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Why Does Soap Soothe Nighttime Leg Cramps?

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The following hypothesis was contributed by Derek H. Page and Hugh Smailes:

Several years ago, 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. We decided that although these data were anecdotal, and therefore suspect, we would treat them as if they were scientifically valid, and use them to try to develop an explanation for soap's seemingly helpful effects.

But as soon as we started reading the literature, we realized what an enormous task we had undertaken. The anecdotal literature is vast, and frustratingly contradictory. Nevertheless, we decided to continue, recognizing that any explanation we produced would remain an untested hypothesis. It would require testing by others before it could be elevated to the status of a theory. We decided to condense the relevant literature down to a few points on which there is general agreement. Here are the main relevant observations taken from the anecdotal evidence:

1. It seems to work for many people. Soap in the bed appears to alleviate nocturnal leg cramps.
2. Relief is immediate and sustained.
3. Some people report that soap does not work. It appears either to work consistently and well or not at all. There are few cases of partial success.
4. After a few months, a bar of soap is no longer effective for preventing cramps. It must be replaced. Old soap can be rejuvenated by scoring or shaving it to produce fresh surfaces.
5. Some subjects have placed the soap between the sheets, and some have placed it under the bottom sheet. Either or both of these methods work.
6. Some subjects report that direct physical contact between the subject and the soap is desirable, but few claim it is essential.

From these observations, certain conclusions may be drawn. For our purposes, number 4 on the above list is the most relevant. Apparently, the phenomenon can be switched off and on: off when the soap bar ages, and on again by scoring the soap. But why? What is it that's being switched off and on? We hypothesize that it is an as-yet-unidentified molecule present in the soap.. This might sound like a stretch, but in fact, this "switching" mechanism is consistent with what we know about the structure of soap.

Soap is a water-swollen gel. When it's purchased, its moisture content is generally somewhere between 5 to 15 percent. Soap is very porous, and when it's swollen with water, it permits small, dispersed molecules to pass through it. But when it has aged, its surface dries out, and its surface is a lot less porous, so small molecules can no longer pass through it.

We think that an unknown molecule that diffuses out of the soap gel is responsible for alleviating cramps. As long as the bar is emitting this molecule, the cramps are suppressed. An old bar of soap ceases to emit the molecule as the surface dries out and its resistance to diffusion rises. That's when the cramps return. The bar can emit again--and once again eliminate cramps--after new, moister, fresher surfaces are exposed by scraping the bar of soap.

From items number 5 and 6 from our list above, we know that direct contact between soap and skin can be helpful, but it does not seem to be essential. This suggests that our unknown molecule is volatile, capable of diffusing in air: i.e., that it can pass from a bar of soap to your cramping leg in a manner similar to the way a drug is transmitted through a skin patch.

After generating this hypothesis, we took a careful look at the list of ingredients on a package of soap, and we found only one possible source of small molecules of a volatile compound: the fragrance. Nearly all soaps contain fragrances or perfumes. Certainly those mentioned in the anecdotal evidence do.

And what perfumes are used in soaps? That's generally top-secret information, held close to the vest by soap manufacturers. But we do know that most soaps contain esters and oils, such as carrot oil and lavender oil (or their synthetic doppelgangers). These compounds are vasodilators. Like the ester nitroglycerin, which is used to alleviate pain caused by angina, they enlarge blood vessels. The quantity of perfume transmitted to the skin may be small, but it appears to be enough to dilate blood vessels and prevent cramps.

We know, of course, that the small,mobile molecules in the fragrances of soap diffuse through its gel to the surface and evaporate. We know because we can smell them. And when you score an old bar of soap, you can smell it all over again, just as strongly as when you first took it from its paper wrapper.

Before it can be accepted, every new hypothesis has to be tested. We would welcome the findings of anyone who might want to test our hypothesis, and we would be eager to see the results.

To the research community, which is convinced that ion imbalance is responsible for the initiation of cramps, we say that this suggestion doesn't challenge that.

There is ample room here for research by the academic and medical communities. Our proposed mechanism will surely be under attack within the week. Yet it fits much of the data so well that we suspect that whatever future research results are obtained the final conclusion in this matter will include much of what is written here.

Finally, it has not escaped our notice that if this explanation is correct, it may have applications beyond the alleviation of leg cramps--specifically, but not only, in the management of pain from other conditions.

We hope that having proposed this scientifically viable explanation for the phenomenon of soap alleviating leg cramps will validate the experiences of those that have benefitted from this "treatment," and open this area of inquiry to further medical and academic research. We do not claim originality for every element of this proposal. But we do claim originality for putting together the pieces of this puzzle.

To those who have been unable to get relief with the soap treatment (i.e., those mentioned in item 3 Above), we suggest you persevere and try a different soap with a stronger scent, potentially scoring it. You might try searching the internet, or this website, to see if there's a brand others have had good luck with. The fresh, unwrapped bar of soap should then be placed between the sheets, preferably in a location where the soles of your feet can touch it. And please report back to us whether or not it works--we'd be very interested to hear.

Dr. Derek H. Page, (Baie D'Urfe, Quebec, Canada) and Hugh Smailes (Apollo Bay, Victoria, Australia)

As a final disclaimer: we are not physicians and have no health expertise, as our critics will doubtless be happy to affirm.


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151 Comments

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Will this work for foot neuropathy? Has anyone ever tried it for that? Is this just for leg cramps, or will it work for foot cramp?

PEOPLE'S PHARMACY RESPONSE: It works for toe and foot cramps. We don't know about neuropathy.

The fragrance hypothesis could be further tested by using fragrant oils eg lavender oil or other fragrant esters used un soaps in small quantities on the sheets -- or infused in a small pad -- instead of soap.

The simple aspect of...object in the bed...keeping the feet and legs moving as you sleep....slight but moving.

My family and myself have suffered for years from leg cramps. My wife and I put a bar of Dove in an old sock and put it at the bottom of the bed between the sheets about a year ago. Works great. We both eliminated the cramps we suffered with for many years.

Told my father about doing this and it also works for him and my mother. We all used to suffer from the cramps. After a considerable amount of time I noticed we felt like we were about to experience cramps - just that crampy feeling in the lower leg muscles. Both my wife and I felt that way. This happened about 10 to 11 months after we started using the soap. We decided to replace the old bar and use a new bar and overnight that crampy feeling disappeared. That was a month or so ago that we replaced the soap and we are both cramp free and do not feel that crampy feeling anymore.

The bar of soap in bed has been a miracle for all of us as the cramps were a bad part of our life. Even if it is placebo effect that might be taking place it works for us 100%.

I have Short-Fiber Neuropathy--soles of feet slightly numb and tops of the feet very sensitive, or even painful, to touch. I have found that "YES", soap between the sheets does help me. It also helps with restless leg syndrome.

More importantly, what I have further found is that the B1 vitamin, Benfotiamine, has helped extrordinarily with the neuropathy...much more than any pain creams have helped. I take 150 mg. in the AM and 150 mg in the PM. After just a few days I had relief.

You will still have the neuropathy but the pain and tenderness is gone or greatly diminished. Benfotiamine is now a supplement I take regularly. I hope it also helps others.

My feet cramp, not my legs. I keep the soap in the paper wrapper under the bottom sheet. A lot of the time it slips just over the edge of the bed and is caught by the bed frame but it still seems to help. The effect dissipates after time so I put that bar in the shower and get a new bar. I bought a package of Castile soap when I started because I thought it might have to be "pure" soap to work, but Dial soap works, too.

Although I have perfume allergies so I usually buy "fragrance free" products! We normally use Dove in the shower, I read that others have had success with that. My husband is an engineer and generally skeptical about such things but now keeps a bar of soap (in a plastic ziploc bag to keep it "fresh" longer) in his bedside table. He holds it directly next to his skin when he gets a bad leg cramp.

My husband's night time leg cramps almost disappeared when he started taking 99 mg of Potassium daily.

This article about using soap in bed for leg cramps has been a boon for both my husband and me. I was convinced when, one night at my daughter's house, I woke up with leg cramps and couldn't get back to sleep. I was desperate as I take along a bar of soap when I visit. I went to get soap in the bathroom, no soap except a bar in receptacle. Took it and went back to sleep. Next morning found my bar on the floor, fell out of the bed. Also, one time that I got bad cramps in both hands, I thought of the soap. Got some, rubbed it on my hands, no more cramps. Only time in my life of 96 years that I had cramps in my hands. No more since.

Florence

If the fragrance is responsible for the therapeutic effect, then it should be the case that an unscented soap (e.g., Ivory) will produce no effect. Has anyone observed this?

Regarding my earlier post on Benfotiamine (above) for neuropathy in the feet. When beginning the supplement it is recommended to take 300 mg in the AM and 300 mg in the PM. As time goes on you may be able to take a smaller 'maintenance' dosage, i.e. 150 mg AM and PM. If symptoms return, go back to the 300 mg AM and PM dosages.

have used ivory with great success for several years. Spent weekend night in hotel and didn't think of soap until after bad night of leg cramps not sleeping.

