October 4, 2016

By Naturopath Tina Krombach

Published in Go Strong Newsletter

Optimising athletic performance means asking a lot from your body, which requires support in the best possible way with nutrient rich foods, balancing relaxation techniques and perhaps mental coaching to set your goals. Here are a few ways in which naturopathy can help you prepare and treat/manage injuries:

1) Nutrition for athletes should take into account weight management, muscle rebuild and recovery, strong bones and healthy tendons. Right after working out, food should restore the glycogen in the muscles with healthy carbs, whilst providing healthy fats and protein to support anabolic metabolism.

Insulin and testosterone balance are influenced by food, restore cellular energy and maintain healthy body fat-muscle ratio. Strong bones and healthy tendons are a great prevention for sports injuries.
Food that nourishes the musculoskeletal system can be derived from a wholesome, nutritious, vegetarian, vegan or raw food diet, without the need for synthetic additives. A naturopath can provide an individualized food plan, which addresses your personal needs and provides adequate nutrients for optimal performance.

2) Relaxation is as important as daily training! Adequate relaxation techniques increase muscle restoration and bring you back to balance.

The German relaxation and stress management programme Autogenic Training works with visualisation, affirmation and guided meditation and is often combined with progressive muscle relaxation. This training influences the nervous system, muscle tone, body temperature regulation and heartbeat. It balances blood pressure, eases breathing and clears the mind. During a state of deep relaxation, muscle restoration is increased.

Autogenic Training can be used for mental coaching to improve sportive performance, as the mind becomes focused on optimization of the sports activity while you de-stress.

Four to six customized sessions of Autogenic Training are adequate to learning and incorporating the technique and using it for mental preparation, relaxation, stress management and restoration.

3) Ear Acupuncture is another naturopathic modality for improved recovery and pain management after injury. Basic principles are those of reflexology as the ear reflects the whole body´s organs. By stimulation of certain points of the ear, the corresponding organ or body function is influenced.

It helps reduce use of pain killers, swelling and inflammation, and speeds up the healing process. Ear Acupuncture is used to treat acute, chronic and perioperative pain. Commonly a series of six to eight treatment sessions are conducted, often complementary to other (alternative) medical treatments.

4) Homeopathy considers that any injury can entail three situations: a fright or shock of various dimensions; damage of tissue including bone fracture and bleeding (inner organs or open wound).

Homeopathy provides a range of remedies to prevent a fright from becoming a shock, or a shock from leaving a trauma. This is not only helpful for athletes but also important for preventing anxiety or panic after an accident. Without being a sedative, homeopathic medicine calms you down naturally; emotional stress and physical tension are reduced.

There is also a variety of homeopathic medicine to help stop bleeding of inner organs or wounds. Tissue damage is likely to affect the soft tissue, tendons or bones and maybe nerves. Healing processes can be initiated and improved with the appropriate homeopathic prescription. It can reduce the use of pain killers; has no side effects nor is it habit forming.

Care after sports injuries can entail homeopathic pills to ease bruising, swelling and scarring, and improving exhaustion during recovery.

In most cases it´s best to use a combination of treatments to ensure optimal recovery from injuries.