The Touch: A periodic bulletin from Valley Healing Therapeutic Massage
View this email in your browser

Winter 2015

Ease the Pain & Inconvenience of
Strains & Sprains—A New Approach

Many of us have injured ourselves by turning over on an ankle, pulling a hamstring, falling on our wrist…or other types of minor strains and sprains.

The common wisdom for treating these types of injuries can be summed up in the acronym, RICE, which stands for:
  • Rest
  • Ice
  • Compression
  • Elevation
Recently, some sports therapists have come to the conclusion that some of these procedures can delay the healing process.

Current studies have shown that ice has no effect in the healing of an acute strain or sprain. While ice has the benefit of blocking pain, it also limits blood flow to the affected area. This can lead to tightness in the tissue which will need to be worked out at a later time.

These recent discoveries have led to a new acronym to describe treatment for these conditions. It’s known as METH. No, it’s not about the drug. Rather, it stands for:
  • Movement
  • Elevation
  • Traction
  • Heat
To use the example of a minor ankle sprain/strain, try to gently move the ankle within its pain-free range of motion. Traction involves a stretch which creates a space within the joint capsule itself. This is difficult to do with your ankle on your own but gentle exercise will create some movement, and positive affect, in the involved joint. Second, elevate the strained body part above the level of the heart, which will decrease blood pressure, and in turn will encourage the body to actively pump blood to the injured joint.  Third, heat should be mild, and only applied for a short duration of time-- 10-15 minutes maximum. It has been shown that following the rehabilitation procedures outlined in METH, healing time is reduced and a person will be able to return to regular, active routine more quickly.

Our Clinical Experience

As for our experience with RICE versus METH, we find that movement of the injured body part is much more effective than rest, but that cold can still play an important role in the healing process. There are times when an application of cold does have benefits, especially in the first 72 hours after the  injury. Applying a cold compress can reduce pain and inflammation of an injury, whereas too much heat can exacerbate it.

In addition, getting back to exercising, even in a limited capacity, can help with the healing process.

For many people, it really is a matter of what makes you feel better—ice or heat.

Finally, it's best not to exercise right after applying cold to an acute injury. Wait for the tissue to warm up before attempting any type of exercise.

If you have questions on what to do if you experience a minor injury, please call or email our office. We would be happy to answer any of your questions.

In Health,
Rick and Sean
Special thanks to Dr. Rick Houlgrave for his contribution to this article. For information on other physical activities, please visit Dr. Houlgrave’s Back Care Blog at:

And the Winner is....

Thank you for giving us your permission to send you our email communication. The winner of the gift package for those who participated is Oliver Clarke.

Congratulations, Oliver!

Get Fit With Ancient Exercises

Tai Chi is an ancient, holistic set of exercises that focuses on balance, flexibility, and overall health improvement.  It can be done by young and old alike, as well as people suffering from illnesses and disabilities.
The Fung Loy Kok Taoist Tai Chi, a registered charity run by volunteers, teaches a 108-move set that works every part of the body. 
Sean is a volunteer instructor and invites you to check it out.  The first class is free!
New classes will be starting in February. Registration takes place at the first class.

New Beginning Classes

February 2nd, Mondays, 6:15pm to 7:45pm
February 25th, Wednesdays/Fridays, 9:00am to 10:00am (two times per week)

The Little Red Church, 2182 Comox Avenue
Copyright © 2015 Valley Healing Massage, All rights reserved.

Phone: 250-941-8181

unsubscribe from this list    update subscription preferences 

Email Marketing Powered by Mailchimp