BE DARING! Be the first to try it, what-cha-got to loose? a bar of soap? If it does
not work, you can still shower with it.

We have had the same 2 bars of soap under the queen mattress cover for years. One is Dial and the other Dove. They are in the middle about 2 feet from the foot. Still keep yellow mustard close, but have only needed it once.

I have been using a bar of soap under my bottom sheet for several years now -- no particular brand. Previously I had foot and calf cramps several times a week so painful that I had to get up and walk them off. Haven't had a cramp since. And it also controls my nighttime restless legs as well. I even carry my own bar of soap when I travel.

Somewhere I read that someone specifically recommended Ivory, but I have never worried about the brand. I do recognize that "pre-crampy" feeling mentioned by Rick B and have always just replaced the bar - never thought of shaving or scoring the old bar.

When I mentioned this to my new podiatrist, he poo-pooed me. However, he proudly admitted that he never has tried it either. I can handle disagreement based on proven facts or personal experience, but not a condescending poo-poo. I will be finding a new podiatrist this year for my annual diabetic checkup. The soap works for me, and everyone to whom I have recommended it. Cheap, easy and works. Would that all of life's uncomfortable problems were so easily solved.

how about Fels Naptha? definitely no scent there? prolly just a chip off the rather large bar would do the trick.

I very rarely have these cramps, but when I do they're serial as well as serious. When I lived in Iran I used "Nakhlozeitun." translates roughly as "palmolive."

Last year my husband and I were vacationing in Florida and the first night in the hotel I got toe cramps so bad I could not work them out. I remembered that I had packed a bar of Ivory soap and because I did not know what else to do, I got the bar and put it between the sheets. I was totally amazed that within 2-3 minutes my cramps disappeared and I was able to sleep through the entire night without getting any more cramps in my feet.

I am truly a believer!

Now if we could only find a substance to slip between the sheets that worked for depression or anxiety -- or insomnia! -- the way soap works for leg cramps.

Where did the idea come from that Ivory soap is scent free? Not so, according to the wrapper which lists “fragrance” among its ingredients. Scent-free soaps are sold in specialist stores but I suspect that almost all soaps sold in regular stores contain scents. That is why they all work. DHP.

Recently over heard a conversation about soap and leg cramps but didn't know the application. That very night in my hotel room both my legs cramped- one after the other. I grabbed a bar of soap, lathered with cold water and rubbed the backs of my legs; then rubbed the bar directly on my muscles ~~relief within minutes and sleep well. I WILL try it again and perhaps even keep a bar of soap in my bed now that I know the procedure!!

The soap really works. I have in the past been to the ER because of severe cramps. Soap prevents both the pre-onset feeling and the cramps themselves. Before I heard of the soap I used an Amish remedy which stopped most cramps within a minute. It's primary ingredient is vinegar which relates to the yellow mustard also used as a remedy. Personally I prefer to not get them as opposed to stopping the onset.
Frank

After suffering severe night cramps in my left leg in addition to the relentless pain from RSD/CRPS, I tried a bar of Dove soap in the area around my feet in bed. Lo and behold, for the first time in many years I've now had several nights of cramp and pain-free sleep even without using the neurostimulating device implanted in my spine.
Doc Bob, Retired physician.

PEOPLE'S PHARMACY RESPONSE:

Dear Doc Bob. Thanks for keeping an open mind. We know that the soap probably challenges your training and belief system. Sure glad that it worked for you.

Low cost...low risk and you can stop at any time and see whether the problem returns.

By the way...should you wish People's Pharmacy Bed Soap (flatter and less intrusive) it is available here:

http://peoplespharmacy.com/bed-soap/

The soap method does work for me. I have been plagued with mussel spasams for years and would have severe leg pain at least 3 or 4 times a week.
Since i started using the bar of soap about a month ago i havn't had the slightes cramp. I just want to thank the person that told me about the soap,
i can't remember his name, But Thank You.

I heard about this from another source, tried it, and it worked, not every day but perhaps my bar of Ivory Soap may be drying out (must look).

As to the intensity of the fragrances, the soap called Irish Spring(?) smells so strong that I used it once years ago and never again. So, it might be the ideal soap.

My aunt told me about putting a bar of soap under my fitted sheet near my calves, which is where most of my leg pain is at. After doing this for a week, I haven't had leg pain one single night. Psychological or physiological--I don't care. It works. I wished I had heard of this sooner.

I was having severe foot and calf cramps, waking me up around 3 a.m. every morning, making me crazy! I read a lot of different cures, but when I read about the soap, I thought-what the heck-I'll try it. That was over a year ago.

In the last couple of months they've started to come back, but just a hint, all I have to do is touch the soap- and they're gone! Other than that, they are no more! I will try scoring the surface of my soap, I use Irish Spring. My doctor laughed when I told him about it- but I have the last laugh- I have no more leg cramps!!

Had to start taking a thyroid medication that gave me horrible leg/foot cramps. I stopped taking the medication due to this side effect. Fast forward a year and a new Dr. prescribed the same medication to me and the cramps started right up again. My endocrinologist suggested I try the bar of soap in my bed and it has been amazing. Seems so crazy, but I don't care. It works!

YES it works. I agree that it seemed rdiculous when my physical therapist told me about it...she did not know why it works but I took her on faith (what could it hurt to try?) and found immediate relief. Tonight I woke with first cramps in three years, and after reading the comments I have replaced my bar of soap. Miracle cure! I had not heard the theory about the perfume molecules, but now it begins to make sense. PLEASE TRY THIS. IT CANNOT HURT YOU AND WILL INDEED HELP.

I must say, I can understand where the skepticism comes from, but I can attest to this working. Since February I have been having incredibly painful cramping-like sensations at night, but after recently putting a bar of soap under the covers at the foot of the bed they have all vanished.

It sounds like a crazy solution, but it works...

I don't know if it's the fragrance that does it, but I can definitely say that putting soap under the bottom sheet has worked for me. Several years ago my mother told me that she had relieved my father's frequent and painful leg cramps using the bar of soap method, so I tried it. I had also had frequent and very painful foot and leg cramps for years, and I had immediate and complete relief. Since I prefer unscented products of all kinds, I use Ivory (which has very little scent.) When the bar is getting worn down, I move it to the shower and replace it with a fresh one. I even carry a bar with me when we travel. I, too, have wondered if direct contact would take care of a cramp; it appears that it does. Good to know!

My Mother-in-Law heard about this remedy from a volunteer at an ER last year. She suffers from leg cramps. I too suffer from severe leg cramps and have been to doctors and have had PT both only offered limited and temporary improvement.

I paid no attention to what the volunteer said- "Old wives tale" I called it. I just found out recently my MIL tried it and has had a bar of soap at the foot of her bed- swears by it. My wife and I recently spent the night at her parents vacation home and I found the soap at the foot of the bed and was going to remove it. My wife convinced to leave it there.

No cramps that night. Still a skeptic, as every once in a while I don't get them for a night or two. The next night, no cramps. It has been five nights now (I placed a bar of soap at the foot of out bed when we returned home) with no cramps! I haven't slept this well in years! I have a glycerin-based soap in my bed.

To the skeptics out there: Don't knock it until you try it. Seriously, what have you got to loose? You aren't trying a new pill or getting a new prescription- its a bar of soap-no prescription needed-and you probably have a bar in your pantry.

It worked on my insomnia. I had the best sleep I had in years with soap in bed!

It works for my husband and me and has for the last three years since I've heard about it. We use Irish Spring.

Has anyone had sciatic leg pain and found it too to be relieved by the bar of soap?

I recently stopped taking a potassium supplement, for reasons not necessary to explain here. Almost immediately my occasional low/medium calf cramps were occurring nightly. And were severe. I decided to try the soap in bed suggestion and because I was having very cold feet when I get into bed these cold nights, I wear bed socks. I put a half worn bar of soap inside both socks. INSTANT SUCCESS AND CONTINUES THROUGH THE WEEK THAT I'VE DONE IT.

I have been a chronic and nightly cramper for many years (possibly because of my age (86) and type 2 diabetes). By chance, I happened upon the soap suggestion on the Internet.

With a nothing-to-lose attitude and a very large dose of skepticism, I threw a bar of soap under the covers three nights ago and, to my complete amazement, I have enjoyed three nights of cramp free sleep. I AM A VERY HAPPY BELIEVER !

There is a scary twist to this story. The soap in question was a bar that my wife had placed in a drawer where I kept my underwear, more than 16 years ago and might have been ineffective because of drying out, if we accept the premise that it has something to do with the scent. If that had been the case, I would have concluded that the concept was a load of baloney.

It scares me to think that I might, therefore, have missed out on a very good thing!

Re the scent, after reading your most erudite article, I checked the soap and it still had a strong scent. I have to credit my wife's penchant for quality -- It was by Pierre Cardin !

