A hot bath is already a great way to get some relief from muscle pain. But it gets better …
I discovered this while working on my own muscle knots, trying to tame an episode of low back pain, which is a never-ending job — they are always under control, more or less, but always threatening to come back, under the onslaught of chair work that I have saddled myself with by making a living as a writer.
This is what trigger points do, of course — they come back. It’s in their nature. And that’s why I’m always working on them, and always discovering new ways of doing it. It’s a creative challenge that never ends. It’s also why PainScience.com publishes a deliciously detailed tutorial about trigger points, which contains more detail about the bath trick, as well as hundreds of other basic and advanced tips and tricks.
The bath trick is a “together at last” trick: it came from combining two other classic tactics for releasing your own trigger points: the heat of a bath, with the pressure of a ball (see tennis ball massage). But the result is more than the sum of the parts, and it works better in some ways than anything else I’d come up with before. Suddenly I’m using the bath trick regularly myself, and recommending it to every other patient.
Quick trigger points orientation
Muscle “knots,” usually known as myofascial trigger points (TrPs), are a factor in most of the world’s aches and pains. A trigger point is (hypothetically) a small patch of super-contracted and irritated muscle tissue, which can cause symptoms ranging from mild stiffness to extreme pain and a variety of odd side effects. They not only cause pain and problems directly, but also spring to life in response to almost all other painful problems, compounding and complicating them.
Even though the existence and importance of trigger points is well known to medical specialists and researchers, most doctors and therapists knows little about them, so misdiagnosis and ineffective treatment are epidemic. For more information about how trigger points might be involved in your own medical history, see:
Absurdly simple instructions for trigger point release in the bath: simply …
- run a hot bath …
- climb in and get nice and warm and comfortable …
- and then bring in a ball! Trap the ball between your body and the bottom or the back of the tub, and cheerfully crush your trigger points with relieving pressure.
The Bath Trick
Run a hot bath & trap a ball between your body & the bottom or back of the tub to rub your back muscles — your buoyancy allows for excellent control with moderate pressures.
Many kinds of balls will work well, but a lacrosse ball or a KONG® brand rubber dog ball is perfect.
Play with the water level to increase or decrease your bouyancy and how firmly you are pressing down on the ball.
Pressure caution is still required! Although the bouyancy of the bath generally makes it relatively easy to regular the pressure, compared to working on the ground with a ball, it can still be tricky, and I think the heat of the bath can also mask the intensity. I have bruised myself even when I thought I was being careful. Bruising is not cool and not therapeutic. Please be careful not to overdo it, especially at first!
If you have severe, stubborn trigger points, the bath trick alone isn’t going to be enough. Try PainScience.com’s extremely detailed tutorial, Trigger Points & Myofascial Pain Syndrome It includes all of this information and many, many more troubleshooting tips, tricks and concepts for difficult cases. The bath trick is just one of dozens of ideas. In the tutorial, you will learn more about why the bath trick works so well, what kind of ball is especially ideal for the bath trick (there really is a particular sort of ball that definitely works best), which muscle groups benefit the most from the bath trick, plus many other clever ways to use your hands and tools to do more than just “take the edge off” your muscle pain. Buy it now or read the first few sections for free.
Paying in your own (non-USD) currency is always cheaper! My prices are set slightly lower than current exchange rates, but most cards charge extra for conversion.
Example: as a Canadian, if I pay $19.95 USD, my credit card converts it at a high rate and charges me $26.58 CAD. But if I select Canadian dollars here, I pay only $24.95 CAD.
Why so different? If you pay in United States dollars (USD), your credit card will convert the USD price to your card’s native currency, but the card companies often charge too much for conversion — it’s a way for them to make a little extra money, of course. So I offer my customers prices converted at slightly better than the current rate.
The main buy button is for credit card purchases, but some customers prefer to use PayPal so they don’t have to give a credit card number to a small business. However, my business never actually handles card info: it goes straight from your web browser to Stripe.com [opens new tab/window], a major payment processor with a great reputation. So using a credit card here is as safe as using it in any store, probably safer.
But you can pay with PayPal. Although automatic order processing is only available for credit card customers, you can “manually” login to PayPal and send payment of 19.95 USD to .
Very important reminders for paypal orders!
- Watch your spam folder! My order emails are usually mis-identified as junk email, despite taking every possible technical precaution to prevent this. Email is my only way to confirm your order. If you don’t get your confirmation email, please check your spam folder!
- Specify the book you want! Just the topic is fine, e.g. “trigger points.”
I process orders promptly during working hours, usually within two hours, often much less; night orders are processed early the next day. You will receive order confirmation and access information by email but again … check your spam folder!!!
refund at any time, in a week or a year
call 778-968-0930 for purchase help
About Paul Ingraham
I am a science writer, former massage therapist, and I was the assistant editor at ScienceBasedMedicine.org for several years. I have had my share of injuries and pain challenges as a runner and ultimate player. My wife and I live in downtown Vancouver, Canada. See my full bio and qualifications, or my blog, Writerly. You might run into me on Facebook or Twitter.
- PS Hot Baths for Injury & Pain — Tips for getting the most benefit from a hot soak, the oldest form of therapy