Whether you consider yourself an athlete or just a proud user of your human body, getting injured is the pits! Sometimes even the smallest roll of the ankle can become a longer term nuisance. Chinese medicine has wonderful tools to get you back in the game of sport or game of life. The earlier you treat, the better the results.
Meanwhile, there are a few things to keep in mind for home care, or have as general knowledge when it comes to keeping your wonderful body functioning well.
General rules of thumb
-Be sure to get an assessment, depending on the severity of the injury this may be from a allopathic medicine specialist or PCP, your acupuncturist, chiropractor, or other trained professional.
-Be careful to not take “minor” muscle strains as insignificant. These can later develop significant adhesions, or allow other injuries of the ligaments, tendons or joints to take place due to the vulnerability of the area.
-Intervene early and be consistent with your treatments. Use herbal liniments, arnica or other external applications to begin intervention right away after injury. Get to your acupuncturist, massage therapist, or other preferred provider. Ask your provider what you can do at home to aid in recovery.
Dietary tips for recovery:
-Bone broth. Know it, love it, drink it daily.
-Golden paste: sounds exotic right? It’s a lovely mix of the highly touted anti-inflammatory turmeric paste, coconut oil, and fresh black pepper made into a paste that can be used in tea, to coat fish, or other creative culinary adventures. (Note: when in doubt, especially if you are taking blood thinners, ask your medical provider about taking supplements)
-Avoiding chilled foods and beverages. The Spleen rules the flesh, muscles, as well as making food into nutrients. The Spleen is injured by over-consumption of raw, chilled, or greasy foods. If you’re a big fan of salads, try swapping that for steamed or roasted vegetables.
-Avoid fried, fatty foods. You want your digestion to properly assimilate and nourish your injured area. Fried and greasy foods (this include difficult to digest foods like cheese, commercial dairy products, processed meat products) will clog up your digestion.
-Enjoy loads of nutrient dense foods! Vegetables are your best friends here.
Other effective tools
-External herbal treatments. We have a variety available at the clinic which address different kinds of injuries. External herbal liniments and patches are a wonderful addition to your medicine cabinet, as the sooner and more consistently you use them, the better your results. Here’s a few key ones we use at Thompson Family Acupuncture:
- Zheng Gu Shui spray- penetrates deep into the joints for pain relief related to arthritis, sprains and strains, and other minor ailments
- Wu Yang plasters (patches you stick onto your skin) – for stubborn knotted muscles, and tension headaches (by placing on the neck, or upper back where your tight spots are)
- Circulate balm- improves circulation to help with neuropathy, circulation issues, and osteoarthritis in the hands or feet that gets worse with cold
- Moxa warming packs – non-chemical warming packs that use moxa (mugwort herb) and charcoal to keep you warm in the winter. Great for low back pain, menstrual cramps, and just keeping your core warm during outdoor activities.
Cheers to a safe and joyful holiday season enjoying the activities you love. So, go sledding, enjoy epic post-feast walks with your family, and build snowmen. If you pull a hammy while chasing your kids across the icy tundra, remember acupuncture, herbs and therapeutic exercise will get you back to doing the things you love.
If you’re interested in further information about how Chinese medicine is used in sports medicine and maintaining optimum health, check out A Tooth From The Tiger’s Mouth by Tom Bisio.
Amanda Johnson (AJ) practices at Thompson Family Acupuncture Clinic in Walla Walla, WA. She loves to show patients how Chinese medicine is fantastic at relieving body pain, aiding recovery and enhancing vitality. When not in the clinic, she will be out hiking, cycling, or playing in the water.