Amy Thomas, LMBT, CNMT     912.617.0065

Monday, July 23, 2012

Arnica & the benefits you can reap from it

Anyone that knows me well has been witness to my utter lack of grace and knows that I can injure myself easily without even trying. This morning was no different! Don't worry, my 'accidents' are usually minor and don't require any major treatments. Most of my remedies are homeopathic and require little to no energy to apply. Today after my arm made contact with Waffles' (my 95 pound 'baby') teeth and immediately turned purple, I reached for the Arnica. If you've never used Arnica, it's pretty amazing stuff. It's a natural anti-imflammatory and can treat various ailments. It definitely shortens the healing time for bruises. I'm almost an hour into my application of it this morning and my arm already looks better! Here's a little more information on this wonderful herb from Cathy Wong at

Arnica (or Arnica montana) is a perennial herb often used to prepare homeopathic remedies. Arnica's flowers and roots are also used in herbal medicine, typically in remedies applied directly to the skin.

What Is Arnica Gel?

One of the most common uses of arnica is the treatment of wounds, bruises, sunburn, and other forms of skin irritation or inflammation. In these cases, an arnica-based gel, cream, ointment, or salve is topically applied to promote healing and soothing of the skin. Arnica gel is also touted as a means of relieving muscle soreness and sprain-related pain.

Other Uses of Arnica

In homeopathic medicine, arnica is used in treatment of these and other conditions:
  • arthritis
  • backache
  • carpal tunnel syndrome
  • eczema
  • fibromyalgia
  • influenza
  • headache
  • hemorrhoids
  • migraine
  • Benefits of Arnica

    Several studies have found arnica to be no more effective than a placebo in relieving pain, swelling, and bruising. Still, other research suggests that arnica may be useful in treating the following health problems:
    1) Arthritis
    In a 2002 study of 79 adults with mild to moderate osteoarthritis of the knee, researchers observed a significant decrease in pain and stiffness (as well as an improvement in function) among those who used arnica gel twice daily for six weeks.
    Another study, published in 2007 and involving 204 people with osteoarthritis of the hand, showed that arnica gel lessened pain and improved hand function as effectively as ibuprofen.
    2) Post-Surgery Swelling
    Taking a homeopathic dilution of arnica may slightly reduce postoperative swelling, according to a 2006 study of 227 adults undergoing arthroscopy.
    3) Post-Surgery Pain
    In a 2007 study of 190 adults having their tonsils removed, scientists discovered that those taking a homeopathic dilution of arnica had a small but significant decrease in pain compared to patients assigned to a placebo.
    A 2002 study of 37 people undergoing surgery for carpal tunnel syndrome found that taking a homeopathic dilution of arnica and applying arnica ointment also produced a significant decrease in post-surgery pain.
    4) Muscle Soreness
    Taking a homeopathic dilution of arnica may help ease muscle soreness, according to a 2003 study of 82 marathon runners. However, an earlier study of 519 runners found that homeopathic arnica was ineffective for muscle soreness following long-distance running.

    Is Arnica Safe?

    Arnica should not be taken internally, except in the form of a homeopathic dilution. While arnica can be toxic when ingested, homeopathic arnica contains too small an amount of the herb to cause adverse effects.
    In some cases, topical use of arnica can cause skin irritation, itching, blisters, and other allergy-related problems. Be careful not to use arnica on broken skin.

    Where to Find Arnica

    Homeopathic arnica -- as well as arnica gels, ointments, and creams -- can be purchased at most health food stores or obtained directly from a homeopathic physician.

    Wednesday, July 11, 2012


    I typically try to limit my blog postings to health-related information for my clients/patients but today I’m making an exception for a ‘special’ occasion. It’s my ANNIVERSARY! Not my wedding anniversary or anything that the average person would say is important but it’s an important anniversary to me. Today marks the one-year mark that I set foot into a ‘box’ and began my CrossFit journey. Compared to July 11, 2011, I’m in a totally different place physically and emotionally and I wanted to share that with you today.

