Healing Sports Injuries the Holistic Way
Sally Perkins takes a look at several holistic ways to heal some sports injuries.
Regular exercise is vital for optimal health. The NHS guidelines recommend at least 150 minutes of moderate aerobic activity per week, as well as two or more strength training sessions. If you are an avid exerciser, you will likely know none of us is immune to getting the occasional injury now and then. The most common sports injuries take the form of sore muscles, strains, and sprains. Fortunately, there are several holistic ways to heal sports injuries without the need to turn to meds. These methods include ice packs, bathing, massage, and good nutrition, along with plenty of rest.
Soothe sore muscles
Micro-tears in the muscle tissue ultimately cause sore muscles. This is, in turn, the result of either not warming up well enough, increased exercise intensity, or increased exercise duration. 12 to 24 hours after the workout, delayed-onset muscle soreness (DOMS) sets in with symptoms including mild soreness, swelling, and stiffness, as well as limited range of motion in the affected joints and loss of strength in the affected muscles.
To soothe sore muscles and relieve symptoms of DOMS holistically, take a long, warm bath with Epsom salts and your favourite essential oils. Epsom salts break down into magnesium when in warm water and relax and soothe the muscles. The addition of essential oils will help reduce inflammation, improve blood circulation, and ease the pain.
You can also use massage with essential oils to holistically alleviate muscle pain. Lemongrass, lavender, eucalyptus, frankincense, and cypress essential oils are particularly useful for this. Mix a few drops with a carrier oil and gently massage the injured area. Massage releases lactic acid and other toxins from the muscles that cause muscle pain. DOMS usually lasts two or three days, but these holistic methods should help it pass quickly.
Heal strains and sprains
A muscle strain is a result of overusing a muscle and the muscle fibres swelling, spasming, or knotting-up. A strained muscle has a dull, ongoing throbbing pain, which turns into a sharper pain when you try putting weight on it. Alternatively, a sprain is the result of an overused ligament, which ends up stretching and even tearing. This is very painful and soon followed by tenderness and swelling.
Although different, strains and sprains are both ultimately the result of inflammation which can be cured holistically. Firstly, make sure you apply an ice pack to the injured area as soon as possible. Within the first 24 hours of the injury, you should ice it for about 15 to 20 minutes every few hours. Do this at least three times per day for the next two (or more) days. Ice will help ease both pain and inflammation.
It also helps to eat foods rich in Omega 3 to reduce inflammation (such as avocados, flaxseeds, and walnuts). Curcumin, a medicinal substance within the spice turmeric, is also a proven anti-inflammatory. You can add turmeric (root or dried) to soups and lentil dishes, as well as use it to make nutritious vegetable juices and hot tea. The impressive thing about curcumin is that research has shown it to be as effective as cortisone and the phenylbutazone drug. Unlike these two compounds, however, curcumin is not toxic and is free from unwanted side effects.
Lastly, be sure to rest your injury and avoid putting excess strain on it. Although it can be frustrating to skip a workout, you must allow your body to heal. You can then focus on taking steps to prevent injuring yourself again. Before your next workout, warm-up all your muscles correctly, as well as cooldown afterward with stretches and a foam roller to massage your muscles.
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About the Author
Sally Perkins is a professional freelance writer with many years' experience across many different areas. She made a move to freelancing from a stressful corporate job and loves the work-life balance it offers her. When not at work, Sally enjoys reading, hiking, spending time with her family, and travelling as much as possible.