Whenever the kids, my nieces and nephews that is, fell and hurt themselves I would solve the problem with a salve – that I called ‘magic cream’. This would range from Vaseline to Sudocrem to Elizabeth Arden’s Visible Difference 8-hour cream that even supermodels agree is magic, although to us mere mortals, it appears to be shockingly like an upmarket Vaseline. It didn’t really matter which cream I used, as soon as something soothing was being applied, accompanied by a gentle voice, the little tears would dry up, faces would uncrinkle and a hint of a smile would appear. ‘What have you got on your knee?’ a parent would ask, ‘Auntie Shell’s magic cream’ would be the response.
Well now…I have found a new one. This one needs to be shared.
I was at a Yoga workshop a month ago on a Saturday afternoon, the same Saturday as a rugby match in the Aviva Stadium (that I was blissfully unaware of) so a twenty minute car journey ended up taking an hour. My stress levels were steaming up the windscreen. I hate being late for anything but being late for a yoga class where everyone is lying down peacefully is possibly the worst kind of late with the exception of weddings and funerals.
It turned out everyone was late because of the traffic. The yoga class was strenous and invigorating. The Yoga Room on the Merrion Road is a special place to exercise – something about moving while looking out into a garden is a very peaceful, serene experience. The space feels safe and sacred and the instruction is gentle and attentive.
At the end of the class, the teacher rubbed this cream onto our neck and shoulders. Often, during the relaxation session of a yoga class, aromatherapy oils are applied to the forehead or the wrist or held under the nostrils and inhaled and this is very relaxing too. But this China Gel – it brought relaxation to a whole new level. I floated out of the class to find my car clamped. That is a story for another day.
I went home and ordered the cream from http://www.yogaru.ie. I’ve been using it ever since. It’s a therapeutic cream along the same lines as Voltarol or Deep Heat, both of which I keep in my gym bag but Voltarol is sticky and Deep Heat has a very pungent odour, you need to put it on in isolation and remain that way! China Gel though is like a feminine version of Deep Heat, it smells of menthol, fresh, minty and restorative and when you apply it, it absorbs in to the skin gently, slowly, pleasurably. You can feel the muscles relaxing as it seeps in. It’s not greasy or sticky nor does it leave a film on the skin.
I should say too, that it can be used any time, you don’t need to have an injury to apply it. I rub it on my feet after playing tennis. I put it on my shoulders after doing Pilates and I use it on any area that is injured or I feel an ache.
But I have found another benefit. This is just a personal discovery, but having attended mindfulness courses, downloaded mindfulness apps, listened to relaxation tapes with the sounds of gurgling water, whales and birdsong, bodyscans, alexander techniques – ALL of which make me want to scream and be mindless, I think it’s worth sharing.
My problem with all of the above is that they begin with breathing and anything that does this makes me immediately hyperventilate. If anyone says so much as ‘take a deep breath’ my shoulders raise, my chest tightens and I can’t get the air in. Maybe it’s just me but I find it hard to believe I am alone in this. But the point is, it makes meditation unbelievably difficult because everything is stripped away and you think only about breathing. My ultimate nightmare.
Until I found this cream my meditation hack (which I use only in extreme circumstances) was to listen to my heartbeat instead of thinking about my breathing and that does work but now…now I have found that if I put this cream on my shoulders, lie down for ten minutes while it absorbs and just enjoy the intensity of the smell, close my eyes and think about the cream going into my skin and helping my muscles. Just by focussing on the smell of the cream, how pleasant it is, like an Olbas oil or Vicks Vaporub but nicer, means I don’t think at all about breathing, my body relaxes, my head clears, the cream absorbs and any aches and pains disappear. So…I think this China Gel really deserves the moniker Magic Cream.