Acupuncture for Persistent Headaches

Acupuncture is a proven treatment for headaches


At Inner Gate Acupuncture we have treated hundreds of headaches over the past 13 years with great success.  Our treatments are designed specifically for your headache history and symptom patterns.  We combine both western and Chinese diagnostics to evaluate muscles, stress levels, posture and your specific symptoms to determine the best treatments and herbal formula for your headaches.

How Acupuncture Treats Persistent Headaches


Acupuncture relaxes muscles, reducing tension and areas of discomfort.  This is especially important at the back of the neck and in the shoulders. Acupuncture also reduces stress hormones and promotes a more balanced emotional state.  In our clinic Traditional Chinese Medicine is incorporated with Western Medicine. We use our deep understanding of anatomy and physiology to make sure acupuncture is treating both the Chinese acupuncture points for headaches but also the trigger points of muscles associated with headaches.  

Understanding Headaches

Chronic headaches are highly disruptive to our lives. Headaches occur when brain, blood vessels, head muscles, and surrounding nerves send pain signals to the brain. The pain from headaches can range from mild to severe.  These signals can be interpreted as throbbing, sharp, dull or stabbing pain.  Headaches are classified by their frequency, sensation, and associated symptoms.  

Types of headaches:

Tension: Tension headache pain can radiate from the neck and shoulders to multiple parts of the head. These headaches are on both sides of the head and they account for nearly 90% of all headaches.

Cluster: Cluster headaches are a neurological disorder with recurrent, severe headaches on one side of the head, typically around the eye. Often these headaches are associated with eye watering, swelling, or nasal congestion on the affected side. Symptoms typically last from 15 minutes to 3 hours.  Attacks often occur in clusters which typically last for weeks or months rarely more than a year

Migraine:  Migraine headaches are characterized by recurrent headaches that are moderate to very severe. Typically, the headaches affect one half of the head, are pulsating in nature, and last from two to 72 hours. Associated symptoms may include nausea, vomiting, and sensitivity to light, sound, or smell.  These headaches are often triggered by several conditions including alcohol consumption, loud noises, or hormone changes. 

Spring Time!

After the depth, introspection and hibernation of Winter, Spring is always a welcome sight. Although this year winter seems to have finally shown up in February.  Despite the beauty of the late snows many of us look forward to the longer days and warmer weather of Spring. 



In Chinese Medicine, the spring is associated with the Wood element. The Wood element embraces the idea of upward and outward growth, of sprouts shooting from the soil and seeds breaking their slumber for growth.  A tree is a great representation of the Wood element.  A healthy tree has it's roots grounded firmly in the earth, and draws water from deep in the earth to nourish it's expanding crown of leaves.


Each element in Chinese medicine governs an aspect of the emotional component of human nature. The positive emotion associated with Wood is benevolence and the negative emotion is anger. Benevolence is the capacity to act for the greater good without need for personal reward.  Anger is anger.  Sometimes anger is born from frustration and personal greed, other times it is born from injustice. At times, anger may be necessary to create the momentum for transformation.  Spring time is a good time to focus on understanding and releasing past pent up frustration and anger and to prepare for new growth and exploration. 


  • Chronic tendon and ligament problems

  • Tension headaches and migraines

  • Anxiety and depression

  • Menstrual irregularities and PMS pain

  • High blood pressure



The Wood element represents growth and renewal. Wood is associated with the liver and the gallbladder in Chinese medicine. The Liver is referred to as the general of the body. The myriad functions it performs include cleansing the blood, regulating blood sugar, manufacturing various proteins, regulating the balance of hormones and the generation of cholesterol. The Gallbladder is responsible for the storage and secretion of bile which is necessary for digestion.  

From a more spiritual perspective these two organs have an important role to play as well.  The Liver, the general, is in charge of strategic planning. As a general it is the Liver's job to insure that the other organs of the body are working in harmony with one another.  The Gallbladder is in charge of actualizing the liver's plan into action.  

The Liver's gift is vision and planning. The Gallbladder provides direction and stimulation. When these two organs are in harmony and well nourished they work together to insure that our visions and dreams become reality.  