A Facebook and personal friend of mine, posted about the soap relieving leg cramps on her home page and swears by it. And since I have suffered from what around here, we call "charley horses" every single night since I was a teenager, I decided that I didn't have anything to lose. Guess what? It worked like a charm. I haven't had a cramp for about a month (since I put the bar of Dial under my bottom sheet). My opinion is: You have nothing to lose by trying it. I don't really care about the why's....only that it worked! Thank You to whoever first discovered this!!!

How about arthritic pain????

It works for me...with no rhyme or reason I can think of...

I found this some years ago and like most thought NO WAY. But it truly does work. Sometimes simple is best... no drugs.

I have been using a bar of soap for about 2 years now, under the sheets. I have not woken to cramps once. 3 times while sleeping in the spare room for one reason or the other I forgot to place soap in bed and got a good charlie that was as bad as they ever were before. I also used many kinds of soap bars, some full size and they have all worked. I change it every time I buy a new bar of soap for the bathroom sink. They can also be smelled in my room.

I have been using the bar soap rememdy for about 2 years. And I have found that it does work for me.. It has been quite awhile since I have had leg cramps.

I unwrapped my soap bar and put it between the mattress and the sheet and found that it did work. If my leg cramps should start up again I will go back to the bar of soap and this time try it unwrapped.. For me this worked

Most leg cramp issues can be associated with dehydration and depletion of potassium.

Most bar soaps also contain sodium chloride. During sleep, sodium chloride is absorbed through the skin from the bar of soap.

Stop eating soda, sugar/corn syrup, and coffee as replacements for fresh fruit and water and you won't need pills or soap (expect to keep clean) :D

Two nights ago I tried this AND IT WORKS!!! No cramps and no restless legs. I have had cramp for years at night and just recently, restless legs. I'm a convert!

Instead of leg cramps, I have been troubled for years by pain in my left hip, the result of an old injury. I like to sleep on my side, but am awakened every night after two or three hours by pain in the left hip, forcing me to turn over on my right side. I decided to place a bar of soap in the bed, on top of the sheets so that I was in contact with it. I was quite skeptical about it doing any good, but to my surprise there was almost no pain at all in my hip, the very first night and every night since then. I'm sold! The first night I used a piece of soap that was very flat and placed it directly under my hip.

It's funny to the people that say eat healthy, and you won't have leg cramps, etc. Well, guess what? I eat healthy, drink plenty of water, take an excellent magnesium supplement on a regular basis, and still occasionally get cramps. The soap works better than most anything to stop the pain quickly or the charley horse or the RLS.

Plus, what is the problem with some people being negative about the soap anyway? Doesn't make sense to me.

I was having horrible calf cramps that would wake me out of a deep sleep, and had me leaping out of the bed in hideous pain at least three times a week. I get plenty of calcium, and had tried several other vitamins and supplements to stop the cramps, though nothing seemed to work.

I really didn't believe in the mysterious soap bar remedy at all, but a friend swore that it worked for her, so I thought "What do I have to loose? If it doesn't work, I can still use the soap." I didn't think to ask my friend where to put the soap in the bed, so I grabbed a bar and put it between the sheet and the side of the mattress pad at the top of the bed.

That was at least 2 months ago, and I swear that I have not had one leg cramp since!

I'm not sure on the speculation that this amazing remedy comes from the fragrance though, because I use Dove unscented soap for sensitive skin. Whatever it is, this remedy has made a believer out of me, and I'd highly recommend using a bar of soap if you are having leg cramps when you sleep.

I have had night cramps for several years and was taking quinine, which was the only thing that helped. Very skeptical about the claims of soap in the bed, but wanting to find an alternative to the tablets, as I had read health warnings about the continued use of quinine, I tried it.

The first quinine-free night I got into bed, feeling the first signs of cramp in my foot, telling myself I was crazy, this would never work - and had a good night's sleep, that incipient cramp did not develop. That was about three weeks ago and the soap is still in the bed and I have had only one bad night with the cramp since but sometimes I would get cramp even when I took the quinine.

So, crazy at it seems this idea does, is, working, it cannot be a placebo effect, not in my case, because I was fully convinced it would never work, it could not work - but it does.

Hi just want to say I had aching legs and was told about the soap and in desperation I threw a bar of oatmeal soap in my bed about 3 weeks ago. The pains in my legs were gone but my shoulder that is starting to freeze up IS MOVING !!!. I can stretch my arm back behind me without pain OMG I will keep a cake of soap in my bed for the rest of my life just in case it's that that's helping. I am not on any medication I will save all that for when I am old and also my bed has a strong smell of oatmeal. Also one more thing.... I spring out of bed now like when I was young and don't know why or how... could it be "The Soap"

The bar of soap is definitely not a placebo. My husband had severe leg cramps at night until, without his knowledge, I put small slices of a bar of soap under the bottom bed sheet. No more leg cramps, until I forgot to put them back while changing sheets. That night he had excruciating leg cramps. I put the soap back next day - no more cramps. I finally told him about the "cure" and he's a believer.

Wow! This really works! I have done something to my leg, either pulled muscle or pinched nerve. I have been hobbling around for three days. The pain worsened when resting and especially at night. Last night I researched leg pain at night and stumbled onto this site. Thought I would give it a try, nothing to lose. My nineteen year old son thought I was crazy. But he was wrong. I slept great, with only a tiny bit of pain when lying in one certain position. I will keep the bar of soap in my bed. Prayers for all that are in pain.

A friend told me about using the soap and I tried it right away as I was having cramps every night. From the time I put the open soap under the fitted sheet I only had one night of waking up with cramps and I think the bar of soap I used was old, so the next night I shaved it and put it back. Not one cramp. I'm sold, don't know how it works but I don't care...it works, Now I buy a lavender scented soap so my sheets smell good and it's also a relaxing smell. win win!

Hello,

So glad that this works for you. It works for me, as well! May I ask what kind of lavender soap that you buy? I love lavender.

Thanks

I have been using soap under my fitted sheet for about 4 years now, with blessed relief from leg cramps which I suffered from almost every night for years. I tried quinine, potassium, ate bananas(a lot), tried drinking a full bottle of water just before bed (all that did was increase my bathroom runs) and nothing helped. Thanks to my brother-in-law who told me about under the soap under the sheet. I have been leg cramp free ever since.

I didn't know about changing the soap but I have always just changed it every time my shower needed a new bar I put my bed soap in the shower and the new soap in my bed and have never had a recurrence of leg cramps in bed. I still sometimes get them during the day and, guess what, If I'm hone I crawl in bed and they go away. Thanks for the lavender soap tip, I love lavender, but I always kept with the standard brands afraid of trying any off brands not wanting to chance it. But since it could be the fragrance I will buy my lavender soap.

And for you skeptics, what do you have to lose? Just listen to all the commercials for different medicines and the list of side affects they list at the end of the commercial (including death for some of them, NO SIDE AFFECTS WITH SOAP and like someone else said, if it doesn't work for you you don't even have to throw it out, just go wash.

Hi, Nancy,

So glad that it works for you. It for works for me, too! I can't understand why someone would gripe about it anyway. Looks like they'd want to at least try it. And if it didn't work, then fine. It's not going to work for everyone. Works for most people, though. I read about 80 percent or a little bit more.

Several years ago, my Mother who was 84 years young shared with me this "cure" for night time leg cramps. I respectfully asked, "And just what kind of scientific principle do we have working here?" She just said, "Go ahead and laugh, it works!" I'm a type II diabetic and have long suffered from occasional cramps that were excruciatingly painful, especially one that affects the front of the shin, that literally brings tears, I still didn't give it much thought.

Arriving back home, almost two months went by and it suddenly dawned on me that I hadn't had a cramp for a long time. I mentioned it to my wife who smiled and asked, "Was it about the time when we came back from your Mom's and I put the soap under the bottom sheet?" Sure enough, she had placed a sliver of "used" soap under the sheet and viola, no cramps. That was six years ago and the only cramps I've had are when the soap dries out and I replace it doggone fast!

Nothing had changed in my diet, lifestyle or bedroom, except the soap. To you skeptics, it may not work for you, so don't do it, no need to rain on someone else's parade unless you're just plain mean-spirtited.

LEG CRAMPS; Working in the retail business I am on a concrete floor with work boots 8 hours a day. When a double shift needs to be done, at 2am... in the past I have had 20 minutes of cramps that scares the dog and wife!

My INJURED Siatica nerve in my left leg was the start of bad leg CRAMPS TWO YEARS ago, until till last year when I started to use PURE WHITE IVORY SOAP opened bar without the wrapping in a cotton track suit I started to wear with comfort fitting elastic angle bindings for my night ware, I included a bar of IVORY SOAP in each leg....WHOE GRANDPA! you say forget that... Well SONNY 10 months later once in that time frame have I had a slight hint of a leg cramp.

I take half the amount of milk at 57 years that I did 20 years ago, do take calcium pills a few times a the week for the last 15 years...but also have had cramps during that period of my life....while taking the calcium pill!

