First Look: Rock On Athletic Balm

When was the last time you got a rub down with mineral-rich clay harvested from a remote area of coastal British Columbia?

Rock On Athletic Balm
Price: $40/4 oz container
Best Features: Contains phytoplankton-rich, glacial marine clay.
Room for Improvement: Expensive.

We first became acquainted with Rock On Athletic Balm at our 2018 Trail Runner Photo Camp in Bishop, California. Developed by one of our photo-camp participants and multi-year Canadian Mountain Running Team member (among other endurance-sports accolades), Dr. Syl Corbett, Rock On is touted to reduce inflammation, muscle soreness and recovery time, along with other good things like reducing wrinkles (which we all love).

While the balm features all organic, vegan ingredients (coconut oil, olive oil, carnauba wax, cocoa butter, candelila wax flakes, vitamin E, peppermint essential oil and eucalyptus essential oil), the “secret sauce” is phytoplankton-rich, glacial marine clay, which is harvested from a remote area of coastal British Columbia and ostensibly packed with naturally-healing minerals and nutrients.

“I was searching for different methods to improve recovery from hard runs. I had heard about the use of clay in general, so I started testing different clays from around the world. The clay from BC turned out to be incredibly pristine, free of heavy metals and exhibiting a tremendous mineral profile,” says Corbett, an endurance-sports coach who has a PhD in Medical Science, Masters in Exercise Science as well as a Chiropractic doctorate. “The most common feedback I receive from the Olympic and professional athletes I coach has been taking the edge off excessive inflammation and restoring mineral depletion in muscles.”

As with most recovery balms and creams, there isn’t scientific proof as to the product’s efficacy (although this recent study supports the BC clay’s antibacterial properties). Healing from a quadriceps-tendon repair (and often-sore low-back muscles), I put Rock On to frequent use over several months, both pre and post exercise (and sometimes pre-post-exercise hot shower). The army-green, bluish balm has a fairly firm consistency in the container, but rubs into the pores/skin easily with a slightly greasy finish and has a pleasing medicinal, eucalyptus odor. Whether it was placebo effect or not, I felt like the Rock On did reduce my post-exercise soreness and shortened my recovery time, and just enjoyed massaging it into my muscles and tendons. About those wrinkles, maybe there was not much of a noticeable effect …