Sadly I am no stranger to aches and pains. I suffer with M.E, Fibroneuralgia and Sciatica along with the problems that an under-active thyroid and an eating disorder can do to ones body too!
I take a lot of prescribed medication already for the above issues so if and where I can I do like to take the more natural and gentle approach to my illnesses if and where I can rather than drugging myself up all the time.
For my back problems (and lately a really dead and painful arm) tablets such as paracetamol and Ibuprofen are not helping a jot. I have tried sprays that are meant to heat the skin and muscles, freeze sprays, rubs....well you name you get my drift and usually they don't do anything for me at all!
Tiger Balm is something that a couple of my friends swear by. Its a natural herbal remedy so won't interfere with any drugs that you are taking and you can use it anytime you want to alongside other medication and so on. My friend Maria recommended this to me and informed me she bought a pack of two of them in Poundland so I went in whilst we were on one of our mad shopping trips and bought a pack of two of them, one for me and then the other one I gave to my Mum as she suffers with Arthritis and I thought it's be worth her time to try it to at that price!
Each one of the little glass pots comes wrapped in a waxy feel paper that is mainly red in colour with round, green circles on it and on those circles little yellow tigers are on there too. We are told on the front it that it is indeed Wild Tiger Balm and then on the sides of it we are told a bit about what to use the product for the ingredients are listed, and we are told that it is manufactured by PMS. The little pot is shaped like a little fifty pence piece and the labeling is the same in colouring as the outer packaging and just as informative and the lid is bright gold and screw on/off, so it's simple to use.
The Tiger Balm Itself:
The tiger balm is slightly greasy and a deep red in colour though when you scoop some out of the pot it is lighter and sort of transparent in colour and all you do is rub it in which really doesn't take very long at all as it melts fast.
You can use this any where that you suffer aches or pains really. I use this on my sore back, arm and if I have overdone the walking, on my calves and so on. You can use this for headaches to by rubbing in a little to your temples and on tummies for things like period pain. I have even heard this can be used as a sexual stimulant however this contains peppermint oil and menthol so unless you want to reenact 50 shades of grey I wouldn't go there personally and I have NOT tried this! Lol.
It goes on greasy, so a little of it goes a very long way indeed and I simply massage it in. I do not like the fragrance of this, it does smell minty and lingers cos of the menthol but it does also contains some other natural ingredients such as Clove and Cassia Oil and the scent of this even once massaged thoroughly in does really linger on the skin for a good few hours, but easy to apply and use this is.
This gives a warm feel to the skin but not in an uncomfortable way to be fair to it. It does seem to warm the muscles and skin up a bit which does in turn offer me temporary relief, say about half an hours worth which isn't a complaint....I appreciate it. Sure I'd like the effects of this to last longer on my sore muscles and bones but then any relief for me is a plus. I did try to use this on my temples one night as I was going to bed with a migraine but all it did was make my eyes water due to the menthol that it contains so for me doing that is a no no and I really don't really advise it!
However its an ok product to massage with but I don't like the smell of it one bit. I guess it really does depend on what you need and expect from this product but for me, for 50p a pot its a nice little added extra and does at least give me a bit of relief even though it isn't for very long at all. P.S Mum says it doesn't work for her at all with her Arthritis pains and won't use it now lol....charming!
Available from all good discount stores or Google if interested!
This review is also posted on Ciao under this same username.
When I was young, there was one rule of which my brother and I were aware - never, EVER, get sick and grandmas house .
The simple reason was that Grandma was Chinese - which in itself was no reason to panic . But, she was very traditional, and the mere sniff of a cold would result in her boiling up bits of bark and an assortment of leaves in a pan, and then forcing us to drink it . We were always in good health when we stayed with her, simply because the thought of whatever she would try and feed is if we were ill was scary .
However, there was one remedy of hers that really worked - Tiger Balm . Luckily, this was something we never had to eat, we simply rubbed it onto our aches and pains. I remember her having two versions, one that was deep rich red and warmed the muscles up , and another that looked like vaseline and cooled things down . In this review, I will be covering the red version, as that is the one I have used most often .
Tiger balm comes in a variety of forms, including liquids and plasters, but the most common form is in a thick paste, similar in consistency to Vaseline, but red in colour. The idea is that whenever you get an ache or pain, you rub the balm onto the spot that is hurting, and the balm gently warms it, relaxing the muscles and easing the pain .
It does work - I've used it many times with great success - even on a broken ankle (although I will admit to using it in conjunction with Ibuprofen). However, a note of caution is needed here - do not apply to broken skin . I did it once, and it burns like hell .
Also, shy away from applying it to greasy skin, unless you really are in pain . I once applied it to my face when a particularly annoying spot below my skin was really hurting . Yes, it soothed the pain, but my eyes watered at the scent, and I was covered in zits for weeks afterwards .
When I took up martial arts, I was also advised to rub some of this into my legs before warm ups started to avoid muscle pain, and this did work wonderfully, although I stank !
I'm not sure what exactly it is in Tiger Balm that makes it work, although by scent I can detect menthol and clove, both commonly used in deep heat style products .
I also have to say that Tiger Balm is not always widely available . If you have an Oriental food supermarket near you, they are bound to have this in stock, but otherwise, you might have some difficulty in finding it .
If you can get hold of some of this, it is inexpensive, roughly a fiver for a pot, which unless you are really clumsy, should last a good few months. It is a wonderful product that really does help, it's just a shame I have to go to a specialist shop to buy it, and for that reason alone, I am giving it three stars .
