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Soft tissue injuries – forget the ice, use wheatgrass

By Dr. Chris Reynolds. M.B.,B.S.

Whenever I see ice being applied to a soft tissue injury, I shudder because it simply should not be used for treating injuries of any kind. Contrary to popular opinion, ice does not stop bleeding from the skin, the nose or from deeper tissues. If anything, ice SLOWS the healing process. 

Researchers have shown that ice most likely does more harm than good and can cause inflammation and swelling in the deeper tissues which significantly slows recovery.(1) There also seems to be little agreement among experts about how long ice should be applied.(2) 

More recently, a study by the Cleveland Clinic in the US showed that ice, by slowing the release of a key healing hormone, Insulin-like Growth Factor 1 (IGF1), can actually slow the healing process. In other words, ice inhibits or slows repair of injured muscle and other tissues.

As a result of this finding, world famous sports injury guru, Dr. Gabe Mirkin who formulated the RICE acronym over 20 years ago, (Rest, Ice, Compression, Elevation) has deleted the ICE component, and agrees with my recommendation for it being discontinued.  

Swelling, pain, bleeding etc. simply should not be treated with ice. Also, ethyl chloride spray and other coolants may numb the skin and perhaps relieve pain a little, but they do nothing to assist or hasten soft tissue injury recovery, or prevent it from getting worse.

But, if these primitive methods are all that's available but don't work, what else can one use? If they don't stop bleeding then why use them? Many cultures actually use warm water compresses simply because this aids blood circulation, which in turn hastens healing.

Any kind of injury can cause tissue damage. Blood vessels rupture and blood spreads into surrounding tissues causing inflammation and swelling. Pressure build-up eventually reduces blood flow which slows muscle, nerve and other tissue recovery.

Considering the enormous amount of playing and working time lost from sports injuries, not to mention the pain and disability they can cause, the sporting world is slowly waking up to the fact that wheatgrass is clearly a superior alternative treatment to ice. In fact it can often achieve rapid injury recovery. 

It is. Apply a little over the injured area immediately after injury, and I can almost guarantee a positive result i.e. reduction in pain and swelling, and much quicker tissue and pain recovery after initial treatment. Athletes also come up quicker after the game, and after training if they apply wheatgrass before physical activity. 

Let's look at an example. The young footballer pictured below received a hefty kick to the head which left him with a massive bruise within minutes (Left). On the right is the bruise less than 24 hours after applying wheatgrass extract immediately after the injury. 

Is this possible? Yes, I know it is, because I applied the wheatgrass myself as soon as he came off the field. 


Saturday afternoon

Next morning

All it required to achieve this remarkable result was to smear some wheatgrass extract (Skin Recovery Cream) over the bruise. No ice or compression was used because it is not necessary. 

Numerous observations suggest that wheatgrass bioactives penetrate the skin immediately on contact. In turn they appear to activate numerous cell receptors that then message the brain that the injury has occurred. The brain responds in various ways, for instance by stopping bleeding, rapidly reducing swelling, and commencing repair to damaged tissue.

Which is the most likely reason why this man's bruise disappeared overnight. Quite a feat for a little fingernail size of wheatgrass cream.

So, THE KEY AIM IN ANY INJURY IS TO STOP THE BLEEDING! But NOT with ice!

Blood leaking into soft tissue such as muscle is not where it should be and the immune system reacts adversely to it and slows the healing process. A lot of soft tissue damage can occur as a result. The sooner wheatgrass extract is applied, the sooner the deep and/or surface bleeding stops, blood is rapidly absorbed, swelling is reduced and blood supply returns to the damaged tissue for healing to begin.

Too good to be true? Not at all. I have used an extract of wheatgrass to successfully treat numerous injuries since 1995. It is without doubt a powerful hemostatic agent i.e. it stops bleeding quickly. Blood noses, open wounds, bruises, sprained ankles, cuts, scratches, abrasions and deep tissue injuries such as corked, torn or pulled muscles - respond quickly to wheatgrass. 

So when treating sports and other traumatic injuries it is absolutely essential to
STOP THE BLEEDING AS QUICKLY AS POSSIBLE. Wheatgrass can do this much quicker than ice can, and it will absorb the clotted blood which ice can not do. 

Some injuries that respond well to wheatgrass:

  • Pulled muscles (hamstrings, quadriceps, calf, loins, back) 
  • Groin injuries (osteitis pubis, adductor tendonitis), tennis elbow
  • Blisters, abrasions, wounds, bruises, corks - heal in days, not weeks. Safe for open wounds.
  • Muscle cramps
  • Blood rule - stops capillary bleeding in a few minutes
  • Shin splints
  • Achilles tendinitis
  • Runners knee
  • Sprained ankle
  • Sacro-iliac strain
  • Plantar fasciitis
  • Fracture pain
  • Joint injuries and swelling

Finally, apply a little wheatgrass to hamstrings, quads and calves BEFORE the game and training. I can almost guarantee you'll come up a lot better if you do.

References:

  1. Meeusen R, Lievens P. The use of cryotherapy in sports injuries. Sports Med. 1986 Nov-Dec;3(6):398-414
  2. MacAuley, D. Do textbooks agree on their advice on ice? Clinical Journal of Sport Medicine. 11(2):67-72, April 2001.
  3. Haiyan Lu, Lan Zhou et.al. Macrophages recruited via CCR2 produce insulin-like growth factor-1 to repair acute skeletal muscle injury. 2011. The FASEB Journal Vol. 25 No. 1 358-369

Dr. Chris Reynolds. M.B.,B.S.

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