From this perspective our focus in Spring should be growth, planning and the preparation to take our plans to fruition.  

Year of the Earth Dog

Chinese New Year 2018


February 16th, 2018 marks the first day the the Chinese new year. The year will shift from the fiery and aggressive rooster to the driven and intelligent dog.  In light of all the intense media focus on political craziness of the past year this shift from fire to earth and rooster to dog could be a deeply refreshing change. 

Every two years the element dominating the year shifts.  This year we will see a switch from the element of fire to the element of earth.  While fire is expansive, transformative and destructive, earth is grounding, nourishing and supportive.  This year we begin to harvest the fruits of our labor from the past few years. 

The dog is loyal and honest.  We are hopeful that 2018 will shift significantly in the direction of honesty and integrity. This is a good time to strengthen our bonds and relationships with friends and family.  Our loyalty to our deeper truths will be important to respect and nourish.  However, the dog is know to be a poor communicator struggling to express itself effectively.  As we continue to grow as conscious beings this year, it is good to remember to listen and speak more clearly.

Acupuncture and Dry needling


What is Dry Needling:

Dry needling is a form of acupuncture made popular by physical therapists.  It involves the insertion of acupuncture needles into trigger points.

Trigger Points are described as hyper-irritable areas in the muscles that are tender to pressure. Some trigger points correspond exactly with acupuncture points while others are considered extra points in acupuncture.

If you are looking for dry needling ask an acupuncturist. 
We are the experts in the use of needles. 

Acupuncturists are the experts of dry needling. We receive over 2000 hours of training in the safe and effective use of needles. We are trained to identify and treat trigger points, motor points, and acupuncture points.  We study both western anatomy and Chinese medical philosophy.  Like physical therapists, we are trained in anatomy, biometrics of injuries and muscle imbalances. 

The difference lies in the amount of training we receive. Acupuncturists receive extensive training in the safe use of needles while, physical therapists are also highly trained clinicians, but receive minimal training for dry needling. Rather than being part of their core education, it is taught to them at weekend workshops.



·      Trigger points are sensitive areas in the muscle or connective tissue that becomes painful when compressed. Pressing on a trigger point can cause referred pain and can help identify the external area in the body generating the pain.

·      Motor points are elecro-physiologically defined, as the point with the highest excitability of the muscle.  It is thought to be the area where the motor neuron innervates the muscle. 

·      Acupuncture Points are any of the specific locations on the body that in the practice of acupuncture and acupressure are stimulated to produce beneficial health effects, such as the relief of pain or promotion of healing. 


Aristolochic Acid

Over the last fifteen years a clear link has been observed between Aristolochic Acids (AA) and liver damage and cancer.  In the past, herbs containing these acids were regularly used in Chinese herbal medicine.  As early as 2002, while still students at The Oregon College of Oriental Medicine, we learned about the mounting evidence and were taught never to use these herbs.

In North America responsible practitioners of Chinese Medicine no longer use any of these dangerous herbs.  In fact, with the FDA’s help most of these herbs are very difficult to find. 


Herbs containing Aristilochic Acid:
Guang Fang Ji
Xi Xin
Guan Mu Tong
Qing Mu Xiang
Ma dou Ling
Tian Xian Teng 

Inner Gate Acupuncture carries no formulas that contain any of these herbs.  Regular continuing education keeps us on top of new developments and we have always erred on the side of safety and caution.  None of these herbs have ever been sold at our clinic. 

20% off Vitamin D Supplements this December

Vitamin D is naturally produced in our skin when we are exposed to sunlight.  In the Pacific Northwest, dark, overcast days cause many of us to become deficient in vitamin D during the winter months.   In this enviornment It is crucial that we supplement with vitamin D.
Symptoms of Vitamin D Deficiency:  

  • Fatigue
  • Generalized aches and pains
  • Sense of not feeling well
  • Weight gain
  • Slow recovery from colds or flus
  • Restless sleep

Benefits of Vitamin D:  

  • Preventing seasonal affective disorder (SAD)
  • Strong bones and teeth
  • Healthy immune response to colds and flus
  • Supports healthy brain and nervous system
  • Supports lung and cardiovascular health
  • Deep sleep

We carry a high quality 5000 iu vitamin D pill.  We feel that 5000 ius of vitamin a day is a safe dosage to be used throughout the dark months of the year.  Please consult with one of our practitioners about supplementation of vitamin D.  

