How to Recover Fast from Injury with Chinese Sports Medicine Techniques

Chinese Sports Medicine is a science that athletes, martial artists and their trainers have utilized to their advantage for centuries.

Here’s the ticket, the main difference is in the initial phase of the injury.

I think that  Eric Armstong, from Tree of Life explained it best.  So to paraphrase;

‘If you imagine a basic injury is like a disaster site where the water pipes have broken and water is flooding the place because it (the swelling) has nowhere to drain.   The repair crew (nutrients in the blood) can’t get in to fix things (things=cells) because there is water everywhere. The first step is to minimize the damage.’

In the West we have been taught to use the R.I.C.E formula ; ie rest,ice,compression and elevation for the first 24 hours. After which, we are supposed to rest and heat.  The ice and elevation stops the swelling and then the heat is to encourage the circulation back to allow for repair.

The Eastern approach is to get new blood to the cells as quickly as possible so that the repair crew can do its work.  But what about the flooding? The idea is to put in water pumps to take it away and put it somewhere else.

These water pumps come in 3 forms:

If  you can’t get to treatment in the acute phase – Hello most likely! Then:

  1. Massage with a Liniment.  This is  can be applied by anyone.  TCM sports therapists  suggest to massage the sprained or strained area as immediately and as vigorously as possible.  If possible with liniment.

In a treatment a practitioner would use:

  1. Heated Cups. These would be placed on either side of the injury so blood is drawn away from the injury site. The swelling and inflammation of the injured area is immediately reduced and space becomes available which is then allows fresh oxygenated blood to get to the injury, carrying with it all the essential nutrients and factors needed for repair.
  2.  Acupuncture. Depending on the placement of the needle, the resulting vasodilation,vasoconstriction and general muscle twitching stimulates drainage and blood flow.  It also directs Qi to the area, the Blood then follows.

What is liniment?  This is what to cotton on to! -It’s miraculous stuff.  Basically it’s an alcohol based tincture that has been made by distilling potent healing herbs that reduce swelling, inflammation, pain and promote healing.   There are many common, easily-found and effective liniments around.

My personal favorites are; Zheng Gu Shui, Zen, Tiger Balm. I also use Fisiocreme.

Chinese herbal liniments, patches and moxibustion for rapid healing

Powerful and effective home care techniques for rapid injury recovery


So the steps are:

  1. You get hurt.
  2. Straight away douse the area with your liniment of choice
  3. Rub it in to tender spots.
  4. Mobilize (gently move with your hands) the joint or area, this can be a bit painful so breathe, stay mindful and calm.  Gently manipulate the joint the opposite way that it’s been affected.  IE if you rolled your ankle, slowly and gently roll it with your hands in the opposite diection.
  5. Loosely strap the area and keep it warm.
  6. Repeat steps 2.3 and 4. Every 1-2 hours in the first 12-24 hours.

Great, well done. You’ve gotten through the acute phase, with technique thats going to set you up for the best longer term recovery.

The most important factor to really understand is keep the circulation going.  Injuries can become chronic if stagnant blood is not removed.  Over time the local area becomes deprived of nourishment which can cause permanent weakness and potential for repeated injury to the area.

More tools that keep the circulation and thereby the nourishment going are:

Moxabustion.  This is a powerful tool for healing. It’s also pain free and inexpensive.

For take home care, we will give you a stick of moxa, in which you light and hold over the site of injury or nearby acu-points (if known) for 5-10 mins at a time. Until you feel the heat saturate the area.  Do this everyday for about 2 weeks after the acute phase has passed.

Herbal Patches.  The quickest and easiest way to keep the area infused with healing herbs. No witchy poo apocatheray skills required. They come fully prepared.  They are a stick-on plaster which you apply to the affected area.  They infuse the skin and then blood with similar healing herbs that are in the liniments. They usually last for 7-12 hours and are very inexpensive.

What else? Self Massage, stretching, mobilization ,  heat, heat, heat  and liniment, liniment, liniment.

So there you have it. All the tools and tips you need to look after yourself and bounce back from any injury. So, stock up your first aid kit with these inexpensive  and effective tools and you’ll be the star of  any outdoor adventure or sporting event.

Products are available at Cloud Gate Therapeutics, China Books, online, many Asian grocery store and the occasional chemist.







The 1 Thing We Need To Get To Make Change Easy.


New Year, New Resolutions. That old chestnut.

