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QM Sports' Soothing Gel is a roll-on gel that helps ease out knots or tight muscles after a hard ride, and helps warm areas prone to niggles prior to a ride.
The roll-on canister is akin to a deodorant, which makes it easy to apply and prevents waste or spillage. Once applied, I gave the gel an extra rub in to the affected area, though it only leaves a very light film (again, sort of a similar feel to a roll-on deodorant) and so probably isn't really necessary.
When I was testing the gel, I used it on particularly achey muscles after a five-hour ride through the Chilterns, and repeatedly both before and after rides on a particularly tight calf that I've been having niggles with for several months.
The gel brings a gentle warmth to the area, without that searing burn you can get with some products (Deep Heat for me) if applied excessively. This certainly helps relax the muscle, and eases any previous sense of discomfort. It's actually a very pleasant sensation that makes not just the treated area feel relaxed, but your whole body.
The feeling of warmth and relaxation lasts for the best part of 20 minutes and then gently fades. Heat is supposed to promote blood flow to the area, which then helps with promoting blood flow, and thus the circulation of restorative nutrients.
After use, the previously affected areas do seem looser, and remain so for several hours. Using the gel along with some foam rolling, which I did on my calf, felt especially effective, perhaps more so than either would have in isolation. It's hard to isolate the effect of the gel in isolation, but it felt like there was some marginal gain there.
Using the gel before a ride made it feel easier to warm up; I sometimes find the first 10 minutes or so of a session consist mostly of easing out stiffnesses and unpleasantness from the ride before, and QM's gel minimised this somewhat – unless there was a placebo effect of course.
The gel has a pleasant herbal smell of aloe vera and eucalyptus, which seems to increase the sense of relaxation that comes with use of the product. It's based entirely around natural ingredients and remedies that have been advocated for years by 'natural healer' types, which imparts a certain credibility to its powers – there is some history to the ingredients' use for healing.
All in, the gel is a really nice product to use thanks to its gentle warming sensation, pleasant smell, and easy application. It certainly gives a feeling of relaxation to the muscles, although, as with many of these types of product, it's not easy to quantify its effectiveness.
Nice to use, with a pleasant smell and sensation, but whether its effect is placebo or genuine is hard to quantify
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road.cc test report
Make and model: QM Sports Care Soothing Gel
Size tested: 100ml
Tell us what the product is for and who it's aimed at. What do the manufacturers say about it? How does that compare to your own feelings about it?
QM describes it as:
Specifically designed to provide targeted warming relief to help ease tight, knotted muscles through heat therapy.
Really effective in helping to relieve cramped muscles.
Use on Back, Neck, Shoulders, Arms, Elbows, Hands, Legs & Knees.
Tell us some more about the technical aspects of the product?
Heat Therapy plus massage therapy
Convenient roll-on Applicator - No mess and easy to apply yourself.
Heat brings more blood to the muscle and with it oxygen and nutrients. When combined with massage it helps:
Soften 'knots' in muscles
Relax the muscles and soft tissue - help pulled calf muscles
Which leads to the muscles being able to move and stretch more easily again.
The gel provides a sense of gentle relaxation to a treated area, and helps the muscle to loosen. It was also good for helping warm a muscle before a ride.
There aren't many recently reviewed similar products to compare on price, but £11.99 seems reasonable – MucOff's Amino Recovery Balm is double the price for only 50% more content – check out the review here.
Tell us how the product performed overall when used for its designed purpose
The product was good at relaxing muscles and relieving strains and aches.
Tell us what you particularly liked about the product
The roll-on feature, making it quick and easy to apply. The warming sensation is gentle and relaxing with no sense of burn, and I like the smell.
Tell us what you particularly disliked about the product
Did you enjoy using the product? Yes
Would you consider buying the product? Probably, if I was having lasting issues with aches in a certain area.
Would you recommend the product to a friend? Yes
Use this box to explain your overall score
The gel is a really pleasant product to use; it's easy to apply, smells nice, and feels good on the skin.
About the tester
I usually ride: Giant TCR / Cannondale Supersix My best bike is: Giant TCR
I've been riding for: 5-10 years I ride: Every day I would class myself as: Expert
I regularly do the following types of riding: road racing, club rides, sportives, general fitness riding