Top Tactics and Home Remedies for Combating Muscle Soreness After a Workout

The New Year for many also brings a new or renewed focus on working out and fitness which is accompanied by muscle soreness.  The focus on fitness, creating a balanced routine and setting goals and sticking with them are challenging enough but add to that the muscle soreness that comes with adapting to that regimen, and it may be difficult to stay on track.  

Chances are, you won't be leaping out of bed to get to the gym when it hurts to hold your arm up to brush your hair.

Lucky for you there are plentiful remedies for muscle soreness and getting muscle soreness relief can start with some easy home remedies.  

What is Muscle Soreness that Most Experience After a Workout?

Muscle soreness after working out is sometimes referred to as delayed onset of muscle soreness or DOMS and is attributed to microscopic damage to muscle cell ultrastructure due to excessive mechanical force exerted by the muscle and connective tissues.  As we know it is not uncommon to experience after strenuous exercise, say experts.  DOMS or muscle soreness after a workout is not all bad  and usually means your muscles are getting stronger but the last thing we want is for our renewed or new healthy habits to get sidelined by some pain so here are out some of our favorite tips for combating muscle soreness after a workout that can be used at home. 

Cool Down.  One of the most important things to have after a workout is a cool-down phase.  For most after we are done we run off to our next activity but slowing down and taking a few may help with muscle soreness after a workout.   

Right before finishing, include 10 or so minutes of easy aerobic work such as jogging or walking followed by stretching.  Stretching can be maintained for 15 seconds per stretch and should capture all large muscle groups to really feel the effects.  

Red Light Therapy.  We have written before about Red light Therapy due to its numerous scientifically based benefits, which include muscle recovery.  In short, infrared and red light therapy uses two particular wavelengths of light that are delivered to sites of the body that require healing. Infrared and red light therapy provides power to your cells by creating ATP. A light therapy device like an Infraredi or a Joovv or Rouge device delivers red & near infrared wavelengths directly to your body. These types of light have a positive effect on the function of our mitochondria. 

Essentially the red light therapy provide a boost of energy production and regeneration since cells are stimulated in a process known as photobiostimulation and oxidative stress is decreased. Hence, more energy is generated for biological activities. Consequently, there is an increase in function and healing rate plus a marked reduction in pain and inflammation and muscle soreness. 

According to Infaredi research has shown to reduce pain and stiffness felt 1-3 days following participation in a workout or vigorous physical activity. A clinical trial investigating the effect of red light therapy and exercise draws the following conclusions:

Participants treated with red light therapy experienced a more significant reduction in pain compared to those in the control group.

 The pain scores as assessed by the McGill Pain Questionnaires were significantly different in a 48-hour period.

 Summarily, red light therapy has a positive impact on symptoms relating to DOMS.(1)

Most experts agree that a 10 to 20 minute session with a quality red light device that is both near and far infrared will result in the benefits described above.  In practice, we have seen significant results exposing our bodies to 5-10 minutes on each side.  Although, we have found the addition of certain topical sprays like Boost or Soothe, magnesium, CBD, essential oil spray significantly increase the benefits of red light therapy as we discuss in this article especially when using red light therapy to treat muscle soreness after a workout or DOMS.  

Dry Brushing.  Dry-Brushing is a great home remedy for muscle soreness for both localized and overall muscle soreness. By brushing the skin towards the heart you gently stimulate the lymphatic system. The lymphatic system picks up, removes and sorts through cellular debris; ensuring no harmful waste products are left in the body to cause dysfunction later on down the road. 

Just before showering, take five minutes with a long-handled natural bristled brush, like our Living More Dry Brush. Starting at the feet and ankles brush the skin towards the heart. Continue with the arms, back, stomach, armpits and chest. You can even brush your face and neck if you experience puffiness or jaw soreness. After brushing, shower as normal and finish with a cold rinse. Your body will feel lighter and your muscles will feel less sore after this easy home regiment. 

