Instep Dance Magazine Articles
Reprints of monthly column as first appearing in Instep Dance Magazine (no longer in print).
August 2002Error processing SSI file
Reduced Pain and Faster Healing with Enzyme/Herbal Therapy – Part 2 – Treatment of Athletes
By Rick Allen, DC
"Better health leads to better dancing."
While I am on vacation, chiropractic doctor Anthony Cichoke continues to give an excellent overview of enzyme therapy, specifically for athletes, which, of course, includes dancers.
Enzyme Therapy for Athletes
"Numerous studies have repeatedly shown enzyme mixtures to be effective in trauma and injuries from karate, ice hockey, soccer, football, boxing, judo, running, and other sports. Systemic enzyme therapy is used in sports injuries to decrease pain, swelling, and inflammation. Enzymes improve circulation, help speed tissue repair, bring nutrients to the damaged area, remove waste products, stimulate the immune system, improve health, strengthen the body as a whole, and build general resistance. Digestive enzyme therapy is used to improve the digestion of food, reduce stress on the gastroin-testinal mucosa, help maintain normal pH levels, detoxify the body, promote the growth of healthy intestinal flora, and make a healthier athlete.
"Enzyme Absorption System Enhancers (EASE) maximize, enzyme activity. They can also improve the absorption and bioavailability of various nutrients and decrease the drain on the body's own digestive enzymes, thus prolonging their lives.
"Topical applications of enzymes through a treatment technique called iontophoresis is used in the treatment of traumatic injuries, including sprains and strains, bursitis, tendonitis, etc. Iontophoresis uses an electric current to introduce therapeutic particles to the skin (a form of electrotherapy).
"In addition to the proteolytic enzymes' own anti-inflammatory abilities, they stimulate the body's own natural enzymatic processes without causing the immune system to be suppressed. They increase tissue permeability, as well as the rate of degradation of inflammatory and toxic products, and increase the rate of microthrombi breakdown, therefore reducing swelling. Consequently, they improve the supply of nutrients and oxygen to the tissues and the removal of the end products of normal metabolism. Therefore, the duration of the inflammatory process is reduced, pain stops, and the healing process progresses more quickly with reduced scar tissue formation.
"A study I conducted at Portland State University (with Leo Marty, the director of sports medicine there) documented the improved rate of recovery from football injuries through the use of an oral enzyme mixture including bromelain, papain, pancreatin, trypsin, chymotrypsin, amylase, lipase, and the bioflavonoid rutin. This double blind study was conducted on sixty-four PSU football players. A double blind study is one in which neither the participants nor the researchers know who is taking which product. Half the players took enzymes, while the remainder took a placebo.
"Results indicated that when injured, those football players using enzymes before the injury recovered twice as fast. Injuries that responded faster with enzyme therapy not only included soft tissue injuries, such as sprains, strains, and hematomas, but also fractures.
"Studies in both Germany and the United States reveal that hematomas and swelling disappeared in less than seven days when the athletes were treated prophylactically with enzymes. On the contrary, those athletes without enzymes took almost sixteen days to recover. Restrictions of movement as a result of pain and injury disappeared after five days in the enzyme group, but lasted more than twelve day in the control group.
"In another study conducted over two consecutive seasons researchers found a 31 percent reduction in time lost from playing of a sport in those athletes taking oral proteolytic enzymes (trypsin and chymotrypsin). Bromelain is used effectively to decrease pain and swelling with boxers, soccer players, and other athletes."
(Excerpted from The Complete Book of Enzyme Therapy by Dr. Anthony J Cichoke, D.C.)
Next several months: I will give an update on the specific enzymes and herbs. In the meantime, I suggest you look at my September 1999 article, "Natural Remedies - Part 1: Supplements and Herbs for the Relief of Pain, Swelling and Inflammation," which is posted on this web site.
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