What is Thai Oil and Why Does It Work?
If you’ve practiced Muay Thai, you probably have heard of Thai Oil and recognize the little green and yellow bottle, and its smell. The oil, or liniment, is widely used by Muay Thai practitioners, both amateur and professional. But what does it do and how does it do it so well?
Namman Muay Thai Oil is a blend of menthol oil, methyl salicylate and alcohol.
Methyl salicylate blocks the production and release of chemicals that cause inflammation and pain.
Menthol is a pain reliever, producing a slight numbing effect when rubbed into an area, as well as having an IcyHot effect of warm and cool. It isn’t actually changing temperature, but merely sending temperature-changing signals to your brain.
Menthol also facilitates vasodilation, expanding blood vessels and increasing blood flow to an affected area, thus increasing the transport of nutrients/medicine to the area and removing waste faster.
There can also be other ingredients, such as eucalyptus oil or arnica extracts, which are for pain and inflammation.
The oil is applied both before and after a rigorous workout. The massage and the oil together help prepare the muscles for battle.
What is the difference between the Thai Oil and IcyHot?
The short answer? Nothing. IcyHot also contains menthol and methyl salicylate.
What about Tiger Balm?
Tiger Balm also uses menthol, but no methyl salicylate. But it has a list of oils such as camphor, cassia oil, dementholized mint oil, cajuput oil and clove oil, which are basically all pain relievers and usually used in toothaches.
When you get deep into Muay Thai training, you will appreciate the pain relieving ointment and more so the massage that comes with it, as your muscles will be sore and you will likely be bruised from head to toe. Most Muay Thai practitioners will swear by only the traditional Thai Oil, but don’t let that stop you from trying other ointments that may work better for your body and/or your skin.
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