Runners are people who value health and wellness, so naturally there’s always a magical health trend trying to worm its way into runners’ lives and social media feeds. Of course, there was yoga and green smoothies. There was myofascial release and eating paleo. Coconut oil had a moment, although in retrospect it seems to have been undeserved. We’d be remiss if we forgot the stylish healing powers of KT-tape.
But now, on trend ladies and gentlemen runners, get ready to douse yourselves in essential oils. Like Gatorade tried to tell us we needed their special products before, during, and after running or else we’d fail miserably, as we laughed in its passé face, so, they say, we must slather different oils on ourselves to magically prepare, perform, and recover.
Before it goes too far, I’m just going to nip this trend in the bud and hope the entire industry floats away in an incense cloud.
Am I the only one already tired of walking into a friend’s house to be greeted by a cloud of dirty hippie air? I’m already tired of seeing fellow runners lube themselves up before a race like they’re going to slide right down the road. I’m tired of gagging on the scent of Phoqizz™ or Balyntz™ or whatever that weird church smell is when I walk into my group fitness classes.
I’m tired of feeling as though I’m the weird one when I discuss giving my kids antibiotics for their strep throat. Now, call me crazy, but I don’t think it’s better to rub licorice-smelling crap on the bottom of their feet while spinning around in circles throwing flower petals in the air. I’m mostly tired of unsolicited sports medicine advice from “friends” who were formerly stay-at-home parents or had other careers, and are now “Wellness Experts” for a not-a-pyramid-scheme. Do you know how many Facebook messages I’ve received in the past few months from these “friends” extolling the many virtues of their essential oils and wishing to pass out the miracle drug for the low, low price of $40 per bottle?
I’ll save you some trouble. Feel free to copy and paste:
“What’s this you say? You now sell an essential oil that will heal pain, give me vitality, and the energy boost I crave? All I have to do is fork over $40 and this 0.3 ounces of miracle will make all my running dreams come true and give me the life force I need to finally clean the back bedroom where I throw all the stuff every time I need to clean for company? Well, shoot, sister! Congratulations on achieving wizardry and take all my money!”
I don’t believe that there’s any sort of medical truth to the claims being made by those profiting from selling this stuff. I know everyone swears they “had a virus, and then after three days of rubbing LightPurple™ on my forehead it went away!” I asked some viruses and they assured me that’s not how viruses work.
I’ve also heard “I was stressed, and then I sat quietly and rubbed CalmOil™ on my feet and felt better!” I would venture to say that sitting quietly and rubbing anything on my feet would calm me down. But what do I know, I’m not a “wellness expert”. I’m also not a doctor (or a sorceress), but when I was a teenager, I rubbed Vaseline on my sister’s eyebrows before I plucked them and told her it was numbing cream. She swore she felt better. That’s what we non-wellness experts like to call the placebo effect. Call me a skeptic. I just have a hard time believing that modern medicine is a farce, and the answer to health and wellness lies in a Facebook “party” hosted by that one girl from high school English class.
And I’m looking for relief from my chronically sore hips and hamstrings, but when stretching and a good foam-rolling session don’t do the trick, strangely I find relief in bottles I buy at CVS. Pharmaceuticals: medicine that is scientifically proven to relieve pain and not make me smell like a Woodstock reunion. When did we decide that we’re too good for ibuprofen? Ibuprofen lasts four to six hours, and smells like nothing. Even better than ibuprofen is its stronger, longer-lasting friend naproxen, of which I’ve reaped the eight-hour pain-relieving benefits multiple times over the course of my running life.
You know what else I hate? Feeling oily. I don’t like the sensation of oil on my skin and can’t wait to take a shower after a massage to rinse that greasy feeling down the drain. I may be in my mid-thirties, but I have the skin of a 13-year-old (don’t be jealous!) and rubbing oil on my forehead would make me look like the “before” picture in a Proactiv commercial. The only oil I like on my body is peanut, and that’s only when it’s coating a potato that’s been sliced and fried and is going in my mouth.
You can rub your GreenDream™ (for vitality during exercise or repelling insects) and put CitrusBright™ (for muscle pain or clairvoyance) on your sore muscles all you want. Meanwhile, I’ll be giving you the literal stink eye while pounding Advil and drinking coffee. You just keep selling that CznaykOyl™.
Am I wrong about essential oils? Or would you like to run for VP of my essential oils haters club?
Disclaimer:The views and opinions expressed in this article are those of the author’s and do not necessarily reflect the official policy or position of Salty Running. This is also satire. Although Olive f’in strongly dislikes essential oils, she realizes she might be exaggerating how much product must be applied to reap zero benefit.