Between the normal wear and tear of daily life and exercise (weekend warriors and regular athletes alike), you’re likely to feel some aches, pains, and muscle soreness at some point and be in need of muscle pain relief. If you’re looking for natural ways to alleviate occasional muscle aches and pains in those times you’ve overdone it, keep reading.*
Here, we’ll share several great options. With the right foods, herbal supplements, warm baths, massage, and more, you can get back to feeling your best and doing the activities you love.*
8 Ways to Help Relieve Occasional Muscle Aches*
Before we jump into naturally supporting occasional muscle pain relief, it’s important to note that it’s worth paying attention to your aches and pains.
The run-of-the-mill muscle soreness you may experience a day or two after a workout is referred to as DOMS (delayed onset muscle soreness).1 Although this can leave you with stiffness and muscle pain, it’s normal and expected after a hard workout or a new activity.
However, aches and pains that don’t go away or seem different than sore muscles could mean there is something else going on in your body. Consult your doctor if your intuition tells you that your sore muscles might be a symptom of something more.
That being said, let’s discuss eight natural ways to support muscle pain relief for sore, achy muscles due to exercise and daily activity.
1) Eat the Right Foods
The food that you eat doesn’t only serve to fuel your body and give you energy, though that is a very important aspect. The right foods can also help you combat muscle soreness. Ginger, cherry, and watermelon are three examples of such foods.*
To begin with, watermelon contains an amino acid called L-citrulline, which can help relieve occasional muscle soreness.2 A study on watermelon juice performed with athletes showed that the juice can help reduce occasional muscle soreness after 24 hours.2
Another study performed with marathon runners who drank watermelon juice enriched in L-citrulline also indicated a diminished muscle soreness perception 24 to 72 hours after racing.3
If you don’t enjoy watermelon, turn to cherry juice, which appears to aid in post-exercise recovery.4
Finally, Ginger is not only delicious and easy to cook with but also provides foundational support for your body.* While Ginger does not immediately minimize muscle soreness, it may help reduce occasional aches and pains related to normal activity.*5
If Ginger is not part of your daily routine, consider adding in a Ginger supplement, such as Gaia Herbs Ginger Root. This herbal supplement is USDA Certified Organic and free of corn, dairy gluten, peanuts, yeast, shellfish, sugar, and soy.
Simply squeeze 15-20 drops of this liquid herb extract in a small glass of water and drink three times daily between meals.
2) Take a Turmeric Supplement*
Turmeric is another food that can act as a powerful antioxidant.* It can help reduce occasional inflammation due to exercise and activity, as well as support healthy inflammatory function for active lifestyles.*6
One study specifically examined the effects of taking curcumin, the active component in Turmeric, and found that it can support your body during times when you overdo it.*7
However, very few people cook with fresh Turmeric, and its bitter taste makes it difficult to consume enough of the powdered herb to really make a difference.
Plus, curcumin is more bioavailable when it is combined with Piperine (black pepper).*6 That simply means that your body is better able to absorb Turmeric in combination with the spice.
That’s why we recommend taking a high-quality Turmeric supplement that also contains black pepper. Here are two of our favorites.
Turmeric Supreme® Extra Strength
Gaia Herbs Turmeric Supreme® Extra Strength delivers 36 mg of curcumins in each liquid capsule along with, of course, black pepper. Simply take one capsule once or twice daily with meals.
This supplement is vegan and purity-tested so you can feel good about what you’re putting in your body.
Turmeric Supreme® Pain
For an herbal supplement for occasional aches and pains that combines the power of Turmeric with other herbs, turn to Gaia Herbs Turmeric Supreme® Pain.
Made with Devil's Claw, Ginger, Feverfew, Jamaican Dogwood, and Rosemary, this Turmeric supplement is designed to support the relief of occasional aches and pains.* Take two capsules up to three times a day to reap the benefits.
3) Sip on Tea
Enjoying a cup of hot herbal tea can help to melt tension away (which may in itself ease some of your aches and pains); if you choose the right tea, it can also provide calming effects.*
Ridge Mountains of North Carolina. Here, we nurture and observe each plant, allowing it to flourish in the sun until the right moment to harvest.
At Gaia Herbs, we believe that the quality of an herbal supplement can only be as good as the quality of the herbs that go into it. That’s why we love to grow many of the herbs used in our supplements on our own farm.
For plants used in our supplements that we cannot grow on our own farm or in the quantity that we need, our network of organic and sustainable communities allows us to source herbs from where they grow best.
4) Take a Bath
Taking a bath is another way to wind down and relax. The right sort of bath can also help support muscle pain relief. A warm bath with Epsom salts may be just what your sore body needs.
