On a warm Thursday morning in late June I badly sprained my ankle walking Rocket through an empty lot. I limped home, managed to bake 6 dozen cookies for our church fundraiser, and while changing shoes made an excruciatingly bad move.
I crawled to the couch writhing in pain, unable to find relief in any position. I rated it a solid 8.5 to 9.0 on the pain scale: it was hard to talk and I was unable to bear any weight. Also went into mild shock: teeth chattering with a low-grade fever. Did the standard RICE protocol: Rest, Ice, Compression and Elevation. Thankfully, had ice packs in the freezer. My sweet daughter retrieved her old crutches from the attic. My dear husband did a solid Ace bandage wrap.
I considered friends’ advice and offers: get to urgent care/ER for an x-ray, Canadian OTC aspirin with codeine, and prescription muscle relaxants. I declined these options, decided to give my kidneys and liver a break and go natural.
Several people who witnessed the transformation I went through asked me to share what I did.
For a long time I’ve been perplexed that even amongst functional and integrative doctors I know, no one has done any studies adding specific nutritional support to surgical events. Would recovery time be shortened if patients were given extra nutrition targeted to the bodily systems most needing it to repair after surgery? Would patients experience less discomfort and pain? Would complications be reduced? What about scarring and qualitative patient experiences?
I’ve been taking vitamins most of my life and not all vitamins are the same, of course. Many are downright useless, as this Consumer Reports article indicates. But doTERRA’s Lifelong Vitality (LLV) supplements are different. First, they are whole-foods based. Nothing synthetic. That means cells recognize them as food, not synthetic chemicals that have to be eliminated from the body. Second, they under go the same CPTG independent lab testing for purity and potency. Three, in addition to my own family’s amazing experiences with them, there are now more than 7,000 positive anecdotal testimonials published online. That is a statistically significant number. Four, scientists corroborated those testimonials in the first pilot clinical human trial, published in 2017. After two months of supplementation, the following biomarkers of cardiovascular health, antioxidant status, inflammation, and blood glucose regulation were all improved in 100% of the test subjects: HDL cholesterol, LDL/HDL cholesterol ratio, fasting insulin, homocysteine, serum vitamin E, EPA, and the AA/EPA ratio. All outcomes in the 16-item qualitative survey were improved and 12 were significantly improved, with participants reporting more mental clarity, energy, motivation, control, balance, and happiness, with less back pain, muscle pain, cold and flu incidence, anxiety, frustration, and irritation at the end of the two-month supplementation period.
So, my injury gave me a chance to do some citizen science self experimentation: application of natural solutions after an acute injury. What would the results be?
Of course, at the time, I wasn’t really thinking about all this. I was pretty preoccupied with the pain.
R.I.C.E. + N.E.O.M.A. (Nutrition, Essential Oils, Mindset of Appreciation)
From my plant medicine supply cabinet I pulled the following therapeutic-grade natural solutions.
ESSENTIAL OILS: Topical
Deep Blue Rub followed by Copaiba oil.
Applying one oil, waiting a bit and then applying another oil is a technique called layering. It is particularly useful in situations like this where multiple kinds of injuries are present: connective tissue damage, possible bone fracture, and soft tissue inflammation. (The Deep Blue Rub is a cream containing a blend of pure Wintergreen, Camphor, Blue Tansy, Peppermint, Blue Chamomile, Helichrysum, and Osmanthus.)
I repeated layering with every ice pack replacement, about every 2 hours.
After each topical application of Deep Blue and Copaiba I cupped my hands and deeply inhaled the minty woody cooling aromas, in three deep slow breaths. This is a form of aromatherapy and applies the volatile aromatic compounds directly to the limbic center of the brain via the olfactory bulb. This supported my parasympathetic nervous system, and I immediately felt more calm and relaxed.
Here is what I took:
Lifelong Vitality Pack (doTERRA) Full dose (3 supplements, 4 each = 12 capsules)
Bone Complex (doTERRA) (2 capsules)
Copaiba Softgels (doTERRA) (2 softgels)
Deep Blue Polyphenol Complex (doTERRA) (2 capsules)
D-Hist (Orthomolecular) (2 capsules)
Chlorella (Outpost Foods) (2 capsules)
Purified Filtered Water, from tap with a RO filter system, (30 oz.)
As I’ve written before, hydration is vital for cellular functioning. I knew my cells would be needing raw materials for repair of ligaments, tendons, and possibly bone. I started with a full dose of Lifelong Vitality pack, doTERRA’s therapeutic-grade, whole-foods-based set of three supplements: multivitamin, omega fatty acids, and cellular energy complex. I also took two doTERRA Women Bone Complex capsules containing bio-available calcium, magnesium and other minerals.
I figured my cells could use some anti-inflammatory support. So in addition to the topical and aromatic application of the Copaiba oil, I took two Copaiba soft gels. (Here is an excellent short (1:49) animated video illustrating what researchers have observed at the cellular level, in how Copaiba works. Copaiba comes from a tree in the Amazon rain forest. Copaiba essential oil a far less expensive and 10x-more-therapeutically-potent alternative to CBD botanical oil. Copaiba also does not trigger any drug tests like CBD does, having no THC. Not that I had any concern about that. I digress.)