NOW the wife sleeps having not to be worrying if I am having a heart attack and the dog thanks me too. So is it an old wives tale maybe...but if I do not have my PURE WHITE IVORY NAKED SOAP in my leggings night ware...I say H-E- DOUBLE HOCKEY sticks!

I had been suffering from bad cramp on and off for years. Like others, I tried potassium, tonic water (quinine ) calcium tablets, even a cork in the bed, but none of these worked for very long, if at all.

We went on a cruise in March 2013 and the yoga teacher on board recommended using soap in the bed. She said, as pure as possible with as little fragrance as possible. I had with me a bar of soap purchased from a soap factory in Aleppo (Syria) when we were on holiday there just before their tragic revolution. IT WORKED, AND I HAVE BEEN CRAMP FREE EVER SINCE.

It has changed my life. I will probably experiment with soap brands suggested by other people on this site, just to see if pure, or scented makes any difference for me.
Sometimes things work when there isn't a scientific explanation, this is such a harmless thing to try, so I urge anyone with painful cramp to give it a go.

It's interesting that I heard Dr. Oz says that he uses a soap in the bed that is lavender. I bet that smells good, and the fragrance such as lavender is supposed to aid sleep. If I can find some, I may try that instead of Ivory soap.

This is so funny. I put soap in my bed about two months ago because I was having terrible foot and leg cramps. I totally forgot about the soap and the cramps until I read this. It must be working miracles for me. I can't remember going this long between cramps before. I also have acute pain on the top of my feet at times and it is also gone. Wow, what a simple cure.

Freek'in unbelievable, started having really bad night feet and leg cramps for about 3 months now. I have been so sleep deprived that I feel sick during the day. My leg muscles stay very sore during the day, from all of the night cramping. Just put a bar of soap in my bed, and yep, you guys are right, it works, and all most instantly. My brother suffers with RLS, going to tell him in the morning. The very thought of a good nights sleeps makes me nearly cry. wooooooo hoooooo!!!!

I was introduced to the bed soap idea from an elderly woman in a nursing home who sped past me with her walker as I was limping my way along the hallway to visit a friend. She took pity on me and started to tell me about the soap that she slept with each night and that I should try it.

I could not believe the instantaneous results I received and have been telling everyone that I hear of that is suffering of any nighttime pains. Many have thanked me, others think I am loony but I don't care because it works for me and I know many people who depend upon this to stay mobile.

It doesn't seem to work for everyone but there are enough people that I know that swear by this and if it is in my head so be it. I have done a number of searches trying to find out the same thing "what is the science behind this." Your idea is intriguing and I have also read about the possibility of soap being derived in some way from potash and that the "potassium" component is in there somewhere.

Nice to know there are many others out there and I just know that I am thankful to that elderly lady who stopped and cared enough to share her secret.

I have ONLY tried unscented Ivory and I've been befuddled as to HOW this works but will not sleep in a bed w/o it now . My calves looked like writhing pythons in the midst of those horrible cramps but not for the last 2 months friend.

A friend told me about the soap in the sheets and I don't actually have leg cramps, but one night my hip was hurting so bad I couldn't sleep. I hurt bad enough to cry, so I put a bar of soap under my bottom sheet near my hip and the next morning I couldn't believe, I was totally pain free. I tell everyone that complains about any kind of pain, back, neck, shoulders and of course leg cramps. I say what have you got to lose, just try it. If it doesn't work just use the soap to wash your hands.

Yes, it works on tons of stuff. It helps my husband's neck soreness that he gets when driving.

I was getting bad cramps read about bed soap tried it haven't had any cramp since. It really works.

I must say, my mother was having restless legs for weeks. The doctors were trying every kind of medicine to help her. She has kidney problems and the medicines that they were prescribing had side effects of the kidney's.

Two years ago her family doctor told her to put soap under her sheets for restless legs. We laughed, the doctor laughed and we just went on thinking that it was funny. A month ago, my mom was placed on hospice and began to have problems again with restless legs. One of the hospice nurse mentioned that many of her patients used soap to help with the restless legs; again we laughed and then said what the heck lets try it.

Guess What? It WORKED. It has been two months and she has not complained about restless legs since. She is forever checking to make sure that the soap is still in place underneath her sheets.

If you have not tried it I suggest that you do. WE USE DOVE SOAP.

Now we are having problems with her sleeping at night. We have tried all kinds of prescribed meds, nothing works. Any home remedies that will not effect the heart or kidneys?

I have been plagued w/foot cramps for months due to vitamin deficiencies. Up several times per night to walk them out. Not good for sleep pattern! Mom told me about this soap thing. I was reluctant to try it. Sounds ridiculous. It worked.

I used Dial soap which stinks to high heaven! I have chemical allergies and was so afraid to even put it in our bed due to my migraine issues w/perfumes etc. But I was desperate.

Now that I have read your article, I see that maybe the Dial soap is a good choice w/all that fragrance.

Thanks for compiling the info, it's very interesting and helpful.

I took a fresh bar of soap and shaved it with a cheese grater on top of my mattress but under the mattress cover so the flakes are not everywhere. This seems to work for about 1 month and then I have to replace the shavings. They clean up easily with the vacuum. So this would support your theory about the oils and the soap drying up.

I experienced the skeptical looks when I mentioned the soap solution for cramps. Tried it and am a believer . Shared it with my cardiologist and am anxious to hear his comment at my next visit. I'm not really interested so much in 'how' but just that IT WORKS

A doctor friend told me about this several years ago and I have a bar of soap in our motorhome and our home as I won't sleep without 'my soap'.......people laugh at me, tell me I believe in snake oil, etc. but I do NOT HAVE LEG CRAMPS anymore as long as my soap is in place.

The doctor said they do not know why it works but the explanation above is really helpful.

I put 3 bars of unwrapped, new Dove, green soap in a sock and secured the end - Placed the sock near the foot of the bed between the sheets, and close to my feet and legs.

The cramps in my feet and legs had been almost unbearable until I tried this. The first night I could feel the cramp begin to start and would reach for the sock with my foot and pull it up next to the foot/leg that was beginning to cramp. THE
CRAMP WOULD STOP IMMEDIATELY. I did this for about three weeks. The cramps begin to get further and further apart. It has been two weeks now and I have not felt a cramp even start. The soap is still in my bed and will stay from now on. If the cramps begin again, I will get new soap. Reason for three bars - king sized bed.

My husband has not complained of his legs cramping since the bars were placed in the bed, and they are completely on MY side of the bed.

I haven't had coffee, sugar, soda, etc for YEARS--eat lots of fruit and drink lots of water--so much so that I have to get up several times a night to use the bathroom. Still have horrendously painful foot cramps. Now I'll try the soap idea.

It worked with my feet and legs. Still hard to believe that something so simple could work such a miracle, but it did. I put 3 bars of green Dove soap in a sock near my feet. First few nights when the pain would start, then it would subside. For the past 2 weeks there has been no pain at all. Neuropathy, yes. I have had Chemotherapy. Doctor seemed to
think the Neuropathy started from that.

Sure this seems kooky, but it made me laugh and it also truly works!

I was very skeptical of this old wives tale, but with nothing else happening, and a bar of soap is cheap and already had a few different brands in the house, I figured I'd give it shot. There was absolutely nothing to loose if it didn't work. I have not had any RLS symptoms since using the soap. I swear by it and will never go without it! I don't know how or why it works, or who came up with the idea, but it works for me and I couldn't be happier!

My aunt just had hip pinning surgery 3 weeks ago and is suffering from hip and knee pain. I am desperate for answers. I tried this tonight without her knowing. I am hoping she will be able to sleep tonight. I will report the results tomorrow. Thank you for sharing this. I hope it works for her. Cheers!

I have severe Restless Leg and have been using a bar of Zest under my sheet for about a week now. I want to shout from the rooftops how well this works! I'm still just so excited every night when I go to bed and have absolutely no pain!

I keep my bar at about knee level, under the fitted sheet. Sure, it has the wanderlust, but it's worth it. most of the time I don't even notice it.

I am, by nature, skeptical of anything that is illogical. But night leg cramps are painful and disrupt sleep, so I tried it...IT WORKS. I can tell, when I've lost my Ivory off the edge of the bed; leg cramps return.

The effects do wear off as the soap ages, but when it falls and hits the floor, chips break off and voila!, works again splendidly. There must be more to it than fragrance; why doesn't fabric softener fragrance work?

I heard about this from a friend...I have suffered from foot and leg cramps for years, every night. No matter how much potassium and calcium I took, didn't make a difference.

I need my feet and legs for my job, and I would actually get up with bruises and could barely walk the next day because my feet and legs hurt so bad from the cramps the night before. She told me that a friend of hers did the bar of soap underneath the bed sheet. It sounded so dumb that I just blew it off.

A few days later, I was so sore I decided to try it, and I thought "I'll try anything", Haven't had a leg or foot cramp since!! Sounds stupid, but it really worked for me.

The first time I tried this 2 months ago, I used Ivory soap and have had absolutely NO leg or toe cramps since. I'm sticking with what works for me.

