Introduction: Cheap and Quick Warming and Sore Muscle Relief

Picture of Cheap and Quick Warming and Sore Muscle Relief

Its cold outside, even here in florida its dropping below freezing. Hands and feet are especially difficult to get/keep warm, here's a trick my granddad taught me many years ago and its as close as the condiment shelf of your refrigerator. It also works great on sore muscles and for those suffering from arthritus

  WARNING: Use caution when using this method and be sure not to touch your eyes !  As with any home made remedys caution should be used in the preperation and use until you see how your body reacts

Step 1: You Will Need

Picture of You Will Need

I usually keep a bottle of red water available, most of you will know this as tabasco, louisiana,franks, hot sauce but Im out so Im using a habanero hot sauce. You can use the red water straight from the bottle but using some sort of oil will make it easier to massage in and helps with skin dried from the cold. Your going to need.....

 a bottle of Hot Sauce, tabassco or any thats in your fridge
 Oil, olive oil works best but any cooking oil will do
 a shot glass

Step 2: Mix It Up

Picture of Mix It Up

fill the shot glass about half way with the oil, add anywhere from a couple drops to a couple teaspoons of the hot sauce you chose.. WARNING: the more hot sauce you use the hotter it will be on your skin so start out small. Now stir the 2 ingredients together

Step 3: Rub It in , Rub It In

all thats left is to use it, take a couple drops and rub onto your hands and feet or any sore muscles. (edit) To reverse the effect (if the heat is to much) wash the area with rubbing alcohol (or a --drinkable--alcohol) and soap and water

 This will NOT replace heat packs or extreme weather clothing but works great when you get inside and just cant get your feet warm, again be VERY CAREFUL after using not to touch your eyes and use caution when going to the bathroom

 (edit) as I  mention in one of the comment replys below, there's an over the counter arthritis creme that contains cayenne pepper extract. I  always thought granddad was special but now I realize he was 40 + yrs ahead of modern medicine !  !!!  !  !
The amount of smell will depend on the type of oil used and the amount/type of hot sauce used but it shouldn't be any more than over the counter cremes like bengay(tm) give off.



romanyrebel (author)2011-02-05

this is effective for arthritis because the capsaician in cayenne and peppers interferes with the pain receptors, taken interally via capsules it first increases the pain and then cuts it altogether, externally as a rub it just cuts out the pain, you can buy creams with capsaician in them for this, been around a long time.

nnasir (author)romanyrebel2011-06-13

Make sure you are not a parent with a baby. Handling the baby with this mixture on your skin might burn the baby's skin...

l8nite (author)nnasir2011-06-13

thats a good point... thank you for mentioning it

SamPotter (author)2011-01-13

I was at work (at a hospital) when I read this and thought I'd give it a try. We didn't have any oil, but we did have the red water in copious amounts. We also had plenty of lotion (due to the need to constantly wash our hands). So I figured what the heck. It looked like something you would dip chicken fingers in, but it calmed down my arthritis like nothing I've ever tried before. Also the lotion scent overpowered the smell of the Louisiana hot sauce. Thanks. Great idea!

l8nite (author)SamPotter2011-01-13

I'm glad it helped and the lotion sounds like a great alternative.. thank you for letting me know

nacho.cheese (author)2010-06-03

hey l8nite...

I tried your recipe, and let me tell you that maybe I did a mistake, so help me with this...I used Tabasco sauce and canola oil, the quaentities that you said, and doesn`t work at never came hot... so, what should I change?? do you have another real recipe?? or it has a secret?


l8nite (author)nacho.cheese2010-06-03

When I have any of the red water "hot" sauces like tabasco or franks or luisianna, I usually use it straight from the bottle or with just a couple drops of oil to help make it easier to rub in. Try using your sauce of choice straight and see what effect it has and adjust from there. The instructable shows me using just a couple of drops of Habanaro hot sauce because its more potent than cayenne type sauces, you can also try using dried cayenne pepper  mixed in oil. I find it very helpful in relieving minor arthritus flare ups and achey muscles as well as giving a warm feeling to cold limbs but of course it doesnt work as well as real heat (fire) or heating blankets. Hope this helps

nosferatux (author)2010-03-26

For a opposite effect buy some mentholatum ointment it warms at first but it gives you a chilling sensation afterwards great to save on air conditioner...

Z.. (author)2010-01-04

Nice tip. A bit of commonsense, with a warm feet result.

Given that we are expecting 39c tomorrow/next day, and we went to 41c last week, this is on hold!!!

