The healing benefits of Arnica for spa and massage practice treatments


Call it what you will, Arnica Montana, Leopard’s Bane, or Wolf’s Bane, this small perennial herb offers several benefits for health and skin and hair. A daisy family with a bright yellow flower top and bright green leaves, the Arnica plant is usually no taller than one to two feet. While it’s native to Europe and Siberia's mountains, Arnica is also cultivated in North America.  Since the 1500s, Arnica has been used for medicinal purposes to reduce muscle pain and inflammation and heal wounds.

Today, Arnica is commercially available in topical creams and ointments to treat a wide range of conditions, including bruises, sprains, muscle aches, wounds, joint pain, and even inflammation from insect bites. Its active ingredient is sesquiterpene lactone helenalin, which has anti-inflammatory properties.

Organic Facts writes that Arnica also has “slight antimicrobial properties, which makes it very beneficial for people suffering from skin conditions, such as acne, psoriasis, eczema, and others.” The site also indicates that while Arnica Oil should not be applied directly to the skin, it can be used for dry skin when mixed with a carrier oil or other creams. According to WebMD, Arnica is used commercially in hair tonics and anti-dandruff preparations. The oil is used in perfumes and cosmetics.

Arnica is a key ingredient in one of our original BIOTONE products, the popular Dual-Purpose Massage Creme. You’ll also find Arnica in Controlled-Glide Massage Creme, developed specifically for instrument-assisted soft-tissue mobilization, fascia, and deep-tissue therapies; Muscle and Joint Relief Therapeutic Crème and Gel,  which is great for sports massage and injuries; and Herbal Select Body Therapy Massage Oil.

Help clients prevent sports injuries with Arnica.

Heavily exercised muscles may lose their capacity to relax, resulting in chronic tightness and loss of flexibility.  Learn how to help your clients heal and prevent minor injuries while improving blood circulation and muscle relaxation with these injury prevention massage techniques that use Controlled Glide Massage Creme.


Ankle Joint:

1. While the client is lying on their stomach, knead from the Achilles tendon attachment on the ankle to the soleus attachment at the knee. Perform a push-pull back to the ankle. Repeat 3 times.

2. Rotate the ankle 3 times in both directions to bring the foot as far up and side to side as is comfortable to the client. Perform 3 crescent moon cross-fiber strokes to each side of the ankle.

3. Finish with a foot to knee massage. Repeat on the other side.


Knee Joint:

1. Straight client's leg into a locked position. Gently move the patella up, down, and side to side.

2. Perform 3 small circular friction movements along the side of the knee joint and patella (reduces and breaks down swelling in the knee). This also is good for massaging tendons around the knee.

3. Perform 3 cross fiber frictions to the patella tendon. Bend the knee to stretch the tendon; then apply cross-fiber friction massage with your thumbs slightly overlapping each other.

4. Finish with a hip to a foot massage. Repeat on the other side.

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