As Yogis (and humans), we are mindful of taking care of our body, but too often, even unbeknownst to us, we misuse and abuse our body in ways that can cause systemic inflammation.
If you’ve got Pain, well, that’s the number one indicator of low-level inflammation and it’s important to pay attention to those pain signals.
Pharmaceutical painkillers and anti-inflammatories just don’t make sense for small bumps and sprains since the side effects can be more problematic then the original issue. Lucky for us there are many completely holistic ways to treat sports-induced muscle inflammation. Utilizing multiple remedies together from the list of 10 below will yield the best results:
1. Rest is the simplest, the most reliable and the most overlooked treatment for new ailments. The recommended time frame is 5-7 days.
2. Drink more water. Lean muscle tissue contains about 75% water by weight. If those muscles are hurting, water is key to transporting the good stuff in and getting the bad stuff out.
3. Heat and Ice Therapy – Ice treatment is the appropriate treatment for trauma injuries and is most effective if utilized within the first 48 hours. Heat increases blood circulation and is the recommended treatment for basic muscle aches due to over exertion.
4. Food Choices – Certain foods are highly inflammatory (sugar, refined carbohydrates, animal fats), so avoid them. Foods rich in phyto-enzymes (vegetable juices, green chlorophyll-rich foods) help the body to scavenge inflammatory proteins, reduce toxicity, and speed recovery, so bulk up on the good stuff when the body is below par.
5. Massage improves blood circulation, stimulates nerve conduction and facilitates lymphatic drainage. A pair of well-loved Yoga Tune Up® Therapy Balls provides a cheap but invaluable (and highly portable) daily self-care tool. Soft-tissue stimulation significantly improves recovery time but be careful not to apply strong pressure on tender areas that are painful to the touch.
6. Essential Oils – Add 5 drops of Arnica, Calendula, St. John’s Wort, or Peppermint oil mixed to one-quarter cup of carrier oil and rub into the affected area several times per day to relax tense muscles and improve circulation.
7. Arnica – In Homeopathy, Arnica stimulates white blood cells to digest congested blood and to disperse trapped, disorganized fluids from bruised tissues, joints, and muscles. Arnica cream can be applied topically (do not apply to ruptured skin) and is safe for extended use.
8. Spices and Herbs – Turmeric, Ginger, Cayenne, Rosemary, Black Pepper, Cinnamon, Basil, Cardamom, Chives, Cilantro, Cloves, Garlic, Parsley all have strong anti-inflammatory properties. Incorporate during mealtime prep or steep as a tisane (1 teaspoon herb: 8 ounces of water). Cayenne can also be mixed with a carrier oil for use as a topical ointment (1 teaspoon cayenne: 2 ounces oil).
9. Vitamin supplementation – Research conducted by the University of Minnesota found that 93% of all subjects with non-specific musculoskeletal pain were Vitamin D deficient. High doses of Vitamin C can reduce inflammation by 45% and Vitamin E plays a major role in reducing inflammation as well as cleansing the body of free radicals.
10. Magnesium (and Magnesium Sulfate). Magnesium is an amazing mineral and a terrific all-natural muscle relaxer. It’s involved in roughly 300 vital biochemical reactions including transmission of nerve impulses, body temperature regulation, detoxification, energy production, as well as bone and tooth formation. Sulfates help form brain tissue, joint proteins, digestive proteins, and they assist the boy in detoxification. A perfect segue to my all time favorite cure-all: Epsom Salt Baths!