Athlon Rub: Reinventing the classic Thai Oil

You know what they say, if it ain’t broke, don’t fix it. But sometimes, reinvention is necessary in order to break new ground.

Namman Muay is the original Thai boxing oil that has become synonymous with the sport. Our attuned noses as Muay Thai practitioners can pick up the familiar scent from miles away. Debuting in the 1960s as a commercial product, it is now used by fighters, gym enthusiasts, athletes, cyclists, runners and anyone who has experienced the benefits of the yellow-tinted ointment. 

The yellow label liniment oil was originally concocted to help warm up and prepare an athlete for exercise and has remained as such through the decades. For what it was intended to achieve, Namman Muay has dominated and continues to dominate the market for the longest time.

Enters Athlon Rub – the US-based boxing liniment oil brand that has been developed to bring the Muay Thai rubbing traditions to the Western sports industry.

Athlon Rub was founded in 2016 by Anthony Salcedo, a lifelong fan of martial arts and combat sports. Salcedo first got acquainted with Muay Thai through MMA and more specifically, through the Thai boxer Malaipet Sasiprapa who competed in MMA in the USA.  

Salcedo (middle), with Saenchai and the Yokkao team

Salcedo gained years of experience with boxing liniment oil when he was working full-time with the main Thai Oil brand from Thailand since 2008. He was also the first exclusive USA distributor and Official Brand representative for the Thai company. Salcedo recounts why he was first drawn to Thai oil,

“I liked that fact Thai Oil is oil/extract-based which is closer to the natural sources versus other synthetic forms like gels, balms, creams, etc… This is important for skin penetration and to bring the ingredients into your muscles, joints, and ligaments versus have them sit on your skin serving as a cold or hot counter irritant.“

Through Salcedo’s experience working with Namman Muay and promoting it in the country, he gained insights and came up with many ideas on improving the product which he proposed to the company. However, the traditional Thai label was not receptive to any changes or improvement.

The rejections motivated Salcedo to create Athlon Rub’s “All Sport Formula”. With his experience and knowledge, he was confident of producing a superior product which he saw how it could help athletes from all sports including soccer, running, weight lifting and many others.

Athlon Rub made a number of improvements over the classic yellow label oil including changes from formula to packaging to dispenser tops. Salcedo shares,

“We enhanced the formula by making it more transdermal (faster penetrating) and improved bruise healing with Arnica, inflammation with Turmeric, and over-all recovery with Thai Plai (Ginger). Thai Plai is the main active ingredient in Thai Herbal Compression Balls * (Luk Pra Kob) and we are the only Thai Oil with it.” 

The original Thai oil has stained countless apparels over the decades so it is worth noting that Athlon Rub oil is clear in color with no artificial coloring added.

Besides improvements to the formula, Salcedo began manufacturing travel size bottles which became their bestseller. 

“Our travel size bottle is favored by far athletes and coaches alike. You can take an open bottle in carry-on without concern for it being confiscated by airport security. It is purposely made to be the largest travel size one can fly with onboard in their hand bag or carry-on. Many athletes travel to compete and they like to travel with backpacks and duffel bags for their gear. This convenience allows to always take their Thai Oil with them. The travel size bottle now comes with a transparent carry vessel that houses the bottle to double ensure there are no accidents.”

The Athlon Rub founder then shares his inspiration for the BPA-free plastic bottles,

“I had more Namman Muay bottles break on me in travel than anyone in history. This was to the point where I would arrive in a city to promote the product and have to endure seeing broken cases being delivered to me. The oil and glass clean-ups where endless and everywhere. This made me search for a BPA safe bottles which could be used with Thai Oil. Our bottles are now amber in color to protect the formula from UVA and UVB light ensuring longer shelf life and product performance consistency. “

Athlon Rub products are made in the USA within a “state-of-the-art” FDA / ISO certified lab. Their products are non-GMO certified and every production batch is tested and certified by top supplement certification company, Informed Choice. 

The certification allows the company to put their logo on the label to indicate to athletes and consumers that their lab is properly certified by the FDA and made under Good Manufacturing Practices (GMP) to avoid cross contamination risks during the production process. The certification clears that the formula is free of banned (PED) substances for professional athletic testing, and that there is no deviation from the approved formula.

“Through our product and our first in class certifications.  We know we make a next level product and it takes time for adoption and awareness to continue its course.“

The company is introducing new products this year with improvements over existing ones in the market. There’s no stopping Salcedo and Athlon Rub at this point. 

Editor’s review: I got my hands on a travel bottle of Athlon Rub just to see how it compares to traditional Namman Muay Thai oil. After using it for a month as my pre-training warm-up and rubbing some training bruises, I am honestly impressed. I love the convenience as it comes in a spray bottle which makes it easy to apply. The oil itself is clear which is great as you don’t have to worry about staining your clothes. The smell is less strong compared to traditional Thai or Asian liniment oil but not a game-changer. The effects feel the same, with a warming sensation that also helps to relieve light training injuries. Overall, it’s one of the best liniment oil brands I have used (and I have used a lot). Highly recommended.

Athlon Rub is available for purchase via its website and also 

Athlon Rub Muscle Pain Relief - Warm up Herbal Oil For Muscle & Joint Pain Relief | Muscle Recovery, Reduces Stress & Pain | Anti Inflammatory (Arthritis) Muscle Rub | For All Sports (3.4 Oz / 100 ml)
  • THAI OIL BASED FORMULA: Athlon Rub contains natural ingredients such as; Arnica Montana, Turmeric Root Oil, Wintergreen oil, Thai Plai, Safflower Seed Oil, Menthol and more and more that are known to be Antimicrobial, Anti-Fungal and Anti-Bacterial to Combat, Gym borne infections like Athlete’s Foot, Ringworm, Staph, etc. that act as relief factor for pain and inflammation.
  • DEEP MUSCLE RELIEF: Our Unique formula penetrates deep into muscles to cure sore muscle relief. It’s an alternate of the pain relief cream and supplements in the market and works more efficiently as it’s in the form of oil. A Sports Rub will open pores and maintain heat intensity to reduce stress and boost muscle recovery.
  • ULTIMATE MUSCLE RECOVERY: Apply to physically exert muscle groups or to the entire body, It will help boost the muscle recovery and is a perfect aid for muscle and joint pain relief (can also be used for the neck, back, knee, shoulder, arthritis, etc.). REDUCED SENT: We have made efforts in reducing the intensity of traditional Thai Oil scent through the natural blending of other scented ingredients
  • WARM-UP ENHANCER: Our product is used as a warm up enhancer by Athletes to assist in improving performance and injury prevention used before training, exercising and competition. Best applied when a brief sweat has started; apply to entire body or body areas in use while avoiding eyes, open wounds, and sensitive parts. It also has anti-inflammatory benefits so it can be used after the workout as well.
  • MADE IN USA: Made in the USA |ISO certified Lab | Informed-Choice Certified | New Spray Cap, Recycled, Non-Break |BPA Free Proof Container | No Artificial Coloring |NON-GMO | Travel / TSA Friendly Size.

1 Comment
  1. Bill says

    Hello. Can I buy Athlon Oil here in Bangkok?

    That yellow stuff makes a mess

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