For years I’ve taken a magnesium supplement before I go to bed, it’s a surefire way to start the next day with a solid #2–pun intended. What I didn’t realize though before some research was just how essential this mineral is and how magnesium deficient many of us are. I didn’t suppose I was one of these people–after all I consume no caffeine and very little sugar, two things that act to deplete essential minerals in our bodies. Plus–I took the supplement, I really didn’t think there were any other benefits of magnesium that I was missing out on.
This notion of mine came to a crashing halt when I visited my Mom a few weeks ago and she rubbed some magnesium oil on my tight, almost pulsating calves. Have you ever walked around feeling like your calf or hamstring was constantly on the verge of a charley horse? That’s where I was at. I was pretty frustrated because I was set to start marathon training a few days later and I couldn’t run through the painful cramps–it just didn’t seem wise. A large part of my frustration was with myself as I felt sure that I had probably been overstretching my calves and not balancing that stretching with strength exercises. I felt annoyed because I had made the same mistake with my hamstrings for years–in yoga I would overstretch and overstretch thinking that one day they would magically open up. I walked around in pain and with lower back issues for a long time. Once I started strength training and stopped overdoing it in yoga, the issue improved almost immediately. Somehow though, I neglected to translate this knowledge I had gained to other parts of my body. I barely ever trained below my knees– I was a runner, I had strong calves, right?
Frustration aside, on that long weekend, the magnesium oil–a product I had once met with a lot of skepticism, appeared to be having some sort of effect. I wrote about it briefly when I got back but I wanted to get a few weeks of use under my belt before I shared my results with all of you.
After I shower each morning, I spray a few squirts of magnesium oil onto each hand and massage it into my calves. I let it absorb for about 10-15 minutes before I apply my moisturizer on top of it. Before I go to bed at night, I apply a few more sprays. When I’m not lazy, I massage it into the muscle a little more deeply. Here’s what’s happened so far:
- I haven’t had a cramp in my calves for three weeks–that on-the-verge charley horse sensation is completely gone, and the knots that used to bind my muscles feel looser every single day-even after long runs.
- I’ve extended my daily use of the magnesium oil to other parts of my body–my hamstrings, lower back, and right shoulder–which I seemed to have tweaked lifting. Soreness in all three areas has subsided. Where I felt tight, achy, and constricted, I am now feeling loose and mobile.
- Every month when my period comes I have a battle–how much pain can I take? If my cramps get really bad, I give in and take ibuprofen–something I generally avoid. Bent over in pain this past month and massaging the oil into my calves, it came back to me–all the reviews of women on Amazon reporting that the oil really helped with menstrual cramps. Sure enough, I massaged a small amount below my abdomen and I was able to settle into a restful and pain-free night’s sleep.
- When I remember, I’ve also been massaging the oil into my feet. While I’ve never had any foot problems before, I figure it couldn’t hurt, especially with all the extra mileage coming from training.
While we used to get a lot of the magnesium we need from our food, soil throughout the world, and especially the United States has become profoundly depleted of minerals it was once rich in. While we can take a supplement, magnesium is actually much better absorbed topically. It’s easy to forget that our skin is a huge organ, things we absorb through our skin reach our bloodstream much more quickly because they don’t have to travel through our digestive system. Bonus: You can’t overdo it, your skin will not absorb more magnesium than your body needs.
The magnesium oil that I use can be found here, and can also be found for a better price at Whole Foods. That brand has worked well for me but I am sure there are other ones out there that are just as good. I’m not big on pushing products but I do like to share when I find something that’s really a game changer, and that’s what this is. Hoping it might help with someone else’s aches and pains–please give it a try and let me know what you think!
Below, I leave you with a few more benefits of magnesium oil. Here’s to happy and healthy joints and muscles!
- Relaxes muscles/reduces muscle tension/spasms
- Relieves chronic pain including arthritis, fibromyalgia, and joint pain
- Relieves headaches and migraines
- May improve mood and reduce stress
- Reduces fatigue
- Relieves constipation
- May help with diabetes and hypertension
- May be used as a natural deoderant