Stiff muscles pop up from time to time, no matter how well you take care of your body. Whether it’s from a strenuous hike, the stressful hours you put into the workday, or a difficult exercise you tried for the first time, tight muscles can drag down your body and day-to-day routine. If you’re like us, you value easing these muscle spasms naturally, free from chemicals and prescriptions. You like options that are kind to your body but get the job done. Gentle stretching, rest, and patience can help ease some of this tension, but these options can only go so far in relieving muscle tension. In these cases, we don’t turn to medications or some of the conventional natural muscle relaxers on the market: we choose kava.
Below, we’ll review how kava can be used as natural muscle relaxers, what makes it unique in the broader category of muscle relaxers, and situations where kava could help ease your muscle tension.
Kava and Muscle Relaxation
What Causes Stiff & Tight Muscles?
We’ve all had those days where we slept at an odd angle, tried a new exercise, or hunched over a stack of important documents at our desks at work. Moments like these can cause uncomfortable twinges and pains in our body caused by stiff muscles. While there is no, singular cause for stiff muscles, some potential causes may include the following:
- Exercise or unfamiliar exercise
- Muscle overuse
- Long periods of being physically inactive
- Stress and anxiety
- Neck and back pain
- Underlying medical conditions
Tight muscles typically cause a dull ache and uncomfortableness in muscles in the body. People commonly experience stiff muscles in the neck, back, abdomen, arms, hands, and feet. If you undergo heavy exercise or participate in rigorous sports, you may experience muscle tightness in your calves, hamstrings, and quadriceps, among other muscles.
Underlying health conditions, such as neurological disorders, neuromuscular disorders, and myopathy can also cause muscle stiffness. If you’re concerned about underlying medical conditions, consult with a trusted healthcare professional first before turning to a muscle relaxer, natural or otherwise. A healthcare professional will be better able to assess your health and make informed recommendations for your care and treatment.
What is Kava?
Kava, or kava kava, is a small plant that has become widely recognized as a helpful anxiety relief aid in recent years. Traditionally, the stump and root of kava are ground down into a powder (such as medium grind or instant micronized powder) and prepared as a kava tea beverage for consumption. Kava can also be taken in capsule, tincture, concentrate, extract, and mint forms, among others. When consumed, kava’s active ingredients—kavalactones—encourage psychological and physiological relaxation, such as relieving stress, easing worries, etc. The kavalactones interact with the body’s limbic system of the brain, notably the amygdala. The amygdala helps regulate emotions, which is why many people experience a sense of clear-minded calm when drinking kava.
Kava Natural Muscle Relaxers
Natural muscle relaxers are non-prescriptive options for muscle relaxation that target multiple systems in the body. By operating through various systems, natural muscle relaxers provide whole-body relaxation that tends to be more gentle on the body than prescription muscle relaxers.
Along with its ability to help you mentally relax and unwind, certain varieties of kava plants can even help your muscles relax—naturally! There are thought to be 18 different types of kavalactones, and each kava variety has a different composition of kavalactones. So each kava variety offers different relaxation effects. Notably, heavy kava varieties (called “heavy” because they can make your body feel heavy) are helpful in relaxing your body physically and relieving tense muscles. Heavy kavas are more sedative than heady or balanced kava varieties, so they can even be used as sleep aids if strained muscles are keeping you up at night. At Kalm with Kava, we recommend heavy varieties like Borongoru or Melomelo if you need help relaxing muscles. If you want to see which kava variety fits your needs best, try our Kava Selection Tool.
One of the challenges with natural muscle relaxers is that they usually don’t work as thoroughly or distinctly as pharmaceutical ones. This is where kava stands out in the crowd of natural muscle relaxers. If we can say one thing about kava, it’s that it’s potent. When consumed correctly (on an empty stomach and in regular doses), kava can provide whole-body relaxation effects. Additionally, the stronger the kava dose you take, the more potent the relaxation effects will be on your body.
Pros of Kava as Natural Muscle Relaxers
- Plant-based – There’s nothing unnatural about kava, as it’s derived directly from the kava plant. We source our 100% Noble kava directly from farmers in the Pacific Islands.
- Can act as an analgesic – Because of the relaxing effect kavalactones have on the body, kava can be used to offset the pains associated with tight muscles.
- Non-addictive – Unlike other substances, drinking kava is not habit-forming. You will not build up a tolerance to the effects, so you won’t need to drink a larger kava dosage each time to get the same effect. In fact, the exact opposite has been shown. A drink of kava can be felt even more when less is drank on subsequent occasions because of how the kavalactones interact with your brain and body.
- Does not dull the mind – Unlike some medications or alcohol, kava doesn’t impair your cognitive abilities or mental clarity.
- Does not create a “high” like cannabis – Cannabis can sometimes be used for muscle relaxation, but its active ingredient, Tetrahydrocannabinol (THC) can create inhibiting psychoactive effects. Unlike THC, kava does not reduce mental functioning or produce a “high” like THC. Instead, kava gently lifts your mood without hindering your mental operations.
- No Hangovers – One of the big benefits of kava is it will not overly dehydrate your body or fill it with the toxins that lead to headaches and hangovers. After drinking kava, you don’t have to worry about waking up feeling groggy or disoriented the next morning.
When to Use Kava for Muscle Relaxation
- Post-Workout – We firmly believe kava and exercise go hand-in-hand. After a long, hard workout, having a bilo of kava can help ease your muscles and relax the rest of your day. Some have even found drinking kava can help offset overtraining, as kava may help relax overworked muscles.
- After a Day of Intense Physical Activity – Did you just finish a long day of snowboarding? Maybe you spent the afternoon bouldering with your friends or had a long boxing session. A few bilos of kava can provide your muscles some much-needed ease after a stretch of intense physical activity.
- During/After a Stressful Day – Between tight deadlines, tough clients, and demanding work conditions, your career can cause mental and physical stress, making your muscles tighten up. Sipping a heavy kava variety can help ease this tension and unwind your muscles naturally.
- Before Bedtime – Tight muscles keeping you up at night? Heavy kava varieties are not only excellent at relaxing your muscles but your mind, too! Heavy kavas are great natural sleep aids, helping you drift off to sleep naturally.
Kalm with Kava Testimonials: Kava for Muscle Relaxation
“I’ve started to incorporate kava into my night routine and love the deep sleep I’m getting. It definitely helps me recover better from my tough workouts and allows me to have more energy to take on my day!” – Melissa
“About once a year, I get an impinged nerve in my back that hurts SO BADLY. Ibuprofen does absolutely nothing, but kava completely melts the pain away. It’s an amazing muscle relaxant. Also, try before a massage for the best massage of your life.” – Kayla
Buy Kava Root for Muscle Relaxation
If you’re searching for natural relief for tight muscles, shop our range of high-quality kava products today. At Kalm with Kava, we offer a wide range of high-quality kava types, varieties, and accessories to help you relax YOUR way. All of our kava root products are sourced directly from kava farmers in the Pacific Islands, and we sell only 100% Noble kava for quality relaxation effects—that’s our guarantee!