Craig: Everybody who does Parkour eventually becomes this self-administering, self-medicating, self-physiotherapist sort of practitioner, and we all have inappropriate relationships with our foam rollers and Lacrosse balls and stuff like that. And what I want to know is, do you have any specific suggestions in the vein of sort of the recovery aspect of training? Which some people just completely skip, and like for example, I’ve heard about what they call Dit Da Jow, if I’m pronouncing that correctly, and there are other some basic [00:06:00] things that are a little beyond myofascial release, and basic massage. I was wondering if you could just talk a little bit about maybe from the Chinese medicine point of view?
Thomas: I still want to know what inappropriate relationships with your foam rollers means?
Craig: That’s when you’re in the other room with your foam roller, and your spouse arrives, and goes, “What are those noises you are making?!”
Thomas: Yeah, you’re forced, I think the maybe the first thing that people who don’t know it should know is that bodywork’s usually painful if it’s any good at all. [00:06:30] And on some level physical people must have a bit of a masochistic streak. Or something like that. Yeah, Dit Da Jow is the old hit medicines that came out of the martial arts traditions. Every culture has some version of it, but mine are Chinese because that’s my medical training, and they are always this combination of some kind of vasodilator, some kind of vasoinhibitor, [00:07:00] and then these different agents that will either thin the blood, or quicken the blood, or cause a fluid to pass across the skin and draw out of the surface of the tissue.
Craig: And I think if I understand correctly about the Chinese medicine, the sort of big picture strategy is the liniments aren’t necessarily the way we think of it in western medicine. “Ow, I have a pain, take a pain killer,” but the Chinese medicine is usually a balance, where there’s components that are meant to, one [00:07:30] is meant to steer the system in a direction that is the “fix,” with quotes around “fix,” and then there’s also components which are meant to keep the system balanced once it gets over there. So, you don’t want just drastic swing to, “Now I feel no pain.”
Thomas: Yeah, I mean, so the classical saying is, “Where there is pain, there is stagnation,” and then the question for an injury becomes, “Well, what kind of stagnation is it?” So, if you have like a small bruise, or you bang yourself, or you’re sore after working out, that’s usually what we would call Chi stagnation, which is, the muscle’s been worked, there’s micro-tears in the tissue, [00:08:00] there’s a little bit of strain in the tendons. It’s the normal, what we would call, healing inflammatory process. So, the wound healing process, the first phase of wound healing is inflammation.
Craig: Right, and that’s a local process. It’s just the cells are physically crushed, and that releases chemicals, and then things respond. It’s not like the brain says, “Oh, there’s damage over there.”
Thomas: Yeah, no, it just happens. It’s like if you put water on a piece of toast, it’ll soak it up.
Craig: Mmmm… Toast…
Thomas: That’s a strange [00:08:30] analogy. But anyways, so, there’s a process at hand and as usually with Chinese medicine, because the medicine’s developed around analogs in nature, it’ll look at that and say like, “Oh, well how does nature handle that?” And then, if it’s like a young tree that gets bent over in a wind storm and it bends but it doesn’t snap all the way open, then that’s like a sprain, that’s not a fracture, right. So, it’s going to require a certain amount of restorative fluid but it’s not going to [00:09:00] have to be splinted, or like cut and reset, or something like that.
So, to look at your body as a landscape, that way when you injure it, and say, “Okay, well if I smash myself on the ground, and I immediately swell up and turn red in that location, and I can’t move very much,” then that means that the level of injury is pretty severe. So, you have to stop what you’re doing, and then you need to assess it. What’s happened in our medicine is that you would wrap with [00:09:30] Dit Da Jow, and you’d maybe put some kind of support on it like a little ACE bandage or something like that; and then you’d start to gently explore and move through the different potential range of motions, and see how it’s recovering. Then you take internal herbs to support the process on the inside, and increase the body’s ability to shunt blood into that area, because blood’s like the main tool for recovery.
Craig: Right. And sometimes you might want the body, you might actually want it to overreact, in the sense that, “I’m not in love with the reaction [00:10:00] level. This isn’t going to heal fast enough,” so I actually need to psych my nervous system and those things into reacting with a larger magnitude response. So, you might take things like, is it camphor or –
Thomas: Yeah, camphor’s a big one.
Craig: You know, which actually makes the body go, “Whoa,” you know, like respond to that, and you’re really just tweaking the tools.
Thomas: Yeah, so there’s a book called “The Body Electric,” where they talk about the current of energy. Where this guy practiced, he’s an MD who was looking at fractures that wouldn’t heal, and [00:10:30] he went around snapping the legs of lots of frogs. Terrible. But that was how they tested to look for what was happening. Because they started by cutting off salamander tails and watching them grow back, and they were trying to figure out how it happens; and they found that there’s this electrical current in your body, and there are concentrations at the main nerve clusters at the neck and at the hips that are very positive, and then moving out towards the exterior they get more and more negative. But then when you have an injury, [00:11:00] you get a sudden increase at that site of a particular frequency.
Craig: Electrical potential.
Thomas: Yeah, it’s like 10 megahertz or something like that. Millihertz, I don’t know. Anyway, read the book.
Craig: Read the book.
Thomas: Becker. But what happens is that charge draws the body in, and it only lasts for a certain amount of time. And in chronic injuries or injuries that are there longer, if you stimulate the nervous system, it’s kind of like creating that –
Craig: Begin that process again.
Thomas: Yeah. So, that’s the same [00:11:30] thing with bodywork where they dig into you, it’s a pro-inflammatory process.
Thomas: Where they create inflammation to tell your body that something is going on there, and then your body fixes the whole area because it doesn’t differentiate.