Make your own sports massage oil
At Base Formula, we’re huge advocates of a healthy lifestyle, and regular exercise is an important way to help both the body and the mind. There are a ton of benefits that we can glean from exercising, but sore muscles is certainly not one of them! That feeling of aching, weary limbs that makes simple tasks seem suddenly impossible is something we’ve all experienced after a workout.
One way to help prepare the muscles, ease post-workout pain, and speed muscle recovery, is to use sports massage oils both before and after exercise. In this blog we’ll discuss the benefits of sports massage and teach you how to make your own essential-oil-packed, completely natural massage oil that your muscles will love!
Benefits of sports massage
Before we discuss making your own sports massage oil, we thought we’d quickly explain how massage can be of benefit both before and after sport.
Massaging before exercise helps warm and stretch the muscles to improve flexibility. The important thing to remember is that you should only use light, gentle strokes before activity, as deep tissue work can actually cause muscle soreness and tightness.
A brisk, deeper massage after sports or strenuous activity helps release tight, knotted muscles and relieves muscle soreness by reducing inflammation and speeding cell recovery. According to a study published in the Journal of Athletic Training, massaging the muscles as soon as possible after exercise can reduce delayed-onset muscle soreness (DOMs) by a whopping 30%.
So, now you know the benefits of using a massage oil, let’s find out which are the best oils to use.
Essential oils for sports massage
The first step to making your massage oil is selecting the right essential oils, of which there are many to choose from. The most popular choices for warming the muscles, improving muscle tone, easing pain and aiding muscle recovery are listed below.
- Black Pepper – is a lovely warming oil that is great for tired, stiff, sore muscles. It can also be used effectively before exercise to help prevent pain and stiffness*
- Chamomile – helps muscles to relax, relieving inflammation, spasms and dull aches
- Ginger – is useful before and after exercise to helps boost circulation, warm and loosen cold, tense muscles and relieve aches and pains*
- Lavender – is excellent for relieving pain and inflammation. It can be diluted and used alone, but is best when blended with other oils, as this enhances its power, and increases the power of the other oils too
- Juniperberry – can help increase muscle tone and relieve aches and pains of post-workout muscles
- Marjoram – helps to relax cramped muscles and reduces pain thanks to its analgesic properties
- Peppermint – with renowned cooling properties, Peppermint works wonders on inflamed and sore muscles. It can also help to boost energy levels and lift fatigue*
- Rosemary – another oil that’s useful before and after exercise. Its particularly good for sore, stiff, overworked muscles and relieving fatigue and it doesn’t have the sedative effects of some of the other analgesic oils*
By combining two or three of these essential oils, you can create a sports massage oil that’ll have you moving with ease in no time at all! Test some combinations out to find those that work best for you and your muscles. As a general rule, the ones you like the smell of most, are probably the ones that your body needs the most!
*See safety notes below.
Mixing essential oils
When using essential oils for a massage they should always be diluted with a carrier oil or another base product, such as a cream, lotion or gel. Essential oils should never be applied neat to the skin as they are extremely concentrated, powerful substances that can cause irritation.
Carrier oils (also known as base oils) are typically used for massage as they provide a good level of lubrication which allows the hands to move freely over the skin. As well facilitating the massage, some base oils also have their own therapeutic properties which can enhance the effectiveness of your massage blend.
We have a wide range of natural carrier oils to choose from – again, it usually takes testing a few to find one you really love. St John's Wort, Calendula and Arnica infused oils are particularly recommended for aches and pains.
When mixing your massage oil, we recommend using 4 to 6 drops of essential oil per 10ml of carrier oil depending on the oils you’re using.
Sport massage oil blends to try at home
If you're unsure which oils to use why not try the one of the following blends:
Pre-workout muscle rub
Mix 3 drops of Rosemary, 3 drops Black Pepper and 2 drops Grapefruit with 20ml of carrier oil to prepare mind and body for exercise, loosen the muscles and help prevent injury.
Post-workout massage oil
Mix 10ml Calendula Oil, 10ml St John's Wort, 10 ml Sweet Almond Oil, 5 drops Marjoram, 7 Lavender, 2 Chamomile and 1 Peppermint to ease tight, tense, sore muscles after vigorous exercise.
Note: always massage in an upwards direction towards the heart.
If you’re not quite ready to start mixing your own sports massage oils you could try our Muscles Massage Oil or Massage Wax, both of which are blended with Clary Sage, Sweet Marjoram, French Lavender and Rosemary for ultimate muscle relief. They’re an ideal choice if you’re new to using aromatherapy oils on your body.
If you want to find something a little more specific, browse through our extensive oil collection on our website. We have detailed descriptions of each essential oil and carrier oil including their benefits and what they're good for, so it makes your choice far easier!
If you have any questions regarding any of our products or would like to know more about sports and other massage oils, feel free to get in touch. We’re always happy to help and spread the word of the benefits of essential oils!
- Black Pepper essential oil - May cause irritation to sensitive skins. Always spot test first. Avoid during pregnancy. Use in small quantities as high concentrations may over-stimulate the kidneys.
- Clary Sage essential oil - Avoid during pregnancy and do not use when drinking alcohol (contained in our Muscles Massage Oil & Wax)
- Ginger essential oil – Use in low concentrations and spot test first on sensitive skin.
- Rosemary essential oil - Avoid during pregnancy or if epileptic
- Peppermint essential oil - Do not use while pregnant. Do not use on babies and young children.
Disclaimer & Safety Advice