bars of soap

Q. I have horrible hand cramps which can occur at almost any time. Nothing my doctor has prescribed has helped. Is there a home remedy I can try?

A. You may laugh at this suggestion. There is absolutely no scientific evidence that it might help. Nevertheless, we have heard from several readers that holding an unwrapped bar of soap in the hand may help with this kind of pain.

One reader reports, “I have arthritis in my hands, so when I go to bed I hold a bar of soap and the pain goes away immediately.” Another told us that her husband complained about cramps in his hands after playing cards. She says she “got a bar of soap and put it in his hand. Within a minute the pain subsided. He held the bar for about 10 minutes and the cramp never came back. Now we keep a bar of soap near where we play cards.”

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  1. cyn

    I have severe hand cramping, a month ago it was so bad, I actually fainted from the pain. The next time it happens, I will try the bar of soap, and let it be known to others suffering with this condition. Thank you!

  2. Harry

    Not to dispute soap’s cramp-assuaging qualities, however are there any readers who can explain what chemical is given off by soap that is absorbed by the body & thus inhibits cramping? (I have severe hand cramps always in the evening).

  3. Rev EJ

    It was 1:15 a.m. and my husband woke up with a severe hand cramp. I did not have cayenne pepper, or banana, so I typed up hand cramping and it led me to this site. It is now 1:23 a.m. and about 4 minutes ago, he said that the soap seems to be working. Well, he is holding on tight to the bar of Ivory soap. I previously heard of placing soap on the bed for leg pain, but never for hand cramps. It works! Ok, he is asleep now with the bar of soap clutched in his hand. Oh, he is a dialysis patient, so I am going to give him a hotel soap to carry with him to dialysis tomorrow. Great advice, great home remedy!

  4. AlizarinCrimson

    My computer is currently down (I’m on my phone), and I had an idea for a story I just had to write. I haven’t written anything of any significant length longhand since I got out of school two years ago. Needless to say, by 10 pages, my hand was killing me. I looked for a way to quickly relieve the pain, because I know if I lose momentum on this story I’ll never finish it. I found this article and though it seemed implausible to say the least, I tried it. After five minutes and a quick massage under hot running water, it’s like my hand was never bothering me in the first place. I can barely believe it, but I’m not one to argue with a good thing.
    For the record, I used a bar of Dial (limited edition Hello Kitty Dial, to be exact).

  5. Mary

    I’v suffered off and on with hand cramp in my (l) hand. Today it was really BAD. Found your info on the soap and immediately went to my bathroom and opened a packet of Dove. Held it in my hand, and instantly the pain was gone. Thanks for the best remedy ever.

  6. inge

    It worked for my husband. We previously heard of cider vinegar and honey in a shot glass. That did not work this time, the soap did.

  7. Mae kay

    What kind of soap do you use?

  8. my dad, Eugene

    my father gets severe hand cramps out of the blue and they last a long time.
    during his most recent episode I found this soap remedy and I gave him the bar of soap, he looked at me with puzzling eyes. A few minutes later the pain was completely gone! I saw it with my own eyes, a hulk like tense hand with fingers that curled to a relaxed and normal looking hand. It definitely worked great.

  9. Jerry B

    Being the BIGGEST skeptic around…. when I was told to sleep with a bar of soap in my bed…. Well, I wasn’t buying it… with research I discovered that thousands and thousands of people do this and claim it works….
    I did it…. it works… I put a bar in the end of an old sock… it works

  10. Hertha

    I am prone to hand/finger cramps. Very painful. I massage, run hot and cold water over the hands, but nothing works but time. Today I was in pain with my left hand and the pain wouldn’t cease so I went to the internet and looked up Home Remedies for Hand Cramps. I saw the suggestion about bar soap and immediately opened a new bar and held it in my aching hand. POOF — the pain went away within seconds. A miracle. Don’t turn your back on this method. It really, really works!!! Thank you all your contributors.

  11. Indru

    I have had hand cramps only on my left hand for about two years and being a right-handed person, I hardly used the left hand. I used to experience my middle two fingers with painful cramps when I would make a firm fist and then open my fist. Use of bar soap as recommended did give me relief in two days. Along with the above cramps, I also get cramps when I curl-up my left hand towards my wrist. That cramp has not gone away yet. If I get relief from this cramp, I will post a comment.

  12. n.b

    I have had hand cramping last 6 yrs. Which soap bar should I use for this?

  13. Judy K

    I look forward to your column in our daily paper each week. I have severe leg cramps at night so I tried the bar of soap under the sheet trick and it works! I’ve been cramp free for six months now. Wow! I’ve told all my friends about this unique idea, some just laugh, others said they would try it. Thanks for your help!

  14. teresa

    This bar of soap thing also works for arthritis of the knee. A friend told me about it. I have suffered with knee pain for 8 months noting helped including knee shots, but this worked overnight.

  15. Alyssa O.

    I get terrible hand cramping from the writing required by my new job. The pain does not go away for days and makes it difficult to even hold lightweight items. I’ve tried several suggestions without anything more than temporary success. This seems worth a try. Does it matter what type of soap is used?

  16. P.E.

    I have RLS and have taken medication for years. The last several months my medication has been ineffective. When I read your comment I laughed to myself thinking, “This is the craziest thing I’ve ever heard of”.
    Last night I woke up in the middle of the night suffering horribly with my restlessness. I decided to slip a bar of my soap (which I obtained from my shower) under my bottom sheet and 10 minutes later I was able to sleep soundly. Thank you so much for this information as it may have saved my life!

  17. bga

    I have a good friend who has leg cramps from the effects of Chemotherapy for breast cancer.
    She puts Tahitian Noni Juice right on her legs and rubs it in and the pain is instantly gone!
    If the cramps reappear the next day…more Noni juice! It goes right into her leg tissue and stops the cramping pains!!

  18. Bart

    This also works well for leg cramps. My wife had leg cramps at night in bed. A friend told her to put a bar under the bed-sheet by her legs. My wife said it works. It sounds nuts but whatever works, we are happy. It’s been a good year so far.

  19. Nancy C

    After reading about soap for leg cramps (I also have sciatic pain), I have had a bar of soap under my bottom sheet for 6 months now. No more night leg pain or cramps! Amazing! I also put a hotel-size bar in my pocket when I play duplicate bridge, because I always get sciatic leg pain at least once during the long sessions. Has only happened once since using the soap and it was the day I forgot to put it in my pocket.

  20. j.m

    I found a spoonful of yellow mustard to work almost immediately on cramps in any part of the body. Admit it doesn’t taste too good, but when it works it’s worth it!

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