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Aromatherapy Case Study: Supporting Running Performance of a High School Track Athlete during League

Our local high school is renowned for their excellence in both academics and athletics. The girls and boys cross country and track and field teams have won numerous championships at the local, state, and even national levels. The athletes train intently for high levels of excellence and it shows. In addition to intense physical training, recovery is equally important. This includes proper hydration, nutrition, post workout stretching, massage, recovery baths, and plenty of sleep.

In addition to the training regimen these individuals also have a course load to contend with and GPA to maintain. And our local high school offers a plethora of advanced placement course and international Baccalaureate courses or diploma. This combination can lead to stress, staleness in athletic performance, and tiredness if not properly managed.

My client was one of these athletes who was performing at a high level and maintaining academic excellence with a heavy course load. The client, a 16 year old female long distance track athlete was preparing for the league finals with hopes of qualifying for CIF preliminaries on the road to the CA state meet. During May there were AP exams, prom, and of course training and recovery.

My client had a few disappointing 1600m races prior to the league finals. The client's races were 13 seconds and 33 seconds slower than her season PR. She was mentally frustrated and fatigued in addition to dealing with the physical and mental stress of school and training. Aromatherapy measures focused on helping to alleviate muscle soreness, staleness in athletic performance, reduce feeling of stress, and promote feelings of wellbeing and confidence.

Oils were chosen for their ability to support adrenal health and focus, to move lymph, to serve as an overall tonic to the nervous system, and to soothe sore muscles. In addition to aromatherapy, the client also visited a chiropractor and used a foam roller, stretching, and ice baths for recovery.

Aromatherapy Products used:

Massage oil: Essential oils were added to jojoba oil to form a massage blend that was rubbed into leg and back muscles and over kidney area three days prior to meet for support. The blend included:

10 mls of jojoba oil

Rosemary (Rosmarinus officalis) -- Good to address fatigue and focus. Effective for painful muscles and joints. Anti-inflamatory and analgesic. (1 drop)

Cedarwood (Juniperus virginiana) -- Bottom note. For emotional qualities: increases endurance, supports confidence, grounding, calming and soothing. Diuretic to move fluid and toxins. -- 1 drop

Juniper berry (Juniperus communis) -- was chosen to move lymph. After training hard by running for track we want to help move waste products out. Analgesic and anti-inflammatory, circulatory stimulant. Emotional: cleans and protects, releases worry, useful when feeling burdened. (2 drops)

lavender (Lavendula angustafolia) -- reduces cortisol levels. Helps immune system to function. Calming and soothing, encourages balance. (1 drop)

The blend is about 2.5 - 3%

Given the clients school and workout schedule the application of the product was limited to once per day in the early evening after track practice by her mother.

Results: The addition of aromatherapy to the client's recovery routine helped address the client's mental fatigue and staleness and was useful in helping soothe sore muscles. The client has a season PR in the 1600m league meet qualifying race and was able to move on to the prelims by placing under the qualifying time of 5:05 for the 1600m with a 3 second PR over her season PR. The client further went on to race well at the CIF prelims and moved onto the finals as a alternate, narrowing missing qualification by less than a second. Thus the addition of aromatherapy to the recovery routine appeared to help the client both mentally and physically.

Remarks: The energetic and therapeutic qualities of essential oils can be a useful addition to an athlete's training and recovery regimen. By using oils that act as an overall tonic, have energetic qualities that support the body, help move lymph and toxins built up from the stress of training, have anti-spasmodic qualities that help soothe muscles, reduce feelings of tension, and promote calm and sleep aromatherapy can help address staleness and fatigue and support athletic performance.

If you have questions about aromatherapy, essential oils, or would like a custom product or professional aromatherapy consolation contact Tricia or schedule an appointment. Check out the web store to see a available products.

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