Step into any traditional Muay Thai camp or stadium and you will be instantly hit with the exotic scent of Muay Thai oil permeating the air. Namman Muay emits an invigorating fragrance for those practising the sport but probably not a pleasant aromatic experience for outsiders. Although now used by various combat and competitive sports, the smell has become synonymous with Thai boxing.
Thai Boxing Liniment Oil, or Namman Muay, is most famously endorsed by global fighting icon and national celebrity, Buakaw Banchamek. Buakaw’s image can also be seen on a special edition of the Namman Muay (same formula) available in select stores.
Today, Namman Muay is used by fighters, gym enthusiasts, athletes, cyclists, runners and anyone who has experienced the benefits of the musky miracle water. Here’s everything you need to know about the famous Thai Boxing Liniment Oil:
What is Namman Muay Thai Oil
Namman Muay (Thai: น้ำมันมวย) is a liniment oil created for use by professional boxers in Thailand.
It was formulated and -continues to be- manufactured by Devakam Apothecary Hall in Thailand. The bottled wonder debuted as a commercial product in 1960 and was quickly adopted by Thai boxing gyms all around the country.
Namman Muay was originally concocted to help Thai boxers warm up before matches. Trainers would rub and massage the oil unsparingly over the boxers, a practice that is continued until today.
Namman Muay Ingredients
The key ingredients (reportedly natural) that give Namman Muay its signature sensations include Menthol, eucalyptus, Methyl Salicylate (used for temporary relief of muscle or joint), alcohol (95%) and others.
Even though the recipe was introduced over half a century back, the formula has been improved many times over the years to achieve the best results and potency that is well-known today.
NOTE: Namman Muay is untested with no clinical trials published, nor has it been approved or evaluated on its claims by FDA or other drug administration agencies around the world.
Benefits of Namman Muay Thai Oil
Namman Muay’s benefits have not been scientifically proven. But if you ask around, almost everyone who has used it stands behind the benefits of Namman Muay.
All self-respecting Muay Thai gyms will have a few bottles lying around. Not just in Thailand but in Muay Thai gyms all around the world.
Here are some of the purported and reported benefits of Namman Muay Thai oil:
Helps with warmup
Warming up helps to gently prepare the body for exercise and to reduce the risks of injuries. In combination with massage, liniment oil improves muscle blood circulation which loosens the joints and increase blood flow to the muscles.
Muay Thai oil is easy to apply and spread over the skin, making it suitable as a warm-up massage oil.
Relieves muscular and joint aches
Scientific studies have shown that massages help to reduce the production of compounds in the body known as cytokines which are responsible for the feeling of pain.
The presence of Methyl Salicylate in Namman Muay helps in providing relief for worn-out muscles while enhancing recovery when used in combination with massages. The warm-cool feeling also offers a soothing relief for pain and soreness.
Many Muay Thai practitioners also use Namman Muay for massaging bruises as they believe that it helps with the pain and also promotes recovery.
Clears Nasal Congestion
Rub a few drops on your hand, inhale a few times and it’s guaranteed to provide instant relief for those congested nasal passages and even your headaches. This connoisseur refreshing scent comes from the menthol and eucalyptus oil that is present in Namman Muay.
Purchasing Namman Muay Products
Essentially -pretty much- the same ingredients, Namman Muay comes in the popular oil form, cream and also a spray for quick-n-easy application. The bottled oil is still more common in the Thai boxing circles.
In its original oil form, Namman Muay is most suitable as a warm-up aid. The cream is ideal for smaller, targeted areas for the relief of pain and muscle soreness.
Each 120ml bottle of Namman Muay retails for about 75 Thai baht (2.5USD). They sell for about 5USD in most parts of Southeast Asia. They go for around 10USD per bottle on Amazon (US).
Namman Muay is also available in bigger 450-ml bottles typically used by gyms who go through Thai oil like water. For individuals training on a daily basis, the bigger bottles are worth purchasing but once it’s open, it is best to expend it within 2-3 months (in my personal experience) for the best results. It loses its effectiveness over time once open and exposed to air.
I was drawn to using Thai oil very early in my Muay Thai training journey. The beginner shin bruises, muscle soreness and training pains were disrupting my lofty goals of being the best (version of myself). I had to find an aid that would decrease the downtime and enhance my recovery.
I turned to Namman Muay after some research and seeing my Thai trainers using it.
Diligently before each session, I would rub the oil all over my legs. I found the oil especially handy when I needed to rub out those nasty shin bumps or bruises. The analgesic content is potent enough to ease the soreness but not overly-dosed to cause skin irritations.
As an Asian, the scent of Thai oil was not unlike the many other similar traditional and herbal oil that I grew up with. It is a scent that we associate with miracle products – the one-stop solution for all ailments.
My word of advice is to be extremely careful and to remember to wash your hands after applying the oil. This helps avoid getting Thai oil into the eyes or more sensitive regions which can be a very unpleasant experience.
My verdict: This is a must-have for everyone training Muay Thai or active in any strenuous sports. Get a 120ml bottle and try it out for yourself. Nobody ever regrets it. Alternatively, you may also want to check out another alternative in the market: Athlon Rub.