container and gently blend. Roll on affected area and massage into skin.
If you do not have fractionated coconut oil, you can use other carrier oils but choose one that doesn't have its own aroma. Jojoba and grapeseed oils make good alternatives.