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Acupuncture for post-injury healing

I recently slipped on a step in my home and ended up in A&E with a suspected ankle fracture. An X-ray was carried out, which thankfully showed no breakages, but the swelling and pain indicated a severe ligament sprain and I was advised to follow the RICE protocol (rest, ice, compression, elevation). Curiously I slipped on the exact same step around 15 years previously and was out of action for several weeks and the ankle took months to fully recover.

Chinese Medicine theory does not advocate the use of extreme cold, as allopathic medicine does, so I did not apply ice to reduce the swelling. The reason for this is that while ice will initially fight pain by numbing the nerves, in so doing it slows down the healing process. Chinese medicine considers ‘Cold’ to be a pathogen which essentially congeals things: think of your leftovers: they tend to get harder and thicker when refrigerated. Chinese medicine encourages flow and in the case of a sprained ankle, blood and Qi flow to swollen tissue is vital to healing. When tissue is damaged it is weakened and therefore suceptible to cold invasion, so I instead chose the following protocol: rest, application of Arnica cream (for bruising), heat applied to the area (in the form of moxibustion and hot water bottle) and acupuncture. The acupuncture points I chose focused on the movement of blood and Qi.

The time lapse between these two photos was 9 days. There is still some mild discomfort and slight bruising, but I’m impressed that the foot is now weight bearing and I can walk on it.


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