Melt Away Muscle and Joint Pain
These four at-home spa treatments may be the secret to finding muscle and joint pain relief.
What to do: Use a little muscle-relief aromatherapy blend in a warm bath for about half an hour. Lavender, rosemary, ginger, eucalyptus, marjoram and birch oils work best to soothe stiff muscles and increase circulation, while chamomile and sandalwood promote relaxation.
Why it works: Aromatherapy stimulates a brain area called the amygdala, which stores memories and emotions, and influences physical and emotional health. “The idea is to reduce pain by increasing the sensation of pleasure,” says Dr. Liponis. “Think of how you feel when you smell chocolate chip pancakes cooking. The aroma takes your mind to another place.”
Tip! Add two cups of Epsom salt, which soothes pain and inflammation, to the tub. No time for a bath? Spritz an aromatherapy scent in the bathroom before a shower.
Inversion leg treatments
What to do: Lie down in your living room and elevate your legs on a sofa cushion. Maintain this position for 20 to 30 minutes to reduce swelling.
Why it works: “Muscle soreness results from pockets of accumulated lactic acid, along with micro-tears in the muscle fibers,” explains Dr. Liponis. “Those produce small amounts of local inflammation and swelling that can cause pain to persist.” Reducing accumulated fluid and swelling by inversion can speed the drainage of lymphatic fluid and help relieve sore muscles.
Tip! After your inversion session, have someone massage from your toes toward the hip on each leg, helping to free the leg muscles of excess fluid.