Getty Images

How Essential Oils Can Help Dancers With Everything From Sore Muscles to Anxiety

If you're battling aching muscles or pre-show nerves, a scented oil is probably the last thing you'd consider as a solution. Essential oils are more than just smells, though—these highly concentrated plant extracts have some serious healing powers. Sold online or over-the-counter at most health food stores, pure essential oils are completely natural and can be added to baths and lotions, or applied topically. Dance Spirit rounded up three specific scents that'll benefit your dancer bod.


1. Peppermint

Getty Images

Helps: Muscle soreness, indigestion

Peppermint is a tried-and-true remedy for an uneasy stomach and may help aching joints. If your muscles are throbbing after a tough class, mix a few drops of peppermint essential oil with 10 milliliters of a carrier oil, like coconut oil or avocado oil. Massage the mixture into your skin wherever you're sore. If your stomach is upset after a particularly filling lunch, add one drop of peppermint essential oil to a glass of warm water or tea so you can get through an afternoon of rehearsing.


2. Lavender

Getty Images

Helps: Anxiety, stress, sleep issues

If there were a super scent, it'd be lavender. It's the most popular essential oil for good reason: with a storied history dating back 2,500 years, lavender has been used everywhere from ancient Egypt to Greece, and for everything from treating cuts and burns to acting as perfume. It's also a secret weapon for anxiety and stress. Multiple studies have shown that lavender oil decreases sleep disturbances and moodiness.

The best way to experience lavender oil is through a diffuser, which can be purchased online. Diffusers help maximize the benefits of the oils by distributing them via mist. It's also gentle enough to be applied directly to the skin—if you don't have a diffuser, dabbing a drop of oil behind each ear after a long day in the studio will help your mind unwind.


3. Eucalyptus

Helps: Sore throat, cough, cold

Cold and flu season's got nothing on eucalyptus oil. With its antiviral and antibacterial properties, this essential oil will stop a hacking cough or burning throat in its tracks and help you get back to dancing. Take a large bowl of hot water and mix in 10 to 15 drops of the oil. Position your face over the bowl, cover your head with a towel, and inhale the steam for 10 minutes. (If you have a diffuser, you can simply add in a few drops of the oil and turn it on.)


A version of this story appeared in the January 2019 issue of Dance Spirit with the title "Just The Essentials."

Latest Posts


Getty Images

How to Support the Black Dance Community, Beyond Social Media

The dance community's response to the death of George Floyd was immediate and sweeping on social media. Dance artists, including Desmond Richardson and Martha Nichols, used their social platforms to make meaningful statements about racial inequality. Theresa Ruth Howard's leadership spurred ballet companies including Dance Theatre of Harlem, American Ballet Theatre, and New York City Ballet to pledge that #BalletRelevesForBlackLives. Among the most vocal supporters have been dance students, who continue to share the faces and gut-wrenching last words of Black men and women who have died in police custody on their Instagram feeds and Stories.

The work being done on social media as a community is important and necessary—and we should keep at it. But now, that momentum must also carry us into taking action. Because to be a true ally, action is required.

A responsible ally amplifies Black voices­­. They choose to listen rather than speak. And they willingly throw their support, and, if they can, their dollars, behind Black dancers and Black dance organizations. Here are some ways you can do your part.

Keep Reading SHOW LESS
Getty Images

Listen to Black Dancers Speaking Out Against Racial Injustice

This weekend, protests against racially-charged police brutality—spurred by the unjust killings of George Floyd, Ahmaud Arbery, Breonna Taylor, Nina Pop, Sean Reed, and so many others—swept the country. Supporters, including many of members of the dance world, took to social media to share their thoughts, and express their grief.

As allies, one of the first actions we can take in this moment is to listen to and amplify the voices of Black members of our dance community. Here are some of the most powerful posts written by Black dancers.

Keep Reading SHOW LESS
Just a few of our special Class of 2020 digital covers

Congrats to Our 2020 Dance Grad Cover Stars

We're thrilled to be honoring members of the great Dance Class of 2020 on special digital covers. One new cover star was revealed every day during the month of May. Take a look at all of our winners below!

Keep Reading SHOW LESS

Editors' Picks

contest
Enter the Cover Model Search