In so many ways, the conditions are ripe for it at this time. Often in Jan, we’ve taken a break, mixed up the routine, have satisfied our inner hedonist over Christmas and NYE in celebration over the last year & heralding in the new.  We spent all our money, took time off, ate lots of food, drank & more. (Or was that just me??) Afterwards we naturally feel a little austere, it’s quiet now, people are away, business can be slower, school is out. We have the space to contemplate. We may be pumped to start our new regime and that’s great, but why do most, even if they make a strong resolution, tend to not follow through with how they want to change and grow? Why do humans commonly do that? Why can’t we move forward in the ways we want? Why do we find it such an effort, too difficult & eventually give up?


A Survivalist Guide to the Christmas Party Season.

Spring is over!, that crazy back and forth weather (I may regret saying that!) wind & HAY FEVER has finished. WOOT WOOT! Summer has arrived! Most of the Cloud Gate detoxers are finishing up their program and as the Christmas season approaches detox is the LAST thing that people are thinking about. Instead peops be gearing up to CELEBRATE. Having a strong willed inner hedonist myself, I have crafted a summer party survival guide, based on experience, so that you can coast through this time, still releasing, connecting & celebrating but not abusing your body along the way.

party season survival

The Mindset of the Chronically Relaxed


Stop the glorification of busy

In Chinese Med treatment, we always ask about your stress levels and how they are impacting you. ‘Stress’ is so incredibly prevelant in the inner city modern life that its considered normal.

So often in treatment when people really get some space from and perspective on ‘Stress’ EVERYTHING CHANGES for them. I mean in a good way.

So I ask..
Are you in control of your stress levels or is stress running you ragged?

Do you feel your heart, your head & your feet walking off in separate directions?

Stress is the conundrum of our modern lives and it is the number one underlying factor in so many chronic and potentially life-threatening complaints.

You are not alone, underneath are some helpful habits, which I’ve identified as the five  Mindsets of the Chronically Relaxed. Truth is it is in reach for all of us and I can’t wait to see it showing up in clinic.


3 Tips to Beat the Hayfever Grind

The seasonal change is upon us yet again. Been out and smelled the flowers lately? Turned your head to bask in the sunlight? We are emerging from those long dark nights. Yang times are approaching. Things are going to pick up. Especially socially. Especially outside.

What does spring mean to you? To me it means luxuriating in the sun without getting too hot or burnt. It means stopping to smell the flowers as my nose picks up new full body milky scents of jasmine, gardenia and daphne. Spring is so damn optimistic, I love it.

It also heralds the beginning of about 3 months of sinus & energy hell for my partner and many of you guys, my patients.


8 Lessons I Learnt from my Japanese In Laws


I just returned from a quasi spontaneous 3 week working holiday to Japan. We went so as my son could meet his grandparents for the first time.

Travel has always been one of my greatest teachers. It shifts perspective like nothing else.

It was our first international trip as a family & I knew it would be very different from my other travels that’s for sure. (ie NOT snowboard,hot spring, sake, party, repeat.) We spent more time in a place, moved slowly and integrated into Japanese family life. This allowed me to understand more aspects of the culture.

I was happy to discover lots deeply echoed Chinese Med lifestyle advice & health promotion.

So here are the 8 lessons learnt from my in laws. I hope you find these relevant and helpful

The 1 Thing You Must Do This Winter

The Yin Bear

This weekend is Winter Solstice, which means it’s the longest darkest night of the year. We’ve hit that ultimate yin phase of the year, now is the time to make like the bear and hibernate. What to do when Game of Thrones is already over?

Seasonally winter is the time to take to ground and REST,conserve, build strength, save money. Therapeutically this is the time where it’s going to be the easiest to restore your adrenals, re-balance your stress and sex hormones. Repair what all that flight and fight has done to your system or as Takeshi says (pictured underneath) sharpen your sword.

A great easy way to do that is..

How To Be One Of ‘Those People’ That Never Get Sick


The seasonal change is upon us, we are emerging from those last long glorious days of late summer. A few days past the Autumn Equinox now, the light and the dark of day and night stood equal for a day and now the pivot has swung. I feel the transition, the sweet departing of the summer warmth & light, in the beautiful glow of the autumn sun setting. We are starting to feel the chill at night and thinking about cosy warming things is still novel. The Yin is approaching. How you going to handle it? Will you thrive? or curl up under your rock and sniffle and cough? If your tempted to do the latter, underneath is for you..