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Nature's Remedy: Here Comes the Snow

And Here Come the Inevitable Injuries ... Naturopathic Health for Musculoskeletal & Neurological Systems
   “Here Comes the Snow … da da da da … Here Comes the Snow … and I say, It’s Alright!”
   Bring it on!
   With the snow comes lots of fun (especially here in Ellicottville), long workdays, and unfortunately, sometimes injuries from various accidents.
   Musculoskeletal and neurological dysfunctions can be so frustrating because of the pain, decreased range of motion, and worst case, immobility. This makes for a long winter in Western New York.
   This article will cover some of the various naturopathic solutions for muscles, ligaments, tendons, bones, nerves and connective tissue.*
   What is the commonality between the following tissues of the musculoskeletal and nervous system?
   Muscle/Tendon Strains are pulls or tears to the muscle and/or its attaching tendon. Muscles have connective tissue surrounding and connecting them, including tendons. Tendons are bands of fibrous connective tissue that attaches muscle to bone and can withstand high amounts of tension.
   Ligament Sprains are stretching or tearing injuries to the ligaments. Ligaments are firm, fibrous bands of connective tissue connecting bones to bones, and usually more than one ligament is affected in injuries. Bones are made of dense, semi-rigid, porous, calcified connective tissue. Nervous system tissues are also composed of connective tissue.
   So … you guessed it! The commonality between the above-mentioned tissues is Connective Tissue.  One of the most successful therapies that I have learned over the past ten years for strains, sprains, broken bones, joint dysfunctions and various nerve pains is Craniosacral Therapy. I have mentioned this therapy many times in my writings. Most people say, “Cranio-what?” It is important for me to write about this therapy because I have personally been helped tremendously through craniosacral therapy (and homeopathy) and I have seen so many incredible results with many people in my seven years of practicing this therapy.
   Craniosacral Therapy has its roots in osteopathic medicine since the early 1900’s. The craniosacral rhythm - or the Breath of Life - can be sensed through this light touch therapy. This rhythm comes from the flow of cerebrospinal fluid beginning in the 4th ventricle of the brain, looping around the spine and back again to the brain. Affecting this rhythm helps to balance the energy of the body from the inside out. As the energy from the practitioner’s hands interact with the energy in the body, connective tissue is relaxed, allowing energy to flow freely and releasing restrictions to the body’s extraordinary healing powers.  Craniosacral Therapy is excellent for spinal cord injuries, car accident injuries, anxiety, stress and many diseases.
   Practically speaking, relaxing music plays as someone walks into my office. Calming essential oils provide instant relaxation.  The person lies on their back on the massage table, taking off only their shoes. My assessment begins at the feet and shins, and follows anywhere from the sacrum and lower back to the cervical spine and head to any joints needing healing. The client feels deeper and deeper relaxation, warming where the hands are placed, fluttering, releasing sensations and even strange reactions in other areas of the body not being worked on. Many people sleep (even snore!) and others have releases of emotions that were stored in the body. Most often, balance is restored, pain is diminished, range of motion increases and relaxation is welcomed.
   Often I get …”I can’t believe that worked just with using your hands at such a light touch!” Or, “I don’t understand what you just did, but I don’t care. I feel so good!” 
   The following conditions were treated using Craniosacral Therapy one to five times with high percentages of positive progress or almost total improvement: Neuroma in the bottom of a 65-year-old woman’s right foot. Pinched nerve on the 5th toe of a 24-year-old male (an avid runner who couldn’t run.) 45-year-old woman who fell down a set of stairs with minor injuries to cervical spine, lower back and hip. 45-year-old male with painful bilateral sacroiliac joint pain. Restricted range of motion on right ankle due to sports injuries and two surgeries in a 50-year-old male (still working on this one.) 14-year-old female with prolonged healing of a tibial fracture (Homeopathy added.) Slow healing ankle sprain. Painful knees. Tight hips. Lower back pain. Hamstring strains. Pinched spinal nerves.
   One female client wrote, “Cranio is like meditation for the deepest parts of your body. Muscle tension and emotional tension get magically melted away. It’s like nothing else and one of my favorite experiences. If I could get it every day I’d probably be a Zen master or a guru of some sort.”
   Whenever someone is injured, my hands gravitate toward the person … I’ll admit, I have to be careful so as not to appear STRANGE.  But usually it is welcomed. Therapy sessions have also at times become the stage for some feel-good humor … the best one was when I first started working on my mom. “So … I am working on your spine … releasing restrictions in the large connective tissue sheath protecting your spine. It is called the dura mater.”  “Dura mater, huh? So when you work on your dad, is it called the dura fater?”
   I hope you come visit me at Nature’s Remedy for a journey!
   Traumeel cream and oral tablets, or Arnica gel and 30c pellets can be used for pain, inflammation and bruising. Symphytum 30c can be taken to promote healing of broken bones.  Hypericum 30c may help shooting nerve pain.
   Nature’s Sunshine supplements: Relief Formulais used for temporary natural relief of minor aches and pains. Hops, Tumeric, Willow Bark, Protease Enzymes, Boswellia and other ingredients make this product highly absorbable and well tolerated by the body so as to avoid adverse side effects. Time Released Vitamin C aids in the body’s healing processes for any injury. Super Algae is my favorite way to “eat” essential fatty acids, which help the body’s inflammatory response. (The fish eat the algae, which makes them a great source of Omega 3s, so why not eat the algae!) Nerve 8 supports proper nervous system function, calming nerve pain, anxiety, insomnia and digestive issues. White willow, devil’s claw, valerian, hops and wood betony reduce cellular stress and calm the nerves. KBC with Skeletal Strength helps the body to properly and more quickly heal broken bones. Super ORAC provides the body with high doses of anti-oxidants to protect injured areas and their surrounding tissues from free radical damage. Kava Kava calms the nervous system, helps muscles to relax without dulling the senses and promotes relaxation. Nature’s Fresh Spray is made from plant enzymes and is like the “Windex” in My Big Fat Greek Wedding. It comes in a spray bottle … it can be sprayed anywhere on the body for bruising, inflammation, pain, herniated discs, strain, sprains, etc. Finally, MSM (methysulfonylmethane) is an organic form of dietary sulfur used especially to help fortify connective tissue and to maintain healthy joints.
   Other products:Tiger Balm, and Essential Oils including Lavender, Chamomile, Deep Relief Formula, Frankincense, Helichrysum and Tei fu. Tei fu oil or lotion smells wonderful with camphor, eucalyptus and many other essential oils combined to provide a heating/cooling effect. Excellent for pain and inflammation.
   Other therapies:Hydrotherapy, Epsom Salt Baths, Detox Foot Baths and the PRICE protocol (Protection, Rest, Ice, Compression and Elevation especially important in the first 72 hours) all add to the body’s healing.
   Foods:Apple Cider Vinegar, Juicing - especially greens with lemons, and Pineapple for its Bromelain enzymes.
   In short, adding naturopathic care to your healing of any type of injury gives the body what it needs in order to heal more productively. Please feel free to call or come visit us at Nature’s Remedy!
   *This information is NOT intended to treat, cure, diagnose nor be a substitute for the proper diagnostic assessments prescribed by your doctor. Naturopathic doctors are not PCPs, so please consult with your doctor when you have an injury. This information is intended to be used at your discretion, supplementing your allopathic care.Please refer to your own physician, or the M.D.s at Northtown Orthopedics in Ellicottville (6133 Jefferson Street, 699-8224), or Dr. Douglas Schindler, D.C. (an excellent chiropractor at the same location, 699-6372.)