Skin Deep: Heal Common Sports Injuries Naturally

Body Care for Active People

| May/June 2007

  • Exercise is essential for great health, but injuries—such as bruises, sprains and sore muscles—are common. Luckily, natural remedies can get you back on your feet quickly.
  • A massage with pain-relieving essential oils increases circulation and eases soreness.

Healing Recipes:

There’s no question that physical activity is terrific for your body, mind and spirit. But it’s the rare person who doesn’t occasionally suffer the downside of fitness, in the form of bruises, sore muscles, strains, sprains or tendonitis. To prevent sports injuries, warm up before working out, increase the intensity of your workouts gradually and stretch gently to keep muscles, tendons and ligaments pliable. If you do suffer an injury, the following natural remedies will get you back on your feet quickly.

Strains, Sprains and Tendonitis: Ease Inflammation

Strains affect muscles and sprains affect ligaments, the fibrous bands of tissue that attach bone to either bone or cartilage. Tendonitis affects tendons, fibrous bands that connect bone and muscle. What all of these injuries have in common is inflammation of the affected tissue.

Ice the pain. At the first sign of pain, stop what you’re doing and ice the injury. Ice is an excellent topical anti-inflammatory and pain reliever. For best results, apply an ice pack to the injury for 15 to 20 minutes at a time at least every couple of hours the first day. Repeat at least three times a day for two more days.

Paper cups filled with frozen herbal tea make instant soothers for muscle strains, sprains and bruises. To make, fill 8-ounce paper cups with a strong brew of chamomile (Matricaria recutita) and peppermint (Mentha ×piperita) tea and store in the freezer. To use, peel back the top couple of inches of the cup (leave the bottom of the cup intact to hold the ice) and apply to the injury with a gentle massaging motion.

Relieve Pain with Anti-inflammatory Herbs

Calming inflammation internally and externally encourages healing and eases pain. Turmeric (Curcuma longa), ginger (Zingiber officinale) and rosemary (Rosmarinus officinalis) are three excellent herbal anti-inflammatories.

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