Muscle cramps, especially those in the legs, can be very painful and quite hindering. There’s no good time for a leg cramp. Not during the day and certainly not during the night. This article will show you why use natural remedies like essential oils for leg cramps to get rid of them fast.
Luckily, this condition can be soothed and even prevented. Continue reading to find out:
- What the best leg cramps essential oils are, with the usual pros and cons for a good choice. Some of them can improve a poor circulation. Others can soothe the muscle pain. A good combination can help you get rid of sudden cramps very fast.
- Best ways to use these aromatic essences for any kind of leg pain and spasms.
- A list of essential oil recipes for leg cramps to make and use right away.
- Causes and some preventive measures you should know about. Plus, a few tips to feel better on a long term.
Best Essential Oils for Leg Cramps, plus Blend Recipes
Muscle cramps are very sudden and they can cause a mild or an excruciating pain. They’re often accompanied by stiffness and affect mostly the legs.
Leg cramps usually last only a few minutes, but the muscle remains sensitive for hours. Any sudden move can cause another cramp, unless the muscle is well massaged. More about the causes of leg cramps in the last part of this article.
A muscle cramp happens when the muscle doesn’t get enough blood for a few seconds. That’s when muscle fibers contract and cause a painful temporary discomfort and immobility.
How Can Essential Oils Help with Cramps in Legs?
Plant extracts are very concentrated. They can penetrate deep and fast into the tissue and then into the blood and muscles. There are many different types of essential oils. Some are more useful for mood enhancement and relaxation. Others have impressive pain relieving effects. The latter are the best for cramps.
The best essential oils for leg cramps have anti-inflammatory and antispasmodic properties too. These properties help avoiding further muscle contraction, tears and finally, cramps.
Next, I will give you the pros and cons of some of the best soothing and muscle relaxing essential oils.
1) Rosemary Essential Oil (ct. Camphor)
Rosemary is one of the most popular aromatherapy oils. There are many different types of rosemary oils out there. Each has its own effects and benefits. These types are referred to as chemotypes, short ct.
Camphor is one of the best natural pain relievers. Depending on the geographical area, rosemary can be high in camphor, cineole or verbenone. For leg cramps, you’ll need Rosmarinus officinalis L. camphoriferum.
- The camphor chemotype (variety) of Rosemary oil is great for muscle cramps. It increases the blood flow in the affected muscle area, relieving pain. This effect also delivers the oxygen and blood the muscle needs to decontract.
- It has important anti-inflammatory effects, which also help decrease the pain level.
- Camphor Rosemary essential oil can also dissolve uric and lactic acid. These acids often crystalize in the joints and muscles and cause inflammation (pain).
- This essential oil is not recommended to people suffering from asthma.
- If you have high blood pressure, avoid using the oil of camphor Rosemary.
- Make sure the Latin name is the one I gave you above. Any other type of rosemary may not be as effective.
Why I like it:
Rosemary ct. camphor is among the best essential oils for cramps. You can use it before an intense effort to prevent muscle strain, tear and cramps. Or you can use it afterward, to recover your muscle integrity and prevent harmful deposits.
2) (Red) Myrtle Essential Oil
This is another good essential oil for cramps and leg pain. There are also other different types of myrtle (green, lemon), but Myrtus communis L. is the name of the red type. This is the oil you’ll want to use to soothe your cramps.
- Myrtle essential oil can tone and decongest the veins, improving the blood circulation.
- It also has antispasmodic properties that make the oil good for muscle spasms and pain. This oil can prevent and stop muscle cramps.
- The oil has sedative and calming effects also. Its anti-inflammatory properties make it a good essential oil for cramps in legs.
- Avoid using Myrtle oil if you suffer from asthma.
- A strong dose can harm people with epilepsy too.
- Taken internally, on a long term, Red Myrtle essential oil can damage the kidneys.
Why I like it:
This plant essence has a very uplifting and strong fragrance. Thanks to its many benefits, Myrtle can help relax those poorly irrigated muscles. On top of that, it can improve the circulation and relieve the pain and cramp. It’s useful in many blends for heavy legs too.
