I am a big lover of massage balms and regularly use balms and soothers in a variety of my yoga classes as I find they can really encourage deep breathing and a sense of relaxation in the body. Recently I’ve had quite a few people ask me what my favourite one is, so I thought I’d write a little review on one of my absolute favourites, Gwdihw Muscle Soother.
Gwdiwho!? I hear you cry! Yes, precisely. Gwdihw is pronounced Goody Hoo (it means ‘owl’ in Welsh, hence the branding!) and they very helpfully put this on their products to try and save confusion. They’re from North Wales, so they are throughly entitled to have a brand name that nobody can pronounce. I personally adore the fact that they stay true to their roots and use a Welsh name for their products. I’m a little biased since I’ve some Welsh blood running through my veins and therefore I do tend to have soft spot for all things from the land of rain, sheep and words without vowels.
I discovered their products after using China Gel for quite sometime and then realising that it had an awful lot of things in it that I didn’t want to put on my body, or anyone else’s for that matter. And so the search begun. I’m a big lover of the Love Lula website and it was there that I first found it and since ordering my first bottle I’ve never looked back. The Gwdihw Balm Muscle Soother comes in a 250ml pump bottle and is 100% natural. The listed ingredients are Arnica Oil, Menthol, Camphor and Witch Hazel so it smells great and feels divinely tingly on the skin. I use it for a variety of things; when I’ve got some muscle aches, or even when I have a headache as the effect it has on my breathing really helps to ease everything. In yoga practice it can be a nice little reminder to breath deep, but beyond that it feels really great to practice with some rubbed into the lower back. I find it makes me feel like everything is opening up nicely, and particularly if it’s quite a hot day, the effect that it has on the skin can really make you feel cooler. It’s worth noting that the product spreads very easily so you don’t need to use all that much which means that the bottle does last quite a long time.
I have been asked if I use it for my therapy treatments, and the answer to that is, no, I don’t. Despite the fact that the product spreads very well, it’s not a cost-effective solution for a professional therapist and the smell can be quite overwhelming when it’s used in large amounts or in a non-ventilated area. I do however sometimes use it if a client is really feeling tender in a small specific area, but this is always just towards the end of a treatment to give some relief and a sensation that will last for a little while. I never use it as a full replacement to my usual lotion or oil. I do recall once using it on a larger area in a treatment room and it was a hilarious disaster as the menthol made my nose run which meant I kept having to stop and blow my nose and wash my hands, then it made my eyes water, which made me rub my eyes… you can see where this is going! So overall, I don’t recommend using it in this way! Keep it for personal use or for group classes where you’re simply using a little of the product to provide an experience or some relief.
– One last little point is that the muscle soother is quite a prominent blue colour which makes me question whether it is definitely 100% natural. I have recently sent them an email to ask about this and I will update this review as soon as I have an answer from them!