I have had severe leg cramps, starting with RLS (restless leg syndrome) & then developing in horrific cramps in legs and feet for a couple of years. Several prescription drugs have been tried, with no lasting effect on the leg and foot cramps. On a recent trip to Spokane, WA a client of my daughter's Pilates class told me to place a bar of soap--unwrapped--between the mattress pad and the sheet between my knees and feet. I thought it was a bit odd, but thought "hey it costs nothing and I am not putting medication into my body". I have used the method for a month and my cramps have completely subsided. It is really quite unbelievable. I am not one that gets placebo effects on anything, so know it is a WINNER! Wish that more people knew about this, it might save many from taking medications that do NOT work.

I agree with the above comment from Ted... It works so well that I really want to know why...what is in the soap that does this...

I have always had leg cramps...some so bad it climbs up my leg and locks my hip in horrible pain. I asked my othro doc what to do... he suggested muscle relaxers...that is not for me...A friend of my swore by this...I thought it was a crazy idea and wouldn't try it...until now...It is unbelievable...

When I have a cramp in my foot my first thought is to jump up and apply pressure on my foot to stop it... I grabbed the bar of soap off the chest by my bed...I held it to my ankle just to see what would happen...within seconds it subsided... No lie... Unreal...it really does...

I keep a bar near my chair where I watch tv..because I have gotten the cramp when standing up after watching tv...NOT any more...I have old soap...I have only used as a decoration...I began to wonder if there was something strong in this becuse its old soap...After reading the comments...I guess not...

I still want to know why...but don't have any plans of removing the soap from my bed any time soon...

It truely works... it really does... Now I tell everyone to at least try it...place against the cramp and watch it relax... amazing...is all I can say...

I left a comment on how wonderful this works...what I forgot to mention was this...the day I tried this I had been having terrible fluttering in my ear... The ENT doctor told me it was a sm. muscle causing this...and would have to live with it...for the rest of my life...it was so annoying...

The only other thing to do was to have it cut...which is a drastic way of getting rid of this fluttering... I had put the soap in the bed to try for the leg and foot cramps... after a couple of leg cramp free nights... I realized the flutter was gone... gone... and has not returned...I am guessing it works for any king of muscle disorder... I hope it does... anyone who thinks it's nuts like I did...I am telling you...try it... just try it...

I was having foot and leg cramps so bad for over a year nothing helped! Saw the artice and said what can it hurt. Within 2 days I noticed a little cramping and then gone after that nothing no cramps! I don't know what it does but I am keeping that bar of Ivory Soap under my bottom sheet for life!

Even my doctor said there was nothing he could recommend that would help. Maybe it's a fluke but I don't know, I had them horrible as soon as I would about fall asleep they started in top of my foot my toes would look deformed. I swear I thought now I know how people that had polio must have felt when you see your foot and toes pulling to the side awful pain. That has been 3 weeks now and only a couple of nights I feel just a tiny bit start in "a" toe and immediately rub my foot on the soap under sheet it would stop and that was it. My entire leg feels better the calfs of legs more relaxed which I think probably causes all of it. Try it what do have to lose and couple for Ivory soap bar!


Thanks for the info! Dee

So glad that it works for you, too. I works for me. You can put it on any cramp at any time of day and it works, as well. At least for 80+ percent of the folks. Don't know why, but it does work.

I have been slowly dreading for night fall to come knowing the foot and leg cramps are on the way, I started reading the comments made here and thought to my self, without telling my wife I would try the dove in the bed (the brand she uses) I will show her this comment in a few days whether it works or not. She will know because I wake her with the screams and a few (bad words none with the word god) I will be honest with you'll.
thanks and good night in a few hours from now. Wish me luck...
heres hoping.


When I started taking Tamoxifen my knees became very stiff. The stiffness only happened when the legs were straightened and was particularly bad during the night.

Quite by chance I came across "soap in bed" on the internet. Feeling a bit foolish, but thinking I had nothing to lose, I put a bar of Simple Soap in the bed. Result - no pain or stiffness that night. Next night the stiffness was as bad as ever. When I got out of bed I found the soap on the floor!

Since then the soap has been imprisoned beneath the fitted bottom sheet. I scrape the sides of the soap each week and the benefit continues with the original bar. Interestingly Simple Soap works, even though it doesn't contain perfumes.

my 83 yr old aunt told me several years back to put the soap in my socks... problem with that is I can not sleep with socks on... I have restless leg syndrome and husband has had leg cramps off and on all of his life.

My cousin said she just put a bar of soap in her bed and has not had cramps since so we tossed a bar of original dial soap in the bed and have not had cramps since. We wondered WHY this would work and found this page ...

MAKES PERFECT SENCE TO US and we are glad to have the scoring advice as I wondered if after a time we would need to put a new bar in the bed :)

Another cousin will be adding soap to her bed to test this out as well and we cant wait to see if it helps her too!

About 3 years ago, I started having SEVERE PAIN at 3:00 AM - so bad my husband took me to the ER - so much fun and so expensive - in my left thigh. Doctor couldn't find anything wrong. When this happens the pain usually lasts for 45 minutes (for each episode.) I can hardly talk at times it's so painful.

Doctors decided it wasn't serious but to me it was. I've been to the doctor about this 5 times because the pain is so INTENSE it scares me!! Still no answers. So, fast forward 3 years - the pain was starting to increase and the right thigh started to join in and have started to feel "something" in the thighs during the day.

I remembered a friend telling me about the soap in the bed and I tried it and IT WORKS. Be sure to take a magnesium supplement- no more than 400 mg (will cause the runs) along with calcium at bedtime (this did not stop the ATTACKS but magnesium is VERY IMPORTANT for a lot of things - check it out.) One of these fine days I am going to take a bar of soap to my doctor and I'm gunna ..........!! Well, I think I'm going too. This is just an unbelievable CURE.

Hi, Susie,

Glad that the soap works for you. It does for me, as well. About the magnesium, my husband and I have been taking magnesium w/SRT for about 6 or so years right now. You can google magnesium w/SRT, which the "SRT" means sustained release technology. It's not the brand name, but I don't know if I can type the brand here. Anyway, it's magnesium malate. It's the best kind that we have ever found, and you don't have the poo problems because this releases over time.

Hi I have just been reading all these useful comments, I suffer with terrible cramps in my calves and toes at night and sometimes during the day when I am out. Last night the pain was awful and just wouldn't subside, so guess what I am going to put a fresh bar of soap in my bed tonight and give it a go, I expect by partner will think I have lost the plot but he will suggest it's worth a try.

Will let you know what happens!

I have had terrible leg cramps which have been increasing in intensity for several years and associated it with The menopause and driving as it was my left leg (clutch leg) which was the most affected. The severity of the cramp was waking me up to 6 times a night and I would have to get out of bed to relieve it. I eat an extremely healthy diet, drink water and always eat fresh fruit and vegetables a day.

Tried soap tonight after talking with my mum, who had heard about it on the radio. I would have expected a lot of cramp tonight as I had driven for a long time today (job requirements) and guess what, no cramps! Very strange, in fact so strange that I am up reading sites trying to work out why it worked! will keep a log now.

When I first made a comment, regarding leg cramps--Aug. 8th, I had used the soap bars for about 5 wks. I am now on week 9 and am currently trying an experiment. I removed the 3 small(travel size) Soap bars from my bed before retiring last night. My legs were uncomfortable, but no actual calf or foot cramps. I am going to do this for 3 nights, unless I get REALLY bad CRAMPS and then will probably put them right back in the bed. I had been taking Gabapentin, which did not really work & I suffered side-effects. After one month of using the Soap between mattress pad and bottom sheet and not having nightly cramps, I was convinced that it was NOT a placebo effect, and stopped taking medication.

NOTE: Be sure that you use a vegetable peeler to peel off layers on the bars at least every 2 wks. At least I have found them more effective that way. Our daughter, a scientist, believes it is the Esters--I'm more thinking it is the glycerin. No matter what it is--IT WORKS!

I too have suffered from very painful nocturnal leg cramps for years. I tried many different remedies, including medical treatment by a physician (e.g., prescription strength potassium).

Nothing worked until I finally tried a bar of Ivory soap under the bottom sheet at the foot of my bed. It has worked every night, without fail, for the past 3 years. Like others who have commented above, an essential part of my luggage when I travel is a soap box with my Ivory soap.

My understanding is that the "fragrance free" Ivory is supposed to work the best. Not sure how that fits with the explanation above that the fragrance molecules are responsible for the effect. I also have used the same bar of soap for three years and have never scored it or shaved it down. My friends laugh at me, but I don't care. Those who have tried Ivory soap for nocturnal leg cramps on my advice have thanked me over and over.

I'm not a scientist, but I am in the medical care-giver field. I don't believe it is a placebo effect because, for me, nothing else works, and when I have accidentally pushed the bar of soap off the foot of the bed, I start getting "crampy". I wake up, retrieve the soap, replace it under the sheet, and continue sleeping pain free. I don't know how or why it works. I just know that it works for me.

