Many of you have probably heard of Arnica, some of you might even be intimately knowledgeable of its powers, but I’m betting there are just as many that, despite having heard the word before, aren’t fully versed on it’s properties, benefits, and uses. I am a firm believer that our most potent, yet gentle treatments come from nature, and I incorporate many salves and oils in my massage practice as well as in my home. They are used regularly as a “go to” first aid treatment, for muscle soreness, dry skin, burns, scars, etc, etc…
So what is Arnica, you ask? Arnica (Arnica montana) is a daisy-like perennial flower in the sunflower family. It has been used as a folk medicine for hundreds of years for sprains, bruises and wounds, particularly in North America, Europe and Russia, where it is a native plant. It contains a chemical compound called helenalin, which plays a large role in the anti-inflammatory properties that Arnica is best known for. Fun fact: it’s also known as Leopard’s Bane and Mountain Tobacco!
Common Uses and Benefits: Although having been used for its medicinal properties since the 1500s, Arnica has made a recent comeback as a more natural assistant to reducing anti-inflammatory pain, pain and swelling from sprains and strains, shortening bruising time, placating insect bites, and reducing recovery time.
Options for Application: There are hundreds of products on the market with Arnica in them, although the amount and quality of Arnica in them varies widely. Oils, salves, creams, tinctures and gels are some of the most common. Much like the terms “organic” and “all-natural,” though, Arnica has become quite popular in certain circles and has spawned many products that I wouldn’t feel worthy of recommending. When looking for a product to use, make sure it has a high concentration of Arnica (some products are extremely diluted) and that it is made from a reputable company with high standards. One I would recommend is Sierra Sage Arnica Salve. Hint…this is also the basis for my first giveaway, so stay tuned until the end of this post! This particular salve includes several other herbs great for muscle soreness and inflammation, including rosemary, ginger, cinnamon, and menthol crystals.
Side effects and Contraindications: Arnica is generally safe, but if you have an allergy to the helenalin compound, or if you use it for an extended period of time, a possible skin reaction, contact dermatitis, can occur. It is not to be used orally or on broken skin.
In my massage practice, I often incorporate Arnica salve into my therapeutic sessions, especially when working with someone dealing with inflammatory pain, such as arthritis and acute injuries. Arnica and massage complement each other quite well–I know I can’t think of a better way to use Arnica than having it massaged into my achy parts!
Now on with the Giveaway!! In addition to the Sierra Sage Arnica Salve, I also use a wide variety of Sierra Sage’s other products in my massage practice and at home. The original product, Green Goo, a first aid salve, was my first introduction, and has remained a staple in my house for many years. My family knows what will come out of my mouth when anything skin related happens to them, from cuts, to bruises, to burns…”Put some Green Goo on it!” It is the only company I currently offer for sale in my private practice, mostly because I am adamant about only selling products that I use and would recommend whole-heartedly.
I am excited to offer a taste of their products to one lucky winner this month, in the form of their Sierra Sage Outdoor Travel Pack. This includes a 1 oz tin of Arnica Salve, a 1 oz tin of Green Goo, 2 lip balms, and a 1 oz Bugs be Gone bug spray. To be entered into the giveaway simply follow the steps below:
- LIKE Santa Cruz Therapeutic’s Facebook page! Not only is this the first step to entering the giveaway, but it’s also a great way to keep updated on new blog posts, see my schedule availability, and to learn lots of new fun facts about massage therapy and pain management!
- SHARE this Giveaway blog post from Santa Cruz Therapeutic’s Facebook page with your Facebook friends!
- COMMENT on the blog post on Santa Cruz Therapeutic’s Facebook page once you have “shared” with your friends!
That’s it! Share the love and be entered to win some of my favorite products from one of my most favorite companies! Entries will be accepted through March 31st, and a winner will be randomly selected and notified by April 2nd, 2015.
With Peace and Gratitude,