As we reach the dog days of summer, more of us are getting outside and hitting the golf course, tennis court, and swimming pool.
The physical and mental benefits of getting outside and moving are tremendous.
However, most of us do not spend enough time in the gym “training” for our favorite outdoor activities. This can lead to stiff joints, aching muscles, or worse – injury.
But there are ways to avoid this pitfall. Taking a cue from our friends to the East and turning to centuries-old modalities can help keep you safe or support recovery so you can get back in the game in no time.
Check out these summer safety tips to help you prevent (or recover from!) injury.
How To Prevent And Recover From Injury This Summer
Embrace the pins and needles – at least when they’re in the hands of a skilled acupuncturist.
Acupuncture is used to stimulate the central nervous system, which in turn releases chemicals into the muscles, spinal cord and brain. These chemicals either alter the perception of pain, or stimulate the release of other chemicals that influence the body’s self-regulating systems, supporting its natural healing abilities.
Related Article: 4 Ways To Speed Up Healing By Surrendering
Acupuncture can also work with the “gate control” theory of pain perception. According to this theory, stimuli such as acupuncture that activate nerves that are not involved in transmitting pain signals can be used to block signals from pain fibers, and thus inhibit the perception of pain.
In other words, with acupuncture, the brain can be taught to “close the gate” to pain signals that are not useful.
2. Tui Na
This might be one of the most relaxing summer safety tips out there! It may seem similar to a deep tissue massage, but Tui Na is definitely not your standard rubdown. Tui Na refers to the ancient art of body manipulation following the principles of traditional Chinese medicine.
Typically, the practitioner will work on all areas of the body including, muscles, ligaments, joints, skin and fascia, coupling manipulation with acupressure. This treatment is used to combat pain and heal injuries as well as prevent them.
Related Article: 4 Self Massage Techniques You Can Do Anywhere
Tui Na is also used to help maintain overall physical and mental health, which lowers the risk of injury and pain.
3. Tai Chi and Yoga
A common mistake that many active people make is to skip working on flexibility and coordination, assuming that high-impact workouts are the only way to strengthen the body and avoid injury and pain.
Tai Chi and yoga are ancient exercises that have been proven through the millennia to stretch muscles, increase flexibility, tone and build lean muscle mass. They can even help improve mood, decrease blood pressure and improve heart function.
Related: 9 Reasons To Start Doing Yoga
Try to include one or both a few times a week, and reap the benefits of a more fit and balanced you.
4. Herbal Medicine
Frankincense and myrrh, the biblical treasures from ancient kings, are two herbs that have been used through the ages to help alleviate pain and reduce inflammation.
Both can be taken orally, or applied directly to the irritated area, helping to minimize discomfort and speed healing. Ask a certified herbalist about custom formulas, pre-made patches or perhaps a custom salve made with these wonderful curative ingredients.
As you head out to enjoy more fun in the sun, make the most of your summer with a little ancient wisdom. Injuries can be avoided, and if something goes wrong, remember that you have the benefit of thousands of years of Eastern medical knowledge available to you today.
Before you reach for western pain medications, which often have harmful side effects, consider treating your modern-day injuries safely, naturally and effectively by taking a cue from the past. Follow these summer safety tips for a fabulously active summer indeed.
Photo by Robert Bejil
Dr. Daniel Hsu is a renowned specialist in Complimentary and Alternative Medicine (CAM), acupuncturist, herbalist and expert in Asian lifestyle, fitness, nutrition, food, and wellness. His unique ability to straddle both the Eastern and Western medical worlds offers the patients who flock to his Manhattan practices unique treatment plans and holistic lifestyle advice that is as approachable as it is authoritative.
Photo by drweisgerber