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Dog’s Benefit from Soap Might Not Be Placebo

We have heard from hundreds of people that soap in bed prevents nighttime leg cramps. Now we learn that a dog has also benefited from soap. Bow-Wow!

Are you tired of reading about people who swear that putting a bar of soap under the bottom sheet near their feet calms nighttime leg cramps? Do you think it is all nonsense and most likely a placebo effect?

Please read on to find out about an Australian dog that apparently benefited from this remedy. As the author said, it is unlikely the dog even knew the soap was there.

Q. I have used your handy hint on putting soap in the bed for nighttime aches and pains. I’ve also shared it zealously here in Western Australia for more than a decade.

I hereby stand on my soapbox to tell the world that it works 95 percent of the time! I don’t feel it is a placebo effect because one of my converts says that her arthritic dog, who always slept on her bed and struggled to the floor each morning, literally bounded off after the second night of being ‘soaped.’ You can’t tell me that the dog knew why there was a lump in the bed!

I could fill a book with success stories, but I just want everyone who has ever had a niggling ache to give it a go. It costs nothing, and if it falls out of the bed, then consider bending down to retrieve it as the start of your morning exercises. Why can you bend down? Because the soap worked.

A. We love your story of the dog benefiting from sleeping on a bed with soap in it. Many readers have told us that putting a bar of soap under the bottom sheet, near the legs, can prevent leg cramps. Some find that it calms restless legs, while others report that it helps ease aches and pains due to arthritis. Presumably that is the benefit your friend’s old dog felt.

No one knows exactly how this might work. The leading hypothesis is that it is a function of the volatile oils used to scent the soap (Journal of Multidisciplinary Healthcare, Sept. 2008).

If you would like to read more soap stories, here is a link.

We even went so far as to make People’s Pharmacy Bed Soap and Leg Soap. The Bed Soap has a light lavender fragrance to help you ease into sleep. We put more soap in our bars than you would find in a standard bar of soap, but what really makes our soap special is that it is substantially flatter than regular bar soap. No lumps in the bed! That makes it less uncomfortable when you roll over. If you would like to learn more about Bed Soap, here is a link.

Share your own soap story below and please vote on this article at the top of the page, even if you think the soap effect is pure placebo.

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About the Author
Joe Graedon is a pharmacologist who has dedicated his career to making drug information understandable to consumers. His best-selling book, The People’s Pharmacy, was published in 1976 and led to a syndicated newspaper column, syndicated public radio show and web site. In 2006, Long Island University awarded him an honorary doctorate as “one of the country's leading drug experts for the consumer.”.
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