Welcome back to Active Life Health Clinic's April newsletter.
cleaning. Last month I wrote about spring cleaning and the
importance of detoxification--still important, if you haven't already
The next couple of newsletters I will focus on another element of
spring cleaning--clearing out the clutter of information that we are
bombarded with daily. Take it back to the basics. When it
comes to health, it does not need to be that complicated. In
recognition of those who have just completed running the Vancouver
SunRun this past weekend (congratulations!), this issue will focus on
the basics of exercise.
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How do you spell relief?...
TCM. Does pain or an injury have you benched? Get back in
the game! Acupuncture, herbs, nutrition, lifestyle--take your
||"Just do it". Exercise, that is. Want some motivation? Read on!
love to hear about your favourite activity, way that you motivate
yourself to exercise, injury healed story, or how you did at the
SunRun. You can win a cylindrical bolster (great to support your back when lying down) for your anecdote.
Helping you help yourself!
To work in partnership with you to bring you to
your optimal health.
Ongoing health, not just temporary relief.
This is active health.
How Do You Spell Relief?...TCM
Chinese Medicine--has been used for thousands of years to treat pain
and injuries. Whether you are a professional athlete, a weekend
warrior, or a newly motivated couch potato, injuries can slow you down
and TCM can get you moving again.
Acupuncture--For a stubbed toe or a goose egg on the noggin; a minor scrape or a fracture...
How strange is it that sharp objects can actually help you to
heal! More and more people are discovering what others have
passed down from generation to generation for thousands of years...it's
Hollywood would have you believe that every TCM doctor by day is a
martial arts master who saves the world by night. While I don't
work at my clinic late in the evening, I can assure you that I'm not
capturing bad guys! I never learned the "kiss of the dragon" in
school; nor did I learn a special series of pressure points that could
make you unable to move, but I do know that acupuncture on your hands
and wrist can treat back pain while points on the legs can be used to
treat frozen shoulder!
How is this possible, you ask? The answer is that everything is
connected. The same blood that supplies your big toe, also
travels to your eyeballs, your hips, your knuckles, and so on. Patients are often surprised when they come in
with something like tennis elbow. If the problem is in the right
elbow, I'll often acupuncture the patient's left knee! The name
of this style of acupuncture is "balance acupuncture". Now this
might conjure up thoughts of Chinese acrobats--me standing upsidedown
on one hand while I acupuncture with my toes, or something like that,
but it is simply a matter of choosing points that are along acupuncture
channels that are opposite to the injured ones. One benefit to
this style of acupuncture is that I can test to see whether or not it
is helping before the treatment is over. If someone has needles
in a sore muscle or joint, he or she cannot move that body part when
the needles are in. However, if another area is acupunctured, we
can test the range of motion, the strength, and the level of pain or
discomfort. Sometimes even I am astonished!
Herbs--Season your body, not just your foods!
With a choice of hundreds of Chinese herbs to
choose from, the first step is to determine the proper TCM
diagnosis. More than just the injury must be taken into account.
It is really about the person who is injured. After all, there is
so much more to a sprained ankle or chronic knee pain than just the
muscles, cartilage, tendons, and ligaments. While I will likely
use herbs that will promote blood circulation and reduce inflammation,
I will need to take into account the person's digestion, sleep issues,
emotional state, medical history, and so on. For this reason, in
TCM we rarely prescribe just one herb. We usually build a customized formula of several herbs, specifically fitted to the
individual we are treating. This means that you can't share your
TCM formula with your Aunt May because she gets neck pain similar to
what you experience.
Food Cures--If you are what you eat, I think I'll avoid the escargot!
Most people don't think about the food they eat or
don't eat when they injure themselves. Nevertheless, there are
nutrition questions that should be addressed. Are there
nutritional deficiencies that rendered the person more susceptible to
injuries? Is the chronic pain that someone feels related in some
way to a food issue or sensitivity? Why do some people thrive on
one way of eating, while others wilt? Did you know that some
foods have an antiinflammatory action?
Other--The leftover, but not unimportant TCM treatments
Other forms of TCM treatment for pain and injuries
include tui na Chinese massage, acupressure, electroacupuncture, ear
acupuncture, scalp acupuncture, cupping, Qi Gong and Tai Chi
(exercises), and lifestyle changes. So, if you didn't find at
least one thing in all this that you would be comfortable with trying
to speed the healing of your injury or relieve your pain or discomfort,
I really don't know what to tell you! : )
"Just Do It." Exercise, that is.
do it" we're told. For some, it's that easy--exercise is a
regular part of life. For others, it's a "shoulda, woulda,
coulda" mind battle. We were built to move, so why does it
sometimes seem to hard to get motivated? Most people can rationalize
why they can't exercise--too tired, too much work to do, more important
things to do, injury, ____________ (What are yours? Fill in the
blank). It's a silly thing to state, but the biggest single
reason why people don't exercise is simply that they just don't
So, you know exercise is important, but perhaps you are struggling. Here are some suggestions...
1. If you are injured or have chronic pain, get
yourself treated so you can be active again. If you are prone to
pain and injury or if you exercise more often or more vigourously, it
would also be wise to get periodic maintenance checks and treatments,
just like you would your car.
2. What motivates you? What can get you
exercising? Looking better? Being able to beat your friend
at tennis? The ability to run for your bus without getting
winded? Winding down at the end of a tough day with a great yoga
class or perhaps a boxing class? Socializing with people at the
gym or ultimate frisbee game or golf course? Remember, it's not
just about lifting weights and running on the treadmill. Find out
what works for you.
3. What time of day should you schedule your
exercise? Does the crack of dawn sound like a perfect way to beat
the crowds? Do you prefer a lunchhour brisk stroll or bike
ride? Or would you rather wind up your workday with a workout
before heading home? It's even harder to exercise if you are
trying to fit it into a time that'll never work for you. Keep in
mind that if you decide to work out at the end of the day, you'll need
to avoid thinking up more reasons not to exercise when that time comes.
There are so many ways to move more, so mix it up! Bike or
rollerblade to work, walk your cat (I've seen someone walking their
cat, really!), see if you can still do a sommersault or a cartwheel
(careful though! maybe skipping is a safer childlike thing to do), park
a block or more further away than you have to from your office (I
always have to park several blocks away, like it or not, grumble,
grumble), dance a jig! I just started playing squash again--if
you've ever played, then you too probably know what "squash butt" feels
Looking for something suitable for you? Here are some of my great ideas:
1. For those who like to workout with others and want
a trainer: Vancouver's only certified adventure bootcamp for
2. For those who like to workout alone and want a
trainer: Call me, I know lots of great people! It all depends on
what you're looking for.
3. For those who want to benefit from a more peaceful
workplace: Corporate yoga classes from a mobile yoga studio www.pureyoga.ca
So maybe you didn't win the SunRun or some other race or game, but you
can win here! I'd love to hear about your favourite activity; way that
yourself to exercise; injury healed story; or how you did at the
SunRun. You can win a cylindrical bolster (great to support your back when lying down) for your anecdote. Email me at firstname.lastname@example.org
Active Life Health Clinic
Dr. Melissa Carr, B.Sc., Dr.TCM, R.Ac.
Doctor of Traditional Chinese Medicine
Regent Medical Building
#410-2184 West Broadway
Vancouver, B.C., V6K 2E1
In appreciation of each of your referrals, Dr. Melissa Carr will offer you 10% off of
your health product purchase, so don't forget to tell your friends,
family, colleagues, and acquaintances to give us your name when they
book an appointment.