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Essential Oils to Enhance Movement

by Jodi Cohen

Physical movement is crucial to increasing resilience.

Any kind of movement, including walking, yoga or more intense exercise, offers numerous health benefits – enhancing the flow of blood and lymph, releasing natural feel-good chemicals known as endorphins, and strengthening your body. It also helps route blood flow to your brain to increase your physical and mental energy levels.

Research has found that moderate and regular exercise decreases cortisol levels and reduces anxiety and increase daytime energy. “ The association between stress-energy and salivary cortisol was affected by vigorous physical activity,” according to the research.

 

How Movement Enhances Health

Since your body is comprised of interconnected layers, movement benefits the following organ systems:

Brain: Movement and exercise help support healthy brain chemistry by increasing the release of happy hormones like endorphins, energizing hormones like epinephrine (adrenaline) and uplifting neurotransmitters like dopamine and serotonin.

Movement can help increase brain circulation, which helps calm inflammation  and enhance mood.  Research has found  that exercise improved cardiorespiratory fitness, cerebral blood flow regulation, and memory function in people with mild cognitive impairment.

Research shows that exercise helps improve symptoms of attention-deficit disorder (ADHD). The study found exercise to enhance motivation for tasks requiring focused thought, increased energy, and reduced feelings of confusion, fatigue, and depression.

Similar research found that exercise reduced depressive symptoms and may boost mood by increasing a brain protein called BDNF that helps nerve fibers grow.  Walking, in particular, helps calm the mind due to the meditative repetition of steps. The left, right, left, right pattern helps lower stress and improve your mood.

Meditative movement – like Qigong, tai chi, and some forms of yoga in which you pay close attention to your bodily sensations, position in space, and gut feelings (such as subtle changes in heart rate or breathing) as you move – has been shown to alleviate depressive symptoms. Changing your posture, breathing, and rhythm can all change your brain, thereby reducing stress, depression, and anxiety, and leading to a feeling of well-being.

Heart: Exercise improves your cardiovascular health, resulting in lower blood pressure, healthier cholesterol levels, and better blood sugar regulation. Research finds that exercise also promotes positive physiological changes, such as calming the sympathetic nervous system, strengthen muscles and encouraging the heart’s arteries to dilate more readily.

Exercise improves your muscles’ ability to draw oxygen from the circulating blood. That reduces the need for the heart—a muscular organ itself—to work harder to pump more blood to the muscles.

LungsExercise improves your respiratory endurance. The rhythmic motion of the lungs during normal breathing is a critical regulator of the clearance of bacteria and other noxious materials.

Research found that “regular endurance exercise training results in significant increases in increased work capacity of the ventilatory musculature.” Similar research found “a significant increase in respiratory muscle endurance.”

Lymph: Exercise and movement help get the lymphatic system moving. Your lymphatic system and lymph fluid helps to transport wastes and toxins out of your tissues and your body.

As you may know, interstitial lymph fluid flows through the lymph nodes where toxins are filtered out.  Unlike the cardiovascular system, the lymphatic system does not have a heart to pump the fluid through the body.  The more you can help the  lymph fluid flow by moving your body, the more quickly you can move toxins out of the body.

Unlike your circulatory system, your lymph system cannot move itself. There is no pump.  This matters because lymph is responsible for taking out the trash in your body. And if you don’t help it, guess what happens. The trash piles up.

Your lymphatic fluid can accumulate and stagnate.  This stagnation can be due to an overload of acidity, animal protein, gluten, infection, toxins or adhesions of the connective tissue, such as scars.  Your lymph system is also immune supporting. If you don’t clean this up, it locks germs in without downtime to clean them out. The more toxins build up and don’t leave, the more your immune system has to use its limited energy to combat these toxins.  Exercise and movement like yoga, dry brushing, rebounding or even walking helps get lymph flowing.

Muscles: You have more than 600 muscles in your body that contribute to about 40% of your total body weight. By moving, you are strengthening your muscles, which improves stability, balance, and coordination.  Your muscles are attached to bones with tendons and tendons connect to two (or more) bones across a joint.  When your muscle contracts, or shortens, the tendons pull on the bone, causing the joint to flex (bend) or extend (straighten).  Exercise enhances muscle tone, strength and resilience.

Bones: Movement helps build more durable, denser bones. Bone-building activities like resistance training (weights), weight-bearing exercises (jogging, walking, hiking), and balance training (yoga) can support better bone density.

