My Top 2 Self-Care Care Tools

There's a lot of at-home care products to choose from for soreness and pain.

A lot.

These are my two top go-to favorites that almost always provide some relief to most minor issues for most people.

And they are simple to use, easy to find, and cheap. Check, check, and check.

#1: HEAT

I love heat for sore, achy, fatigued, overworked muscles. I frequently call my shoulder-wrap heating pad my best friend. And I'm only half joking.

Heat dilates blood vessels and increases cell metabolism. There's loads of great science behind why heat is great.

Imagine your blood vessels are normally a two-lane road, using heat is like opening up another lane for traffic. More oxygen and nutrients in, and more metabolic wastes out.

Using heat also increases the metabolism, so it's like increasing the speed limit. Soft tissues are getting more of what they need, and recovering quicker.

Heat also tends to be soothing to the nervous system, allowing stress tension to melt away and leave your body feeling more comfortable and at ease.

So many birds with one stone.


There are a plethora of products you can buy off the shelf that contain one or a combination of these ingredients.

They all essentially work the same, but may have stronger effects based on the percentage of active ingredient and application (gel, cream, patch, spray, etc).

I've covered a variety of these products on the blog and invite you to explore what's in each product. Here are a bunch of products with menthol... and here are a bunch of products with wintergreen oil...

But they all generally work on the same principal: they signal to your brain something is cold or hot, and that provides a neurological distraction.

It's a band-aid, but a band-aids can be super useful when you've got a million things to do that day and your neck is screaming. Or you can't get your normal night's rest because your back is flared up. Or pushed it too hard at the gym and now regretting that last set of squats.

We can't always stop the world to go home for a long, hot bath, so a little neurological distraction can do us a lot of some short-term good to get through the day.

#thermatherapy #menthol #methylsalicylate #selfcare

Hey there! My name's Raechel. I'm the author of The Bodies We Live In blog. I'm also a licensed massage therapist and owner of Massage Sci in Holland, Michigan.


In my free time, I enjoy writing about wellness; researching pain science; trying to grow things in my garden; being far too fond of semi-colons; and avid sci-fi nerding.