Viewing entries tagged

Arnica, How can it Help Me?

Arnica, How can it Help Me?

Being one of Europe’s best selling complimentary and alternative medicines, Arnica has started to gain popularity in North America. Before it would only be found in health food stores, now it can be found in the aisles at all pharmacies. But for many the question remains, what is it? And how does it work?


Used for soft tissue injuries, especially bruising, and osteoarthritis, the active ingredient comes from a plant that produces yellow, daisy-like flowers. This plant is native to cooler areas of the northern hemisphere, more specifically it is thought to be native to mountainous regions of Europe. Being reputed as medicine since the 1500s, it can be taken in two forms, either topically as a gel or cream or orally in its homeopathic form.


Like many unpatented ‘remedies’ the evidence regarding the effectiveness of Arnica is unfortunately scarce. However clinical trials have shown that use of arnica as a cream or gel has been effective for the following


·      Muscle Aches

·      Venous insufficiency (poor circulation and swelling of the lower leg)

·      After carpal tunnel release surgery


The ways in which it works seems to be the following:


·      Reduces pain

·      Reduces inflammation

·      Reduces Oedema (swelling)

·      Protects against some damage to capillaries (the small blood vessels that are damaged with bruising)


So, it is fair to label Arnica as a natural anti-inflammatory. Ordinarily when an injury occurs, the bodies inflammatory response works to fight infections, initiate repair of damages and clear away debris and toxins. As the inflammation progresses, however, the bodies response can easily get out of hand, with the affected area becoming red, swollen, painful and hot to touch. Arnica contains compounds that can modulate the inflammatory response and help dissipate trapped blood and fluid in injured muscles, tissues and joints. It can diminish bruising, as well.

Arnica is thought to work by changing the process occurring in Neutrophils (a type of white blood cell) and also in liver cells, producing these anti-inflammatory effects. It also appears to improve circulation in the tissues where it is applied, strengthening blood vessels in the area. This allows for the recycling of fluid in an inflamed area, causing the inflammatory response to be more effective and prevent it from becoming a hindrance over a help.

Applying arnica frequently, at least 2-3 times per day seems to produce the best results. There are certain instances where the use of arnica is not recommended.

·      Whilst pregnant or breastfeeding

·      Directly on to broken or open skin

·      If taking anti-coagulant or anti-platelet medications


Overall Arnica is very safe and effective when used correctly. Hopefully this has answered some of the questions you may have had surrounding arnica and shown how it can be used in may different instances.



Improving your golf game with Osteopathy!

This is an article I wrote a couple of years ago after completing the Gray institues course for treating golfers. The course was run with Nike and was an invaluable experience in what I learned to help this group of people. 


We don't get the longest season for golf here in Calgary so its vital to make the most of it and not let pain and inefficiency hold us back! Hope you enjoy it!


If you were going to jump as high as you can what direction would you move in first? The opposite direction! Would seem a little strange to explain to someone who has never performed it before but it comes naturally to us.  The reason we are doing this is because we want to load against gravity before exploding and launching as high up as we can. If the load is off then the jump isn’t going to be as efficient and as successful as possible.


The same can be said for the golf swing, the importance of the back swing cannot be undermined. If you can load the backswing as proficiently as possible this is going to transpire into success, getting the most from your game and not cause certain areas of the body to overwork. We all know that golf can be the most frustrating game, and at times believe that Mark Twain was onto something with when he said, “Golf is a good walk ruined”.


There are 3 main influences to the golf game, physical, defined by the environment i.e. are we hitting from the rough, bunker, or fairway. Biological, this being how the body is working- are you able to move your joints to the optimal degrees to load the body effectively? And then the Psychological aspect, be it the water hazard that gets into your head or the confidence that you’ve hit this shot plenty of times and you can visualize it bouncing comfortably onto the green! As a graduate of the NG360 Golf performance course I am working to improve the Biological aspect of the golf game.


I am looking to achieve this through improving, not the technical aspects of the golf swing, but the efficiency. The major power centers in the hips for a right-handed golfer for example would be the gluteals on the right leg and the hip flexors and adductors on the left leg. When analyzing this facet of the swing I am looking to see a few things, firstly are those muscle groups being loaded? If not why? Does it suit the body to perform this way? Are there areas of the body that are at their max in terms of range of motion when trying to achieve this load? The last question for me is the most important, and can be the reason why a lot of golfers have an Advil at the start of the round. Everyone has done it! If certain joints in the body are at their max then what that means to me is that other areas of the body are overworking to achieve as successful a swing as is physically possible.  A treatment plan in this situation would be to treat these specific areas, go through exercises focused to what is needed with the goal to allow the body to perform this task as a unit, working together, taking excessive load off of other areas.


Golf is for me an extremely fun game, yes it is inevitable the ball is going to fall in the bunker and every now and then there is going to be the odd uninviting splash from the water. If we can achieve you feeling more confident in your swing, know that you’re not going to have to pay for playing a round for two days after, then you can work on lowering that score, decreasing the number of times those hazards come into play and we’re both onto a winner.