I read about this Ivory soap in the bed for foot/leg cramps several years ago. Nothing was said about not having a scent. I just just regular Ivory soap bars. But I have read other folks using different kinds of soap. I even read that Dr. Oz knows about this, and he uses a bar of lavender soap. You can use it on any ache that you have during the day. My husband's neck hurts sometimes driving, so he places a bar on his neck for a while. It stops it from hurting.

Also, it's my understanding that you have to replace the soap monthly, however, if you shave it, then that probably keeps it working good, as well.

No one really knows why or how this works. Some doctors have thrown out that it's the magnesium in it, but in my opinion, it could be that along with a combination of whatever is in it.

Irish Spring soap has helped greatly reduce my aches and discomfort from arthritis in my hip. The pain radiates down my legs making it difficult to sleep at night, even with sleep aids. However, when I put the soap in the bed it is much easier to sleep, due to less pain. It works even better when I lay the soap against my hip or leg.

This has worked for me over many months.

Having read about this "soap therapy" on this site and having suffered from nightime leg cramps for years...so severe that the cramps would awaken me almost nightly in the middle of the night with excruciating pain in my toes, feet and legs.....I tried your soap idea some 2 months ago...and I have not had a single cramp again...not once, not one night...I've been able to sleep and I am very grateful. It works for my wife as well, one single bar of aromatic soap "protects" the whole bed, just laid between the sheets by our feet. Amazing. Thank you!

Saturday night, September 21, 2013 I tried two bars of Jergens soap between my sheets. Believe it or not, I had a sound, restful sleep, my first in at least two years. My legs were not restless, my feet did not feel numb. As a rule any time I return to bed after getting up during the night my legs and feet keep me awake for an hour or more and require vigorous massage.

The next night, September 22, again I had quiet legs though coffee kept me awake for three hours and I read a book until 4 a.m. But my feet and legs were comfortable, bothered me not one whit.

This has to be more than a placebo effect.

I had suffered from leg cramps for over a year. They had gotten so bad that I was having to get up and soak in hot water several times a night. A friend had mentioned putting soap under sheet, and of course I laughed. But, I had gotten so desperate that I was willing to try anything, and the minute I put the soap under my sheet, the leg cramps went away. I few weeks later, they came back I was miserable again.I was curious to why the soap had worked in the first place, and found this article.
I tried replacing the old bar of soap, and sure enough, instant relief.
I don't believe in old wives tales, but the soap certainly works for me.

My family has known about a similar remedy using corks tied up in a linen bag and placed under the bottom sheet. I am in my 80's and suffered from cramp. I used this with instant relief. So this may change the investigation of how the relief is effected. Not he soap but the object used.

Ivory soaped works like a miracle for me!!! Pregnancy leg cramps, Charlie horses... In feet and legs- completely and immediately soothed by touching the soap. Frequency has decreased tremendously since bar of ivory was placed in my sheets.

A friend told us to try this out. I didn't believe it.......but I really does work. I change the soap about every 2-3 months.

I tell people this, but did you know that you can actually use the soap at any time of day on anyplace that's hurting? I don't know if it will work on knee problems, but when my low back has hurt, I place the soap behind my back when I'm sitting up watching TV or whatever, or working at the computer. And I've even used it while we're traveling in a car.

For years and years my husband suffered from severe leg cramps at night. They were so bad he would wake me to try to help massage the cramping out. Then somewhere (the Gradeons' column? ) we heard about the ivory soap, bar of soap remedy. Nothing to lose and oh my gosh, we now BOTH slept because no more cramps.

Here is the interesting part to the placebo theory. What happened yesterday had NEVER, EVER happened before.. Yesterday I changed the sheets and our dog got a hold of the soap and chewed it up. I did not replace it. Around 2 am my husband woke up with leg cramps. He asked if I had forgotten to put soap back after changing the sheets. Brought in a new bar for him.

I now totally believe it is NOT placebo at all. Thanks for trying to validate this. My hope for leg cramp suffers (and their spouses that are affected by the pain that their spouse/partner in) is for goodness sakes, TRY it! On a last note. We have never shaved our soaps, don't think we have ever replaced either. Except when my dog got it and chewed it up yesterday!

Have had night leg cramps for years and have been taking quinine sulphate. On discovering that this should not really be used for more than four weeks at a time because of the danger of reducing your blood platelets (which sounds fairly serious)I have been trying to do without over the last few weeks. I heard about soap in the Daily Telegraph last week and since having a bar of soap in my bed for four nights I have so far been free of cramp! Strangely, I have been away over the last month and in two different beds suffered no cramps but on returning to my own bed the cramps started immediately! The soap feels like a life saver - long may the relief continue.

I have been suffering with extreme leg cramps due to new medications. My husband experiences leg cramps occasionally. We both tried a wrapped bar of Ivory soap on each side of our bed. It really, really works for both of us. Thanks to reading your article, I will now refresh each bar, as they have been under our bottom sheet for the past couple of months.

I woke up last weak with severe cramps and discovered my bar of soap had slipped down along the side of the mattress. I put it back under my legs and I haven't had any more cramps. It is amazing that something this simple and inexpensive can work so well for some.

Just tried placing a bar of Zest soap by my feet, under the fitted sheet last night for the first time. I've only been dealing with RLS for a very short time. You guys are right, it really does work. My husband is suffering with a burning, numb feeling in his feet. Just placed another bar of Zest by his feet on his side of the bed. I truly hope this will help relieve his symptoms. I'll keep you posted. Thanks!

Really! I am very close to sugar free, have not touched coffee or tea for a long time (or even many of their replacements such as dandelion that also have diurectic effects), keep well hydrated, eat a wide range of vegetables and some fruit regularly (less fruit due to the sugar levels), intentionally eat foods with potassium and magnesium daily, have a very balanced diet, do not touch soda at all, exercise regularly, use rock salts, take all the advised supplements, including natural 'cramp bark', still have debilitating cramps EVERY night and often during the day. Am going to find soap in the bathroom right now! Willing to try anything at this point!

Could the electrochemical polarity of the soap have anything to do with it?

People's Pharmacy response: We honestly don't know.

I started using the soap cause I suffer from night leg cramps and I have to say I have not had any at all!! Last week when we changed our sheets I forgot to put the soap back and last night the leg cramps were back so I took the soap out and rubbed it on my leg and to my surprise the cramps went away! So if it's only in my mind that's ok cause it truly works for me.

I read ALL your comments 2 middle-of-the-nights ago. I needed a cure for these screaming cramps as they had come back suddenly without warning. I use baby soap, but that did not work. The comments reminded me of the potato remedy and I am relieved to say I slept right through the night for the first time in a week! I haven't been to the shops to buy lavender soap, but that will definitely be my next experiment as my doggies sleep on my bed and I'm sure the lavender will also chase away the odd flea that roams around on my bed. Thank you for the article, It served me well. :)

I consider myself a level headed skeptic. I'm an Atheist, I don't filter my water, I love gluten, wifi is not frying my brain, most alternative medicine is snake oil, 9/11 was not a conspiracy, but I haven't had a damn leg cramp since I foolishly put a bar of Irish Spring, box and all, in my bed where I can kick it around. It's been 7 weeks now. I used to get a leg cramp at least twice a week that wouldn't go away until I walked it off for about 5 minutes. This kind of scares me a little. If this works with no rhyme or reason, then what else Is possible? Kudos to Dr. Derek and Hugh for stating the phenomenon.

I've heard of this soap thing before but sounded more like a myth. Lately have been having night cramps at least several times a night and have been going on for months. Have had leg cramps for some time but frequency has been getting worse as I get older. Tried Potassium and calcium with no affect. Tried an over the counter Cramp medicine that didn't work. Tried wearing socks since I read cold feet can cause cramps that didn't work. Tried really hot baths and that didn't work and several other remedies and nothing worked.

I was taking advil at night which helped a little. Maybe got 2 to 3 cramps instead of 3 to 4 cramps a night. So what the heck will try the soap. Opened a brand new bar of Jergens. Smelled great but didn't work. In fact I had more cramps but none of them major just small annoying cramps. I often have to get out of bed and walk and it goes away pretty quickly. I then tried two bars of Jergens with no result. I then tried a Bar of Olay since the scent was a lot stronger, again no result. Pretty much thought it was just placebo people were getting with maybe some people getting an actual result.

The next night my wife said she bought some more soap. She bought Ivory since I mentioned when I first stated this that some people used Ivory. She also had one bar that said Lavender and I remember one post that said Dr OZ either used it or recommended it. So I tried the lavender soap. I was pretty much surprised to wake up the next morning not experiencing a single cramp and the same the next night. So for me it was not any bar of soap but one with Lavender. I might try getting some lavender oil and try that but a bar of soap works just fine.

I wrote in Aug. of 2013 and talked about starting using the soap between the mattress pad and bottom sheet. I am happy to say, although I was a complete skeptic at the time I started doing this, it has saved me from getting out of bed 4-5 times per night with leg cramps. I also told another person who later admitted he thought I had lost my mind, but his wife talked him into trying it and to this day he has no more disturbing cramping of feet & legs at night.

