Let's Talk Topicals!
When applied to the skin, these products can help relieve pain in the affected area. In general they work by increasing circulation and moving qi.
From a more technical Chinese Medicine perspective, their aromatic qualities can release the surface, unblocking channels and expelling heat or cold.
Some herbs have direct anelgesic (pain relieving) qualities.
I can still remember the smell of pain creams my parents used when I was growing up, and I'm so glad we've come long way!
These days there are many options out there, so I've put together a little primer to help you choose.
Mode of Application
There are a few ways to go, so think about what time of day you would be mostly likely to apply them, and what you'll be doing and wearing then.
These guys pack a punch and are a great way to deliver herbs to the skin. They usually come in a small jar or tin. They are thick enough to stay on and last a while.
Pros: A little goes a long way and the containers are very portable
Cons: They can feel a bit greasy.
Examples: Tiger Balm, Warming Muscle Balm
They are usually a thin liquid oil.
Pros: Easy to apply. Less greasy than balms, but still long lasting.
Cons: A bit messy because they can drip from your hands.
Examples: Po Sum On
Often alchohol based.
Pros: Not greasy
Cons: Will sting any open skin (topicals should not be applied to broken skin, but consider the possible drip into a hangnail as you're applying it).
Examples: Zheng Gu Shui
They are fabric based and adhere to the skin until you take them off.
Pros: Long lasting
Cons: Possible adhesive sensitivity
Examples: Pain Terminator Patch
Warming or Cooling
Most of the products out there are going to be effective for most people most of the time because they all move qi and increase circulation.
However, if you are disappointed or finding that what you usually use isn't working now, consider switching to products with the opposite temperature.
Often herbal products will indicate their temperature, but if you're stumped just remember that mint is cooling. Mint or menthol are the most common active ingredients, but there are products out there that are more warming.
One such warming product would be our Snow Lotus Warming Muscle Balm. Click now for more information!
If you'd like help choosing, our highly rated reps are here to help! Just email us anytime with questions!