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Chinese Medicine Basics for Sprains, Strains & Sports Injuries

Chinese medicine has long been used in the world of trauma. In the early days of martial arts training (and still today), Chinese medicine was integral to the recovery and healing process for athletes and fighters. Ancient formulas have been passed down through the centuries to help encourage miraculous healing results with herbs and other holistic therapies. Today they can offer relief for sports injuries and weekend warrior strains and sprains.

Pain
Almost all injuries involve pain. Chinese medicine uses specific herbs with strong pain-relieving effects to both reduce discomfort and speed up the healing process.

Blood Flow
Proper blood flow is crucial for healing all injuries and trauma. When an injury occurs, blood and tissue in the area can stagnate or clot. While this helps in the initial stages of injury, it can prevent full healing later on. Chinese medicine uses herbs that enhance the flow and quality of blood to fully restore and nourish the damaged area.

Inflammation
Chinese herbal medicine often has the task of reducing inflammation. Inflammation is an important aspect of healing injury and is the immune system’s first response to damage. After the initial stages of the healing have passed, however, ongoing inflammation can cause problems like pain, swelling, and distress. Chinese herbs help to eliminate lingering inflammation and encourage proper healing.

Major Organ Systems in Chinese Medicine & Sprains, Strains, Trauma & Injuries:

Liver – Sprains
A sprain is a tear in a ligament. Symptoms of a sprain often involve pain, swelling, bruising, weakness, instability, and poor joint movement. Chinese medicine uses herbs that improve the flow of blood as well as enhancing the Liver function. This is because the Liver system manages the ligaments and tendons of the body.

Liver and Spleen – Strain
A strain is an injury to the muscle or tendon. Strains often cause pain, muscle spasms, muscle weakness, cramping, swelling, inflammation, and limited range of motion. To treat injuries of the muscles and tendons, Chinese medicine supports the Spleen and Liver, as the Spleen is involved in maintaining muscle tone and strength.

Kidney – Bone and Trauma
The Kidney supports all bone and marrow in the body. Injuries like fractures, bone spurs, or breaks occur, the Kidney must be treated for full recovery. The Kidney is also highly involved with the emotions of fear and will, both of which are often present in severe injuries like bone breaks or more severe trauma. Chinese medicine address both the physical and mental damages done by traumatic injury by healing and restoring the Kidney system.

Common Sprain, Strain & Trauma Treatments in Chinese Medicine

Injuries should always be treated by a medical professional first. Chinese medicine is a helpful next step in the healing process to ensure full healing and expedite the recovery. Acupuncture and massage are often recommended to help encourage healthy blood flow and relieve pain. Other techniques like gua sha (scraping) and cupping are also used for muscle injuries. Qigong offers many healing exercises to rehabilitate the injured area in a gentle way.

Chinese Herbal Formulas for Strains, Sprains, and Trauma (Dit Da Jow)

Chinese herbal formulas for injuries and pain may be either internal (pills or teas) or external (liniments, patches, or medicated oils). Both types of herbal treatment work to relieve pain, improve blood flow, and quicken the healing process. Internal herbal formulas for trauma are also focused on supporting the body’s core energy in order to provide a steady basis for continued healing and a full recovery.

Zheng Gu Shui (aka Dit Da Jow): Linament traditionally used on areas of traumatic injury to relieve pain and swelling and to promote healing of these areas. Useful for temporary relief of general muscle/joint pain & stiffness… commonly used in China for Plantar Fasciitis (rubbed on the feet before putting on socks and shoes).

Other Oils and Liniments: These products enter the body through the skin at or near the area of the trauma, though NOT over open skin/wounds or near face openings as the ingredients generally irritate mucous membranes. Oils and Liniments are a good choice for muscles aches and pains from overwork, sprains; they are also effective to reduce swelling and bruising… they do this by moving out the stasis that is causing the pain and swelling. In many topical formulas like White Flower Oil or Wood Lock Oil, essential oils of peppermint, menthol, and camphor are used as analgesics. Their aromatic qualities help to improve circulation, relieve pain, and calm the mind… Click here to see our full collection of oils and liniments for help with pain, bruising, and swelling from trauma or overwork.

Plasters and Patches: There are a variety of plasters and patches which contain the herb-infused oils common the treatment of pain and swelling from traumatic injury or muscle aches/joint pain from overwork. Click here to see our full collection of plasters and patches.

Internal Formulas: Chinese Medicine also deals with the stasis that is directly responsible for pain, swelling, and bruising from trauma with traditional formulas in pill form (to be taken internally). For example:

Jin Gu Die Shang Wan: This formula is used for traumatic injuries including fractures, sprains, strains, wounds, & accompanying pain & swelling.

Special Herbs for Trauma and Injury Healing

The following are important herbs used in our popular formulas for sprains, strains, and trauma.

San Qi/ Panax notoginseng: San qi is one of the most famous Chinese herbs because of its key role in the popular formula, Yunnan Baiyao. Yunnan Baiyao (and San qi itself) is known for its ability to relieve pain, stop bleeding, and speed up healing in traumatic injuries and bleeding disorders.

Ru Xiang and Mo Yao/ Frankincense and Myrrh: Ru xiang and mo yao are almost always used together in Chinese herbal formulas to stop pain and heal tissue.

Zhang nao/ Camphor: Camphor, along with menthol, is a common medicinal used in many Chinese herbal topical formulas. Liniments and oils like Zheng Gu Shui, Po Sum On, and 701 Patches use camphor to locally relieve pain, boost the immune response, and act as an antimicrobial.

Gu Si Bu/Drynaria root: Gu si bu literally translates as “mender of shattered bones”. This herb tonifies the Kidney system and dispels blood stasis to be an herb of choice to put into formulas that help to heal ligature and mend broken bones.

Shop our Collection of Chinese Herbal Remedies to Help Heal Sprains, Strains, Sports Injuries & Soft Tissue Trauma

Accidents can occur when you least expect them. Be prepared and support your body’s natural healing processes with our top Chinese herbal remedies for muscle, tendon, ligament, and bone injuries.