Monday, July 30, 2012

Natural Muscle Soothers

Sore muscles? Here's some natural soothers that work even without a hot tub!
Every athlete at one point or another over-does a workout or activity that can spell muscle stress and pain. Sooner or later, muscle soreness will catch up to you.

How you deal with it can be as simple as the RICE method.  You know, REST, ICE, COMPRESSION and ELEVATION.  This acronym is helpful for acute stresses and sprains.
Ice Vest for back and shoulder pain
In fact, one of the things we keep in the freezer is an Ice Vest.  It has cooling inserts all along the middle of the back and shoulders.  It can also be wrapped around an ankle or knee and laid over thighs or calves...any inflamed area that needs cooling down.

Other cooling solutions that you can take with you include instant cold packs available from Adventure Medical or your local drugstore. You can keep these in your medical kit for instant relief from a muscle strain or sprain.

Hot Tubs are not your friend after a muscle strain or sprain.

  HotTubs & Whirlpools

While a hot tub may sound inviting, heat is actually NOT your friend when muscles have been stressed.  If you want to use the therapeutic jets in the whirlpool, simply back off of the heat. No more than 80 degrees.  Just think of cooling it even though for the time, heat may feel better. Adding heat only increases inflammation so it's best to avoid it.

Topricin Homeopathic odorless pain creams for body and feet. PHOTO:  Ma-roller & Footsie by Chinese Inventor Kayau Shiu

Soaking Solutions

Epsom Salt is a natural mineral salt.  Simply magnesium sulfate, it works well as a soaking aid for minor sprains and bruises.  You can dissolve 2 cups of Epsom Salts in 1 gallon of water to make a cold compress or use in a bath.  You may need to dissolve the salts in warm water but you can let it cool before using or add the solution to a tepid bath.

Bath Salts for the most part are more coarse and closer to Kosher Salt in appearance.  The main ingredient in most bath salts is sodium chloride or NaCl which is identical to table salt.  These often have fragrance added for aesthetic and therapeutic purposes.

Dead Sea Salts are as the name implies harvested from the Dead Sea in Israel. The Dead Sea is the lowest point on earth and people come from all over the world to bathe in its mineral rich mud.  It is so dense, it's nearly impossible to sink in its waters. Dead Sea water is also more complex having: Chloride, Bromide, Potassium, Magnesium, Sodium and Calcium. The amounts of minerals will vary based upon season, rainfall and other factors in nature. In my opinion, these are the best for bathing and soaking.

Pain Relieving Foods & Supplements

Rainbow Light Chocolate Protein Energizer
Studies have shown that athletes who drink chocolate milk after a heavy workout recover more quickly than those who chug sports drinks or even water.  This is my "go-to" recovery drink after my morning workout.  I add almond milk, Sunbutter, CocoaWell Organic Cocoa Powder and Organic Flaxseed Meal to the Chocolate Protein Energizer and blend it in my VitaMix 5200 Power Blender.
It is SO delicious.  Makes it easy to stay on top of muscle soreness.

Corvalen D-Ribose
This is relatively new but used by body builders for ATP increases after muscle exertion. A natural sugar produced by the body, it is used by sufferers of Fibromyalgia to reduce symptoms of muscle stiffness and fatigue. The daily dosage is 5 grams or 2 tsps daily of this tasteless powder that instantly dissolves in water. I have noticed a definite boost in energy and lack of post cycling and swimming soreness almost immediately after taking D-Ribose.  Definitely a good muscle recovery drink when taken with food. 

Fish Oil & Omega 3 Fatty Acids
I happen to already like sardines, mackerel and all things fishy so this one is easy for me. I even like cod liver oil which is where most people draw the line.
SARDINES: All you need is a 3oz serving of these goodies from the sea x3 per week. If you're not a big fan of sardines, try them in different sauces or lightly smoked.
STRONGER FASTER HEALTHIER S O 3: This super omega 3 concentrate comes in crazy delicious flavors including lemon, mint, tangerine and get this...chocolate. The secret is that it is made from anchovies but has less oil and more EPA & DHA.

Terry Naturally makes highly anti-inflammatory supplements called Curamin and CuraMed, which have replaced my daily dosage of Celebrex.
The active compound is BCM-95.  This is the most bio-available form of curcumin, the isolate found in tumeric (think Indian curry).  You'd have to eat a ton of curry to get the benefits of just one concentrated Curamin capsule. If you want advanced inflammation management, take the Cura-Med which is 10x more concentrated than Curamin.  If you've just had a muscle injury or sprain, try their Joint & Muscle Quick Spray which is also enriched with Boswellia, Curcumin and Omega Flax oil. A little goes a long way as it has a very intense menthol scent. The best thing is that taking Curamin each day helps to prevent excessive inflammation after a sports injury.  I've even noticed an occasional mosquito bite does not turn puffy and red but heals more quickly.  Curamin quells inflammation in other parts of your body too so it's a way to be proactive.

Salmon, similar to sardines, is rich in Omega 3 fatty acids.  Most of us get too much Omega 6 in our diets but the Omega 3's really get the job done as far as inflammation is concerned.
I love my mom's homemade salmon cakes....mmm mmm!  If you are not a fan of fish, try pre-seasoned fillets like Honey Chipolte Wild Pacific Salmon. It has a hearty, smokey flavor and could just change your mind.  All you need is about x3, 3 oz servings a week to produce the anti-inflammatory benefits you need.  Additionally shrimp, crab and lobster have chitosan, a linear polysaccharide which helps bind with excess fat in your intestines, facilitating weight loss.


  1. Some great ideas for pulled and sore muscles. One place i found something that helped was at

  2. Hi Jessica,

    Thank you for sharing that! Really the main issue with muscle pain & soreness is inflammation so anything you can do to lessen that will be helpful.


    Dr. M

  3. I love sardines and this is included with my diet program to gain muscle. I also love salmon. Great tips indeed!

    back pain Fairfax

  4. Hi Ketz,

    Glad to hear you are on to the Omega 3 benefits of sardines and salmon. They are also a good source of protein for increasing muscle mass.

    Happy you found the tips helpful too!


    Dr. M