Holistic Therapy for Elbow Healing
If you are struggling with an elbow injury and are interested in holistic therapy, this article is for you. Holistic remedies can complement conventional care, making for an overall treatment plan.
Conventional Care for Elbow Rehab
If you’ve suffered an elbow injury after an accident, you know that immediate, urgent treatment is often necessary. In fact, most elbow fractures in adults are treated with surgery.
Other conventional treatments (also known as western medicine) are likely warranted. You might be given prescription medications, after elbow surgery. You’re likely started with occupational or physical therapy (OT/PT). And you’ve probably been told to ice and elevate your elbow.
All these therapies are needed as you recover from the accident.
However, even with all of this conventional care, you may still be struggling with the repercussions of the injury. Elbow stiffness can set in. Your arm can feel sore. You might find yourself fatigued.
It can take time… a lot of time… to heal from an elbow accident.
Holistic Therapy for Elbow Recovery
Enter holistic therapy.
But let me call your attention to something shared above. Elbow rehabilitation can take time. Loads of time. In fact, healing from an elbow injury can be extremely slow and terribly frustrating.
Nobody told me… at least upfront… how long this could take. As I journeyed through my elbow fracture, surgery, and rehabilitation process… I was finally told that it could take up to a year (if not two) to fully heal.
A year! Two years!!
Here’s where holistic therapy comes into play. Holistic cares can be added to your treatment plan. That means that you stick with the conventional medicine AND add in holistic therapy. The two together can greatly support healing.
What are some Holistic Therapies for Elbow Healing?
The first holistic therapy that may support your elbow healing is qigong. Qigong is a gentle practice that involves flow. Since there is no pressure put on the elbow joint during a qigong practice, it is highly assessable for those going through elbow recovery.
Qigong activates healing energy within the body. The practice also cultivates more energy from around and outside of the body and then, through the fluid movements, brings that energy into the body in a way that it can be used to its highest potential.
Qigong was the first holistic therapy that allowed me to feel somewhat “normal” in my skin. I was becoming very frustrated by the fact that I couldn’t do routine exercises, like jogging or biking, that I was used to. I didn’t have a lot of exposure to qigong, prior to my elbow accident. However, afterward, I was practicing holistic therapy every single day.
Qigong helped me to feel at ease in my new elbow. Even if I couldn’t straighten my arm, I could flow through the gentle practice. Qigong lowered my stress levels and improved my mood. After practicing daily for some time, I began to feel happier and less reactive. This holistic therapy certainly has supported my elbow recovery.
Another holistic therapy that you might consider is meditation.
Elbow injuries and the pain that comes with them often leave us feeling exhausted. Since you may find yourself somewhat limited with actual physical activity, meditation is something that can be done without exerting yourself.
Meditation may help reduce stress and anxiety. I know, from my elbow injury, I felt worried by my lack of healing. I also felt an increased amount of stress, worrying about work, finding rides to appointments, and interacting in the world with my injury. Meditation helped me calm down and stay focused on healing.
Some types of meditation involve breathing into parts of the body. In fact, some types of meditation that are used for pain have the person go right to the source of discomfort and breathe in and out of that area. So, those of us with elbow issues, can use meditation to breathe into the pain. Breathing into and out of the hurting elbow has helped me a lot.
In fact, I used meditation and breathing practices during stressful follow-up appointments for my elbow. Rather than stressing myself out to the point of panic, I would focus my attention on my breath. I’d allow myself to take deep breaths, all the way into my belly. This holistic therapy helped me get through many anxiety-provoking appointments.
Another holistic therapy that goes well with meditation is the use of mantra. A mantra is similar to a prayer or positive intention. Mantras can help the mind settle and relax.
As I was saying above, during those stressful nerve block injection appointments, I would breathe deep into my belly. As I took deep breaths, I would also recite a mantra over and over inside of my head.
“May I be happy. May I feel healthy. May I be at peace. May I live free, free from suffering.”
The last two lines really, really helped me make it through some very scary appointments.
You can use a mantra or you can recite a prayer that you know. Another way of doing this holistic therapy is by focusing on one word or feeling. So, instead of praying or reciting mantra, you just keep a word or feeling in your mind. And over and over again, you come back to that word or feeling.
The point here is that you are turning your attention away from the negative, nasty situation and refocusing yourself with intention. You’re keeping your awareness on something positive or meaningful.
Finally, journaling is a great holistic therapy that allows you to get negative thoughts or feelings out of yourself and onto paper.
Whether you journal in handwritten or digital format, it doesn’t matter. What you write about… also, doesn’t much matter. The point here is that you’re dumping thoughts out of the mind and getting them outside of the physical body. This allows you to energetically let them go, releasing you from the grips of rumination.
You might find it fun to theme your journaling. Meaning, maybe you keep a pain log. Or a sleep diary. Or writing about the happenings of your day. Finally, maybe you journal specifically about your elbow, any pain that it is experiencing, and what remedies have been helping you heal.
Whatever holistic therapy you decide on has to work for you. The above list isn’t an exhaustive one… as there are tons of holistic options.
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About the Author: Elizabeth Scala MSN/MBA, RN, HNB-BC, RYT (200) is a board-certified holistic nurse, registered yoga instructor, and reiki master.
Elizabeth received her dual master’s degree from Johns Hopkins University. She is a certified coach and avid meditator.
Elizabeth lives in Maryland with her supportive husband and playful pit bull. She enjoys gardening, jigsaw puzzles, farming, music, and hiking.