3) Wintergreen Essential Oil
Wintergreen oil is known as the oil of sports people. Many of them use a lotion with this oil in composition. They rub it in before warming up and after an intense effort to prevent cramps and soothe their tired muscles.
Gaultheria procumbens or G. fragrantissima is what you’ll need to relieve leg cramps.
- The oil contains 95 – 96 methyl salicylate. This substance is similar to aspirin and it has great pain relieving effects.
- The same substance can also act as an antispasmodic. This makes it useful against the most persistent and painful cramps.
- It can also dilate the blood vessels and improve the blood flow in the affected area. That leads to a warm sensation on the rubbed area. This warmth relaxes the muscles and prevents a sudden contraction.
- The oil of Wintergreen should not be used by people who take anticoagulants.
- If you are allergic to aspirin or other salicylates, you should avoid Wintergreen.
- Avoid using it if you have an eczema, asthma, ulcer, hemorrhage or surgery. An open wound/tissue is more sensitive to essential oils. Through an open wound, they can also reach the blood a lot faster and in greater concentration.
Why I like it:
This oil is especially useful (and safe) in topical applications. Wintergreen essential oil can be used for leg cramps, muscle pain or strain. It can also be used for tendonitis (tendon inflammation), knee pain, arthritis, back pain, etc.
As you can see, the oil of Wintergreen deserves a place among your pain relieving natural remedies.
Other recommended essential oils for leg cramps:
- Black Pepper
- Chamomile (Roman)
- Clary sage
- Juniper Berry
- Super Lavandin
How to Use Essential Oils for Cramps in Legs
The best use for leg cramp essential oils (EOs) is through direct massages. You can mix up to 30 drops of EO per Oz carrier oil. These aromatic oils are very concentrated plant extracts.
They can irritate and sensitize the skin if applied undiluted. They are fat soluble, which means they mix only with fat or neutral substances like salt.
Massage the affected area with a blend for about 5 minutes.
Other ways of enjoying the benefits of essential oils for cramps is through:
- Hot baths. A combo of essential oils with steaming bath water can relieve pain and relax muscles. 10 – 15 drops of EO per cup of pink/Epsom salt.
- Hot compresses. Again, heat can help the oils penetrate deeper and faster into the blood and muscle.
- Diffusion. You can diffuse up to 10 drops of EO for 30 minutes, every 2 hours in a well-ventilated room. The inhalation of essential oils is the fastest route to enter the body. They will then affect the painful location. On top of that, they can also change your mood.
The best carrier oils for leg cramps are:
- Black seed
These oils have anti-inflammatory properties too. They can therefore enhance the power of the essential oil(s) used. The most effective blends are the ones that contain:
- A good base oil (carrier),
- An essential oil that increases the blood flow,
- And one that soothes the pain.
Such a blend may cover a wide range of causes for your leg cramps and they can also deal with them more efficiently. Essential oils work in a complete synergy. Meaning they enhance each other’s effects and work together to deliver potent results.
Aromatherapy Blend Recipes for Leg Cramps and Pain
Here we are at the most fun part of the article. You’ll get to make your own essential oil blend for leg cramps and get rid of any other annoying ones to come.
What is even better is that you can actually prevent these muscle spasms, pain and cramps. You can warm up your muscles with a massage lotion before each straining activity.
Take your inspiration from the following recipes and start dealing with the pain in your legs.
Leg Cramps Blend Recipe for Children
- Olive oil: 1 teaspoon
- Coconut oil: 1 teaspoon
- Tarragon EO: 1 drop
- Rosemary ct. Camphor EO: 2 drops
Mix all the oils together and shake the blend well each time before use. Apply on the cramping area and massage for 5 minutes to relieve the tension and pain. This blend is meant for children 7 years+.
Massage Lotion Recipe for Leg Cramps
- Olive oil: 2 tablespoons
- Tamanu oil: 1 tablespoon
- Wintergreen EO: 10 drops
- Myrtle EO: 20 drops
Give all these oils a good stir and shake well before each use. Apply morning and evening on the legs, insisting on the most prone area. This blend can also be used to prevent leg cramps. Simply massage on your legs a moderate amount for a few minutes, before and after each effort.