5 Ways to Relieve Holiday Stress


For many of us the holidays are a difficult time. Family expectations, uncomfortable political conversations, endless meal preparation, and mandated shopping all contribute to the overwhelming chaos.  

In the midst of the holiday fury, it's important that we all find windows of time devoted to relaxation and "me time."  Finding just 15 minutes a day can be a greatly regenerative to your system.  Reducing and managing our stress will lessen the likelihood of us getting sick during the holidays. 


This is of course an acupuncture clinic's newsletter! We see everyday how the stress relief associated with acupuncture improves people's lives.  With your phone off and an hour to yourself you can completely recharge here with us. Click here is contact us!

Daily meditation with Binaural beats:  

This relaxing music is scientifically designed to help our brains relax. These beats can be easily found on youtube, just search "binaural beats".  To get the effect you will need to listen with headphones.  Each ear will each hear a slightly different frequency of music. Reportedly, this can hep produce a more relaxed brain.  Or you can just meditate!  Click here to try a free binaural beat at

Try a float at float on: 

There are several facilities here in Portland where we can enjoy a relaxing "float." These float tanks are designed  to isolate the participant from sound and light.  The warm, highly salivated water makes you float high in the water.  Many people report that while floating time goes by quickly and that they leave feeling relaxed for days.  Click here for more information from Float On.

Put some hours into the gym:  

Exercise is always a great way to burn calories and change how to mind is processing. Stepping out of the daily routine for 45-75 minutes can greatly reduce stress and leave you feeling refreshed and renewed.  Check put classes at you local gym as these can be a great way to stay motivated and interested in workouts.  Click here for a local SE Portland gym that might have some classes that work with your schedule.  

Create some art or music:

If you're the creative type be sure to put some time aside to honor that aspect of yourself.  It may also help you get out of your home and connect with friends.   Making stained glass or soap, dance classes or jamming with friends are all great ideas.  

Volunteer at a shelter or soup kitchen:

Volunteering can make us all feel better.  Connecting with those in need can give us a greater sense of community, involvement and accomplishment.  If you have a few free hours check out one of Portland's shelters and see how you can help out.  Click Here for info from the Union Gospel Mission


4 Things to do with Halloween Candy


Did you and your kids end up with too much halloween candy???

Here are 4 ways that you can make good use of that candy and not eat it! 


  1. Make a ginger bread house!  
    Gingerbread houses are fun, but they require a fair amount of work.  They are good way to use up a lot of candy and express your creativity.
    For a great recipe from Heidi at Happiness is Homemade. Click Here

  2. Donate to the homeless population.
    Local homeless Shelters are always in need of supplies.  You might have to check and see if they are accepting candy.  Due to it's lack of nutritional value some shelter might turn candy away after a certain point. 

    1. Here are four local homeless shelters: Portland Rescue Mission on Burnside, and at the Harbor, Transition Projects Willamette center, Shepard's Door and Day Break Shelter.

  3. Donate the candy to the troops!  
    There are several organizations that accept candy donations and send them to troops deployed overseas. Operation gratitude, Soldier's Angels, Operation Shoebox, and Operation Stars and Stripes.

  4. Make Ornaments:
    Holiday ornaments can be a great way to turn hard candies into pretty decorations.  They can be placed in your windows, on your tree (if you do that), or given away as gifts. Here is a recipe. 
    1. You will need to have metal cookie cutters, hard candies such as lollypops and lifesavers, vegetable spray, aluminum foil, cookie sheet and ribbon or yard to hang them. 
    2. The instructions are easy. Preheat oven to 350°. Place the aluminum foil in the cookie sheet, place the cookie cutters on the foil. Then spray the cookie cutters and aluminum foil with vegetable cooking spray. Fill the cookie cutters with a single layer of candy using as many as will fit. Be sure to think about your color patterns! Bake for 5 to 7 minutes until candies are melted.

