What is more effective - magnesium gel or magnesium oil?

Some context - I'm applying it over almost the entire body to help with psychogenic muscle constrictions that are likely caused by my OCD.

A Bowen-technique therapist recommended that I go for oil rather than gel. Is there evidence that it is really superior?

  • I couldn’t find a single study showing any effects of magnesium gel, and all Google hits for the phrase are from rather questionable sites. Likewise, Bowen technique is pseudoscience with no evidence of effectiveness. If I had to venture a guess I’d say that applying a gel at least has a cooling, soothing effect, compared to the oil, which likely has none whatsoever. Jan 23, 2018 at 21:46
  • I should add, true psychogenic symptoms would obviously not be improved by a supplement of trace elements, even if they did help in non-psychogenic cases (but they probably really don’t): supplements aim to offset deficiency of trace elements in the normal diet, which, by definition, isn’t psychogenic: it’s purely physiological. Jan 23, 2018 at 22:05
  • Magnesium oil is just magnesium chloride and water (not really an oil); it's a lot cheaper if you buy it powdered and make it yourself. The feet are supposed to absorb minerals and such best, from what I've read (followed by the hands, I think), but I'll have to find a reliable source on that; I'm not sure how well they're supposed to absorb magnesium chloride specifically, but a lot of people believe it works for magnesium sulfate with a foot soak. Magnesium chloride is supposed to be more bioavailable taken internally than magnesium sulfate. Jan 24, 2018 at 3:11
  • Gel is less uncomfortable to wear
    – user13653
    May 4, 2018 at 0:08

1 Answer 1


Magnesium oil (in the form of spray, gel, lotion or bath flakes) contains magnesium chloride (Amazon). There seems to be no evidence that magnesium chloride is even absorbed through the skin in significant amounts (Myth or Reality - Transdermal Magnesium, PubMed Central).

There is also no evidence that magnesium in any form (including oral) would prevent muscle cramps (Natural Medicines Comprehensive Database/WebMD):

Taking magnesium supplements does not seem to decrease the frequency or intensity of muscle cramps.

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