Naturally found in mint plants, menthol is a topical analgesic. It works by temporarily desensitizing the nerve pathway on the area it’s applied, creating a cooling effect.
Less is more. You can always layer it, so start with a little, and apply more as needed. Keep in mind that it may take 15 minutes for the first application to reach its full effect.
Do not apply menthol products to any sensitive areas such as the skin near your eyes, armpits, and genitals. Avoid applying menthol products just after taking a hot shower or sitting in a hot tub – your pores will be enlarged, and the effect can be much more intense. Instead, wait until your skin returns to a normal temperature before applying.
Finally, if you use your hands in the application, wash them thoroughly before touching your face.
Menthol-based products work best when a nerve response needs to be calmed down. In some cases, menthol can even reduce muscle tension. If a persistent pain issue is causing surrounding muscles to tense or brace in response, applying menthol can reduce pain, allowing the surrounding muscles to release.
For adults, we like Biofreeze Pro and Cryoderm since each uses about 10% menthol. We particularly like Biofreeze Pro since it offers a 360 spray, which is very useful for self-applications to the back and shoulders. Children and those with sensitive skin may do better with Biofreeze Original since it has only 4% menthol.
It takes energy both for your muscles to contract and to relax. Magnesium is used in the chemical reaction to relax a muscle. Most people have a magnesium deficiency.
Use magnesium when you suspect muscle tension issues related to heavy use or emotional stress.
Follow instructions on the bottle, remembering to apply two thin layers. And here’s a pro tip from our Massage Therapists: Before or while you apply the magnesium, massage the area really well, using smooth strokes. The goal is to bring blood flow to the area, which brings ATP (energy) to the tissues. ATP combined with the magnesium is a power combo for muscle relaxation!
Magnesium seems to work best on superficial muscles (muscles close to the skin). Topical magnesium is not a substitute for magnesium supplements, but rather a compliment for a local area that needs additional magnesium.
Research on CBD products is still limited, but so far, it indicates that topical CBD products work by binding to cell receptors which activates the endocannabinoid system.
Topical CBD product use shows benefits in reducing pain and inflammation. Because of this, our patients often use CBD products on arthritic joints (such as knuckles) and for muscle tension (especially tops of shoulders and neck, as well as around the front of knee).
Using your fingers, apply a small amount topically to the area of concern. It’s expensive, but a very small amount can go a very long way, so start small.
With the CBD industry continuing to expand, it can be difficult to find a high quality brand. We recommend comparing milligrams of CBD to the oz in the container to find the best bang for your buck! Our favorite is Lab+Blends Max Strength by Biotone for the quality, price, and strength.