Muscles When we speak of muscles, we are most often referring to the Skeletal or Voluntary muscles, i.e., those near the surface of the body, identifiable beneath the skin, by means of which we move about. The less obvious but even more vital groups of Cardiac Muscle and Visceral, or Involuntary smooth muscle are concerned with the unceasing function of heart and internal organs.

Essential oils used in massage and baths have an almost immediate effect on the Voluntary muscles, which is heightened by the relaxing effects of the massage movements, and of hot water. Analgesic oils such as Camomile, Lavender, Marjoram and Rosemary will ease pain in muscles, especially when this is due to over exertion. Clary Sage and Jasmine have a relaxing effect on the muscles, while several oils, most notably Black Pepper, Juniper and Rosemary will increase muscle tone and help to prepare the muscles for action. These various actions can be used to good effect in increasing the muscular efficiency of athletes dancers, etc., when used before and after training and performance.

These short lists of oils are by no means exhaustive and virtually any and every essential oil used in combination with massage will be beneficial to the voluntary muscles.

Quite a large number of essential oils, described as antispasmodic, have a relaxing effect on the smooth muscle of the internal organs and can be used to relieve such problems as indigestion, colic, diarrhoea etc., where these involve spasm of the smooth muscle. Such oils include Bergamot, Black Pepper, Camomile, Clary Sage, Cypress, Fennel, Juniper, Lavender, Marjoram, Melissa, Neroli, Peppermint, Rosemary and Sandalwood. You will see that there is quite a lot of overlap between these and the oils which benefit the voluntary muscles. The best way to use those oils to relieve smooth muscle spasm is in hot compresses over the affected area.

A handful of oils are reputed to have a tonic effect on the muscle of the heart (Cardiac Muscle). These include Lavender, Marjoram, Neroli, Peppermint, Rose and Rosemary. It is best to use these in conjunction with massage whenever possible, or otherwise in baths. Here again you will see that there is some overlap, and that some oils benefit all three types of muscle.

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Essential Oils