Most of us have felt the sensation from having a peppermint candy, you experience the feeling of lightness in your lungs and a refreshing rush of mental clarity. Some have discovered and utilize peppermint's unique reaction with the body to help enhance athletic performance. This is actually how FUM began. Jaron and Janai, 2/4ths of the Core Four, would put a few drops of peppermint essential oil on their hands and inhale before working out. However, having essential oils on your hands at the gym was not ideal, the oils would get on the equipment and could get into their eyes when wiping away sweat. So the idea came, "what if there was a better way to inhale essential oils?" This question lead to FUM's creation.
Peppermint is one of the most famous essential oils, known for its analgesic, anti-inflammatory, and antioxidant effects. Curious about these properties, I wondered if inhaling peppermint essential oils has enough of an effect on the body to physically improve performance during a workout, or if the refreshing feeling from peppermint is simply a placebo effect?
Many researchers were intrigued by the idea of inhaling peppermint essential oil for enhancing athletic performance. Surprisingly all studies had the same conclusion, inhaling peppermint essential oil improves physical performance across all avenues of the body; these include, equalizing blood pressure, stabilizing respiratory rate, relaxing bronchial smooth muscles, and, increasing ventilation and brain oxygen concentration.
One study conducted on the effects of inhaling peppermint oil on exercise performance and respiratory function found that there was "improvement on the lung status for the students after their inhalation of the oils, " along with increasing student running time. In other words, inhaling peppermint cleared the students' airways, allowing a greater lung capacity to bring more oxygen into the body. The increased flow of oxygen allowed the students to have better running times than their previous recorded times, where they did not use peppermint. A variety of studies shared these results. Another investigation examined the effects of inhaling peppermint essential oil on running performance. All participants ran the same distance, 3.25 miles, however only some inhaled peppermint before running. The results revealed that peppermint inhalation had significantly lowered the participants heart rates during running. A lower heart rate is beneficial for exercise performance, as it allows the body to have a greater flow of oxygen and blood throughout the body, resulting in increased endurance.
Inhaling peppermint oil not only has positive ergogenic outcomes on running, but it also helps with other physical and mental performance as well. An experiment, with the objective to test the evidence found on the physiological and exercise improvements occurring by using peppermint oil, found further results to prove the claims. In this study, participants were tested on an array of physical activates; including, maximum isometric grip force, vertical and long jumps, visual and auditory reaction times, blood pressure, heart rate, and respiratory rate. All activities were measured three times: before, five minutes after, and one hour after, a single dose of peppermint essential oil. This test was repeated multiple times over a month to collect consistent and accurate results. Positive outcomes were found just after 5 minutes of using peppermint and remained effective after an hour. Participants who used peppermint improved significantly in all aspects being tested. Compared to the baseline and control group, who's performance declined over the three testing times. The researchers conclude that the positive improvement on mental and physical activity might be due to the peppermint's effects on the bronchial smooth muscle tonicity. In non-doctor terms, the peppermint is advantageous to the airways within the bronchial tree in the lungs, resulting in significant improvement in exercise performance.
These results are just a few of many revealing the significant benefits of inhaling peppermint oil for exercise performance. The evidence also shows how versatile peppermint oil is. No matter what your exercise of choice is, peppermint + FUM can help. FÜM was born from this idea. The Core Four wanted to create and provide a portable essential oil inhaler that’s as easy to use as breathing. Whether it's opening up your lungs for deeper breathing to help you hold that pose longer in yoga, or getting that extra burst of energy to hit a higher box jump, Ü can breathe in the benefits of essential oils to help you go beyond your fitness goals.
ABOUT THE AUTHOR
Jocelyn's passion to help others drives her work here at FUM. Jocelyn uses her research knowledge to bring information to the FUM Family on how to improve health. She graduated with a degree in Business Management and Organizational Communication from University of Ottawa and currently lives in Calgary, Canada.
M. MacKenzie, Cheryl & Hedge, Alan. (2005). Is Peppermint an Ergogenic Aid to Athletic Performance?. Proceedings of the Human Factors and Ergonomics Society Annual Meeting. 49. 1229-1233. 10.1177/154193120504901303.