      Remove from oven and allow candy to cool about 2 minutes. While still in the cutter Make a hole in each with a chopstick or straw.  Thread the ribbon or yarn through for hanging then continue cooling until the cutters can be handled. Carefully pull cutters away from ornament.

Summer Watermelon Idea

Gazpacho and Mojitos!


Watermelons are know as Xi Gua in Chinese.  In Chinese medicine they are eaten to protect against heat stroke and to maintain proper hydration and electrolyte balance during the hot summer months. 

Of course, watermelons can be enjoyed simply by slicing them into wedges and serving them chilled.  But there are many other fun ways to enjoy watermelons and benefit from their hydrating properties. 

Try this amazing Watermelon Gazpacho from Happy Kitchen Rocks. 

This easy recipe is created simply in a blender, saving you lots of dish washing time.  It's also a great way to use up the extra watermelon that won't fit nicely into the refrigerator.  


6 slices ciabatta bread
1 pound of tomatoes
1 red bell pepper seeds removed
1/2 peeled cucumber
1 1/2 lbs watermelon with the seeds removed.
2 cloves garlic
3 tablespoons chopped fresh basil leaves
juice of 1 lime
2 tablespoons white wine vinegar
3 tablespoon tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste

Roughly chop all the solid ingredients except 4 slices of ciabatta bread.  Place them into a food processor or blender.  Add the lime juice, white wine vinegar and the extra virgin olive oil.  Blend until smooth and season with salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste. Garnish with basil leaves.

Grill or toast the ciabatta bread, sprinkle with olive oil, salt and pepper to taste and serve.  

Thanks for the recipe!

Inner Gate Acupuncture is Excited to Welcome Sun Yun to Our Team!


Sun is a graduate and teaching assistant at the Oregon College of Oriental Medicine (OCOM). He began his journey into the medical field by pursuing and obtaining a doctorate in pharmacy.  He practiced for 10 years as a pharmacist before shifting gears to pursue traditional Chinese medicine (TCM).  Burdened with multiple knee surgeries for sports-related injuries, he set out to explore less invasive options to the western medical paradigm of pharmaceutical and surgical interventions for pain relief and recovery.  With TCM, he discovered a path leading to a more natural, holistic, and balanced state of well-being and healing. He decided to forego practicing pharmacy to pursue his life’s calling. After graduating from OCOM, Sun spent two months volunteering in Nepal with the Acupuncture Relief Project, providing primary care and medical support to those with limited access to immediate and reliable healthcare. He has now joined our team of passionate and dedicated healers to address a wide array of ailments and conditions.  
Combining both his western and eastern medical knowledge, Sun incorporates the “best of both worlds” in his approach to healing and recovery.  He addresses all conditions and disease states and has a keen interest in physical assessment, orthopedics, and sports/work-related injuries, and musculoskeletal disorders.  He utilizes acupuncture, herbal medicine and a wide array of auxiliary healing modalities – Tuina massage, cupping, Gua Sha, moxibustion, and electro-stimulation – to effectively address the root cause of the condition.  

In his free time, Sun enjoys sports, exercise, martial arts, reading, and traveling to faraway destinations. 

Pinched Nerves

Pinched Nerves are also know as radiculopathy.  Radiculopathy refers to a condition where a nerve root is compressed by some other tissue, which leads to pain, abnormal sensations, weakness and/or loss of muscle control down the course of the nerve.
Radiculopathy refers to the impingement of a nerve root or Radix at or near the spinal cord. However, there are other conditions that can mimic radiculopathy.  These occur when a nerve root is entrapped further from the spine by a muscle, bony structure or another tissue.  Examples of these include piriformis syndrome in the hip, or carpal tunnel in the hands. 
There are many other factors that lead to radiculopathy, these include degenerative disc disease, facet joint arthropathy, and arthritis. 
A skilled clinician can diagnose a pinched nerve in the exam room and MRI's are used for confirmation.  Symptoms originating in the neck or cervical spine can often be uncovered using compression tests such as Spurling’s test.  In the low body clinicians use straight leg test and slump test to look for low back nerve impingement.  Radicular problems are less common in the middle portion of the spinal column. 
Acupuncture treatment reduces radicular pain by alleviating pressure on the nerve root.  Accurate diagnosis, pin-point acupuncture treatment, and home exercises cure many pinched nerve situations!
There are situations where the degeneration is too advanced, or a spinal disc is too damaged to be managed with acupuncture and clinicians are trained to make referrals to appropriate doctors for these situations.


