Wednesday, May 20, 2015

Wednesday Wellness: Treating Inflammation Naturally

Inflammation is more than puffy, painful, red and hot areas of the body.  It is an indicator that something is wrong.  Inflammation can be caused by injuries, allergies, bacterial, viral and other micro-organism infections, sunburn, extremes in the weather, too hot, too cold, too damp, and too dry.

Inflammatory response to these stimuli is the bodies attempt to heal itself, by increasing blood circulation to the damaged area and causing the area to become hot, and sore to the touch. The body stimulates the bacteria fighting white blood cells (leukocytes) and macrophages to move to the area of injury or infection to help neutralize foreign agents, this is why it is often puffy.

Everyone I treat has some sort of inflammation or inflammatory diseases. There are two types of inflammation; chronic and acute.

Chronic inflammation is very painful and usually caused by the body’s own defenses attacking itself. These are lumped up into a category called autoimmune diseases.  Arthritis and IBS (irritable bowel syndrome) are perfect examples. No outside germs or bacteria, just the body's own white blood cells attacking its own tissue.  This type of pain is chronic and last for years, and modern medical treatments are medication and surgery.

Acute inflammations are usually injuries or infections.  The body can heal more rapidly from these injuries and infections, but if the injuries are not treated, sometimes they can turn into chronic pain.  These are usually very easy to treat naturally with massage, acupuncture and chiropractic.  The body’s immune system is not attacking itself. Physical issues such as misalignment, or muscles spasms usually still cause pain long after the injury has healed.

Okay so how do we treat inflammation from whatever cause?

Food therapy:

  • Turmeric and ginger is the number one natural herb combination for all forms of inflammation.  Turmeric has a protein that helps turn off the inflammatory response in the body.  Ginger is used in Chinese medicine for nausea and digestive issues; it reduces inflammation in the intestine and stomach.
  • Fish such as salmon and tuna have Omega 3, which lowers chronic inflammation.
  • Dark leafy greens such, as Kale, spinach and broccoli are high in vitamin E as well as iron and calcium that protect the cells .
  • Nuts are high in vitamin E and iron and calcium and antioxidants that help repair cells.

I normally suffer from very bad headaches; I have lived on Excedrin for the past 20 years taking 2 in the morning and 2 at night.  I recently switched my diet to eating along these lines and have not had a headache in a month and I am feeling great.  I eat as many greens as I can and sprinkle turmeric on everything, even in my protein shakes. On top of that I started taking a Curcumin (turmeric's main ingredient) supplement.

Exercise:

  • Exercise reduces inflammation by improving blood and lymphatic circulation to the painful areas. The lymphatic system, which circulates through out the body and eliminates waste, is stimulated by exercise and does not move on its own. This is why it is important to exercise for at least 20 minutes a day. 
  • Doing the right kind of exercise matters.  Don’t jog if you have knee pain; do something else.  
  • Swimming is a great form of exercise and takes pressure off the joints and uses every muscle. 
  • If you cannot swim take a nice 40-minute invigorating walk.

Acupuncture: Key points located on the body are stimulated to increase natural opiate levels to alleviate pain and also reduces inflammation.

Massage:  Relaxing muscles and increasing circulation of blood and the lymphatic system, much like exercise, but you are relaxed during a massage allowing the therapist to help your body heal.

As a once-chronic sufferer of inflammation and pain, I follow these recommendations and have seen great improvement in my own health.

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