Health & Fitness, Fitness: workout to stay healthy

Aromatherapy and sport: Essential oils for athletes

Since essential oils are natural and highly concentrated, they are especially useful for sportsmen and women. Discover the 6 most effective essential oils for physical training and learn how to enjoy all the benefits of aromatherapy without taking any risks.

Essential oils: Athletes’ best allies


Aromatherapy can improve physical and mental well-being. In terms of their benefits for sportsmen and women, essential oils have healing properties both before and after workout sessions. These plant concentrates contain very powerful active ingredients, which can support muscle building and relieve pain. In sports, essential oils are used for the following benefits:

  • To reduce muscle inflammation and increase blood circulation.
  • To help recovery by warming up and draining the muscles, stimulating the lymphatic system and helping to repair micro muscle tears.
  • Energy gain: Some essential oils are able to affect the adrenal glands or to act as hormone stimulants, which is very useful to regulate the mood, prevent energy loss or support the immune system.
  • To promote the self-healing process and relieve pain, thanks to their antispasmodic and analgesic properties: They can be used for tendinitis, sprains, strains, joint discomfort, and so on.
  • To improve mental preparation: Through olfaction (smell) or massage, they can help to reduce stress and relax or to increase motivation before a competition.

6 essential oils and 3 essential plant-based oils for sportsmen and women


These essential oils, which need to be diluted with plant-based oils, should quickly become part of your sports equipment. They can also be mixed together as a massage oil to enhance their benefits.

Essential oils for athletes

The following 6 essential oils offer a range of beneficial uses to meet the needs of all athletes:

  • Wintergreen essential oil: Used to improve joint and muscle comfort, this powerful essential oil is the most commonly used in the field of sport. It contains methyl salicylate with analgesic and anti-inflammatory properties.
  • Lemon eucalyptus essential oil: This essential oil is very effective when used with wintergreen. Rich in citronellal, it soothes joint, muscle and tendon pain and has relaxing effects when diffused.
  • Tarragon essential oil: Valued for its antispasmodic action, it relieves aches and pains. It also relaxes the diaphragm when applied to the solar plexus in a diluted form.
  • Italian helichrysum essential oil: Rare and precious, this essential oil is most effective against haematomas. It also stimulates blood circulation and has anti-inflammatory and antispasmodic properties.
  • Black spruce essential oil: It has similar effects to those of cortisone. Invigorating and uplifting, this oil is ideal for days when you feel fatigued or have decreased motivation.
  • Noble laurel essential oil: On competition days, apply a mixture of noble laurel essential oil and plant-based oil to your wrists and breathe in the scent to give you courage.

The plant-based oils to be used in combination

To perform massages, dilute your essential oils with plant-based oils or oily extracts with similar or complementary properties, for example:

  • Inophile calophylla vegetable oil: This soothing oil stimulates blood circulation. Use it to massage your legs at the end of the workout session: Your legs will feel lighter for sure!
  • Arnica oil extract: Pain-killing and anti-inflammatory, it nourishes the skin while helping to resorb haematomas and soothe the pain felt by athletes after exercise.
  • Andiroba vegetable oil: Rich in limonoids, it is effective in relieving joint or muscle pain.

Essential oils: Best practices


Since they are highly concentrated, essential oils are to be used with care. Follow these tips to get started with your aromatherapy sessions using the safest methods:

  • They are never used pure and some are not suitable for certain types of application, such as oral, topical or diffusion.
  • Use them for massage by diluting them in vegetable oils or even simply in a body lotion. This is the most advisable way of applying most of these oils.
  • Not soluble in water, essential oils can, however, be diluted in a dispersant, such as honey or shower gel, and added to a relaxing bath.
  • Never heat essential oils to diffuse them. Instead, use a device specially designed to generate a light mist to benefit from relaxing, cleansing or respiratory effects. You can also apply a few drops on your pillow to promote good sleep.
  • Be sure to follow the precautions for use and the dosages, which differ for each essential oil. Some are not recommended during pregnancy or for those who have a history of cancer. They should not come into contact with the eyes and are not suitable for children or elderly people. Also, beware of interactions with any current medication you’re taking: If in doubt, consult an aromatherapist.
  • The oral intake of essential oils is only recommended by an aromatherapy specialist. As a rule of thumb, these oils should never be administered in large doses or for long periods of time.

Check out our Health & Fitness page for more advice.