We are excited to announce we’ve produced a new t-shirt to sell in support of the Oregon Association of Acupuncture and Oriental Medicine’s (OAAOM) legal fund. 
The OAAOM’s mission is to advance our profession and honor the tradition of acupuncture and oriental medicine in Oregon.  They work to keep acupuncture safe, legal and accessible in Oregon. 

The OAAOM is currently working to:

Guarantee that insurance companies don’t cut off access to care: Working directly with legislators and insurance companies to combat the new pre-authorization systems used by insurance companies to cut off patient benefits.

Protect patients from unsafe practitioners: Fighting hard to keep untrained chiropractors and physical therapists from practicing unsafe acupuncture

Insure that acupuncturists earn a fair wage: Making sure insurance companies can’t limit reimbursement and unfairly discriminate against acupuncturists.

Provide quality continuing education: Advancing knowledge, techniques and ethics through education. 

The shirts are preshrunk cotton and come in a sizes S to XL. 
The Shirts cost $17 and are available now at the front desk. 


Five Exercises that Won't Feel Like Work

You want to get fit, but going to a gym just isn’t your idea of fun, so you can’t find the motivation to actually workout. If this sounds familiar, then perhaps you need to change your idea of working out. If you find an activity that pushes your body out of it’s comfort zone and increases your heart rate, then it counts as exercise.

1. Fencing
The sport of fencing is nicknamed "physical chess with speed of light,” says PAFC - Western Sydney Fencing Club. You have to think smart, act fast, and be strong. Fencing gives you a full-body workout from your feet and legs up to your arms and neck. It’s great for cardio and helps improve strength, flexibility, endurance, and coordination. Fencing works your brain too, increasing focus and concentration by honing strategic thinking and decision-making skills. Challenge your friends to a fencing session or attend a class to meet new friends.

2. Kayaking
Although you may think kayaking only works your arms, Kayak Base notes that rowing utilizes the chest, shoulders, abs, and thighs. It’s particularly great for your abs because rowing involves a torso twisting movement. They also add that many people find kayaking a meditative and peaceful activity where they enjoy the beauty of nature, whether they’re alone or with family and friends.

3. Barre
A barre is the bar you see ballerinas using to warm up, but ballerinas aren’t the only ones using it. Barre-based exercises are rapidly gaining popularity across the country. Shape says most barre-based classes are a combination ballet, yoga, and Pilates. The barre is used as a prop to balance while doing exercises, and some classes incorporate dumbbells and mats into their routines. A barre workout strengthens your muscles, improves posture, promotes weight loss, increases flexibility, and reduces stress. Find a studio and attend with your friends or use a piece of furniture as a barre and workout at home.

4. Dog walking
If you own a dog, don’t just open your door and let him do his business; put him on a leash and take him for walk. It’s not just for his benefit – you benefit from walking your dog too. You’re obviously getting exercise from walking your dog, but a study shows there’s more to it. Participants who started consistently walking their dogs walked more often and for longer distances than those without dogs. If you don’t own a dog (or even if you do), become a (paid) dog walker or volunteer to walk the dogs at a local animal shelter.

5. Skateboarding
Although you’ll get a better workout if you add in some tricks, even just pushing around a skateboard on a flat surface for 30 minutes increases your heart rate and burn up to 360 calories, states Men’s Fitness. Skateboarding is a great cardio workout because it switches back and forth between pacing to more explosive efforts. It also strengthens your quads, hamstrings, glutes, lower back, and abs. Skate parks are located outdoors or indoors, and you can bring your own equipment or rent equipment there.

