Improve your ability to heal

Every day we injure ourselves. This may sound like a very basic statement, but it is true. We are injured daily as part of a normal day of being alive. Most of the time, these injuries are microscopic and don’t lead to any immediate damage that cannot be fixed. These are the injuries that can add up over the course of years and decades to contribute to larger problems. In this week’s article, we will take a look at some of the most basic ways you can help support your body heal from the inevitable minor traumas that result from simply being alive.


1.  Support Your Immune System

The immune system is a complex network of white blood cells, proteins, acids, and even complimentary species of bacteria. Most people think of the immune system in terms of fighting off colds and flu. However, the immune system does so much more. In fact, our immune system is the aspect of the body that heals wounds and helps us recover from injuries of all types. If the immune system is compromised by any means, your body’s ability to heal from daily trauma or major injury will be compromised. Many athletes encounter performance plateaus over training and the related fatigue that compromises the immune system. My favourite nutrients for supporting the integrity of the immune system include vitamin D, astragalus, reishi mushroom, echinacea root, cat’s claw, ashwaganda, and rodeola.


2.  Anti-inflammatories

The term anti-inflammatory has really caught on in the past 10 years or so. Many over the counter pain medications are versions of anti-inflammatories. While anti-inflammatories may be helpful at reducing pain and allowing you to temporarily do an activity, they are not helpful for promoting proper healing. In fact, anti-inflammatories, by nature, inhibit proper healing. Nutrients that modulate inflammation, however, may be very useful at promoting healing. Modulating inflammation means speeding up or enhancing the immune system’s inflammatory healing mechanisms. Nutrients that modulate inflammation for our benefit include curcumin (turmeric), ginger, boswelia, MSM, and devil’s claw.


3.  The Building Blocks

Whenever something needs to be built you need to have the raw materials with which to build it from. There is no exception in the human body. Most of the tissues that need to be repaired daily are comprised largely of protein. This makes daily protein intake crucial for proper healing. In fact, one of the signs of significant protein malnourishment is poor healing and the wasting of muscle, bone, and connective tissue. The most important micronutrients for proper healing include calcium, magnesium, trace minerals, vitamin C, branch chain amino acids, glutamine, and sulfur-based nutrients like MSM, chondroitin, and glucosamine.


4.  Circulation

You can put all the best stuff into your mouth, but if you are not absorbing those nutrients and delivering them throughout the body properly you will not heal optimally. Circulation is critical to proper healing. This is highlighted in high level sports and is the reason most athletes spend a great deal of time in ice tubs and hot tubs after games and while recovering from injuries. When I played university football, we had a very low-tech solution for improving circulation. It was a collection of about 15-20 kegs full of ice water sitting outside our locker room after each practice in training camp. Most professional teams and many universities now have high end hydrotherapy pools for their athletes to use daily both in the season and off season. I encourage most of my patients to use their shower, bathtub, or hot tub as their own hydrotherapy spa in order to promote ideal circulation and healing.


If you have any questions about how you can heal from injury better or would like to schedule a consultation with Dr. Barlow please contact him at his office at 250-448-5610.

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About the Author

Dr. Brent Barlow is a Naturopathic Physician practicing at The Kelowna Wellness Clinic in downtown Kelowna. Dr. Barlow has been in practice in Kelowna since graduating from the Boucher Institute of Naturopathic Medicine in Vancouver in 2009.

Naturopathic Doctors are trained as primary care physicians, and primarily use natural medicine to treat disease and promote wellness. Dr. Barlow believes strongly in identifying and treating the causes of disease rather than focusing on the treatment of symptoms.

Naturopathic medicine utilizes diet therapy, botanical medicine, nutritional supplementation, acupuncture, spinal manipulation and other physical medicine treatments to treat the causes of disease. Dr. Barlow also trained in the specialized treatments of prolotherapy, neural therapy, intravenous nutrient infusions, and chelation therapy.

Dr. Barlow is in general practice and welcomes all individuals and families. As a naturopathic physician he is trained to treat all health conditions in the manner that best suits the goals of each individual patient. He also has special interests in natural treatments for pain management and digestive health.

To learn more about Dr. Barlow's treatments or to schedule a consultation, visit his website at www.drbrentbarlownd.com or call 250-448-5610.

The views expressed are strictly those of the author and not necessarily those of Castanet. Castanet does not warrant the contents.

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