Here in the UK, we’d usually consider using something like Deep Heat, or an ice-pack, to soothe muscle or joint soreness. Sometimes the strength of these products just doesn’t cut the mold. For people like myself who practice Muay Thai, and routinely kick shins and elbows, bend my toes back, and have my thighs battered by my contemporaries, we need Deep Heat’s big brother, we need Tiger Balm Oil.
Is Tiger Balm Oil Good For Muay Thai?
Yes. I have been using, and continue to use a brand of Tiger Balm Oil to soothe my shins after hard sparring sessions where I’ve been hitting elbows and checked kicks. I prefer active recovery, and want pain relief since my bruised shins make it hard to commit to kicking the pads and heavy bags. I’m even using it for regular pain relief, such as my currently strained neck from bad sleep.
After my sessions I come home to shower, then I apply a fingertip or so of balm to the sore area and rub it in. After a few minutes the area begins to ‘cool’ (more like a burning sensation in my opinion), and the soreness dissipates to a great degree. It’s not a fix-it-all, but it keeps me going and that’s what counts.
Don’t go for Muay Thai branded balm oil
The specific brand I’m using is just called TIGER BALM®️, and I got it from my local ASDA for £6.99. It is cheaper on Amazon for £5.85. I’m using the red ointment variant which is more for pain & muscle relief, but there is a white tiger balm oil variant for other pains. Tiger Balm that is marketed towards Muay Thai practitioners will usually be double the price.
Red Tiger Balm Oil
White Tiger Balm Oil
I’ve been using the same jar of oil for a few weeks now and it’s barely been dented, so the longevity of the product is excellent. It resembles a hard red/white wax that you just dig the tip of your finger into and rub it on the sore area.
What is Tiger Balm Oil?
In short, it’s a temporary pain relief balm, and can be purchased either as a cream, gel, or liquid. In Muay Thai it is rubbed onto sore body parts, such as bashed shins, or leg muscles after a vigorous workout.
Sadly there isn’t any tiger in it; tiger balm is a mix of Camphor, Levomenthol, Cajuput Oil, and Clove Oil. Some variants also contain Cinnamon Oil amongst other ingredients.
It is believed that the mix of menthol, eucalyptus and wintergreen in the balm distracts the user from pain by providing a cooling sensation. It is regarded as a ‘counterirritant’.
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