Using Lectric Soda Crystals to reduce swelling

glad wrap, soda crystal and compression stocking

Lectric Soda Crystals are recommended by many manual therapists to help reduce swelling and also for temporary relief of aching muscles and joints.

After an injury a joint and the surrounding soft tissues may become swollen and congested with fluid as they heal. While this is a normal part of the healing process the extra fluid can tighten the skin over the area, cause discomfort, and limit the mobility of the affected joint. If swelling remains once you have applied the usual RICE (rest, ice, compression, elevation) first aid to your injury, then Lectric Soda crytals may be appropriate to help you reduce the swelling.

Unfortunately most of the evidence to support letric soda use for swelling is anecdotal but after many many netball injuries I can personally vouch for it’s effective and have also recommended it to many patients over the years.

Where to buy it
The main two brands are Letric Soda crystals (which are actually a washing powder) and Bexter’s Soda Crystals. Both can often be bought at the supermarket; Bexters in the health and beauty isle and a bit more expensive than the original Letric Soda Crystals which you’ll find in the cleaning isle near the washing powder for around $3-$4! You will also find Bexter’s at a chemist.

letric soda crystals
Bexter's soda crystals

How to use the crystals

There are two main ways we recommend to use Letric Soda crystals to reduce swelling – in the bath or directly on the swollen area. Directions for both are written below. If you have sensitive skin it might be worth testing a small area of skin for sensitivity prior to use. The inside of your wrist is usually a good spot for this.

Using Lectric Soda Crystals in the bath
Fill a warm bath and add 1 cup of Lectric Soda Crystals and mix to dissolve. Soak for up to half an hour to help revitalise your aching muscles and joints. Remember to drink lots of water while you are in the warm bath to keep you hydrated. Hydration is vital to help your body flush excess fluid as well.

Using Letric Soda crystals directly on the swollen area
I usually use a clean sponge and place a decent covering of the crystals between your skin and the sponge over the swollen area and then wrap with glad wrap or a compression bandage to keep it in place. Lots of people also place the crystals in a clean sock and tie up the end before placing it on the swollen area – this is a bit easier to wrap up! The ideal is to leave the wrap on overnight but it is beneficial to do it a couple of times a day so you can do shorter sessions during the day as well if you’ve got the time. Remember it can get messy so wrap the area in a towel or have a towel under you.

If you are unsure of how to care for an injury, please book an appointment to visit your osteopath at the clinic, and they can advise you on the appropriate management for your specific injury. If you have any general questions feel free to email me at