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September / October 2001


        During times of great stress, many people turn to sports to release the tension.  I would suspect that, as the war footing continues and the violent game of cat-and-mouse escalates, my office will be full of people who have injured themselves on the field or the court.  Why do you get injured while playing the sport you love?  There are always accidents of course, but the main reason is that the body must be held in a firm, stress-filled position to be successful.  Once the joint, muscle, or bone is tensed, impact is going to be disastrous to some degree.  The minor stuff – bruises, aches and pains – is going to go away.  The more serious stuff will produce enough pain to send you for medical help and the attending physician may hand you a diagnosis you don’t want to hear – torn meniscus, subluxated shoulder, severe tennis elbow, torn ligaments, and on and on.  The recommendation is usually surgery, although 80% of all sports injuries can be resolved without resorting to surgical intervention.

SO, HOW DO I KNOW WHAT TO DO?  Well, there are certain injuries that require surgery.  If you have a compound fracture – the bone is sticking through the skin  - there is no need to call me.  Go to the emergency room.  If you have a torn meniscus, in the front of the kneecap, you will have to accept orthoscopic surgery. 

            CHINESE SPORTS MEDICINE DEVELOPED IN THE EFFORT TO TREAT INJURIES RESULTING FROM THE PRACTICE AND DEVELOPMENT OF MARTIAL ARTS.  It is very effective in dealing with most sports injuries.  I actually went into acupuncture in the effort to heal my knee which was badly injured playing soccer and which gave me trouble for years.  My son played soccer for the University of San Diego and the San Diego FLASH and is now playing for the San Diego Sockers.  During his college career he suffered a severe knee injury with a meniscus torn to the side.  His trainer thought I had lost my mind when I refused orthoscopic surgery for him.  With acupuncture and herbs his knee is fine.  Hairline fractures respond well to acupuncture and herbs. Joint dislocations respond well.  My wife fell in Taiwan and dislocated her left ankle.  It was put back in place by a Chinese medicine practitioner and she walked out of his office.  The swelling went down and the ankle has been normal ever since.  I have treated several atheletes, including one San Diego Charger, for subluxated shoulders, an injury common in football.  “Frozen” joints usually respond immediately. 

            On a level below these injuries are the blood vessel ruptures of deep bruises, nerve damage, bursitis, sprains and strains, bone spurs, and arthritis caused by injuries.  Acupuncture is also effective with ligaments, which connect bone to bone and with pulled muscles or myofascial dysfunction.  Oriental medicine can restore the circulation of blood to the affected part and prevent the stagnation of chi. 


  DIET:     If you are participating in sports activity on a regular basis, avoid diet fads, carbohydrate loading, fast food, and pre-packaged glop masquerading as food.  The only exception I make to this is premium protein whey powders.  What you are going to get with the others is an overload of sugar and fat, when what you need is protein and amino acids.  The carbohydrates will give you energy as long as you don’t play games like carbohydrate loading – trying to trick your muscles into storing glycogen.  That resulted in abnormal heartbeat, swollen and painful muscles because glycogen attracts and holds water, and weight gain.  It is no longer recommended by reputable trainers.

            Protein, we think, is easy.  Lots of meat and milk.  If you are doing this and wonder why you are always stuffed up and can’t breathe, you probably have a sensitivity to milk.  Cut out the milk and see if it helps.

Bone Reinforcer (calcium, magnesium, boron)

L-Glutamine for liver function

MSM (MethylSulfonylMethane) for joints.


Cordyceps: an ancient Chinese remedy made from a rare and scarce fungus.  Traditionally used as a general tonic for people after illness or overexertion.

Herbal plasters: various types.

Jin-gu-die-da-wan: this is a compound formula for trauma injuries.  It includes Radix notoginseng, Rhizoma drynariae, Radix dipsaci, and Flos carthami.

Zheng-gu-shui: martial arts liniment for sore muscles, fractures.


            Massage:  we have welcomed back John Figg.  John brings twelve years of experience as a Holistic Health Practitioner at such places as the Golden Door Spa at Sea on the QE2.  He joined the clinic in 1989 and has now returned.  He is gifted in the healing arts and includes shiatsu, tui-na, Swedish massage, and Sports Massage in his repertoire.

            Tui-na is a Chinese healing art, literally “pull and release,” which is beneficial for muscles stressed in sports activities.  Athletes and sports enthusiasts need special attention to paired muscles used in strenuous physical exertion.  Sports Massage combines the Chinese technique of Shiatsu (finger pressure) and Swedish massage to balance vital energies while relaxing muscles and stimulating the circulation. 

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