Isn’t it funny how and where we hold stress? Okay, “funny” isn’t exactly the appropriate word, but any time I’m stressed, it manifests itself somewhere in the vicinity of my right trapezius, stretching up past my shoulder then landing deep in the nape of my neck. It clamps down over that entire area as if to say, “Wouldn’t make any sudden moves if I were you.” Ouch.
Like practically everyone else lately, I have pushed the standard muscle-relieving salves aside to make room for the new class of hemp-derived CBD soothers. The active cannabinoid has become widely embraced for its pain-relieving properties when applied topically. Bear Necessities, a clean, organic, and vegan San Diego-based company founded by two couples, makes lotions and oils as well as tinctures (there’s even a pet tincture!), using CBD to help with skin irritations, sunburn, rashes, joint inflammation and muscle pain. I’ve become a fan of their Relieving Muscle & Pain Gel.
I first sampled it with the back-of-hand test, rubbing a small dollop in. It smelled like menthol, but in a breezy, not overly wintergreen way. Within a couple of minutes, my skin felt a cool yet simultaneously warm sensation just beneath its surface. This seemed promising, so the next time I felt things tighten and ache along my upper exterior, I massaged a generous amount in — even going so far as to rub it into the back of my upper nape, recent blowout be damned. It felt like an organic, vegan incarnation of Icy Hot, or like someone had draped a pre-warmed blanket over my body. It felt really comforting.
Whether it was the CBD or the tried-and-true menthol and camphor easing my ache, I can’t say. What I do know is that this stuff worked, and my husband concurred. “The burst of camphor feels so therapeutic!” he exclaimed a minute after rubbing it into his arm. “Almost like mouthwash!”
Comparing a muscle reliever to mouthwash seems odd, but when you think of that bracing sensation that comes with a hit of Listerine, it kind of makes sense. Just don’t swig the stuff.