ChatterTip of the Month Holiday 2011
Tips for Runners
© Chris Hamilton
So, no big surprise, with this month’s theme being “Sports” and Sagittarius being our quintessential “jock” our tips are for runners and athletes.
Blisters occur when a small area of the skin becomes raised and swollen by an accumulation of blood serum underneath. There are a number of reasons as to why we get them, but in this instance, runners may get blisters from shoes or sneakers that rub! If a blister is punctured, the flesh beneath becomes open to infection. Therefore it is essential to keep the area clean and dry in order for it to heal effectively.
One interesting old folk remedy is to apply boiled & mashed Carrots to the area, particularly good for infection as well as healing – never heard that one before! Applying Roasted Onions is another one, although that’s going to be a bit smellier! Ice will help to reduce inflammation, itching or pain. Bathe the blister in Cold Water with Salt added, creating a natural disinfectant to help with the infection. Cover the blisters in the daytime and remove bandages or plasters in the evening so they can dry out. Aloe Vera juice can be applied to blisters to encourage healing as can Marigold (also known as Calendula), or you can make a poultice with Basil Oil or Lavender. Apply Witch Hazeldirectly to the blister, it will sting for a minute, but it will also quickly relieve pain, reduce swelling, and encourage healing. And another of our old favorites, and natural antiseptics is of course, Honey.
A Cramp is a painful muscular spasm that occurs most frequently in the legs and feet, but can also affect the abdomen, arms and hands (such as “writer’s cramp”!) Excess salt loss through sweating is the most common cause. Many years ago I experienced a very painful bout of abdominal cramp, to the point where I ended up doubled over the dining room table. We were having lunch following a school sports day, in which I had run a few races, and all of a sudden I couldn’t move. So my mother called the doctor (yes, the same one who went up on the roof to fix the tiles) and he told her to get me into a hot bath. Easier said than done. Somehow my mother, sister and best friend managed to carry me up the stairs and into the bath while still doubled over and pretty much a dead weight! And sure enough, after a while the warmth of the water did help my body to un-seize – crazy!
So back to the kitchen cabinet we go and our old faithful friend, Apple Cider Vinegar, which can be used to make compresses, or put a few cups into the bath. You can also make a drink with 1 tablespoon Vinegar and I tablespoon Honey in a cup of Hot Water. Another remedy suggests that a pinch of Salt and some Lemon Juicemay help to prevent night cramps – hey, why not go all out and add in a shot of Tequila, then you can sleep through your cramps! Both Lavender and Geranium are good essential oils that can be massaged into the area, and one of my favorites is Tiger Balm as well as Olbas Oil, which can be effective to ease muscle cramps and spasms. On the Vitamin and Supplement front, some research indicates that a Vitamin E deficiency may cause cramps, as well as an imbalance of Magnesium and Calcium. Increase your intake of Saltand Magnesium, and Vitamin C taken with Calcium is said to help night cramps as well. And don’t forget that Vitamin D is also essential for the proper absorption of Calcium. When I was growing up, we didn’t have Sports Drinks like Gatorade, but nowadays, if you have lost a lot of fluids from excessive exercise or even the flu, your body is dehydrated and you need to replenish your electrolytes, then these Sports Drinks can also be an easy and quick solution.
Strains & Sprains
A Sprain is the result of overstretching or tearing of the ligaments that bind the joints together, caused by a sudden pull. The most commonly sprained or strained joint is the ankle.
And once again, we’re back to Apple Cider Vinegar, which makes a great compress to reduce swelling and pain. Also recommended, this time Raw Onions (instead of roasted – don’t ask me why!) can be applied as a poultice, or you can make a cold compress with Arnica. Burdock can be drunk as a tea or applied as a poultice as well. Use Lavender Oil or Ginger in a footbath. For those of you familiar with the Bach Flower Remedies, Rescue Remedy can be taken internally to reduce the shock, while a few drops on a compress can help to reduce pain. It is best to elevate the limb as soon as you can after injuring it, and apply an Icepack to reduce swelling. If you don’t have an Icepack handy – might I suggest that you always keep a bag of Frozen Peas in your freezer – it makes a great makeshift Icepackthat can be molded to your ankle, or wherever the Icepack is needed. Bind the ankle with an Elastic Bandage to give support, but be careful not to make it too tight and prevent circulation!