 

Essential Oils to Enhance Movement

Movement enhances circulation, which is critical for delivery of oxygen and nutrient rich blood to the body and the brain, while simultaneously carrying toxins and waste to the kidney and liver to be eliminated.

Essential oils can help improve circulation by relaxing the blood vessels and improving the health of the blood vessels.  This helps more blood circulate through them, improving circulation in the process.

Essential oils can also be used to help the veins contract, stimulating blood flow.  Essential oils may also help alleviate some of the triglycerides that can form and restrict blood flow.

Essential oils can also be used to improve lymphatic system functionality which can help flush out toxins and reduce inflammation of the blood vessels, improving blood flow throughout the body.

For example, research has shown that Peppermint essential oil significantly improved exercise performance.  Peppermint essential oil contains high concentrations of the property menthol which works to enhance exercise performance, boost energy and stimulate concentration.

According to a study published in the International Journal of Neuroscience, peppermint essential oil enhances energy, alertness and memory.  Research from the University of Cincinnati found that inhaling peppermint oil increases the mental accuracy by 28%.

What’s more, essential oils that are high in a component called sesquiterpenes—including cedarwood, vetiver, spikenard, sandalwood, black pepper, patchouli, myrrh, ginger, and frankincense—may help oxygenate your brain. Sesqueterpines are carbon chains that do not contain oxygen molecules but seem to pull oxygen in. This may be one reason why essential oils high in sesqueterpines increase oxygen levels in the brain when inhaled or topically applied to the skin around the head.

 

 4 Essential Oils to Enhance Movement

1. Circulation™

Optimal circulation is important for any exercise, especially when your legs and feet need a little boost to fight the effects of gravity.  Essential oils can help improve circulation by relaxing the blood vessels and improving the health of the blood vessels.  This helps more blood circulate through them, improving circulation in the process.  Essential oils can also be used to help the veins contract, stimulating blood flow.  Read More about Essential Oils for Circulation HERE.

Circulation™ blend supports healthy circulation to deliver oxygen and nutrient rich blood to the body and the brain, while simultaneously carrying toxins and waste to the kidney and liver to be eliminated. Circulation™ is formulated with several oils known to be high in sesquiterpenes, including Black Pepper, Ginger and Frankincense that deliver oxygen to the cells.

Apply 2- 3 drops of Circulation™ on the sides or back of the neck, over the left clavicle, on the wrists or ankles to support energy, brain endurance and warmth of the distal extremities, like the fingers and toes.

 

2. Lymph™

Exercise and movement help get the lymphatic system moving and our Lymph oil seems to enhance that movement. Essential oils help keep plants healthy by moving vital fluids and energy. They perform similar functions in your body, helping to improve flow and move energy which shifts or calms stagnation.

As you may know, interstitial lymph fluid flows through the lymph nodes where toxins are filtered out.  Unlike the cardiovascular system, the lymphatic system does not have a heart to pump the fluid through the body.  The more you can help the  lymph fluid flow, the more quickly you can move toxins out of the body.

Topically applying Lymph™ to the following specific points on your skin can help lymph flow:

    • Around the sides of your neck
    • Under your left clavicle (collarbone)
    • On the armpits
    • Around the bikini line (think where your leg creases when you lift it)

Approximately seventy-five percent of lymphatic fluid drains down the left side of your body, so apply essential oils more aggressively on the left side of the neck and the left clavicle.

3. Breathe™ 

A key component of movement is the breath.  We naturally work to breathe deeper during our yoga practice to take in more oxygen for the body and the brain.  Vibrant Blue Oils Breathe™ blend opens and soothes the physical airways to allow for enhanced oxygen intake during exercise. On an emotional level, the lungs also take in” and “let go” of emotional energy.  Vibrant Blue Oils Lung Support in combination with yoga breathing can help release feelings of grief, bereavement, regret, loss, remorse that can obstruct ability of the lungs to accept and relinquish.  Both Breathe™ and Lung Support™ can be inhaled or topically applied over the lungs before yoga to optimize breath.  Breathe™ contains hot oils and should be diluted with another oil (like coconut oil or olive oil) prior to topical application.

 

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About The Author

Jodi Sternoff Cohen is the founder of Vibrant Blue Oils. An author, speaker, nutritional therapist, and a leading international authority on essential oils, Jodi has helped over 50,000 individuals support their health with essential oils.

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