We’ve all been there. A new workout routine, lengthy training session, or even just sleeping wrong has left us sore and achy. Whether your pain is caused by DOMS (delayed onset muscle soreness) or you have sore shoulders from sitting at your desk, a nice muscle rub can be just what you need.
Of course, there are a number of popular rubs on the shelves already. Many of them smell awful, though, or contain ingredients like PEG-150 distearate and propylene glycol (used as a solvent in paints and plastics, as well as an antifreeze in various industries). I don’t know about y’all, but I don’t want to rub that onto the largest organ in my body.
Enter, my homemade muscle rub.
If you’re a mom, particularly a health-conscious one, you’ll probably have most of these ingredients lying around already. If not, you may need to pick up a couple things first. You can find almost all of these at your local grocery or, worst-case scenario, a Whole Foods. I’ve also included Amazon links to options for each ingredient, in case you’re like me and rely heavily on that blue Prime-taped box on your porch each day.
Once you gather your ingredients, the balm is very easy to make. Plus, it keeps for close to a year when stored properly.
What’s In It?
Coconut oil – I prefer virgin, unrefined, and cold-pressed, which I buy at either Whole Foods or on Amazon. This provides a smooth base for the soothing oils, and helps maintain the balm’s texture at lower temperatures while allowing it to be easily rubbed in when warmed in the hands. (buy it here)
Shea Butter – soothes and softens skin (buy it here)
Beeswax – mainly for textural purposes, to keep the balm from getting too runny (buy it here)
Cayenne – this will warm the skin and increase blood flow to the area, stimulating circulation and healing. The added topical heat will also soothe your muscle pain directly. (buy it here)
Camphor – increases metabolic activity at the site and improves circulation. Also, camphor has a slight anesthetic effect, so pain will immediately begin to subside upon application. (buy it here)
Peppermint – this menthol-based oil is a refrigerant, meaning that it will immediately cool the area once it’s applied. This provides a soothing effect and pain relief. It’s also believed that the presence of calcium antagonism in peppermint oil actually encourages the body to reduce its nerve response to an area, decreasing the pain signals your body is sending. (buy it here)
**If you were feeling particularly adventurous, you could add extra ingredients like arnica, which is great for bruising and swelling. I have used arnica after surgery and on my kids’ bruised knees. It’s even great for facial swelling and pain after removing your wisdom teeth!
Let’s get started…
Homemade Muscle Rub – A soothing balm to relieve pain, encourage healing, and promote circulation. Great for sore muscle, injuries, as well as general aches and pains.
- ¼ c coconut oil
- ¼ c shea butter
- 2 Tbsp grated beeswax
- 2 tsp ground cayenne
- 1 tsp ground ginger
- 10-15 drops Peppermint oil (you can add more if you’d like, once you test the balm)
- 10-15 drops Camphor (same as above)
- Small pot and heat-safe, glass bowl that can rest on top
- -or- small pot with a double broiler
- Coffee filter or fine cheesecloth
- Glass jar
- Fill the pot with a small amount of water and bring to a simmer. Place the glass bowl or double broiler on top of the pot, ensuring that the water does not touch the bottom.
- Place the coconut oil and shea butter to the glass bowl and stir until it’s all melted together. Add the cayenne and ginger, and allow the mixture to heat together for 15 minutes. Then, add the grated beeswax and stir in until it’s well-incorporated.
- Place a strainer and coffee filter over your glass jar, or secure fine cheesecloth over the top with a rubber band (leaving a bit of slack in the cloth so that the mixture doesn’t spill over the edge of the jar when you pour). Slowly pour the melted oil mixture, ensuring that you allow it enough time to filter. You don’t want it to all overflow.
- After all of the liquid is in the jar and the spices have bee strained out, add your camphor and peppermint oils. Stir well.
- Allow the mixture to set at room temperature for at least an hour, then cover with a lid. You can continue storing the jar at room temp or move the mixture to the refrigerator.
- To apply: allow the mixture to warm up to room temperature, then take a small amount in your hand. Rub into the sore area in a circular motion, being sure to really work the balm into your tissues.Reapply as needed.
- **Do not allow the rub to come in contact with your eyes, and keep out of reach of children for the same reason.*
Note: You can keep at room temperature for 2-4 months or in the fridge for up to 10 months.