What Is Salonpas?

Written by phillip chang
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Physical pain, while useful as a symptom signalling problems, can reach the point where it interferes with normal living. Depending on the type of pain, different pain management options may work best. For general pain or more internal pain such as a headache, ingestible pain medicine can work well. For localised pain such as muscle strains and bruises, a topical application of medicine to the specific area of pain may be more appropriate. Salonpas, a type of over-the-counter, topical application, is one such option for localised pain.

Salonpas Brand

Salonpas is a brand of pain-relief products offered by the Japanese pharmaceutical company, Hisamitsu, which was founded in the mid-1800s. Salonpas itself was introduced in 1934 as a type of therapeutic patch and continues to be offered primarily in patch form today.

Intended Use: Treatment of Katakori

According to the Salonpas website, Katakori is the "Japanese word used to describe physical symptoms like the stiffness in your neck and shoulders that reflect the amount of effort you put into a demanding, stressful day at work." Salonpas is intended for relief of the pain from or similar to Katakori, which can include minor muscle strains and bruises. More severe or general full-body pain require other treatments.

Patch Products and Active Ingredients

Salonpas is primarily offered as a therapeutic patch. The regular patches, which are about palm-sized, and the large patches, which are about hand-sized, contain three active ingredients: methyl salicylate, a mint-like analgesic, or pain-killing, compound that produces a cooling feeling when applied to the skin; menthol, an analgesic compound derived from mint that also produces a cooling sensation; and camphor, another compound that produces a cooling effect. Salonpas Hot is a patch whose primary active ingredient is capsaicin, a chemical derived from chilli peppers that provides a warm, tingling sensation. Salonpas Aqua Patch's primary active ingredient is menthol, while Salonpas Gel Patch utilises capsaicin and menthol, for both a cool and hot feeling.

Salonpas Gel

Salonpas Gel is similar to a sports or muscle cream which can be spread and rubbed directly on the skin. Its active ingredients are methyl salicylate and menthol.

Air Salonpas

Air Salonpas is a sprayable, aerosol form of Salonpas whose active ingredients are the same as a Salonpas patch: methyl salicylate, menthol, and camphor.

Warnings for Use

The active ingredients in Salonpas can be harmful or even fatal if overused. In one case, a teenage runner's death was attributed to high levels of methyl salicylate, one of the active ingredients in Salonpas. While the teenager's death was blamed on overuse of a sports cream, Salonpas does come with warnings. According to the website, the gel product is not recommended for children under 2 years of age, and the spray and patch products are not recommended for children under 12. A single patch can be worn for up to 8 hours, but should not be applied more than 3-4 times a day.

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