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Rest, Ice, Compression, and Elevation?

Just a quick mention about R.I.C.E., which gained popularity in the late 1970’s with the release of the best-selling Sports medicine book by Gabe Mirkin, MD. The protocol he described for treating trauma consisted of 4 elements: Rest, Ice, Compression, and Elevation. Traditional Chinese medicine has generally shunned the use of ice for anything, viewing cold as one of the fundamental pathogens. In the classical view, if cold is applied to an injury site, the cold will push the pathogen down into the bone or deep into the joint, where it will lie latent, arising later as arthritis or some other “Bi syndrome” issue. Because by nature cold contracts and doesn’t have the moving and dispersing qualities to help and injury heal properly. Recent research has demonstrated conclusively that icing can delay swelling, but it does not quicken recovery. Thus icing an injury is best the first 20-30 minutes after injury, after that other healing modalities should be applied. Dr. Mirkin himself has come to accept this conclusion, and in  March of 2014 he recanted his recommendation of using ice to treat trauma and explained why the inflammatory response is necessary and exactly how ice delays recovery. Thus when recovering from a trauma injury, consider adopting healing practices such as medicinal salves, heating pads, moxibustion, and acupuncture to not only speed up recovery, but help the injury heal properly for the long haul. 

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