Thursday, June 18, 2015

Myth or Fact: Soap Cures Late Night Leg Cramps

Four nights ago, I was reminded why I love being pregnant.  I woke up with a subtle pain in my foot and noticed, as if it had a mind of it's own, my foot began to flex.  Gradually a pain formed in my calf.  I thought, "If I massage it, it'll go away."  Wrong... it only got worse.  For 5 minutes, I sat in bed with this horrible pain that would contract and release, as if my leg was giving birth.  That was when I got Eric, my husband, involved.  He was awoken by me punching him, yelling,"Wake up!  I think I'm going to die, it hurts so bad!!!"  Well he jumped out of bed thinking this was it...  we were going the have a baby.  His panic turned to irritation as he learned it was just a leg cramp.  Being the awesome guy he is though, he played along, massaging my leg, making suggestions to stretch it, and eventually (25 minutes later) everything went back to normal and I could fall asleep! He's such a team player!

Ahhhh, being pregnant, I just love it!

So apparently, leg cramps affect many pregnant women.  There are many reasons to why this happens: lack of hydration or magnesium,  carrying extra weight, etc.  And there are many cures: stretching, drinking water, adding salt to foods.  Then two people (my mom and a friend) suggested sleeping with a bar of soap at the the bottom of your bed....What? Sleep with a bar of soap at the bottom of your bed?  I'm in!!!

This myth has been around for decades.  There is no scientific reason this would work, and many scientist say that if you do it and the leg cramps go away, it's due to the placebo effect.  But, one advocate, Joe Graedon, in his article, Why Does Soap Soothe Night Leg Cramps?, says that:

"The quantity of perfume transmitted to the skin may be small, but it appears to be enough to dilate blood vessels and prevent cramps. We know, of course, that the small, mobile molecules in the fragrances of soap diffuse through its gel to the surface and evaporate. We know because we can smell them. And when you score an old bar of soap, you can smell it all over again, just as strongly as when you first took it from its paper wrapper."

So who do I listen to then?  A scientist or my mom?  Well my mom of course.  So for the past three nights, one of my bars of soap has had the pleasure of sleeping with me.  First I scored the soap so that the fragrance was stronger, and then I put it under the bottom sheet.  And let me tell you people, the leg cramps have gone away......  that's what I'm talking about!  But then again, I have been drinking way more water, stretching, and have joined a gym... Either way, I'll do whatever it takes for my legs not to "give birth" again!!!

What have you found that works for nighttime leg cramps?


  1. Cool post, I have heard of this from the "Peoples Pharmacy". I tried it, but I think my mind is too scientific for it to work. But, I am all for it if it works for someone even if it may be a placebo.

    1. I completely agree! It was definitely fun trying! Especially when my husband (Eric) asked, "Why is your soap in our bed?" lol

  2. HA! That sounds just crazy enough to work!


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