I’ve been using the stuff for years now, mainly to help warm my muscles up before races or cold weather runs, in an attempt to avoid tears and strains. However, as I’m currently trying to rehabilitate myself following 7 months out with a stress fracture, I thought it was well worth looking into new research commissioned by the bods behind Deep Heat to see what their best-known product really does.
The scientific bit
Apparently, in the wake of Mo Farah et al’s exploits at London 2012, more Brits than ever have been heading out for a run and collecting a host of running-related injuries as a result. Incredibly, it also seems that no less than 35% of those surveyed do absolutely no warming up at all before exercise, while an astonishing 65% do no cooling down exercises at all.
Now look, as someone who’s been limping since March, I may not seem like the best person to lecture on the subject; but really, anyone who doesn’t have a bit of a stretch and a walk before going for a run has got to be out of their tiny mind.
I’m certainly going the whole hog in order to get myself through the delicate stages of rebuilding my running muscles; which means Deep Heat rubbed into my thighs, calves and achilles, before a couple of minutes of gentle stretching and a 400m walk. And the stretching and the walk are all repeated once I’ve finished my (pathetically slow) run too.
Interestingly, according to the research document I have before me, Deep Heat helps to avoid strains because its combination of Methyl Silicate, Eucalyptus Oil, Turpentine Oil and Menthol will actually penetrate the skin, before “hydrolising to salicylic acid, which interferes in the synthesis of inflammatory prostaglandins from arachidonic acid.”
Well, yeah, I’ve always figured that it was something like that. I mean, only a muppet would think that it just warmed you up a bit and smelled funny…
The really wimpy bit
As a recent convert to ice baths right before my leg went during an 18-miler, I’ll be using them again as soon as soon as my mileages get above the currently wimpy 4 miles through the dunes that I’m attempting three times a week.
However, I’m still using an ice pack on the most badly damaged muscles, followed by Deep Freeze (from those wonderful folks who brought you Deep Heat) to try and keep everything cool and pain-free, or Deep Relief (from yep, you guessed it) if I’m in too much pain after a run. And so far, it all appears to be working. (At the risk of lowering the tone however, am I the only one who’s pleased that, given their limited level of imagination in product naming, they’ve never taken range extension into the tickly cough market?)
It’s also a bit of a thought that I’m apparently now paying the same company to warm me up, cool me down and then kill the pain I’ve caused in between times, in much the same way that I’d be a tad suspicious if Glenfiddich started selling Resolve too. However, right now, I’m not sure I’d be running at all without these products…so it would be churlish of me not to give a big shout out to Deep Heat, Deep Freeze and Deep Relief, and offer them the 5 Jelly Baby rating they all so richly deserve.