Steam Bath Blend to Relieve Cramps
- Himalayan or Epsom salt: 1 cup (200 gr)/ bathtub
- Wintergreen EO: 5 drops
- Rosemary ct. camphor EO: 5 drops
- Peppermint EO: 5 drops
Add the oils over the salt. Give it a good shake and add it to your hot bath water. Inhale deeply and massage your legs with the oils in the water. The oils will bind to the skin and work just as good, only faster because of the hot water. The fragrance of this blend, although a bit medicinal, will improve your tonus too.
Concentrated Essential Oils Synergy for Muscle Cramps
- Arnica oil: 3 Oz (90ml)
- Red Myrtle EO: 25 drops
- Wintergreen EO: 10 drops
- Basil EO: 25 drops
Apply 6 – 8 drops of this blend on the painful cramp and massage for 5 minutes. This concentrated blend needs to be used in a low dosage, and for a small period of time. Usually, 5 days should be enough. You can alternate between blends if you need to. The essential oils used in this blend are among the most efficient for cramps.
What Causes Leg Cramps and Pain, Preventive Measures and Tips
Like I promised, this last part of the article is meant to show you more things about cramps and why they happen.
Some of them are just temporary and rare, lasting for only a minute or two at the most. Others that are more severe, can last for hours. If that happens, you should go to a doctor immediately.
Cramps are sudden and severe, and they cause a lot of pain and discomfort. There are two types of muscle that get cramps. These contractions can occur in the skeletal muscle. This is the muscle attached to the bones and it is under conscious control.
The other type of muscle is the smooth muscle. It is found inside organs, bladder, blood vessels, colon, stomach, etc. This muscle acts on its own and cannot be controlled consciously. These smooth muscles contract constantly and rhythmically.
There are fewer chances of severe and sudden contractions in the smooth muscle than there are in the skeletal muscle.
The causes for a muscle or leg cramp can be any one or more of the following:
- Minerals and vitamins deficiency.
- Exhausted or tired muscles.
- Overstretching and overexerted muscles.
- Walking with uncomfortable, smaller shoes.
- Flat feet.
Leg and muscle cramps can affect anybody, but some people are more prone to them. They are:
- Pregnant women,
- People over the age of 60,
- And those who suffer from a poor circulation in their legs and feet.
- People with cirrhosis or kidney failure can also get more cramps than others.
Luckily, some essential oils for leg cramps can help a great deal. They offer relief and a better mobility. Nonetheless, make sure you can use essential oils if you suffer from a specific health condition first. Consult your doctor for the best and safest use of these aromatic oils.
Tips to Prevent Leg Cramps
- Massage your legs before and after a more intense exercise, walk or workout. This will prevent leg cramps.
- Use essential oils for cramps and muscle pain that suit your condition, age and needs.
- If you get a leg cramp, stop from what you’re doing. If you don’t have a blend with you, you can still massage the painful area. Stretch the muscle and massage in the opposite direction of the muscle fiber.
- Take calcium, magnesium and potassium supplements. These vitamins/minerals are known to limit the occurrence of cramps. These supplements should not be taken without medical advice though. They can also do some damage if the dose is too high.
- Drink plenty of water to promote toxin removal.
- Use your essential oil blend for leg cramps for a few days more after the cramp passes.
- Give your muscles time to rest by avoiding working out or walking long distances, for a short while.
Fortunately for most of us, leg cramps and muscle cramps in general, can be soothed and even prevented. A more intense than usual effort can cause an occasional cramp; it’s normal.
Only those that keep coming back and catch you off guard all the time can be dangerous. They require your immediate attention and you can start getting rid of them with natural remedies.
Use essential oils for leg cramps for a few days after the episode passes to make sure the muscle is completely recovered. Don’t forget to also hydrate yourself to avoid unnecessary muscle problems.
What is your approach towards getting rid of muscle and leg cramps? What natural remedies/oils do you use?