If you’re an athlete, outdoors enthusiast or clumsy and prone to injuries, you’ve probably heard of RICE. It’s something that most of your doctors know, and what they have commonly told you to do: Rest, Ice, Compression, Elevation.
Sprained ankle? RICE it.
Torn rotator cuff? RICE it.
What to do with your rice cooker? Rice it.
Ok, joking on the last one. But in all seriousness, there is now a big revolution in the way we think about injury, inflammation, and what should we really do?
Introducing MEAT: Movement, Exercise, Analgesia (pain relief), Treatment (alternating hot and cold, acupuncture, etc.).
What’s the big change? Well if you look at the details of those acronyms, they’re almost opposite.
What was Rest is now Movement.
What was Compression and Elevation (so sitting laid up somewhere) is now Exercise.
These are some common recommendations that those of us in the alternative medicine field have known of and have been using for a long time. But now it is nice to know that my hesitance to fall in line with RICE recommendations is now more scientifically proven and that MEAT really is the way to go (sorry vegetarians, I didn’t make it up).
And the last important details (or disclaimers, whatever you want to call it):
-A sprained ankle may not just be a sprained ankle! There could be ligament or tendon tears, or a break in one of the many small ankle bones, so get it checked out by a healthcare professional.
-Don’t push yourself to recover so quickly that you end up hurting yourself further. Yes, movement is beneficial after an injury, but that means some gentle walking or yoga-like activity, not a half-marathon the day after.
I do offer a lot of support and treatments for acute injuries in my office, and also work closely with acupuncturists, massage therapists and chiropractors, so if you have any questions about this, please let me know!
Hoping you recovery swiftly and fully,
Further reading on the research and clinical findings of MEAT- check out this website.
There are over 300,000 people in the US who suffer a stroke each year, especially those with a personal and/or family history of heart disease, diabetes and clotting disorders.
The aftermath is uncertain and often ranges from paralysis to difficulty speaking and other far-reaching effects. Since the damage is already done by the time someone knows they have a stroke, prevention is key for this potentially devastating disease.
Research published last week in the British Medical Journal found that those who ate fish 2-4 times a week had a 6% less chance of a stroke, and those who ate fish 5 times a week had a 12% less chance of having a stroke.
Fish has been long recognized as an "anti-inflammatory" food, meaning that it reduces, rather than stimulates an aggravation of your immune system when you eat it. Just remember, that there is a wide diversity of fish out there, and be cautious in your choices.
Wild-caught Alaskan salmon, for example, has higher amounts of Omega 3 fatty acids and bioflavonoids than farmed Atlantic salmon- which is "pinked up" by artificial dye to look as healthy and fresh as its wild counterpart.
And when considering species of fish and fishing practices, over fishing and other environmental concerns (not to mention heavy metal content such as Mercury), it can at first be difficult to find a healthy source of fish that you feel good purchasing. Take a look at Environmental Working Group's Safe Fish List and this Sustainable Seafood Shopping Guide for pointers, recommendations and further reading.
Here's to your good health.
Asthma inhalers may soon be less relied upon.
New research from Northwestern Medicine shows promising benefits for the tens of thousands who experience life-threatening allergic reactions each year. By introducing specifically modified immune system cells, it gives the body a new signal, which turns off the anaphylactic reaction.
Using mice who were designed to have deadly allergic reactions to peanuts, the researchers attached peanut proteins to white blood cells which are normally a part of allergic reactions. Introducing these modified white blood cells prompts the body to create a tolerance, instead of a severe allergic reaction, to peanuts.
This "fooling of the immune system" treatment has also been applied to asthma and autoimmune disease research, such as Type 1 Diabetes and Multiple Sclerosis. All of these medical conditions have been shown to be reduced in severity by this immunological application (more info here).
So what does that mean for us who have experienced or who know they are susceptible to anaphylactic reactions because of severe allergies? Since this research has shown to provide such beneficial applications, it won't be long before human clinical trials are begun.
One day in the near future, this may be a treatment option given to patients suffering from severe allergies (and perhaps moderate or mild allergies). The treatment feel something like a vaccine or allergy shots (which in its current form contains hundreds of shots to provide its benefit). The white blood cells will be taken from a blood sample, allergic proteins will be attached, then reintroduced to the patient. Who knows? A few sticks then perhaps the occasional booster shot may provide permanent relief from severe allergies!
Thanks for reading, please as always feel free to send me a line. Comments and questions are always welso
Watch, wait, hydrate- key points of fever management.
Fevers- a bane for busy parents rushing to get the kids off to school, and themselves to work. Worry-making in their speed and intensity, many turn to the medicine cabinet to see what can take the fever away fastest. Fevers are also a conundrum for those parents wanting to take a more natural approach to their family's medical care: to Asprin or not to Asprin?Well, I'm just a bit behind the times, but earlier in January (1/11/2011), there appeared in NY Times titled, "Lifting a Veil of Fear to See a Few Benefits of Fever." While much of the article was relegated to describing the quagmire of antipyretics (anti-fever meds), figuring out effective doses with what has on hand for the immediate situation of a sick child, there was also a pleasing amount of updated information dispelling the fever-as-boogey-man perspective that is so pervasive.
Towards the end of the article,I was pleased to see a quote by Dr. Janet Serwint, professor of pediatrics at Johns Hopkins, who said, “I personally think there should be much more education about this at well visits,” going on to say that she believes parents should learn about “the helpfulness of fever — how fever actually is a well-orchestrated healthy response of our body.”
Finally, some vindication for our doctors since time immoral who have praised and made use of the fever response in acute illnesses! These ideas are anything but new. These concepts were known all the way back in Hippocrates' time, who proclaimed, "Give me a fever, and I can cure the child." The fever was a necessary part of the process, not a negative side effect to be stamped out as quickly as possible.
The fever process is carefully regulated by an important, central part of the brain (hypothalamus), which is told via our immune system that there are pathogens on board. This causes our brain to re-set our temperature, first causing the sensation of chills (brain says, "we're too cold"), then as the immune system deals with the illness, the hypothalamus eases up and a fever develops then breaks ("we need more heat," then "ok, enough heat; we're done with the fever thing, time to sweat it all out").
Without the fever process, our immune defense is crippled in dealing with otherwise relatively benign illnesses. Without proper and complete immune responses, our body is less able to respond quickly and efficiently to the next round of similar bug going around later that year, or the next since it was never able to properly learn how to deal with the illness the first time around.
On the cautionary side (we are, after all, dealing with people here, particularly children), there is the concern about high fevers (over 104-105 degrees fahrenheit) inducing seizures. These cases should soon find themselves in urgent care, although epilepsy and subsequent brain damage has been dispelled as possible effects from high fevers. Again, the hypothalamus which tells the body to heat up has its own internal system that puts the breaks on the fever process before we enter danger zone.
So, the next time you come down with a fever, consider all the sides and potential self-treatments (contact your local Naturopathic Doctor for more information!), and for many benign acute illnesses (those things going around every year), rest and chicken soup may be just what the doctor (who has the most up-to-date and comprehensive knowledge on treatments) ordered!
Thank you for reading. I appreciate all those comments and suggestions I have received thus far. I always welcome your responses.