NOTE: 1. I had heard NOT to use Irish Spring as the aroma of that soap will attract bugs, including bed bugs. Not sure of the validity of this, but I am not taking a chance. 2. I find that I must have 3-4 small bars of soap (Hotel-Motel soap)near my legs for the greatest effectiveness. If it gets to far away, leg cramps will start. This may certainly not be the case with others, but thought it was worth mentioning. 3. I change a couple of the bars about every 6 wks.

I am an engineer. Not quite as skeptical as David C., but excessively analytical. I have not only had leg cramps for years, but my neck and shoulders hurt nearly all the time. I have severe problems with certain "societal" chemicals: formaldehyde, perfumes, room fresheners. Because of that, I make my own soap from olive oil or beef fat (lots of fried foods in my household, so lots of leftover beef fat).

With that as my background, I read about using soap for cramps. I use my own good homemade soap (made the old-fashioned way with lye and heat and no added perfumes or colors). I have managed to accumulate enough homemade soap, that I can use some that is about two years old (like wine, it gets better with age).

1) My first thought was of the glycerin, because nitroglycerin tablets are used when people have chest pains from a heart condition (helps to dilate blood vessels). In that case, a glycerin soap (normal soap has just a small amount of glycerin) would work best. That is something that could be experimented with (regular soap vs. glycerin soap). An alternative to that would be to just rub some liquid glycerin near the muscle that normally cramps (some people have tried this successfully).

2) Then I thought about electrolyte imbalance, however most soaps are made with sodium hydroxide and would have very little potassium. An experiment could be to sprinkle a "lite salt" which contains both sodium and hydrogen chloride, or use regular salt, on the mattress, and then put bedding on the mattress. Since many people have gone to low-salt diets, it is possible that some people are not getting enough sodium.

3) Another possibility is that the pH of the soap is somehow responsible, or perhaps acting in conjunction with some other substance. Most body-cleaning products have a basic pH, which means the pH is somewhat over 7 (7 being neutral, under 7 is acidic). It is not unusual for soaps to be from pH 9 up to pH 10.

The biggest roadblock to figuring out the real cause/effect is that we don't know what exactly is causing the leg cramps, on a person-to-person basis. That is, everyone could be having them for different reasons. And we don't know the real numbers for who is helped by this, as most of the people posting have experienced relief, and we don't know how many have had no change at all.

In my case, putting small pieces of old homemade soap near my legs and in my pillowcase has helped with leg cramps and the pain in my neck and shoulders. It has not eliminated all leg cramps, but has reduced both the severity and number of them. I have noticed a change in the nature of my neck and shoulder pain, which has also reduced in severity. I have started putting a small piece of soap in the pocket of my T-shirt (which is worn under a regular button-up shirt). I have noticed some flare-ups of pain when I forget to move the soap in the morning as I put a clean T-shirt on. And, in addition, an annoying left-sided chest pain is not as bad as it used to be.

So, still seeking for Truth, but willing to blindly accept pain relief at such a small cost.

My husband sometimes keeps a bar of soap in his truck. His neck and shoulder gets really stiff, so he sticks the soap on him while he's driving. A person can do this at any time of the day if they get a cramp. So it doesn't have to be at bedtime.

I've been having painful leg cramps and restless legs for several weeks to the point where I have been unable to sleep. My husband said I should try the old bar of soap in the bed trick that his grandmother had told him about and I thought no way would that work....

Although I'm all about homeopathic and home remedies, I've never heard of this one before so I researched a little about it on the web, saw that it worked for many people, and I decided to try it. Last night was the first night in two weeks that I slept soundly, and I didn't wake up with a cramp in the middle of the night! When I woke up this morning my legs felt a little tingley, but other than that I felt like I had had a refreshing rest. So I'm pretty excited about that - I think I will keep a bar of soap between the sheets from now on!

I was urged to try this quite a few times. I, naturally, was very sceptical, but after one too many incidences of waking up with that horrifying snap to my calf, I finally relented.

That was September 2013.

On January 30th, 2014, I can cheerfully report I have not had a single instance in which I have been awoken with a single, solitary cramp. It shouldn't work, but damn, it does, and does so with great effect.

I've recommended this to friends, and they've reported the same results.

I've now gone from weekly incidences to a total eradication of cramping episodes.

Go fig!

I went searching the Internet tonight to find out WHY soap works. Three months ago my grandmother came to stay. She was unpacking and I saw she brought her own soap. I told her we had plenty and that she didn't need to do that and she explained the curative against cramps in the legs. Both her and my grandfather swear by it.

Now I have Fibromyalgia and therefore get cramps everywhere especially in my side stomach muscles that go all the way around to the kidneys, and in the rib cage area. When I get these I start breathing like I am giving birth. The pain is excruciating and intensifies when I exhale and they usually last about a half hour or more.

I used my grandmas advice and took a new bar of Dial rubbing it over the stomach, kidneys and ribs. Within one to two minutes I started to feel relief. The odd thing was that as I moved it away from one area to the next, the area I just left would start cramping again. So I started to rub it back and forth over all of the areas. Within five minutes all of the cramping eased down. Since normally the cramping lasts for a half hour or more I superstitiously tucked it into the waistband of my pants.

Now here's the amazing thing. For the last four days prior to these cramps I have been in horrible pain with a pinched nerve and tight muscles in my right shoulder rhomboid area. I haven't been able to sleep, lift my arm or bend over. I can barely turn my neck. As I was feeling relief from the cramps it all of a sudden occurred to me that my back didn't seem to hurting. I could now put my arm over my head, turn my neck and the god awful pinching from the last four days is now gone.

If this is a placebo effect, which I highly doubt, It definitely never occurred to me to use it for my back. So I have to say it not only works for legs as most state but also worked for other areas of the body for which I wasn't expecting. I will for sure leave it in the bed now as my husband has restless leg syndrome and I can't wait to experiment on him next.

A friend told me to try soap two months ago. I frequently would wake up screaming with lag cramps. I don't know what or why but IT WORKS!!! I have used several different bars/brands, usually a "hotel" soap because it is thiner, I place it between the mattress and the fitted sheet at my calf.

For arthritis pain maybe the soap helps some, as I have osteoarthritis in both hips and was told about 18 years ago I would need a hip replacement... not done yet because... I have only used the soap for sever leg cramps about 3 years and may help but the arthritis put me on the floor until I drank one cup of 2 teaspoons of apple cider vinegar in hot water and honey to taste... doctor scoffed at me... but another remedy for something is from a woman that from very early age suffered bad car sickness.

She had to travel across Canada and back and was told to sit on a newspaper. She tried it and was not sick or even queasy once. These old remedies sound foolish but so very glad they help. Give things a try.

I have tried everything. Ideas this article happened to have ivory soap in the bathroom... put in under my sheet between my legs and Omg instant relief. No kidding. Thank you so much!!!!!

I suffer with terrible nocturnal leg cramps. A friend told me about the soap. I have tried potassium, calcium, magnesium, and nothing has helped. I have placed hot packs on my legs at night, it helped for a very short time. I have drank home remedies and to no avail. I decided it can't hurt to try the soap in my bed. I decided to put the soap in each sock and wear them to bed. WOW!!!! It really worked. I have not had leg cramps in three nights now. I am sold. My question is: Has anyone used a pure soap like Tom's and did it still work? Soap for leg cramps...who'd thought such an inexpensive fix to a VERY painful problem. I am one very happy lady :)

Can someone please tell me if my grandfather (86 years old) can try this soap therapy too? If it helps my grandfather to get his good night sleep, it would be one of my biggest achievement till date.

hemant,

Yes, I would use it for your grandfather. It's not going to hurt anything at all. I remember reading about a nurse that worked in a nursing home, and she has known about the soap for many years. Her and other nurses working there would place some soap in the bed to help calm the pain of the elderly. When she was on her feet for a long time, she said that she'd do it at night as well. You can also use it at different times, well, at any time really, if you have a cramp or whatever.

I sooooo believe in this - I haven't had leg cramps in years. I change the bar of Ivory Soap when it yellows...I just bath with it...I have made the recommendation to others - with great skepticism - but after trying it - they all are believers...so why knock it! It's cheap and why not try it!!!

This works.

I wonder..since it works for nerve issues if it's not the fragrance, but somehow interacting with electric based nerve impulses...like accupuncture. But with soap. As weird as it sounds...we are made of energy as much as matter...often one and the same.

Dr. Bob, I have a permanet stimulator as well, but, I leave it on 24/7. I still get these maddening arch and leg cramps. I will be getting a bar of soap today.

I used to have frequent leg cramps during the night. My remedy was to roll my foot backwards and forwards over a bottle or jam jar (I'm in the UK!) This soon alleviated the pain. However, much better to prevent the cramps in the first place. I happened to read about soap curing cramps and of course found it hard to believe. But I had nothing to lose, so why not try it? I used unbranded soap from the supermarket - slipping it under my bottom sheet. I keep it at the edge of the bed, on a level with my thighs. I first tried this four years ago and have had no leg cramps since! Quite extraordinary.

