Four (Natural) Ways To Ease Aching Muscles

December 12 2013, 9:36 AM

Even if you prepped in the gym for weeks, a day on the slopes will probably leave you with sore, stiff muscles. Delayed onset muscle soreness (DOMS) is to blame and usually sets in a day or two after you ride. It’s the result of microscopic tearing in muscle fibers, and it’s a normal part of the process that helps your muscles gain strength and stamina. Still, even microscopic tears can put a serious damper on day-to-day activities. So, we’ve gathered up a few easy, natural remedies for when those aches and pains set in.

Soak: Heat from warm water will help sore, tightened muscles relax and promote better blood circulation. To soothe your shoulders and legs, fill your bathtub with warm water, one cup of Epsom salt, and two to three ounces of ground mustard seed. Epsom salt helps replenish the body with magnesium and sulfate—two compounds that help reduce inflammation, aid muscle and nerve function, and flush toxins from the body. Mustard seed is a warming herb that helps stimulate blood flow and improves circulation. Soak for at least 15 minutes.

Warm: If you’ve got dried beans lying around in your kitchen, grab a handful and throw them in a sock. Put the sock in the microwave for two to four minutes. Pull the sock out, shake it up to distribute the heat, and then place the sock on the sore area. Keep it on until it is no longer warm.

Hydrate: Tart cherry juice can help ease muscle soreness because it’s rich in anti-inflammatory antioxidants. Inflammation is often the root cause of muscle soreness, fatigue, stiffness, and decreased strength. Before you drink, make sure to check the label carefully. If you have a juice blend, aim for one to two cups a day. If you have a concentrate, aim for just one to two ounces a day.

Massage: While we know now that ingesting castor oil is toxic, it can be a powerful external remedy for reducing inflammation and increasing circulation. Apply the castor oil to the sore area and cover with a towel. (Use a towel that you don’t mind getting soiled, because castor oil will stain.) Place a heating pad on top of the towel, and rest with it for at least 45 minutes. 

—Image courtesy of Shutterstock