It’s easy to get fit while enjoying your workout if you rethink what exercise means. Head to your home gym for a self-paced workout, lace up your sneakers and take your dog for a walk, or learn a new skill like fencing. Just remember to have fun, and the rest will follow!

Great Prices on Fish Oils

Inner Gate Acupuncture carries Nordic Natural brand fish oils because of their great reputation, and third party testing.  The testing verifies purity, quality and establishes whether or not heavy metals are present.  

Inner Gate Acupuncture offers fish oils at prices lower than Whole Foods and New Seasons.  We carry the Pro line of products, which is the top line and is not available in retail stores.  Buy your high quality fish oils here for less.  We carry ProEFA, ProEPA and ProDHA oils.  

  • ProEPA:  Lowers cardiovascular risk, reduces inflammation, and manages healthy blood sugar levels. 
  • ProDHA: Benefits the brain and brain development, great for pregnant and breast feeding women. Benefits good cognition, clear thinking and memory.  
  • ProEFA: This formulation is great for joint health, lung & immune support.  


Fish Oils Have Many Great Benefits!

  • Prevent Risk of Heart Disease:   The Omega-3 oils contained in fish help counteract the inflammatory effect of Omega-6 oils found in many meats and cereals.  They also slightly thin the blood reducing the risk of clots associated with heart disease.  
  • Reduction of Asthma Symptoms: Asthma is associated with a narrowing of airways due to inflammation.  Asthma symptoms include wheezing, shortness of breath and coughing.  The anti-inflammatory effects of Omega-3 reduce asthma symptoms for some asthma sufferers.
  • Control Depression and Anxiety:  Early research suggests that some people who suffer from anxiety and depression have low levels of Omega-3 oils in their bodies.  The research suggests that for those people increasing Omega-3 oils reduces anxiety and depression symptoms.  
  • Reduce Arthritis Pain:  The anti-inflammatory effects of Omega-3 throughout the body are significant in both rheumatoid and osteoarthritis.  While they won't reverse the process, they do control inflammation and therefore reduce pain.  
  • Improve Vision:  The tiny vessels in the eye and in the retina benefit greatly from the mild blood thinning and anti-inflammatory effects of fish oils.  The oils are associated with avoiding age related macular degeneration. 

Antibiotics Associated With Nerve and Tendon Damage

There are many health concerns surrounding the use, and overuse, of antibiotics.  We worry about the health of our digestive tracts, the development of antibiotic resistant super bugs and the health of our antibiotic-consuming livestock.

Some important side effects associated with the use of antibiotics are severe tendon and nerve damage.  In particular, fluoroquiolones have become associated with cases of permanent damage to tendons and nerves. The fluoroquiolones family of antibiotics includes the drugs Cipro and Levaquin.  

These are common drugs that are used to treat a wide variety of infections.  These medications are prescribed to treat everything from pneumonia to urinary tract infections.  Experts and medical institutions are encouraging doctors to avoid the overuse of these medications as the association with severe nerve and tendon damage is becoming more clear. 

No one completely understands how these drugs damage tendon and nerve tissue.  It is suspected that the drugs may limit blood flow to the these tissues, starving them of nutrition and causing an inability to recover from normal levels of activity.

These reactions are rare but severe!  When combined with all the other risks associated with antibiotics, it is worth first considering other options before starting a course of antibiotics.  Of course there are dangerous conditions that should always be treated with antibiotics such as pneumonia, ear infections, and strep throat.  But for other less dangerous conditions fortifying the immune system and treating infections with herbal remedies may be the best first line approach. 

Chinese herbal medicine has many formulas used to treat infections. Many berberine rich plants are used in these formulas.  Berberine is a yellow alkaloid that has natural antibacterial properties. These herbal formula are a potent tool for knocking out many infections and avoiding the use of prescription antibiotics.  Talk with your acupuncturist if you feel you are coming down with something and want to employ the herbal approach first.  

Infections treated well with herbal therapies:

  • Sinus infections

  • Cough with sputum

  • Urinary tract infections

  • Diverticulitis

Herbal therapies should be used under the guidance of a skilled practitioner who can monitor results with the understanding that if symptoms worsen antibiotics may be the correct course of treatment.  

