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Why Ice May Not Be Ideal For Injuries

Why Ice May Not Be Ideal For Injuries

by Ms Jaime J Kerr 27/09/2018

Do You Use Ice with An Acute Injury?

When you sprain your ankle or strain your muscle during sport, is ice your first point of call? That’s what most people do in Australia. But if you have ever lived in other parts of the world such as Asia, eastern Europe and Africa, the common treatment can be quite different. Sure enough, ice reduces swelling and pain. Is there anything wrong? The problem with using ice to treat acute or chronic injuries is that by cooling down the circulation, the healing process will also slow down. Broken tissues require healing agents to repair the damage. Reduced circulation means that it takes longer for the healing agents to get to the broken tissues. That’s the down side of ice packs. Sometimes the injury never recovers fully because of overusing icy cold therapy. So what’s the alternative?

A Bizarre Looking Pinkie FingerWhile we were living in Hong Kong, one day my Aussie husband came home from cricket. He showed me his bizarre looking pinkie finger which had got completely dislocated from catching the cricket ball. I squealed in the shocking look of it. It was perpendicular to the rest of his fingers! I sent him straight to my herbalist. He gave my husband this black sludge looking poultice that wrapped around his pinkie held in place with Glad wrap. After a few days his finger was all better. Ever since then he never had any more problem with the finger.

What’s in that strange looking pasty poultice?An Alternative to Ice for Acute InjuriesI was intrigued by what was in the magic poultice. After years of studying and practice, I found out that the idea behind this age-old treatment is simply amazing. The poultice contains:

  • Cooling herbs – reduce heat, redness and pain, kind of like ice.
  • Blood moving herbs – increase circulation to speed up recovery.
  • Warming herbs – warm channels to increase circulation & counteract the cooling herbs.
  • Draining herbs – drain excess fluids to reduce swelling.

How cool is that?! With this all-round holistic approach, your pain and swelling will go down quickly WITHOUT compromising the actual recovery process. In fact, injuries treated with Chinese herbs do much better than injuries without any treatment. But that’s just my experience. Since I’ve been treating my active kids with their sport injuries, I had to give the black sludge a more pleasant name – ‘chocolate frosting’.

How clever are the Chinese ancestors 2000 years ago to think of such a brilliant idea! So where can you find this chocolate frosting when you or your child has an acute injury? Well, this treatment is only one presentation of Chinese medicine treatment. Other options are herbal patches, herbal soak, acupuncture and cupping. I have never gone back to ice packs ever since.