The Best Balms to Soothe Sore Muscles
Whether you're upping your intensity at the gym, trying a new class, or just starting a new regimen, changing up your exercise routine is really beneficial for your health—but you probably know that it also comes with soreness afterward. Although it's that good soreness, the one that says "I must have done something right in that barre class," tight muscles can begin to feel pretty restrictive and frustrating after a while. We've all been there: Whether it hurts too much to shampoo your hair in the shower or you have to move especially slowly when squatting down to reach the bakeware on your lowest shelves, muscle soreness can make even the simplest of everyday tasks a challenge. Luckily, there are a few things you can do to ease the pain.
Stretching, of course, is number one, and Epsom salt baths will help ease tension and provide a great excuse for a self-care break. We've also found that applying balms, gels, and ointments on sore muscle areas can work well, too. Take it from a former professional ballerina, Rachel Piskin, co-founder of Pilates-inspired workout, ChaiseFitness, and former dancer in the New York City Ballet, who relies on balms when her muscles feel tight. And if anyone knows how to soothe this type of pain, it's an athlete like Piskin. That's why we asked her to share the balms she keeps on hand, and recommends to her clients, to help ease the pain.
Here, she reveals a variety of her top picks. No matter what area ails you, these rejuvenating picks will help.
A fan since her dancing days with the New York City Ballet, Piskin says, "I love the gel, but the patches are also amazing for sore muscles." And the non-greasy formulation lasts up to eight hours.
Salonpas Deep Relieving Gel, $7.97,
"This is one of my go-tos for topical soothing relief—you can use it anywhere," says Piskin. "It's amazing for sore muscles and stiffness in general, but it can also be used as a preventative treatment."
Naturopathica Sweet Birch Muscle Rub, $32,
This in-demand balm (it's sold out on a majority of sites) is made with Arnica and can even be applied to cuts and burns. And because it's a true balm, it's mess-free and is easy to use when you're traveling, says Piskin.
Eir NYC Cooling Butter, $24,
"I recommend castor oil to my clients often," says Piskin. "If your feet hurt from a long run, or you have inflamed muscles, rub castor oil on them and wrap your feet in plastic wrap. Pull on a cozy pair of socks before bed and wake up to relief. It's an ingredient in a ton of balms, but I also love simple drops."
NOW Solutions, Castor Oil, $5.23,
Papa & Barkley
Made with soothing oils from cannabis, eucalyptus, tea tree, peppermint and lavender plants, "this is a CBD option for those who are looking," says Piskin. "The scent is relaxing and the texture allows for easy massage into the sore spots."
Papa & Barkley Releaf Balm, from $20,
This classic is "great to use for a quick fix—I love the convenience of the roller application," says Piskin. "It's perfect to toss into your gym or travel bag."
Biofreeze Pain Relief Gel , $11.49,
There are no synthetic ingredients in this natural pain reliever product made up of a blend of soothing and moisturizing oils like arnica, camphor, menthol and avocado. Pus, a little goes a long way, so it will last a long time. "Try rubbing it on sore feet after a workout or a night on the town dancing," says Piskin.
Dr. Bronner's Arnica-Menthol Organic Magic Balm, $11.99,
This rich cream is formulated with pure essential oils that provide a cooling and warming sensation to problem areas. "This product is great to give yourself a massage with—really work through your sore muscles with it," says Piskin.
DoTerra Deep Blue Rub, $42.67,