I am so glad I came across this article! My husband was having severe leg cramps at night, he would wake up several times screaming from the pain in his legs. I have gotten into essential oils and used some of them on his legs helped some but not for a long period of time, he would drink pickle juice and that would help some but I thought that was not such a good idea because of the salt which would cause other health issues!!

So I started looking up home remedies and came upon this site and I thought what the heck do we have to lose? I had a bar of unopened Dove soap so without telling my husband anything about it I placed it near his legs under the sheet after he had gone to sleep, so he or others could not say "well it had to do with brain power" or something crazy like that. :/

So that night no cramps a few nights went on without cramps and I asked him about not having any and he said "no cramps kinda weird but he was not gonna jinx it" so I told him then about the soap which he kind laughed but did not remove it! haha He has sleep every night now no CRAMPS and he has not removed the soap! haha he told me 2 nights ago he had a little cramp so I replaced it with a new bar (I had read some saying replace it about every 2-3 months) and all is GREAT!! I work for 6 doctors and told them about it and 5 of them kinda laughed at me and said okaayy, but I think one of them secretly went and bought him a new bar of dove soap! haha. Thanks for the article and my husband THANKS you also. I hope any of you that suffer from this will give it a try even if you think its crazy what do you have to lose?? CRAMPS! Good Luck!

I poor a small amount of Dawn dish soap in the corner of my sheet. Just a bit, and smear it around in about a half square foot area. I put a sheet over that sheet and I must say, this is the most pleasant sleep I've had in ages.

I have severe spinal stenosis that generates severe sciatica pain down my right leg. I have to sleep in a recliner because lying in bed aggravates the problem, but even with the recliner, I rarely sleep more than 4 hours before the pain starts up and wakes me.
So I decided to try this, placing the soap in the seat of the recliner next to the lumbar area of my spine where the spinal stenosis is located. AND IT WORKED! I now sleep 6-7 hours without pain every night. And when I got a cramp in my leg 2 nights ago, I rubbed the soap on my leg and the cramp eventually went away. I am amazed that this works. For me, it's been just a godsend.

I have been suffering with nighttime leg cramps for DECADES. I put a bar of Irish Spring Icy Blast in my bed near my feet and the relief was almost instantaneous. I am flummoxed as to how this works, but it does.

I have been cramp free with the soap since Nov 2013. I used to get severe leg cramps twice a week until I started using the Irish Spring miracle cure. However I was challenged, in the name of science, to stop using it and change my sheets. I had no cramps for three weeks and was wondering I'd the whole thing had been a bizarre coincidence but then the cramps returned. Needless to say I'm back on the "cure".

I read an article on soap under the sheets by Dr Gott roughly 8 years ago. I tried it and got immediate relief. I recommended the remedy to several friends and they got immediate relief. If I happen to get a foot or leg cramp when my soap falls out of bed, I press the soap on my leg or foot and the cramp goes away.
The soap remedy has worked for me for 8 years now!

A couple of weeks ago I started placing a bar of soap in my bed to ease my leg cramps. The effect was immediate, no cramps at all. In my case its not a placebo. One night I was tired and gone to bed forgetting to place the soap in my bed. The cramps returned in the middle of the night and gone again after I put the soap back.

My 14 year old son had swollen cramped hands and could not get relief with massage or stretching. I googled the problem and found others had relief within 30sec by holding a bar of soap. We were both sceptical but gave it a go. Within 40 seconds I could visibly see a reduction in the swelling and after 2 minutes the cramps were gone. We used 2 old bars of soap.

Soap in my bed socks - sounds bizarre but it was like finding Lorenzo's oil for my painful and persistent nightly foot cramps. I haven't tried the bar of soap in the sheets simply because much of the literature (that I came across) mentioned both foot and leg cramps. The cramps from which I suffer travel no further than my feet and have at times been almost unbearably painful. Putting the soap inside each bed sock seemed a logical way of directly targeting the problem area (and I didn't want to waste a drop of ammunition against these rotten little so and so's!) Whether this hypothesis is ever elevated to the status of theory or is debunked and treated with scorn by researchers will not alter the fact that from the very first night I put soap inside my bed socks, I have been cramp-free.

My mother (88) has used the soap cure for a number of years. I thought she was completely mad and that maybe her leg cramps had just naturally cured. Recently I started to have terrible cramp in my legs, feet, toes... excruciating. Two nights ago, fed up I put the light on at 3 am and searched for a bar of soap high and low. At last I found a minute hotel soap in its cover, ripped it open and rubbed it all over the cramped up leg.... instantly it felt better, I then put it in the bed beside the same leg and was amazed to have a perfect night's sleep. I'm so pleased!

I love the soap and am using it now. My neck and upper shoulder hurt last night, and I put a bar of soap directly on it. Stopped hurting. I sometimes get a stiff neck because of my work at the computer.

I have suffered with extremely painful leg and foot cramps. I would have them twice a night every night and be awake for hours trying to walk them off. I took Advil every night just to get through. I tried aroma therapy, too. I took calcium, magnesium and potassium to no avail. I drank lots of water to be sure I was hydrated. Nothing worked.

I went to see my excellent internist who honestly told me that medical science has no idea what causes these nocturnal leg and foot cramps.

Then I tried a bar of soap (I used Dove) and it worked immediately. It worked for several nights then it stopped. I took a knife and scraped all sides of the bar of soap and put it back in my bed. Amazingly the leg cramps stopped. Soap clearly does not cure the cause of the leg cramps but it stops the cramps cold!

With the soap I can sleep through the night without the severe pain and loss of sleep. Thanks to who ever started this posting.

I don't remember how or when I first heard about this, but we have been putting soap between the sheets for many years now. The only time it doesn't work is when I forgot to replace the bar after changing the sheets. I did not know about the trick of scraping the soap to create a fresh surface. That is something I'll try.

Also, I believe you are correct about the fragrance emitting something that relieves the cramps. But, not being a scientist, I can only guess that it would also have something to do with the combination of another ingredient within the soap. Whatever it is, my husband and I are truly grateful and continue to let others know about it.

I actually have had to sleep with a tightly laced pair of sneakers, on my foot and leg cramps were that bad! I would wake up almost screaming. This went on for months. I finally said something to my doctor about it. She said try a bar of bath soap. I said what!? She said my mom always said it works. So I opened a new bar of soap put it at the bottom of the bed between the sheets and I have not had leg or feet or toe cramps since!!!

I've used soap for the past 4 nights for restless-leg type pains in my legs, arms & back. 100% success so far!

I'm interested to see that others have had success with Dove as my informant said that was the only brand of soap that doesn't work...

I was one who never believed this would work, but when foot cramps started to really bother me nightly, I tried it. Not a cramp since and it's been 6 months. It is truly amazing and needs to be researched.

Only with scientific proof will doctors believe how this works. If you have leg or foot cramps, just grab a fresh bar and slip it under the bottom sheet. The effect is amazing. Thanks to people who told me, I feel so much better, free of terrible arch cramps in my feet.

I have suffered leg cramps for years off and on. I have associated the cramps with diminished hydration but have found the soap remedy to work immediately to relieve extremely painful and sustained cramps during the night. The vasodilator theory makes the most sense to me. If I hold the bar against the back of the knee, relief is immediate. Interesting.

Bob and I have used a bar of soap for leg cramps for years. We have had severe leg cramps and as soon as we place a bar of soap on the cramped leg it stops immediately... we have always been amazed by this prompt relief. I like the theory of vasodilation from the perfume. Although I have thought about the alkaline effect of soap as being a possible effect. Your thoughts?

My MD recently suggested I place a bar of Dial soap in the bed. My leg spasms and cramps have been abated, to my surprise.

When I heard about this, more than 10years ago, I thought it was crazy. After pacing the floor in agony with severe cramps in my ankles at 2a.m. I tried it. The relief was amazing and immediate. I don't believe this is the placebo effect, as I don't believe I can meditate or relax away the physiological effects of my leg cramps with mind control.

Certainly not definitive and other factors may have contributed, but I'm three days cramp free, sleeping with a bar of soap in my bed!! Let me add this disclaimer: it's possible (but I haven't kept a diary of it yet) that my leg cramps are somehow tied to my menstrual cycle and are possibly worse for a few days each month, and I'm in the days immediately following that cycle.

I don't think I'll know for sure about the soap till next month. However, I still experience cramping all throughout the month, and also sleep anxiety (afraid to fall asleep, fearing that pain will flair up!), but the past three nights, the anxiety has lessened with my new-found confidence that the leg cramps are gone! It's like a BOGO remedy!! :-)

I have been using soap in my bed for about 5 years now, in fact the same bar. I don't even remember the name. NO CRAMPS. When I feel one coming on I simply rub my foot over the bar and voila it's gone. I just recommended this to a co-worker for her Mom. I printed this article because she gave me that "Yeah right" look.
Try it. It really works.

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