I am looking for something that will do the opposite! (From the land downunder!).

wocket (author)Z..2010-02-23

lol, i'm from aussie too! i remember ads for "ice body splash" in the 80's. i think it was just scented rubbing alcohol. made you feel cold though.

Z.. (author)wocket2010-02-23

Hi! Yes, I used to get some cologne called Ice, by the 4711 people. It gave an instant cooling effect.

Needless to say you can't get it now.

l8nite (author)Z..2010-01-05

A typical american barbarian I don't know how to convert celsius to farenheit, but I take it that 41c is rather warm, last week we had temps in the upper 70's to low 80's f, today the high is 48f with an expected low of 27f ! Its predicted to be a record cold spell for florida = (

porcupinemamma (author)l8nite2010-01-09

Really informative Instructable.  Thanks! I am Canadian, and therefore should use and understand the metric system, but alas, when I was young, we still used the Imperial system.  Here's what I know, (and then I guess from there lol.) Water boils at 100 degrees C and freezes at 0 degrees C. 
I know I know, I am a brainiack ;0)
BTW, I lived in MI for 5 years and was treated very well and very kindly and never once did I run into any Barbarians. Sorry but YOU seem kind too so the Barbarian award can not be claimed by you ;0)

Z.. (author)l8nite2010-01-05

Don't put yourself down kiddo,- I don't know how to convert the other way!!

I know 41 c is about 102/3 f......I guess Google is our friend if we really want to know!

(Up in the North West mining areas, the summer temperatures can get to 48/9 c!! And in Coober Pedy -the Opal mining area, people live underground where the ambient temperature stays around 24 c. Even their Motel is completely underground!).

For the Northern and Southern Hemispherians....what we DO know, is when it is too darned hot-and too darned cold!

In Britain I suffered badly with chilblains on my hands and feet - any way of  alleviating that would have been handy.

It's morning here - I will head out before the excessive heat,- then come back and hunker down with the cooler on.

Good luck to all of you coping with such freezing temperatures (anonymouse 197 - I saw on our news this am. that the Northern area of Britain has had heavy snow). I envy you;- you envy me...

Such is life!!

anonymouse197 (author)Z..2010-01-05

 You don't know how much I envy you. 0c in cumbria and its snowing/sleeting. :( 

Z.. (author)anonymouse1972010-01-05

Well, the grass on the other side of the hill is always greener!, because I envy you!!

Cumbria is beautiful! Snow and sleet...honestly, I'd give my eye teeth!!

I've been here 32 years (from Shropshire),......and it IS getting MUCH hotter. Our heat wave last year, and this year reached temps of 46c;-people were dropping like ninepins-it killed 72.

Without air-conditioning you are in a really dangerous situation.

We are also in a drought. This country will turn to desert in a heartbeat if water runs too low,-it literally will become uninhabitable.

I have to admit the young "Poms" backpackers are on the beach in seventh heaven--because it's a novelty.

How I long for a winter Christmas. We sing Santa/snow songs in sweltering heat!!

Oz has been good to me, but as you can guess, in the summer, I find it increasingly unlivable.

Rant over!

(My apologies for highjacking your Instructable 18nite {o_-} !).


wocket (author)2010-02-23

don't put this on sensitive areas. an ex boyfriend once mixed up his "personal" in the shower massage oil with his foot warming oil. lets just say taking him to emergency with 2nd degree chemical burns on his privates was interesting.

snyde (author)2010-01-29

My father-in-law used to work in the woods.  He would put several sprinkle of cayenne pepper in his socks each day.  He swore that it kept his feet warmer.

the rural independent (author)2010-01-21

I made some of this up yesterday and it worked awesome!  I used olive oil and "Texas Pete" my favorite table sauce.

I tried the same thing I do with Armorall and it worked great.

I soaked a soft car waxing sponge-thingy in it and used it to massage my sore arm muscle.  When I was done I soaked it some more and placed it in a zip lock bag.  Now I can just grab the thingy out of the bag and it is ready to go.  (I do squeeze it out a little into the bag before removing it)  I think today I will try warming the thingy in the microwave for a short burst and see how that works.

Thanks for sharing this great idea - very practical!

 That's a really interesting adaptation, I'll have to keep it in mind. Thank you for the comment

pagangod (author)2010-01-11

cool thanks i might try this

porcupinemamma (author)2010-01-09

I wonder how a home made "hot shot" hand /foot warmer could be made?  They are expensive to buy.

chetaev (author)2010-01-05
Hi. Thank you for the post.

It sounds like it is a way to induce the blood vessels close to the skin to "loosen" letting more blood flow to the skin. Is my supposition correct?

