A friend called me last night, said she had injured her toes, wondered if I could help.
Of course, I said yes, come on over. While she was driving to my place, I got the massage table ready, with a round bolster for her knees and half bolster for her heels or ankles to rest on, to keep her toes elevated.
G0t an ice pack out of the freezer and wrapped it in a kitchen towel.
I checked my collection of Young Living essential oils and immediately pulled out the PanAway. I looked in the Essential Oils Desk Reference to see what else might be helpful. My friend had said she thought her toes were bruised and sprained but not broken. I didn’t have geranium, helichrysum, or German chamomile on hand, any of which would have helped, but I did have lavender, peppermint, and wintergreen.
I decided to just stick with the big gun, PanAway, a blend that includes helichrysum, wintergreen, clove, and peppermint.
You can only buy Young Living essential oils through a Young Living distributor. Ask in your community (U.S. and Mexico only).
I also got out a tube of sublingual arnica pellets (left) and some arnica cream (right).
Arnica is great for muscle pain, stiffness, swelling, and bruising.
Sublingual arnica works for widespread muscle pain. Take it internally before doing something you know will give you sore muscles, and it will lessen or prevent the pain.
The cream (or gel) is applied topically on the skin over the sore muscle, which absorbs it. For severe muscle pain, I use both.
If you don’t have these items on hand, it’s great to have them available for when you do need them. It’s been surprising to me, as a massage therapist, that so many people have never heard of arnica. It’s European, and they don’t advertise, so most people learn about it via word of mouth.
Besides ordering arnica online, you can find them in stores that carry homeopathic medicines, such as Whole Foods and other health food grocery stores and in compounding pharmacies.
Personal story: Using arnica cream on myself after a bad foot injury completely prevented bruising when applied shortly after the injury occurred – while adjacent areas where I did not apply it had developed dark bruises by the following morning. The stuff works. It’s most effective when applied right after an injury (only if the skin is unbroken; if broken, take sublingual arnica), but it helps speed healing even after a bruise appears.
When my friend pulled up, I went out to see if she needed help walking. She managed to hobble without my assistance, wearing socks without shoes because of swelling, to my steps and into my trailer while talking with me. Onto the massage table she went, and I got a good look at the injured toes.
The top section, from just below the toenail to the first joint, of the middle three toes of her left foot were deeply bruised. She told me the injury had occurred about 5 hours earlier, and she only gradually realized that her toes were more seriously injured than she initially thought. That happens.
First, I gave her sublingual arnica (which she’d had on hand and had taken hours earlier – time for another dose), then the arnica cream. I waited a minute or two to let the cream absorb into her skin, then gently rubbed the PanAway essential oil onto her injured toes and the surrounding tissues. Then the ice gel pack went on. I placed a pillow under her foot so the weight of the ice pack on her toes wouldn’t cause pain.
She processed an event, a conversation that had happened earlier in the day that had “thrown her off balance” – that she associated with her later fall and injury. She said she believed that if she had not experienced that conversation – or if she had taken the time to energetically recenter herself afterwards – she would not have gotten injured.
Who knows whether that’s absolutely true? Who can know? The important thing is, by examining what happened earlier, she took some responsibility for creating what happened, let go of any emotional baggage about both events, and reinforced the importance of taking the time to recenter after being thrown off balance by an event – all of which will serve her very well in the future.
She chose to milk all the learning from the experience that she could. She’s an advanced NLPer, by the way.
After a bit, I removed the ice pack and gently sandwiched her toes between my palms to surround them with healing Reiki energy.
I went back and forth between applying the ice pack and doing Reiki for the next hour.
She noticed that the throbbing had stopped. That was a good sign. I thought that might be because her foot was elevated and expressed concern about her driving back to San Antonio and being unable to elevate the foot. She was less concerned than I.
She has some PanAway at home in San Antonio, and also has treated past injuries by going to an oxygen bar.
Important note about using PanAway: This essential oil blend is effective at reducing pain, but it does not heal damaged tissue. Because the pain is relieved, there’s a temptation to return to normal function, when in fact, you still need to let the damaged heal. Going back to normal activities with damaged tissue will slow the healing process and may cause further damage.
I just happened to have a sample of Biofreeze and put that on her toes right before she left to keep the cooling effect going while she drove back to San Antonio.
Before my friend got off the table, I gently did a very small range-of-motion circle in each direction with each of her injured toes. She said it would have been too painful to do that before the treatment.
It feels good to make a difference like that.
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