The warm water offers moist heat, and adding Epsom salts provides magnesium sulfate, a muscle relaxant.8 Add two cups of Epsom salt to your warm bath and soak for 15 minutes two or three times per week.
5) Apply Heat and Cold
Applying heat and cold is an age-old trick to help relieve injuries, aches, and pains. The heat and the cold both serve different purposes when it comes to muscle pain relief.
Heat can relax your achy muscles by increasing blood flow, while cold can numb the area and help relieve occasional muscle aches.8
There is no need to run to the store to buy something. A cold pack can be as simple as a bag of frozen vegetables or a wet towel that you’ve placed in the freezer. Similarly, for a hot pack, you can use a towel soaked in warm water or a rice pack that you’ve popped in the microwave.
6) Massage Your Muscles
It’s no secret that a massage feels great and can help you leave your worries behind, even if just for a few moments. But the benefits don’t stop with relaxation. Research findings show that massage can help alleviate muscle soreness from exercise.9
This might mean that you treat yourself to a professional massage every now and then, or you can massage your muscles at home with a foam roller.
7) Apply Essential Oils
Essential oils can also be used to relax and soothe sore muscles. If you take the time to rub the oils into your skin and massage your muscles, even better.
Applying peppermint oil in a carrier oil (such as coconut oil) is beneficial not only for headaches but also for achy muscles.10 In addition, try lemongrass, frankincense, or cypress oils for occasional muscle aches and pains.10
8) Keep Moving
Last but not least, it’s important that your sore muscles don’t keep you from moving. While a hard gym workout might not be called for, it’s a good idea to opt for some sort of gentle movement.
Work the kinks out of your muscles with a walk, yoga, or light stretching.
Relieve Occasional Muscle Aches the Natural Way*
Muscle aches are to be expected when you live an active life. If you are looking for natural solutions, turn to the tips we mentioned above.
By eating the right foods, soothing your muscles with an Epsom salt bath, relaxing with Gaia Herbs Sleep & Relax Herbal Tea, and turning to supplements like Turmeric Supreme® Extra Strength, you can support your muscles and get back to feeling your best.*
Your favorite activities are waiting for you!
1. Adrienne Santos-Longhurst, “23 Things to Know About Acute and Delayed Onset Muscle Soreness,” Healthline, May 29, 2020, https://www.healthline.com/health/fitness-exercise/sore-muscles.
2. Martha P. Tarazona-Díaz et al., “Watermelon Juice: Potential Functional Drink for Sore Muscle Relief in Athletes,” Journal of Agriculture and Food Chemistry 61, no. 31 (2013): 7522-7528, https://pubs.acs.org/doi/abs/10.1021/jf400964r.
3. Ascensión Martínez-Sánchez et al., “Biochemical, physiological, and Performance Response of a Functional Watermelon Juice Enriched in L-Citrulline During a Half-Marathon Race,” Food & Nutrition Research 61, no. 1 (2017), https://www.tandfonline.com/doi/full/10.1080/16546628.2017.1330098?src=recsys&.
4. G. Howatson et al., “Influence of Tart Cherry Juice on Indices of Recovery Following Marathon Running,” Scandinavian Journal of Medicine & Science in Sports 20, no. 6 (2010): 843-852, https://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/abs/10.1111/j.1600-0838.2009.01005.x.
5. Christopher D. Black and Patrick J O'Connor, “Acute Effects of Dietary Ginger on Muscle Pain Induced by Eccentric Exercise,” Phytotherapy Research 24, no. 11 (2010): 1620-6, https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/21031618.
6. Susan J. Hewlings and Douglas S. Kalman, “Curcumin: A Review of Its Effects on Human Health,” Foods 6, no. 10 (2017): 92, https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC5664031/#B10-foods-06-00092.
7. Lesley M Nicol et al., “Curcumin Supplementation Likely Attenuates Delayed Onset Muscle Soreness (DOMS),” European Journal of Applied Physiology 115, no.8 (2015): 1769-77, https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/25795285.
8. Arrowhead Health, “Home Remedies for Muscle and Joint Pain,” Redirect Health, March 18, 2015, https://arrowheadhealth.com/home-remedies-for-muscle-and-joint-pain.
9. Jianmin Guo et al., “Massage Alleviates Delayed Onset Muscle Soreness after Strenuous Exercise: A Systematic Review and Meta-Analysis,” Front. Physiol., (2017), https://www.frontiersin.org/articles/10.3389/fphys.2017.00747/full.
10. Dr. Sanders Chiropractic, “Natural Muscle Relaxers for Natural Pain Relief,” Dr. Sanders Chiropractic, access April 20, 2021, http://www.drsanderschiropractic.com.