Handmade soap from the cold process also differs from industrially made soap in that an excess of fat is used, beyond that needed to consume the alkali (in a cold-pour process, this excess fat is called “superfatting”), and the glycerol left in acts as a moisturizing agent. However, the glycerine also makes the soap softer and less resistant to becoming “mushy” if left wet. Since it is better to add too much oil and have left-over fat, than to add too much lye and have left-over lye, soap produced from the hot process also contains left-over glycerol and its concomitant pros and cons. Further addition of glycerol and processing of this soap produces glycerin soap. Superfatted soap is more skin-friendly than one without extra fat. However, if too much fat is added, it can leave a “greasy” feel to the skin. Sometimes, an emollient additive, such as jojoba oil or shea butter, is added “at trace” (i.e., the point at which the saponification process is sufficiently advanced that the soap has begun to thicken in the cold process method) in the belief that nearly all the lye will be spent and it will escape saponification and remain intact. In the case of hot-process soap, an emollient may be added after the initial oils have saponified so they remain unreacted in the finished soap. Super fatting can also be accomplished through a process known as “lye discount” in which the soap maker uses less alkali than required instead of adding extra fats.
We admit that putting a bar of soap under the bottom sheet near your feet seems like a strange way to prevent leg cramps. Many health professionals insist that it is pure placebo. But we think there are plausible explanations for why soap soothes leg cramps.
Here is how it all got started:
I read it in some article on google somewhere about this strange soap story that I am about to tell you about putting the soap under your sheet.
“Under the cover of darkness (so my husband, who is an M.D., wouldn’t see), I slipped a bar of soap under the sheet on my side of the bed. For two nights I continued to have mild leg cramps but by the third night they were gone. I have not had them since.”
Since that early letter we have received hundreds of messages from people all around the world regarding the soap treatment for muscle and leg cramps. Many doctors (and quite a few non-health professionals) are absolutely convinced this is total nonsense. They chalk it up to suggestibility, largely because they cannot imagine how it could possibly work.
Two thoughtful and curious readers came up with a hypothesis. They submitted the following explanation for the benefit of the skeptics:
The following hypothesis was contributed by Derek H. Page and Hugh Smailes;
“Several years ago, the advice columnist Ann Landers raised a provocative question in her column: does soap at the foot of the bed cure night-time leg cramps? The consensus in the medical community is no: there is no conceivable mechanism by which it could, so any relief derived from this procedure must be due to the placebo effect. In other words, it’s all in the mind.
“But if it is indeed a placebo effect, it’s a remarkably strong one. Many people who have suffered for months, if not years, from painful, nocturnal cramps in their legs and feet have found immediate and long-lasting relief just by slipping a thin, innocent bar of soap beneath the sheets. Some even report relief although they were unaware that a bar of soap had been snuck into bed.
“Likewise, others whose cramps have mysteriously returned have been nonplussed until they later discover that their bars of soap have fallen from the bed. From the point of view of those who, like us, are trying to solve this mystery, it is fortunate that several websites (including this one) have maintained reports of this unusual treatment and its results.”
The restless leg syndrome and leg cramps are conditions that occur during the night and lead to troubles falling asleep, pain, and frustration.
The first one is a neurological disorder which causes to discomfort and unpleasant feelings in the legs during a rest, and its root cause is still unknown.
Yet, there are some cases which have been linked to it, including medication use, pregnancy, and kidney failure, diabetes, and alcohol consumption.
On the other hand, nightly leg cramps, or Charley horses, occur when a person tries to fall asleep. In this case, unlike in the case of restless leg syndrome, moving the leg will not soothe the discomfort, but it will intensify the pain. In most cases, leg cramps are due to dehydration, mineral and vitamin deficiencies, and excessive exercise.
These conditions can be reduced or eliminated in several ways, like a proper diet, high amounts of water, massages, or a warm bath or a shower. Yet, the method we suggest today will definitely be more effective than them all!
Put a bar of soap under the sheet!
You read it right! This strange soap trick has been tried by more than 42% of people who suffer from leg cramps or restless leg syndrome, and they all claim that it works!
Doctors cannot identify the reason for its effects, but some believe that it is the magnesium content in the soap that is the main reason for the positive results, as magnesium deficiency is one of the leading causes of these conditions.
According to Dr. Oz, you should try using a lavender soap, as its scent will relax the muscles.