This means it’s out with the long dark nights spent indoors and in with the BBQ’S, shorts and a new zest of life! Many of you will take this change in season as a catalyst to blow off the cobwebs and head outdoors to get active in the lighter evenings or on the weekends.
In Bath, we are spoilt with beautiful surrounding countryside and there are plenty of opportunities to get out there and enjoy it. Whether that be cycling, running, walking, climbing or even golfing!
The downside to this is that, after most of us have been a little less active than we should have been through the winter months, it’s all too easy to push yourself too hard in the scrabble to enjoy the sun. This is the most common time of year to pick up niggles, injuries and general soreness, all of which can be infuriating.
So, here are some tips to help you keep on track and enjoy the summer months to the full.
The main reason people visit an Acupuncturist is for pain relief. Not all people endure pain due to sport (but the great majority do) and Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM) and Acupuncture can help more ways that most people know, such as:
- Reducing inflammation
- Increasing blood flow and circulation
- Addressing any underlying blockages or deficiency
- Strengthening your whole system.
- You don’t have to needle into the injury to make it better J (which to most of us is a great relieve!)
Acupuncture has been linked to endorphin release and is known to trigger the immune system which helps reduce the chance of reoccurring injuries and pain. As well as decreasing pain, acupuncture also improves function and creates a quicker more efficient natural environment within your body for it to recover.
Ditch the Cold
By this I mean, try to use cold/ice compression on injuries to the first 48 hours – this is regarded to be the Acute Phase of an injury. Keep the duration of cold/ice application short, between 10 and 20 minutes. You don’t need to get frostbite for it to be effective!
Icing works by restricting blood flow to the inflamed area, which is proven to reduce swelling and inflammation. However, it’s important to know that after the initial acute phase (48 hours), continued icing can hinder the healing process by doing just that: restricting the blood flow necessary to start repairing the injured site.
In Chinese medicine, heat is always favoured for pain (unless the injury site is hot to touch, swollen and very red). Warmth or heat stimulates circulation rather than restricting it, which helps speed up the healing process. Much like keeping stiff muscles and joints mobilised, which increases the blood flow to the site and speeds up the recovery process. Great ways to apply warmth which are cheap and easy are using heat pads, wear adequate clothing and of course take a warm bath.
In summary: first 48 hours after an injury: ice the region in 10-20 minute intervals
Post 48 hours: utilise heat techniques to encourage blood-flow to the area for optimal repair.
Roll yourself better!
Foam rollers are a great and inexpensive way to home massage those weary limbs and keep them ready for action. Foam rollers work by using your own body weight and are great for larger muscle groups like your back, glutes (your bottom) and legs. They are also excellent in stretching out tight lower backs, which can result from bad posture and sitting at desks for long periods of time. For more information, you can find plenty of ‘how to’ videos on YouTube to help you get started.
And finally, eat well!
It is of course always important to make sure you have a well-balanced diet and it sure helps to keep the body running well. We get our energy from what we put into our body and it helps to pay a little attention to what this is. Foods great to reducing inflammation and swelling include turmeric, garlic, cinnamon, ginger, green tea, jasmine, mint or chamomile teas, the teas lead me nicely onto to,… drink plenty of water!
And finally, eat less sugar…No, even less sugar! We don’t need sugar – it is purely a taste issue and as many of you I’m sure will agree with me here, incredibly addictive. Sugar, is part of a food group considered ‘damp’ forming in Chinese medicine. This can make your muscles heavy, joints ache and stiff, interfere with your digestion, the list goes on. Damp is not what we want!