While it doesn't seem like this is a hard thing to figure out, there is actually an art to applying these botanicals in order to receive their maximum healing potential. The thing with liniments is that they must be applied frequently and copiously to really attain the effects of whichever one you are using. There are many ideas out there on how to apply, how frequently you should use them, how much you should put on, so what I'm proposing are just my ideas based on trial and error, my own body, and what I've learned from my teachers who have many years of experience using these potent healers.
All of my liniments come with atomizer tops, which are ideal for the application of liniments in most areas. If you're using a liniment that doesn't have an atomizer top, simply use your fingers or a cotton ball for the application.
Step 1: Apply liniment to area
Step 2: Gently + lightly rub the liniment into the area using a quick and light back and forth motion with your hand (try to imagine the movement being generated from the shoulder, allowing your elbow, hand + fingers to remain very soft and fluid).
Step 3: Watch the gloss of the liniment -- you can think of it like paint. High gloss, glossy, satin, matte......when the liniment is first applied, this is the 'high-gloss' stage. As you gently rub back and forth, the quality of the gloss will change to glossy, satin, and matte. When there is no longer a gloss and you can feel that under your fingers is no longer that slippery-moist quality.........
Step 4: Repeat steps 1-3!
Ideally, these steps will be repeated for 4-5 minutes several times a day. I've timed myself doing this, and I'm not going to lie. It feels like forever! What we generally end up doing in our house is spending a couple minutes applying the liniment, and just doing it more frequently, sometimes with acute conditions up to 10 times a day!
My partner had the pleasure 4 weeks ago of severely spraining his ankle. It was bad; very swollen, bruising from the pinkie toe to the heel and up about 4" above the lateral malleolus, pain with very light touch, incredibly limited range of motion, and when he sprained it he heard (yep, gross, so close your eyes if you don't like this part) a big ol' pop. Because it was 10pm and we are who we are, I did the acute ankle sprain Tuina protocol on his legs, went to my sports medicine bible, "The Tooth from the Tigers Mouth" and pressed the acupoints for acute ankle sprains, like a champ he took a Hit pill (Die da wan), and we applied a thick layer of Herbal Ice, San Huang San, to his entire foot and ankle and elevated it for an hour or so. We did this for 3 days, until there was no more redness and he began using the Trauma liniment on the area, applying it every hour at first, then every 2. He still used the Herbal Ice at night, covering his foot with a cut off sock so that the salve didn't mess with the sheets. We've had pretty awesome experiences with this. He was back to work 4 days later (albeit coming home with a pretty sore ankle and foot) and as he progressed in his healing we moved to different liniments and salves, using the Aches + Pains after the heat and swelling were completely gone to continue to promote the healing process from a different angle.
The ultimate goal with this kind of injury is of course to not let it become a chronic thing, something that persists because it wasn't allowed to heal properly. I say this having 2 ankles that have had so many sprains and ligament tears that I've lost count. They're now super sensitive to temperature changes, rain, and being in one position for too long makes them hurt like crazy. We're all in our own stage of figuring out what our bodies need, how to help them recover from trauma, past or present, and how to best facilitate future health and vibrancy. There are so many paths we can take to find this empowerment -- best of luck on your journey! I have to say that while I'm never happy he gets hurt, I do love the recovery process!!
This information is for educational purposes only. It has not been evaluated by the FDA and is not meant to treat, cure, or prevent any disease.