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Aromatherapy to Improve Exercise And Recovery

Written By

Hazel Goudie

Category

Aromatherapy, Massage

Posted On

26 March 2014

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Aromatherapy is the use of essential oils to help improve both the physical and/or emotional state of a person. The oils are derived from plant extracts, and their scents and properties can be used to benefit a person’s well-being. In more recent year’s aromatherapy has been found to help sports performers and exercisers alike to physically and emotionally prepare for, complete and recover from exercise and sporting activities.

Aromatherapy oils are powerful and work in many different ways on many different levels; physically, emotionally and mentally. Aromatherapy massage can therefore be extremely helpful when trying to become mentally energized for exercise or for relaxing afterward. There are a range of fragrances and blends from essential oils which can be used to help before exercise to help focus, during exercise to improve performance or after exercise to relieve tired, aching muscles.

Below are some aromatherapy combinations to help with different aspects of sports preparation, performance and recovery. All can have a very positive effect on the body and are all most effective when combined with massage and good hydration. If this is of interest to you consider an aromatherapy course to enable you to offer advice and massages to clients.

Firstly consider the carrier oil you will use to distribute the aromatherapy oil if using massage as well. The carrier oil enables the aromatherapy oils to absorb easily into a large skin surface and therefore enter the circulatory and respiratory system. Grapeseed has the smallest molecular structure and is the most easily absorbed. Sweet Almond is also a very good economical carrier oil but its use must be limited to people who do not have any nut allergies.

  • Respiratory oils and blends
  • As a sportsperson you need to breathe efficiently, essential oils can improve your respiratory system making breathing easier and increases blood circulation.

    Blends to aid the respiratory system for aerobic activity include:-

    • Frankincense
    • Peppermint
    • Camphor
    • Rosemary

    Ask your client to smell the blended or individual oil(s) directly from the bottle. They should inhale deeply for a count of 6-8, hold for a count of 1 and exhale for a count of 6-8. This can be repeated 4 or 5 times to increase lung capacity, oxygenate the blood, increase circulation, focus the mind and stimulate your senses.

    There is also the option to create a massage blend that can be applied to chest and back of the client an hour or so before their event/training. A blend such as this could include:-

    • 30-40ml of carrier oil
    • Frankincense 4-6 drops
    • Benzoin 4-6 drops
    • Cypress 3-6 drops
  • Pre-sport massage
  • You could also consider a pre-sport massage for clients. This type of massage and blend can stimulate the lungs and respiratory system as well as warm the muscles and aid mental preparation. A blend such as this could include:

    • 50-60ml of carrier oil
    • Eucalyptus 6-8 drops
    • Thyme 7-10 drops
    • Rosemary 7-10 drops

    This blend can be massaged on the feet, ankles and major muscle groups such as calves, thighs, buttocks and arms about an hour or so before the event

  • Post-sport recovery
  • After any physical sport, activity or competition muscles and joints which have been worked very hard with continuous repetitive movement can feel tired and bruised. A massage with the appropriate aromatherapy blend can help reduce aches and pains as well as help eliminate adrenal chemicals from the muscles. Blends to help with this could include:

    • Blend 1
      • 30-40ml of carrier oil
      • Eucalyptus 8-10 drops
      • Ginger 8-10 drops
      • Peppermint 8-10 drops
    • Blend 2
      • 30-40ml of carrier oil
      • Marjoram 8-10 drops
      • Ginger 8-10 drops
      • Black Pepper 8-10 drops

    As an alternative to a massage, a bath can be relaxing and recuperating and something to suggest to clients. Add a maximum of 8-10 drops of oil to a warm bath, swirl the water to disperse the oil and spend 10-15 minutes soaking.

    • Marjoram, Ginger & Black Pepper
    • Lemon, Nutmeg, Clary Sage & Grapefruit

    aromatherapy


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