    I wasn’t what you would consider an active child growing up and even in my adult years, I can’t say that I’ve ever been super fit or extremely active. I’ve run the cycle of step aerobics, kickboxing, strength training, zumba, P90X, etc. When I think back over the years, I’ve always gone to the gym grudgingly and participated in whatever seemed to be the fad fitness craze at the time. That also means my weight has gone up and down as well. I’d stick to a plan diligently and then fall off of the wagon after a bit. A year ago some friends and I were getting ready to participate in the Warrior Dash here in North Carolina. A month before the event, we knew we needed to be doing something to prepare and decided to try CrossFit. July 11, 2011, I walked into the ‘box’ (this is what CF gyms are called) and met face-to-face with this bulldog of a guy called Crowder and he started me off on what most regular people would consider sheer torture for the next hour. I was paired up with some others who had been doing CF and they helped me through the longest hour of my life. Even after that grueling workout and waking up the next day feeling like a bus had run me over, I knew I wanted to go back. My dear friend Pam felt the exact same way so we walked back in a few days later and signed up for 3 of these torture sessions a week. Before the Warrior Dash, I had never even attempted any type of race or any competitive event. After one short month of CrossFit, I was able to complete the Warrior Dash in less than 45 minutes. I didn’t finish first but I finished it and I knew that CrossFit was the main reason that I did so well. I saw results in my fitness level and I wanted more of it. My husband saw the physical pain I was inflicting upon myself and although he wondered why I would do this to myself, he has been one of my biggest supporters ever since in my CF journey. Right away, I was thrown into a world of exercises such as box jumps, burpees, slam balls, wall balls, pushups, pull-ups, and the often-dreaded Air dyne. None of it came easy but it wasn’t long before we switched our CF membership over to the unlimited plan!
    Fast forward to one-year later and I wake up 5 mornings a week excited to go to CrossFit. I’m 39 years old and doing things with my body that amaze me each and every time I work out. I still have lots of improvements to make but considering that I couldn’t even do a regular push up (I always did the ‘girly’ version) when I started this and last week I did 130 pushups during a workout, I think I’ve come a long way. I started following a much better eating plan and have dropped over 20 pounds and 20 inches overall in the past 5 months. With my family’s medical history putting me at risk for diabetes, heart disease and even Alzheimer’s disease, I feel confident that I’m doing something to better my health for the future. I haven’t just adopted a workout plan; I’ve adopted a lifestyle. I’ve noticed a huge difference in all aspects of my life, I feel better, I look better, I perform better, and I have a better attitude overall! On a day-to-day basis, if the thought of ‘I can’t….’ creeps into my mind, it’s quickly replaced with a reminder that I CrossFit and ‘yes! I can!’ I could almost be a ‘Jehovah’s witness’ for CrossFit and what I’ve achieved through it. I’m so happy with my own results that I want everyone I come into contact with to experience something like this. I have this new ‘family’ of amazing people in my life that I wouldn’t have without CrossFit. There is a camaraderie through the CrossFit community that I feel each and every time I walk in the door of the box. I’ve even been brave enough to try different CF boxes on my travels and have been welcomed into each one with open arms. My coaches are my friends and even though I attribute them greatly with my success, I know that it’s ultimately my own work that’s gotten me here.  As I celebrate the ONE-YEAR mark today, I hope that I’m still doing this many many years from now!

    I could literally go on & on but for now I’ll leave you with this: Find your own ‘ANNIVERSARY.’ Find something in your life that ignites passion, inspires you, and instills confidence in yourself.  Personally, I have found all of that through CrossFit.  I work my tail off doing it and I LOVE it. My passion isn’t going to be everyone’s passion but my wish for you is that you are able to find something that fuels you the way that CrossFit now fuels me.

    Have a great day!! ~ Amy 
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