How to use Soda Crystals for swelling or aching muscles

What are Soda Crystals?

Soda crystals are clear and non-fragranced crystals, produced using natural limestone and sodium chloride which is heat treated and blended to create the soda crystal formulation. These are now readily available in many chemists and supermarkets and can be excellent in the management of swelling within a joint after an injury! They can also be used to help with sore and aching muscles if used correctly. We are going to outline both of these in better detail for you!

When should you use Soda Crystals? And how do they work?

Soda Crystals can be a great way to spot-reduce swelling in joints after an injury. They work to draw water, a key element in the inflammation process within our body, across the skin membrane layer and out of the affected joint. Because of the high salt content within the crystals, these work via osmosis. The high salt content on one side of the skin membrane layer works to draw fluid out of the joint and into the crystals themselves. This then results in a powdery consistency of the crystals after they have absorbed the water content. 

How to Apply Soda Crystals for swelling:

  1. Wrap a compression bandage around the affected joint (for foot or ankle swelling, a sock works perfectly!):
  2. Pour a generous amount (4-6 cups) of soda crystals into the compression sleeve or sock and manoeuvre the crystals around to ensure there is an equal layering over all areas of the joint (front, back and both sides.
  3. Secure both ends of the sleeves (above and below the joint) to ensure the crystals do not spill out from the ends.
  4. Wrap a towel around the compression sleeve/soda crystals (sometimes, a yellow mark can appear on your sheets occur as the fluid crosses from the joint is soaked up by the surrounding fabrics. This typically comes out after a cycle in the washing machine!)
  5. Keep the sleeve on overnight. In the morning, stand in the shower and remove the towel and turn the compression bandage or sock inside out as you peel it off. You can then brush the remaining crystals off and shower as normal. 
  6. If effective, the crystals should go from their hard, rocky consistency to a powdery consistency in the morning. You should also notice a significant reduction in swelling of the affected joint. 
  7. Repeat this process for 3 consecutive nights, in consultation with your physio.
  8. Note: it is always a good idea to test a small patch of skin to identify if you have any sensitivity to the crystals. This is very uncommon but can occur in rare circumstances. 

How to use Soda Crystals for sore and aching muscles:

  1. Run a bath and dissolve 1 cup of crystals in the water. 
  2. Bathe/soak in warm water for up to 30mins. 
  3. For sensitive skin, only use ½ cup of the crystals. 

As with any therapy, it is important to get the guidance from one of the physios here at Instinct Health. If you are unsure if it is indicated to use your Soda Crystals for either swelling or aching muscles, chat to one of our team and work out what’s the best process for you!

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How to use Soda Crystals for swelling or aching muscles