OK, I’ll admit I’m not sure there’s such a thing. Or is there?
After writing in a blog post a couple of weeks ago about wanting to try Essential Oils, I was sent some by the lovely folk at Tisserand Aromatherapy.
I put them to the test after the hen do a couple of weeks ago, which I found really stressful to organise, especially as it was right in the middle of my exams. I arrived on Sunday afternoon in Cardiff in a bit of a state.
Luckily, the sun was shining so Tom and I were able to go for a little walk at Cardiff Bay – being by the water makes me feel so much calmer. I also utilised some of the oils, using a combination of the Sweet Dreams Bath Oil and the Lavender essential oil to try to help calm me and ensure that I got a good night’s sleep. And I have to say – aside from the fact that the hot water ran out and Tom had to fill up the bath with 4 kettles full of boiling water – it definitely helped.
I hadn’t actually heard of some of the other essential oils that they sent me so decided to do a little more research into their benefits before using them, and it turns out there could be such a thing as essential oils for runners, given some of the surprising beneficial effects.
Here are some of my favourites from the ones I was sent and the reasons they’re great for runners;
Cypress – this antiseptic oil is also used as an antispasmodic, used to treat cramps, pulled muscles and muscle spasms. On top of this it can help increase the efficiency of the lungs. It’s also a natural deodorant, a great added bonus if you’re a sweaty runner like me!
Tea Tree – the cicatrisant and antibacterial properties of tea tree make is an excellent wound healer on any blisters, sores, or grazes you’ve sustained on your runs. Additionally, it’s a great expectorant for those with coughs and colds, helping you get back on your feet again.
Peppermint – can be used as external pain relief, as well as being cooling in nature, reducing swelling and inflammation. Furthermore, the stimulating effects of the oil have been found to increase blood circulation, helping to oxygenate the limbs and organs.
Grapefruit – another antiseptic, as well as a stimulant for body and mind. Like the fruit itself, grapefruit oil works as an antioxidant and can aid in weight loss if used regularly. However, it’s most useful role is in the lymphatic system, helping to rid the body of toxins and waste, like lactic acid.
Lavender – I didn’t realise this could be used as a bug repellant, which could be very useful on Summer runs, especially when abroad. As well as pain relief for cuts, bites, sun burn and bruises, not to mention sore and tired muscles when used as part of a massage (does it count on the foam roller?)
I need to invest in a diffuser to make the most of some of these oils, and also read about the best way to administer them for maximum benefit. It seems that some are best applied directly to the skin, others need diluting before administering them, or adding them to baths or diffusers.
Have you ever used essential oils? Ever thought of them as a good addition to your running routine?
Hi Charlie, definitely double check before applying some of the oil directly to your skin. They can be very irritant, I would always test in a small skin area first. Also, a lot react to sunlight and it’s therefore necessary to apply suncream prior to sun exposure. I believe that they are also contra-indicated in pregnant/breastfeeding women.
Thanks Laureen – didn’t realise that some can react to sunlight! I did know about the breastfeeding/pregnancy warnings. Thanks for the heads up!
I absolutely love essential oils, and a diffuser is such a good investment- I used mine all the time. Lavender and tea tree are fine straight on the skin, but everything else needs to be diluted in a carrier oil to be used on skin.