Steve at Fighter Fix contacted me back in April and asked me to review his product, having seen my review on Chris’s Datsusara Hemp Gi. This review, due to the nature of the product, will not be quite so in-depth simply because I am reviewing the effect of the product rather than the product itself. In my training (judo and karate) I have tried eucalyptus-based sprays, Tiger Balm, Icy Hot, heating pads and hot tubs to help relieve muscle pain and I can safely say that, out of those, the hot tubs and heating pads were the only ones that were effective. With that in mind, I was skeptical about Steve’s product and told him I would try it and write up an honest review.
The product—Fighter Fix Liniment—is an oil-based product intended to relax and soothe sore muscles, as well as aiding in the conditioning process of shins and forearms. The ingredients are listed on the bottle and on the Fighter Fix website (www.fighterfix.com) where their uses are also explained:
Thai Plai Oil (Zingiber Cassumunar)—an analgesic, antiseptic, anti-neuralgic, anti-inflammatory, antispasmodic, antitoxic, anti-viral, anti-fungal, anti-microbial and anti-bacterial oil used in Thai land for both common muscle and joint complains and for the aches and pains of Thai fighters.
Virgin Sesame Oil—an oil intended to increase circulation and aid in the absorption of herbs and medicines into the skin that can be used to help treat muscle cramps, back pain and sciatica pain.
Virgin Coconut Oil—similar benefits to sesame oil, but used for muscle relaxation more than to treat pain.
Clove Oil—an anti-inflammatory, antiseptic and anesthetic oil.
Patchouli—an antiseptic, anti-inflammatory herb with a strong scent.
Menthol—an herbal pain reliever and anti-inflammatory.
I have seen some of these ingredients in other products, but typically not all together and never have I come across on containing Thai Plai oil. That said, I am not from Thailand, nor am I a Muay Thai practitioner.
Fighter Fix is shipped directly from Thailand, complete in a box with Thai postage and markings, which is an interesting novelty. The bottle itself is small, slender and made of a durable plastic that holds its shape, even when tossed in a gear bag. The screw-on metal cap is an annoyance to me, as it becomes very slick and difficult to screw back in place when you have the liniment on your hands. Beneath the cap is a rubber dropper nozzle that helps you ration the oil and limit the potential for spills, which I definitely like.
The liniment is a rather sickly color that reminds me of bile and actually makes me rather hesitant to use it. Upon opening the bottle, however, the warm, spicy scent is pleasant and relaxing which helps get past the color right away. The oil itself has a consistency like thin olive oil—it is not as thick and will run a bit more than olive oil when poured into a cupped hand, but not so thin as to feel watery. When you begin to rub the liniment into sore muscles, it smears on that same sickly color it was in the bottle, but quickly begins to absorb and does not leave your skin looking like you smeared on a bad fake tan. Immediately you will notice a gentle warmth from the oil—not a burning, as I experienced with the eucalyptus liniment and Tiger Balm. When rubbed over lightly abraded skin—in my case, my shins and forearms after karate training where my gi had burned and scraped my skin—it will sting a bit, but no more than soap, and the pain goes away very quickly. I was pleased to note that the oil does not seem to stain white clothes or towels once it is rubbed in, even if you can still feel the liniment on your skin, and you are not left with a greasy, sticky feeling.
I have tried Fighter Fix under a number of post-training conditions over the past couple of months. Below, I will describe a few of the instances in which I used it.
After a conditioning-centric workout that left my calves and biceps tight and sore within hours I massaged some of the liniment into my sore muscles. The soreness in my calves was fairly mild and improved quite well within an hour, while my biceps (which were in more pain) were feeling better and less tense, but did not recover as well as my calves. My calves were pain-free by the next morning, which is approximately two days faster than normal (my muscular recovery is not very fast) while my biceps remained sore until Friday, but were less sore each day. In a similar situation, I also applied it only to one bicep to compare the pain-relief and recovery time and found that the muscle that was treated with Fighter Fix did become more relaxed and less sore within an hour and recovered about one day faster than the other bicep.
After a sparring session (we do contact sparring, typically with 4oz-8oz MMA-style gloves and no shin pads) in which I managed to crack someone in the knee with my shin mid-kick I quickly developed a deep-tissue bruise and my shin began to swell, and the fabric of my gi pants had abraded the top of the bruise. After applying Fighter Fix once a day (which is less than the recommended 3-4 times, daily) over the course of a week and a half I found that the bruise directly over the bone of my shin was nearly completely healed, with only minor pain when pushing firmly on it, and the deep-tissue bruise in the muscle alongside the bone had faded to the appearance and feel of a normal bruise, and healed within another week.
After two classes in a row including forearm conditioning I had sore, bruised and abraded forearms. Again, I applied Fighter Fix once a day and over the course of approximately four days the pain was gone, with the exception of the very centers of each bruise, and the bruises themselves faded over the next few days.
My wife’s job requires that she constantly be picking things up off of the floor and recently her back has been feeling tense and sore. In this instance I used Fighter Fix as massage oil and found it to be effective in that role. The oil did not run or smear too easily and remained slick enough to massage for over 10 minutes. My wife said that she felt better afterward but did not know for certain if she could attribute it to the liniment or not. I wiped off the excess oil with a paper towel and let the rest soak in, and her back did seem to feel better.
Fighter Fix is a nasty-looking but pleasant-smelling oil-based liniment that warms quickly but does not burn and seems to immediately take the sting out of minor abrasions. It seems to be effective in helping muscles relax and recover more quickly than normal, and it has been more effective than all other methods I have tried with the exception of soaking in a hot tub for immediate relief but has the added benefit of prolonged relief that a hot tub cannot offer. My skin does seem to be less-prone to bruising after having been treated with Fighter Fix over time, although it is a difficult thing to quantify. The price seems a little high when you see how small the bottle is, but the bottle will last you a long time, depending on how often you use it. I have been using mine off-and-on since the end of April when I feel particularly sore or beaten-up, and I used a liberal amount for the massage, and you can see in the picture how little I have diminished the bottle.
I can say that Fighter Fix certainly seems like a good buy to me as a recreational, traditional martial artist, as it will last a long time and improves my ability to heal and recover. If you train harder or more often (or if you are a professional competitor) you may go through it faster but I still suspect it will last you a few months so the price is still reasonable. Fighter Fix works a lot better than the traditional option—Tiger Balm—and I have to say that it feels and smells a lot better. For best results I suggest soaking in hot water first (long shower, bath or a hot tub) but I think that, even without that, applying once or twice a day is probably sufficient for most people rather than the recommended 3-4 times per day. The product seems to do what it claims, the price is reasonable for the amount you get and Steve is a pleasure to work with.