bars of soap, soap for neuropathy

Do you suffer from nerve pain? This type of pain can be quite difficult to treat. Medications such as gabapentin (Neurontin) or pregabalin (Lyrica) may ease the discomfort, especially at first. However, both drugs can trigger adverse reactions that may be very unpleasant. In addition, people sometimes have trouble stopping the medicines. Have you ever tried a peculiar home remedy like soap for neuropathy? It might not work, but it is unlikely to cause harm. One skeptical reader tried it and reported benefit for both the neuropathic pain and for the restless legs syndrome (RLS).

Soap for Neuropathy and RLS:

Q. I have RLS and minor neuropathy in my left foot. I was taking ropinirole to treat it.

A lady in my church group suggested soap. I am a “Doubting Thomasina,” so I was skeptical.

However, I bought a pack of lavender soap and a mesh bag to put it in.

I missed the instructions about putting it under the bottom sheet, so I sat here in my recliner with soap between my foot and right leg. I brought the bag to bed with me and slept with it. WOW! I woke up from the best sleep I have gotten in a long time. My neuropathy is much less intense.

I can’t speak for others, but it works for me. A six pack of soap cost $1.97 and a mesh bag at $2 is super affordable.

Muscle and Nerve Connections Are Sensitive to Soap Fragrance:

A. Muscle cramps and restless leg syndrome (RLS) are both conditions involving the connections between muscles and nerves. We suspect that the fragrance in many soaps (limonene) stimulates specialized TRP channels. This effect may cause the overactive nerves to relax.

Not everyone will benefit from soap for neuropathy or RLS as much as you did. Nonetheless, many readers have found the soap remedy helpful.

The TRP Channel Explanation:

What, you may wonder, is a TRP channel? TRP stands for transient receptor potential. These are channels in cells that shuttle ions of crucial elements like calcium or potassium where they need to be. Sensory neurons have TRPA1 channels that help them detect harmful substances (Sousa-Valente et al, British Journal of Pharmacology, May 2014). When limonene is applied directly to the skin, it activates the TRPA1 channels and causes pain, but “systemic application” inhibits pain (Kaimoto et al, European Journal of Pain, Aug. 2016). Presumably, keeping the soap close to the leg permits the limonene to act systemically.

Other essential oil components may also have analgesic activity (de Cassia da Silveira et al, International Journal of Molecular Sciences, Dec. 9, 2017). Like limonene, they may well be acting through TRP channels.

Researchers have confirmed that TRP channels are important in the development of neuropathy (Ding et al, Cell Discovery, Aug. 1, 2017). That would help explain the benefit of soap for neuropathy. So far as we can tell, no scientists have investigated whether TRP channels are responsible for RLS.

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  1. John

    Do you think taking some fresh orange peels to bed might do the same as the soap bar?

  2. Diane
    Western Washington

    Perhaps I missed something re the limonene and its application. Is this an ingredient in soap, and if not, where does one buy it? And then how to apply to skin.

    Thank you,


  3. Jim
    Chapel Hill NC

    Do you have any brand names of soap that may have the ingredient limonene? Rarely do I see an ingredient list on soap wrappers. Thanks

  4. GW

    I have had RLS since I was a teen. I am now 65 and have been free of RLS ever since I began taking Alpha Lipoic Acid a few years ago. I was not taking it specifically for RLS, but realized after several months of taking it, that my RLS had all but disappeared. I really don’t know if there is a connection or not, just wanted to throw my two cents into the pot.

  5. Susan

    I have really bad leg cramps at night causing me to pace the floors in pain. I also have neuropathy (from Crestor). Even being very skeptical, I tried putting a bar of soap under the sheet. It didn’t help at all. BUT, in desperation, I threw a 2nd bar of soap in for good measure… and it works! It really works! So now I have the two bars in my bed every night. No cramps! Yipee! Honestly, if one bar doesn’t work, add another one. if it quits working, just change them for 2 new ones.

    Thank you so much for telling about this.

  6. RR

    I wonder if utilizing some sort of Lavender oil infused on something would work. Also what kind of Lavender soap is the best, how does one keep it between the feet?

  7. ann

    please send this to me, marene,

  8. Pat

    Wonder if rubbing feet with lavender oil would work

  9. TERRY

    Could you just put the bar of soap in a pillowcase and keep near leg?

  10. TASmith
    Brady, Texas

    I am so glad to find this. I have neuropathy terribly. I do purchase essential oils but did not about the soap. Can I use the soaps I make it is there a way to order?

  11. Pat R.

    Would you please explain what “systemic application” means in this context? Clearly it does NOT mean to ingest the substance to get it moving through the body’s various systems. But if one is not to apply the substance “topically,” that is, directly to the skin, where IS the substance applied?

    Thank you!

  12. Bonnie

    A bar of “Irish Spring” soap between the sheets has worked well for years to avoid night leg cramps. I’ve added lavender scented body lotion for my lower legs and feet right before bed, and that addition seems to work even better.

  13. edna

    This response mentioned Lavender Soap, does any soap get the same results

  14. Betty

    I don’t know how the soap could help. But I do KNOW that drinking much water will pad or cushion the nerves that are causing the pain. Drink much water!!!! Much.

  15. Petra
    Puerto Rico

    I leave soap under my fitted sheet permanently. Months ago I was having terrible cramps and read about soap. The first night in I was relieved of the cramps. Have told many people since.
    Soap is also very good at relieving itch from insect bites.

  16. Marciab.

    I have had a bar of soap under my sheet in bed for years. I get restless legs. With the soap it never happens.

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