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Resources, discussions and information produced by Charlotte Lattin - Level 5 Sports, Remedial and Holistic Massage and Soft Tissue Therapist, Movement Coach, Psychologist, Runner, Swimmer, Yoga practitioner, Lover of Outdoors, Mum to 4 children, Owner of a crazy dog (and a couple of other dogs) and fascinated by all things to do with how our bodies and minds work...
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might guess from the image that this post is about Arnica and its role in helping recovery from muscular aches and pains (and, as you will see this amazing ingredient can help with lots of things). It is also about the little things you can do to take an active role in staying fit and avoiding pain...mainly this is about doing those stretches but if you get into a routine you will be amazed how empowering it is to be able to take an active role in keeping your body in tip-top condition, whether a keen athlete or just fighting through the holiday shopping!
So what is Arnica and why all the fuss? Arnica montana is one of the best-known homeopathic remedies. It has been used for several trials to demonstrate the effect of homeopathic remedies on bruising and trauma. Indeed some plastic surgeons swear by it for reducing bruising after cosmetic surgery. The flowers contain selenium and manganese, both of these are powerful anti-oxidants in the human body and in addition manganese is an essential element needed for healthy bones, wound-healing, and the metabolism of proteins, cholesterol and carbohydrates. It may well be that it is this rich source of manganese that facilitates healing, acting in combination with the other plant chemicals.
For centuries arnica montana has been used herbally for bruising and sprains. The root contains essential oils which are powerful anti–inflammatory agents. The ski resorts are well-versed in the benefits of arnica – massages and body wraps using arnica are readily available in many and massage therapists (like me) know how great this can be for use with anyone with sore, aching muscles - hence my use of the Weleda Arnica Oil and Massage Balm in my work.
Arnica montana is used as a trauma remedy, a remedy for bruising injuries, but its actions are more widespread than that. Although Arnica is most commonly used as an acute emergency remedy, it can just as easily be used to remedy some internal problems as well - think of it almost as a remedy of the bruised soul - there you get the double benefit of healing the body and helping to heal perhaps the pride issues of injury and nurturing you a little (Weleda Arnica Muscle Soak in the bath certainly works on both for me!). When you couple the effects on the body and mind with massage you really get the full benefits of this as the relaxing and anti-inflammatory effects are enhanced by massage. You can very easily use the massage oil or balm on yourself between massage treatments - recent clients have been amazed at the impact of adding this to their treatment plans.
Another important factor is the impact of Arnica on those who use vigorous exercise to defuse anger and aggression, I know of several people who 'run (or swim or whatever) to 'burn off the crazy'! In some cases the physical pain has an almost cleansing effect on their mood. Do you have a tendency to “prove” yourself by going further, working harder, indulging in dangerous sports and going beyond the limits of endurance without complaint? Do you take pride in your strength - it may be worth taking some down time using Arnica products to help to heal and soothe that spirit!
What else can you do to help the body (and maybe soul if we're sticking with the slightly hippy vibe - bearing in mind that most of my Arnica loving clients are not the 'hippy' type!)? Yep, you guessed it DO THOSE STRETCHES!!
Most people do their stretches (a couple of times) when they are in pain. What you might be interested to consider is that doing these as part of your morning or evening routine can make a huge impact on your control over injury/stiffness but also on a less injured and more mobile body.
A good test of physical movement and health is whether you can sit down and stand up (on the floor I might add) without using your arms - give it a go, you may be surprised how tricky this is!
The girl in the first video makes it look easy. If you find it more difficult have a look at the next video and you can 'score' your attempt. It might spur you on to get working on your body (and soul) especially with Christmas and the New Year looming large! There are some great resources for simple exercises and advice about starting a routine just for you, a good start could be reading the 'Yoga as Medicine' book that I have recommended to clients, as well as getting some Arnica products (available from me or from my webshop - a link is on my website). You can even give some to a friend or family member!
Get in touch with me to book in a massage and get those prescription stretches started - I can also take bookings for friends or family as a gift so do ask for more information.
Simple ways to help be the best you can be - a 5-10 minute yoga/strength and stretching routine and using quality Arnica products can be of such benefit - give it a try!