If you are active in sports, fitness or gardening--or if you just spent the weekend moving furniture--you need something to help relieve muscle soreness. Many over-the-counter remedies are available, but some can be expensive. Others may contain chemicals you prefer not to have on your skin. If you are willing to spend a little time shopping for and mixing ingredients, you can make a muscle rub to your own specifications.
Creamy and Minty
Make a creamy rub with some ingredients you may have around the house. Facial cold cream, ground cinnamon, cayenne pepper, wintergreen (mint) oil and camphor oil are all you need to get relief fast. To one jar of cold cream, add 1 tsp. cinnamon, 1/2 tsp. cayenne pepper, five drops mint oil and 15 drops the camphor. When you use this cream, massage it in thoroughly. You will feel heat and cold sensations, and should experience quick relief. Store this cream in a dark container.
Thick and Spicy
Visit your local health food store or an online source to get lemongrass, arnica and ginger essential oils. According to MakeYourCosmetics.com, five drops of arnica, 12 drops of ginger and seven drops of lemongrass stirred into melted beeswax, lanolin and olive oil will set into an effective and pungent muscle ointment. This one is a little more expensive to make initially, but the ingredients will keep, so you can make more batches from just one purchase.
You can haphazardly rub in the ointment of your choice and probably get some results. For maximum effectiveness, however, get to know why muscles get sore and the best way to care for them. When you overexert your muscles, lactic acid can build up, causing soreness. Continuing to use sore muscles, gently, can work out the buildup.
Massage is a more pleasant way to do this. Put a small amount of the ointment of your choice on the sore area. With gentle but firm pressure, massage the ointment into your skin. Continue to massage, loosening and relaxing the muscle to get the best benefit from the spices and herbs in your cream. This is more effective if you can get a friend or family member to do the massage for you. It is easier to relax if someone else is putting forth the effort.
When handling the ingredients for either of these muscle rub recipes, be careful to wash your hands before touching your eyes. If you choose to use fresh cayenne pepper rather than cayenne powder, use plastic gloves to handle it. Capsaicin, the active ingredient in cayenne, leaves a persistent residue, even after washing.