Qoleum Embrocation Hot

Qoleum HotLast year, as prize for a cross race, I won a small tub of Qoleum Hot Emborcation. I thought it was cool, er, um, hot when they handed it to me, but I proceded to toss in it the gear bag, where it’s been ever since.

Today, while trying to decide how to dress for the weather–low 50’s and rain–I came across the tub and decided embrocation would be lots better than soggy knee warmers. I pulled on my shorts and then greased up my legs with a light glaze of Qoleum followed by a topping of baby oil. While the Qoleum smelled a lot like BenGay in the tub the smell didn’t carry over to the legs. The smell and any visible signs disappeared into the skin. In fact, it went unnoticed for most the ride. I had a slight burning sensation on the backs of my knees while I sat waiting for a train. Otherwise, it was perfect. Plenty warm for the conditions and no wet clothes against the skin.

Once I got home it was a different story, though! My legs started burning while I was milling around the kitchen. By the time I finished my recovery drink, the burning was almost too much to bear. I jumped into the shower and almost jumped through the ceiling as soon as the hot water hit my skin. A slight burning sensation was immediately painful burning. I had to turn down the water to an uncomfortably cool temp just to make it tolerable. I scrubbed both legs with body scrub but no change. If anything, it got worse. So, I tried good ole fashion soap and water. Same results. Whatever was on my skin wasn’t coming off.

I showered and then sat around for 30 minutes or so. After about 5 minutes of sitting, the heat came down to a tolerable level. It actually started to feel good, more like what I would expect. It took about an hour for the cool burn to go away altogether.

Despite the troubles washing it off, I would still recommend Qoleum. It’s a great liniment: homeopathic and organic ingredients, no strong smell, effective at keeping muscles and joints warm in cold weather, and apparently very durable. Any suggestions for washing it off would be greatly appreciated! Maybe it’s all in my head, but my muscles seemed to recover faster, too. Bonus!



  1. I had the same reaction the first time I used the Qoleum 2Hot. After that I put my glasses on to read the fine print directions and the two things I noted were use below 60 degrees and APPLY SPARINGLY. Following these suggestions I have used it numerous times, being sure the ride temp wasn’t going to rise above 60 during the ride, and definitly following the use sparingly instruction and I have yet to repeat the painful burning that I experienced with the first use, especially the shower activation thing, that was scary!

  2. I’ve been using various embrocations for quite awhile. I just bought a tub of the Qoleum 2, the so called Medium of the three. Using it sparingly gave me little or no heat at all. Using three full fingertips full on each leg did the job this morning in 42 degree weather. It came off easily in the shower as well. I’ve heard the Hot stuff is indeed that, and doesn’t come off well, either. I prefer Mad Alchemy’s Mild and Medium for temperatures down to freezing (the Medium, of course). It’s more expensive, but a better product, IMHO.

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