Many friends have participated in the Rock and Roll Marathon series here in San Antonio and usually after a marathon comes sore muscles. If you’re a gym rat, marathon runner, or gave your muscles a great work out this weekend, here are some easy remedies to help ease the soreness. Athletes and people with injuries use bath soaks for treating sore and strained muscles. For swollen or pulled muscles, prepare a cool or cold bath. For strained, tight muscles prepare a warm or hot bath. You can prepare a bath soak in your regular bathtub, but make sure the tub is clean to prevent infection, especially if you have any open cuts or wounds associated with your injury.
DIY Sore Muscle Soak:
- Epsom Salt
- Measuring Cup
- Measure 2 cups of Epsom salt into a standard bathtub. Instructions on the package will provide dosage for smaller baths, bowls and foot-soaks.
- Fill the tub with hot water, checking the temperature to make sure it is safe and comfortable for soaking in. Swish the water around to dissolve the Epsom salts.
- Soak the sore muscles or body in the Epsom salt bath for 15 minutes or so. The recommended minimum time is 12 minutes, three times each week; your Epsom salt package may provide additional timing for specific uses.
There are a thousand different ways you can take an herbal bath, and each of them are healing and relaxing. You don’t need to run out to the store for dried herbs to take a relaxing herbal bath, by the way. You already have perfect options in your kitchen cabinet right now:
- Sage: Uplifting, calming and astringent – GREAT for people with oily skin or back acne
- Rosemary: Relaxing and great for alertness, also astringent and clarifying
- Peppermint: Energizing (or relaxing) and clarifying
- Chamomile: Extremely, relaxing, and calming – perfect for dry or irritated skin
- Green Tea: Energizing and mood stabilizing – also antioxidant, anti-aging, and very healing for any skin type
- Lavender: Relaxing, calming, astringent, and clarifying
How to take an herbal bath:
While you could make little herbal bath bags, my new favorite way is to brew a very strong tea ahead of time using the herbs (and essential oils, if I want an extra kick). Brew 1-2 cups of very strong herbal tea. Strain and add it to your running bathwater. Then, take the remaining brewed herbs and place them in the middle of a washcloth. Gather the washcloth together at the top and tie tightly with a string or a hair tie. Leave it in the bath as you soak, and then scrub well with it before getting out of the tub.
Other ways Relieve Muscle Aches
- Use over-the-counter topical analgesic creams. Topical analgesic creams relieve minor aches and pains as well as arthritis pain. They have a variety of active ingredients, such as salicylate, capsaicin or menthol, which are applied directly to the skin. These creams are inexpensive and can be found in your local pharmacy. Try to thoroughly follow the directions for application.
For a more natural homeopathic product, I suggest trying my favorite pain relief product called Arnicare by Boiron. Arnicare temporarily relieves muscle pain and stiffness due to minor injuries, overexertion and falls and also reduces pain, swelling and discoloration from bruises. It’s available in both gel and cream form. The gel has a cooling effect for fast pain relief, is non-sticky, non-greasy gel and quickly absorbed by the skin. The cream feel smooth and silky and great to massage into the skin.
- Treat yourself to a full session with an experienced massage therapist. Try a sports, deep tissue or Swedish massage. Massages alleviate pain, increase muscle flexibility and improve circulation of the blood flow in our bodies. Choose a massage therapist that has a proven track record, as well as an extensive education. Need a referral Contact me! Being in the spa industry 17+ years, I know many great therapists.
- Use a Jacuzzi to relieve muscle aches and pains. Jacuzzis, also known as hot tubs are designed to relax the muscles and relieve stress in the body. Jacuzzis are known as a type of hydrotherapy.
- Stretch your muscles before and after exercising to minimize injury. If you are experiencing aches and pains after a challenging workout, try to stretch the muscles as often as possible. Stretching also improves your range of motion and stability.