I came across this product when I was in Sydney and had problems with ankle and knee pain which were caused by previous injuries and too much sport. I only bought one pot and was annoyed when it ran out as it is unknown of in England, luckily though I found White Tiger Balm in a pound shop of all places.
So for those of you who don't know what is it?
It is an "ancient" Chinese ointment which helps with muscular pain. It comes in red or white. The red one is for warming up, where as the white one provides a cooling pain. For more information check out http://www.tiger-balm.org.uk, although I wouldn't recommend that you buy from them as they seem quite expensive and you can find it off ebay for much cheaper. Or even better if you have a friend going to south east Asia ask them to bring you some back.
So how does it work?
You apply the balm to the painful muscle or joint and massage in. The balm has a similar consitancy to Vaseline jelly but smells like Olbas Oil. It is very potent and it is important, especially if you have children, to wash your hands afterward otherwise your sandwiches or anything you touch will taste of it. Once you have applied the balm it is recommended that you don't cover it with clothing for a while as it will rub into that and the smell is potent. Although this has a hidden advantage as before I went to play sports I would rub a good amount into my ankle and then put my sock on. The sock would then absorb it and keep it there. Now for those who have never heard of it, you are probably wondering what it feels like and most importantly does it work?
It just warms your muscles very much like deep heat and makes them more malleable. It is also perfect to use on aching shoulders after a long day at work. Yes for me it does work. My problems are to do with muscles being too tight, tendons being too stretched, knots in muscles and most painfully my knee cap not pulling correctly over. It works on the first three, not on the last one which is skeletal and nerve based.
Who would I recommend it to?
-Anyone with muscular pain. the website claims that tiger balm (or one of it's derivatives) can help:
- Arthritis and rheumatism
- Muscular and joint pains
- Neck and back pain
- Tired feet
- Muscular aches caused by stress
- Warm up rub prior to exercising
Note it is not a cure it is merely a stop gap for the pain.
Additional notes: If you get regular sports massages then I would take it along and ask if they could use that on your problem areas. It also lasts for quite a long time as I found a pea size glob was all my ankle needed, so although the pot looks small then it will last.
As a sports massage therapist I'm always on the look out for products that I can use in my work. I remember my mum using Tiger Balm when I was a kid and always loved the smell of it. Then a few years ago she brought back a pot from Thailand that has been blessed by monks!
While I was out shopping the other day I popped into a discount store that one of my players had told me about, to pick up some cold/heat packs for £1 each. I also found this Wild Tiger Balm. I got a pack of three 19g pots for £1.
I've not had a chance to use it on my players yet, but I've been using it on a mild strain in my hand that I picked up from playing too much Wii. It's certainly very soothing and brings back childhood memories. Looking forward to getting the chance to try it out on my players now. Roll on tomorrow!!!
Never having suffered from a bad back before, I was surprised to find that after all the excesses of the festive season, everything "locked"! Not a good feeling, and made worse by the fact that all I could do was stand; this meant that all the ironing got done but not much else!
Given that pain killers had absolutely no effect, I decided to try this out, and hoped that this analgesic rub would do the trick.
~~What is it?~~
Tiger balm is an analgesic rub blended from natural ingredients which was used by Chinese herbalists and healers.
Tiger balm is apparently one of the worlds leading ointment for relief from muscular pain. It is an alalgesic rub which brings relief from overexertion joint pains, back ache, arthritis stiffness strains and sprains. For my back, this seemed exactly what was needed.
~~Product and Packaging~~
I bought mine in a pack of two small 19g jars. They did look very oriental wrapped as they were in yellow paper. Once the paper is unwrapped, the jar is decorated glass with a decorated screw off top. Open the top and the first thing you notice is the smell. It is quite a strong smell and I think it smells like Vicks remedy, so I don't think it's unpleasant, it just smells medicinal.
The ointment itself is a sort of red colour and quite thick, so at least you can apply effectively to the affected area, and it won't run anywhere.
~~How to use it~~
The ointment should be rubbed liberally into the affected area two or three times a day. The only warning it gives is that it should not be used on children under 36 months.
If an allergic reaction occurs, medical advise should be sought. Pregnant and breast feeding ladies should consult the doctor before using the ointment.
~~Price and Availability~~
This is widely available in chemists, and costs £1.99 a small 19g jar. I actually bought my double pack from the bargain store and it cost only £1 for two jars so I do believe I got a real bargain there.
As well as this wild Tiger Balm, the ointment is also available in Tiger Balm form. I haven't worked out the difference because they both seem to promise to do the same thing.
Tiger Balm comes in two versions, the mint oil-scented Tiger Balm which is white, and Tiger Balm red. I obviously have the latter because it's the one with the cinnamon smell.
Whilst this hasn't completely eradicated the pain, it has had some effect.
The ointment is easy to apply, and thankfully isn't like some lotions and potions- freezing cold. I rub it onto the affected area and there is a very slight warming feeling, but nothing unpleasant. After this, my back did almost immediately feel slightly soothed- at least I could sit down with only a small wince on my part, which was a great improvement.
The smell is strong but not unpleasant, and when it's on your hands, I would imagine it's good for anyone with a cold...this has got to clear the airways. The ointment does wash out of the skin quite easily so there is no need to smell of Tiger Balm for the duration.
The one problem I would see with it is that it could stain some clothes, - just be careful on white materials.
For anyone suffering from muscular pain, I would recommend this- effective, easy to use, and reasonably priced, even at full price.
Thanks for reading.