Originally published on Bolton’s Naturals.
Muscle pain, difficulty sleeping, and trouble maintaining a positive mindset are much more common ailments than you may think. Although none are life-threatening, it becomes very hard to thrive when you’re getting a fraction of the sleep you need, moving hurts your body, or when you are simply not in a positive mental space.
In this article, we’ll explain how magnesium together with lavender essential oils can help with all three common issues. You may be familiar with both natural treatments individually.
Magnesium is a well-known mineral supplement for relief from tension, pain, anxiety, stress and more. Lavender essential oil is a popular choice for aromatherapy. It, too, has relaxing, pain-relieving properties. Combine the two and you have one, powerful natural solution for everyday body pain, restless sleep and mood.
Muscle Pain, Magnesium and Lavender
Muscle pain is usually a sign that your body is adapting to your exercise of choice, and with that, getting stronger. That said, no one likes feeling achy all day and suffering while walking upstairs the day after leg day.
Recently, we’ve talked about how topical magnesium can help, but we’ll do a quick recap for those who missed our post about how magnesium mitigates muscle soreness.
Magnesium and calcium work in tandem to relax and contract our muscles, respectively. Magnesium helps to soothe muscle aches by naturally blocking some calcium so that your muscle contractions are controlled and not spastic.
Lavender is great for muscles too. The anti-inflammatory and pain relief properties of lavender make it a great solution to muscle tension. It also helps to mitigate swelling and improve blood flow throughout the body.
Put together, magnesium and lavender create a dynamic duo to battle day-after muscle soreness. A portable and easy spray, gel, or balm could be your new gym sidekick! You also deplete magnesium stores while working out, so the sooner you apply, the better.
Plus, the addition of lavender makes it smell heavenly. What’s not to love?
Sleep, Magnesium and Lavender
Of course, it isn’t enough for this lavender/magnesium dream team to just relieve muscle pain. They work together, along with other naturally occurring substances in the brain to send you off into a calm, blissful sleep.
Magnesium does a number of things when it comes to sleep. It increases GABA, thereby relaxing the brain and bringing brain activity to a much lower level so we can sleep. It will also bind and activate GABA receptors, for a totally relaxed nervous system.
Some sleep problems have been linked back to cortisol production. Some people experience chronically heightened levels of cortisol, making it much more difficult for them to fall asleep. Magnesium has the potential to change this by regulating the adrenal glands (where cortisol is produced) and reducing the release of the hormone.
Lastly, magnesium is closely related to melatonin, a hormone essential to the body’s sleep-wake patterns. Low melatonin results in disruptions to your regular sleep schedule. Magnesium regulates melatonin levels in order to maintain the balance you need to get the sleep you deserve.
Lavender also works through the neurotransmitter GABA to relieve anxiety, reduce agitation, and promote relaxation and calm. Widely regarded as a natural sleep aid, studies have shown that lavender does seem to affect sleep.
Additionally, through aromatherapy, lavender can promote calmness and wellness, and reduce stress and anxiety, which sometimes lead to insomnia. There have even been studies with regard to lavender in the brain, in the context of sleep, which find it to be largely effective.
Where some may take a few minutes post-workout to massage some magnesium chloride with lavender, others may give themselves a little extra lavender love before bed.
Stress, Anxiety, Magnesium and Lavender
1 in 5 Canadians will personally experience some type of mental health issue or illness. It can be a passing feeling or something more long term.
It’s normal to feel a little stressed out, especially now. CAMH reported that more people have reported substance use, frequent loneliness, and anxiety in their adjusted pandemic lifestyle than prior to the COVID-19 outbreak.
Treatment for mental health comes in a range of different methods and practices, depending on the individual’s preferences and those of their doctor or naturopath. If you’re seeking natural alternatives, you’ve come to the right place. That said, always consult with a professional with regard to your mental health and treatment options.
The same way magnesium can help with sleep, it can also mitigate symptoms of stress and anxiety by regulating the production of cortisol. Cortisol is the fight-or-flight hormone, linked to the body’s response to stress. Magnesium regulates a number of hormones in the fear centres of the brain and influences the activity of the adrenal system.
Some people experience mental health complications in relation to their sleep. Sometimes, insomnia is a symptom of depression/anxiety, and sometimes those things are triggered by a lack of sleep. ATP, the main energy carrier within your cells, relies on magnesium. This relationship is key to distributing energy appropriately in the body. To avoid disrupting your sleep patterns, magnesium will boost GABA to help you sleep, and boost energy so that when you’re awake, you can be your best self.
Some studies suggest that depression may be linked to magnesium deficiency, although others suggest that more research is needed to support this. In some people, magnesium supplementation may ease certain symptoms of depression and anxiety.
New research from Kagoshima University in Japan indicates that the way the body processes linalool, the main component of lavender, is perhaps different from what had been widely believed. Linalool is responsible for the distinctive taste and aroma of lavender. Previously, it was believed that linalool was inhaled and then absorbed through the lungs into the bloodstream, reaching the neurons in the brain that way. Benzodiazepines (allopathic sedative drugs used to treat anxiety, insomnia, and epilepsy) target the same receptors, but lavender does so naturally.
This study showed that contrary to that theory, linalool affects the brain through smell. This was confirmed when they tested mice who were unable to smell and showed no effect. They also tested mice who had been treated with Flumazenil, which blocks the receptors previously thought to absorb linalool.
The outcome of these tests resulted in the conclusion that lavender provides an anti-anxiety effect, without impairing movement, like other anxiety treatments.
Why Topical Magnesium with Lavender?
Taking your magnesium with lavender essential oils topically allows for the mineral to exert the same positive effect, without the laxative result of taking it orally. For some, this is optimal.
It will also allow you to take advantage of the soothing lavender fragrance to quell anxiety, muscle aches, and send you off into peaceful sleep.