I slept funny last week - in the painful “funny bone” way, so I decided to buy some pain-relieving muscle cream for my lower back.
My first instinct was to buy the well-known Icy Hot, but I’ve never been a fan of the temperature rollercoaster it induces on your skin, so I went to Amazing Grains downtown to find a better option.
I quickly found a small, tiger-adorned tin, aptly named Tiger Balm extra strength. My other option was something called arnica flower salve, which smelled like sub-par spearmint toothpaste, so Tiger Balm won me over.
Tiger Balm looks like a small reddish-orangeish-brown Yankee Candle, except you stick your fingers in it and rub it on your body to feel better. That’s essentially what the instructions say, although it warns against applying within 30 minutes after showering (which I did).
I heard somewhere that you can apply it to your temples for a headache, but I strongly recommend against this. Don’t ask.
Tiger Balm’s two active ingredients are camphor - which smells like a Christmas candle - and menthol (see Vicks VapoRub or your least-favorite cough drops). The combination of these wintry ingredients helps sooth the muscles with a coolish warm tingly feeling. However, this one didn’t first freeze and then burn my back like Icy Hot always seems to.
Instead, the sensation was constant and did the job well.
The only downside to the product lies in the smell, which I liked, but some of my coworkers found a little overpowering.
I put the balm on at work, hoping that the scent (or the sight of me massaging my own back) wouldn’t draw stares. At first, no one seemed to notice.
But when I applied it again later that day, my coworkers were scrunching their noses and asking why it smelled like fall in the office.
Price: $7.46 at Amazing Grains