Ice May Slow Injury Recovery

New research rejects the use of ice in injury recovery protocols.  Dr. Gabe Mirkin, who coined the acronym RICE (Rest, Ice, Compression, and Elevation) for injury care, reversed course and begun arguing that ice actually delays healing.  Dr. Mirkin is now advocating a much more limited role of ice in the recovery of injuries.
After an injury your immune system is imperative for a speedy recovery.  The same system that destroys viruses also heals injuries.  Your body sends immune cells to the damaged tissue to begin the healing process.  Macrophages, one of these immune cells, release chemical messages to the body that promote local inflammation. 
Inflammation is one of the first components of injury recoveries.  During the inflammatory phase of recovery macrophages release a hormone known as Insulin like Growth Factor (IGF-1).   IGF-1 then activates other human growth hormones that stimulate the recovery of the damaged tissue.  These growth hormones trigger other cells called fibroblasts to begin building new tissue. 
Ice directly delays macrophage activity therefore delaying the effects of IGF-1.  This slows the production of growth hormones and the activity of fibroblasts.  By reducing inflammation ice has a secondary effect of slowing recovery.  In fact, anything that delays the immune response will slow down injury recovery. 
Things That Slow Injury Recovery Include:

  • Steroids: Cortisone injections
  • All nsaid medications: Aspirin, Ibuprofen, Naproxen, etc.
  • Immune suppressants: Cancer medications and Rheumatoid arthritis medications, etc
  • Ice

It should be noted that ice is a pain killer and the application of ice in the short term helps reduce pain.  We recommend ONLY applying ice post injury for short periods of time (5-10 minutes) to reduce pain, and then allowing the tissue to warm back up for the next 20 minutes.  In this way you can use ice to reduce pain but you won’t significantly slow the healing process. 

Incorporate Alone Time into Your Health Journey

Whether you are single, in a relationship, a parent to a child or a four-legged companion, spending time alone touts several benefits, and can be incorporated into your fitness journey as you strive to get off the couch and get active. Perhaps you had a sedentary winter season, or maybe you just want to get moving. Whatever your reason for getting active, there is nothing wrong with going solo.


Alone Time Improves Mental Health


With the advent of technology and social media, we are never technically alone. We can reach out to friends and family with the click of a mouse. However, sometimes it is beneficial to disconnect from the world, and spend time alone with yourself. Solitude gives your brain a chance to rest, unwind, replenish, and reboot. When you remove all distractions, you can clear and focus your mind, and improve your concentration, which will be beneficial when you are tackling work, chores, and other daily activities. Spending time alone can also help you think deeply and work through problems more effectively. Your daily responsibilities and that ever-growing to-do list can make it seem like there is no end in sight, and when you are distracted by incoming information from other people and electronics, it can be impossible to think of effective solutions to your problems.


Finding time to both spend alone and engage in physical activity may sound easier said than done, but there are several ways to incorporate a little bit of alone time and movement into your day. Get up early and a jog around the neighborhood. Use your scheduled breaks productively. For example, if you typically eat lunch at your desk, try eating lunch outside and using the remaining time to fit in a brisk walk to clear your mind and prepare yourself for the rest of the day. If you are still struggling to get in that alone time, schedule solitude by literally marking it on your calendar. It could be something as simple as a 15-minute stretch, a walk around the mall parking lot, or a short bike ride.


Get Moving On Your Own


Just like distractions are detrimental to the benefits that can be reaped by spending time alone, it applies to getting active as well. When you work out with others, it is easy to get caught up talking or catching up on the latest news, distracting you from the task at hand, which is to work up a sweat. You may also find that by working out with others, you are distracted by the intensity at which others are going. It is important that you work at your own pace, and pushing yourself too hard, too fast could result in injury. Each person has their own unique fitness goals, so if you are finding it difficult to focus solely on yours alone, working out alone could be beneficial.


Going solo also means that you get to call the shots and be flexible with your workouts rather than being at the mercy of the busy life of someone else. If you want to fit in a quick boxing session late at night or go for a run before the sun comes up, you don’t have to worry about coinciding with others schedules. Getting active can help reduce stress and clear your mind, and sometimes it is easier to fit in quick bursts of activity when it is most convenient for you.


