Sore Muscles #1 – Epsom Salts and Magnesium Oil

Tried and true, a cup or two of Epsom salt dissolved in a warm tub of water works wonders for aching muscles. Use warm, not hot, water.  Warm water will dry out your skin less.  Soak for 15 minutes or until the water has cooled, up to three times per week.  Not recommended for those with health conditions such as heart problems, high blood pressure or diabetes.

Magnesium oil is typically applied with a spray pump bottle, which makes it easier to target on a specific area, such as a sore calf or foot.

How do Epsom salts and magnesium oil work to help sore muscles? Epsom salts are made up of magnesium sulfate, magnesium oil is made up of magnesium chloride.  Magnesium is natural muscle relaxant, and as salts, these compounds help to pull excess fluids out of the tissues, reducing swelling.

Sore Muscles #2 – Heat or Cold

A warm shower or bath is a natural muscle relaxer, which can be great for tension knotted shoulders or muscles tight from overuse. For bruising or inflammation, an ice pack applied to the affected area for up to 20 minutes can reduce swelling and soreness.

Sore Muscles #3 – Oral Magnesium

Low levels of magnesium in the body can lead to general muscle aches and muscle cramps. You may want to consider a magnesium supplement, but you can start by including foods that are high in magnesium in your diet.  Some of the top food sources for magnesium are molasses (see below), squash and pumpkin seeds (pepitas), spinach, Swiss chard, cocoa powder, black beans, flax seeds, sesame seeds, sunflower seeds, almonds and cashews.  (See World’s Healthiest Foods and for more info.)

Sore Muscles #4 – Apple Cider Vinegar (ACV)

15 people on the Earth Clinic Muscle Cramp page give Apple Cider vinegar a thumbs up for treating sore muscles and leg cramps. Most folks mix a tablespoon or two in a glass of water and drink it down, some drink a tablespoon straight like a shot.  Still other rub the vinegar directly on the area of the sore muscle/cramp.  A variation of this is a fellow who drank pickle juice and achieved similar results.  Judith recommends 2 teaspoons apple cider vinegar, 1 teaspoon of honey, a sprig of fresh mint and 8 to 10 ounces of cold water, well mixed.

Sore Muscles #5 – Blackstrap Molasses

Another Earth Clinic user (Ackbar) says 1 tablespoon of blackstrap molasses in a cup of coffee each day cured his chronic muscle pain. This is likely due to the magnesium content.  Another way to get combine ACV and molasses is the old fashioned drink called Switchel, which was commonly used before the age of brightly colored sports drinks and juices shipped from around the world.  This version of the drink is from Hillbilly Housewife.

Switchel Recipe

  • 1/2 cup apple cider vinegar
  • 1/4 cup molasses
  • 1/2 cup sugar or honey
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons ground ginger
  • tap water to make 2 quarts

Mix first four ingredients to blend, then add water and mix until dissolved. Chill or serve over ice, if desired.

Sore Muscles #6 – Coconut Oil

Like apple cider vinegar, coconut oil is recommended for a wide variety of ailments. On the EarthClinic site, Lynn says that she uses 2-3 tablespoons of virgin coconut oil per day in cooking and applied on foods like butter.  if you want an easy way to eat more coconut oil, may I recommend some coconut oil fudge, which contains coconut oil and cocoa powder?

 Sore Muscles #7 – Essential Oils

A number of essential oils and essential oils blends may be helpful for relieving muscle pain. For muscle cramps, try lemongrass with peppermint and marjoram.  For muscle spams, top recommended oils are basil, marjoram and Roman Chamomile.  For muscle tension, try marjoram, peppermint, helichrysum, lavender or Roman Chamomile.

To use an essential oil for muscle pain, add one to two drops of the essential oil into one tablespoon of a carrier oil such as fractionated coconut oil or olive oil, and apply to the affected area.

12 Home Remedies for Sore Muscles