If this is the case it will be inappropriate to use it before going out in cold weather, as it will lead to faster energy loss.
BigNateMI (author)chetaev2010-01-08

Correct, capsacium causes local, mild irritation which leads to an inflammatory response, including local blood vessel dilation increasing blood flow, thus turning the skin pink or red. As a side note, similar, but more expensive products are used to treat nerve pain as in multiple sclerosis. The theory is that the sensation illicited by capsacium causes a confusion of nerve signals in the brain. Good 'ible.

smessud (author)2010-01-06

"Cannibal Marinade" sounds great as a product name...
BTW, how much is the smell of the thing?

l8nite (author)smessud2010-01-06

"cannibal marinade" actually made me laugh. The amount of smell will depend on the type of oil used and the amount/type of hot sauce used but it shouldn't be any more than over the counter cremes like bengay(tm) give off.
 As with any home made remedys caution should be used in the preperation and use until you see how your body reacts.

 Thank you for the comment, I'll add the answer to this very good question into the body of the "ible"

Fred82664 (author)l8nite2010-01-06

LOL That smell could be a good thing slap it on and go to a Mexican on a lonely Saturday night and score a Mexican honey .

Parapegma (author)2010-01-06

Caspicium, the active ingredient in red peppers that make them hot is used to cure pimples and other types of skin disorders. There may be some relation here. I like your idea. I suggest olive oil as the oil to mix it in because it is such an excellent moisturizer of the skin.

Here's another home remedy: gargle with a home made gargle made of dried red pepper powder and some salt in mildly hot water. Some people swear it works, other say no.

lemonie (author)2010-01-05

You've seen the film "Withnail and I"?


l8nite (author)lemonie2010-01-05

 I can't say that I have even heard of it, but then the last movie I went to the theater for was "a bugs life".  Is there some kind of tie-in to this?

lemonie (author)l8nite2010-01-05

I highly recommend Withnail and I, it is something of a cult-classic in the UK. Early on in the film, in a season such as this, the main characters decide to rub themselves in Deep-Heat to stave off the cold (until the pubs open) - it's the same sort of thing.


l8nite (author)2010-01-05

 I hope it helps... thank you for commenting

hairybaroque (author)2010-01-05


I don't see that this is ACTIVELY risky. I'm old enough to remember 'Thermogene', an old (pre 1920's) therapy thing for sprains and chills. It was a roll of cottonwool  (or whatever it's called in the US) impregnated with cayenne - you just wore it next your skin under your clothes for a shortish time. It had a warning on the packet not to use it over a long period in case of burning, and obviously worked like hot oil. I don't know if they still make it, but it was a sort of District (home visiting) Nurse standby.
Apart from the risk of making up too powerful a mixture with the oil - like most oldfashioned remedies, less is more - I think I'd sooner rub it in. Thermogene became very very 'fragrant' after several applications, but it worked!
One thing that no-one has mentioned is that you use this on damaged skin at your peril: the burning effect is much more likely to cause some sort of permanent damage on a cut or graze!

l8nite (author)hairybaroque2010-01-05

 There's an over the counter arthritis creme that contains cayenne pepper, its been out for a couple years, considering how cheaply this is to make I can't see paying for all the inert ingredients noone can pronounce. I don't know about permenant damage but I can gaurantee you'll know if you get any of this in a cut or abrasion !

pineapplenewton (author)2010-01-04

 hot sauce doesn't actually make you hot. it reacts with receptors to give the sensation of burning. It can cause blood to move to the area in a a temp to heal the burn but i would never choose this method to warm my feet.

wupme (author)pineapplenewton2010-01-04

Thats right, the only thing that could help warming might be the oil because its somewhat isulates the body against the air a bit.

This Method might even be contra productiv the same way as alcohol is.
By moving more warm blood into the cold areas, your body core temperatur actually drops.

If its to cold, get near a nice fireplace, a radiator, drink something hot and warm your hands on the cup etc.

SmAsH! (author)wupme2010-01-05

yes, but this is just a quick fix for if you get home and your are cold.
It is not intended for extended use.

l8nite (author)pineapplenewton2010-01-04

thats why I said its NOT a replacement for heat packs or cold weaather clothing, it doesn't actually raise the body temp but promotes blood flow. Illusion or not I know from experience that you can feel the "heat" seeping into cold and or sore muscles 

foxfirekenzie (author)2010-01-04

 I worked in a wilderness therapy program in Utah that ran year round, and we would put cayenne pepper on our feet at bedtime during the cold winter nights to help with cold footsies. I imagine that this would be much the same.  It does work and works good!
Thanks for a new method.

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