Getting active doesn’t have to mean sticking to the generic gym routine. Any form of movement is activity. Consider learning a new sport, community service, participating in an obstacle course race, learning a new dance, or walking to places you would typically drive. If being completely alone in your workouts feels too boring for you, bring your pooch along, or if you don’t have a dog, start up a dog walking service--it’s a great way to workout while making a few bucks at the same time!


You can also track your success and stay motivated by incorporating technology like a pedometer to track your steps and set goals each week, or follow along with an exercise video or a fitness video game. Find what you enjoy and turn it into a mental and physical health benefit.

6 Creative Ways to Get Fit

Getting fit is a commitment, but sometimes you just don’t have enough time to get to the gym. Fortunately, participating at the gym isn’t the only way to get fit! If you are pressed for time, or bored with your current routine, it’s time to shake it up! Exciting new ways to exercise are all around you. Here are some fun and creative ways to keep you in shape.

Ditch the Elevator

As convenient as the elevator is, taking the stairs is a great way to add exercise to your day. Walking up a flight of stairs burns calories and improves cardiovascular fitness. Stair climbing is considered a vigorous form of exercise because it engages your abs, legs and arms. Effort is required as you are pulling your body against gravity. If you have a staircase at home, make a cardio workout by repeatedly climbing in 10-minute increments. While you are out in public, opt for taking the stairs to sneak in a quick bout of exercise.

Walk the Dog

Every dog should be walked once a day, and you can benefit from this too! Walking with your dog is a great low-intensity cardio exercise that requires no equipment. A daily routine of 30 minutes can decrease your risk for high blood pressure, high blood sugar and eliminate excess fat around your waist. As for your dog, walking is a great way to burn off energy, which maintains good behavior. Creating a habit of walking at the same time each day will quickly become an activity you both will enjoy. As you build your stamina through walking, you can try running with your furry friend!

Play with Your Children

The high energy that children have seems to never cease! There’s no better way to get your heart-pumping than to join them for some fun. A playground is a great place to workout! Pushing your kids on the swing is an awesome arm-strengthening exercise. You can also do a few reps of pull-ups on the monkey bars. If you want to work on your core, hang upside down from the monkey bars, and curl your body up toward your legs.

Don’t have a playground nearby? No worries! Hide-and-seek and hopscotch are fun ways to get fit as well! Along with the opportunity to exercise, playing with your kids will create lasting memories!

Dive In

Maybe you’ve tried swimming before but found doing laps to be too monotonous. Well, don’t give up your time in the pool just yet. There are tons of fun ways to get fit in the water. From water basketball to pool yoga, exercising in the pool can be preferable to land workouts because it’s easier on the joints. So, see what options your local indoor pool offers and dive in when you have a chance.

Try Indoor Bouldering

Bouldering is similar to rock climbing, but it doesn’t require that you climb quite so high. Instead, “boulderers” work their brains and their bodies, as they solve problems to progress along their climbing route. If you’re up for trying something new and challenging, bouldering is a great choice.

Ride a Bike

Driving is convenient as it saves time, but there are no health benefits because you are idle. The next time you are on the way out, opt for your bike rather than the car keys (Don’t forget your helmet!). With biking, you will be able to take in scenery while giving your lower body a full workout. Your legs will become stronger, and your body fat levels will go down. Biking also improves your posture and coordination. As you ride your bike the risks of cancer, diabetes and other diseases decrease. As a beginner, start out with short routes, and as your endurance increases go for longer rides. Soon you will be a pro and biking will become your preferred method of transportation!

Getting fit goes beyond the walls of the gym and the latest fitness craze. Contrary to popular belief, you don’t need much to lead an active lifestyle. Playing with your children, walking your dog, and biking are all effective methods of exercise that easily blend into your day. Incorporating creative ways to exercise presents an exciting feeling as you challenge yourself to come up with even more clever ways to stay fit. 

Article Written by Paige Johnson

Paige is a fitness nerd and shares her insights on LearnFit.Org