Baths.  Baths are likely on everyone's list for muscle recovery but with the growth of cryogenics and our increasing knowledge of the benefits of cold therapy you may be asking how best to include a bath to alleviate muscle soreness after working out? 

Olympian Joe Pavey clarified when to use hot and cold baths in a Runners World article.  She mentions that ice baths are thought to limit inflammatory reactions by constricting blood vessels, which could, in turn, reduce the onset of DOMS or muscles soreness. So they are the best choice directly after a hard run or workout.  

However, she goes on to say that "[h]ot baths, on the other hand, promote blood flow to the muscles by dilating blood vessels – this is not what you want immediately after exercise. However, in the days that follow, when any acute pain has receded, a hot bath is best to help increase circulation, which aids healing."

Accordingly, when you are done with a workout a cold bath from 3 - 20 minutes will not only do wonders for your inflammation but your mind.  However, when you experience muscle soreness or DOMS 24 - 48 hours after a workout, a hot bath is where you want to head.  

We are crazy about hot baths and their role in recovery at Madrigal Creatives and also about maximizing our efforts to feel our best by combining multiple strategies at once for optimum results.  We created the OOOH Recovery Bath Bomb, the strongest full spectrum bath bomb on the market with the most beneficial essential oils to amplify your recovery protocol.  Athletes like Spartan Racer Doug Blumenthal, love OOOH for the recovery benefits and how it allows him to race two days in a row!  OOOH is also part of our Recovery Bundle so you can bundle and save on multiple strategies for combating muscle soreness in one bundle.  

Cannabidiol (CBD).

Of course we could not leave this one off of our list!  CBD is a natural anti-inflammatory that we discuss in depth in our article 5 Benefits of CBD for Athletes

CBD is helpful for both pain relief and fighting inflammation.   Cannabinoids which are either exogenous (from CBD) that increase the endogenous cannabinoids (those that are already in our bodies) bind to CB2 receptors of our endocannabinoid system to have an anti-inflammatory effect by reducing cytokine (cell messengers) production.  In other words, CBD bound to CB2 receptors help dial down the inflammatory response when your system calls on an inflammatory response after hard workouts or during workouts.  This is why the benefits of CBD are being discovered by endurance athletes.  

Applying topical CBD like in our Relieve Plus Gel and Relieve Plus Roll ons or CBD in our magnesium body sprays work hard to reduce inflammation and allow muscles to heal.  This is also why our CBD Bath Bombs combined with a hot bath work so well to fend of DOMS and are the perfect home remedy for muscle soreness.  

Vibration Plate. Vibration plates are talked about a lot for their many benefits.  We recently took one for a test and the results were staggering.   An increased feeling of wellness was experienced in totality that was hard to explain but it also included reduced muscle soreness.  

This feeling is supported by research.  Mechanical oscillatory motion provided by vibration therapy could represent an effective exercise intervention for enhancing neuromuscular performance in athletes described in a research article titled Vibration Therapy in Management of Delayed Onset Muscle Soreness  Researchers established that vibration plates increase proprioceptive neuro-muscular function, increased muscle strength and potential hormonal responses which leads to pain reduction, mood improvement, potentially improving lymphatic drainage.  Vibration has shown effectiveness in flexibility and explosive power. Vibration can apply either local area or whole body vibration. Vibration therapy improves muscular strength, power development, kinesthetic awareness, decreased muscle sore, increased range of motion, and increased blood flow under the skin and was effective for reduction of DOMS, overall muscle soreness. 

Hopefully, these important home remedies for combating muscle soreness can be added to your post exercise routine.  Since we love multitasking efforts to optimize results why not enjoy vibration therapy with some Boost or Soothe body spray and red light therapy today so that your new habits won’t be derailed with discomfort or muscle soreness and you can experience the benefits of Living More.   


 (1) Douris P, Southard V, et al. Effect of phototherapy on delayed onset muscle soreness. Photomedicine and Laser Surgery. 2006 Jun;24(3):377-82