I also took two Deep Blue Polyphenol Complex capsules for natural pain relief with therapeutic levels of pure turmeric, ginger, resveratrol, and other compounds.
Any time repair work is going on, waste is generated and extra water needed, all of which taxes the kidneys. My kidneys are in need of extra support anyway, so I added two supplements I thought would be helpful: two D-Hist capsules by OrthoMolecular. Containing flavonoids, antioxidants, proteolytic enzymes, and botanicals including quercetin, bromelain, stinging nettle leaf, and N-acetyl cysteine D-Hist, is an amazingly effective natural antihistamine which actually saved my life once. And it happens to also be excellent for the kidneys, which I will write about another time. This article is already way longer than it probably should be!
I decided to throw in two Chlorella capsules for good measure. A blue-green algae known to cleanse the blood of pain-causing cytokines, Chlorella effectively relieved pain from Herxheimer reactions when my daughter was being treated for Lyme disease. I have no idea if cytokines had anything to do with the pain from my ankle sprain (any doctors out there reading this, would love to know about that, please post in the comments.) But I figured it certainly couldn’t hurt.
I took all of these around 6 pm, in multiple small swallows, totaling 30 oz. of water.
Shivering under the covers, iced leg propped on pillows, I closed my eyes and began to focus my attention on the pain. A line from the Divine Liturgy came to me: “offer a sacrifice of praise.” Theologically this term applies to the sacrament of the Eucharist–that is the essence of the liturgy, the “work of the people.” Suddenly I understood it very personally, another way. In this moment of intense, breath-stealing pain, praise becomes a sacrifice.
I also recalled something Abraham Hicks has said: “Every individual cell in the body has consciousness.” That intrigued me the first time I heard it. Even single-celled organisms, such as we all were just after fertilization, are in close relationship with Source. And the cellular relationship works the same way Christ explained to Matthew and Luke: it is in our persistent asking that the solution comes. The process is simple: “knock on the door…ask and it is given.” Abraham further explains this is how the evolution of all life on the planet functions.
Suddenly I saw pain for what it is: pounding on the door, a clarion call, an alarm calling for help! I could sense that all the cells in my body were on duty, both amplifying the call, and rushing in to respond. Pain not just local to the injury site, but radiating up my leg, far beyond the immediate point of injury. My sympathetic nervous system was geared up, with shivering to elevate my temperature. My heart rate faster so as to send blood, oxygen, and food faster. This was internal triage, communication, a miracle of cooperation! All troops rallying! I could relax! Everything was working as it should, and help was on the way!
I was fully conscious and aware for the first time that I was cooperating consciously with my trillions of cells. Not trying to block or numb the pain— which is what “pain killers” do. Instead, I felt into the pain, riding it like a runaway horse. I spurred it on, adding my own voice to the cellular call for help. I appreciated the pain, and in so doing, tuned myself, as the Blessed Elder Paisios said, to the frequency of God. With clear focused intention, I offered my sacrifice of praise.
“Thank you, Lord, for the trillions of living cells in my body, calling for your help so powerfully. Bless all my cells for calling to you, their Source, so loudly, clearly, and vigorously. Bless this process, this pain, this food I have eaten in these supplements, and the healing oils I anointed myself with. And I thank you, God, for answering this call. Amen.”
I appreciated that I could feel the pain so sharply — for knowing it was a call for help. I appreciated that I was shivering, that all the cells in my body were on alert, rallying to the aid of their injured brethren down at the ankle.
As I started to think of things to appreciate, other things to appreciate naturally flowed into my mind.
I snuggled into and appreciated the warm fleece blanket and the hot water bottle on my lap my daughter had kindly brought me, even though it was a hot summer day. I deeply appreciated her kind offer to finish baking and cooking for the fundraiser. I appreciated comfortable, cool, safe home with clean, running, purified water. Ice packs in the freezer. Having a refrigerator with a freezer. I appreciated my caring husband who ran to the pharmacy for a fresh Ace bandage for me. And my friends who rallied to cover my shifts. My iPhone and texting technology that allowed me to do so so easily.
I deeply appreciated the plant medicines brought to me in their purity, uncorrupted by human hands, by the many people around the world who work with doTERRA. I appreciated myself for the foresight and wisdom of stocking my natural medicine cabinet. What a blessing, to be so equipped and ready, right here at home, to take care of myself. A appreciated God’s wisdom and creativity over eons of evolution to produce the wealth of rich diversity of planetary life, all interconnected, all cooperative.
There is a difference between thinking a thought and receiving a thought. As I quieted my mind, I received a vision. All the nutrition I had just consumed I saw arriving into my stomach like truckloads of supplies. Hundreds of first responders were on the scene, laughing and joking as they worked, offloading the crates, putting them onto barges in a river, sending them downstream to my ankle. I was seeing my own bodily processes in action. It was a beautiful scene and I smiled as I fell into a light sleep, appreciating them all.
I had fully planned to spend the night on the couch. Having heard and felt the popping sound when I initially fell, unable to bear weight on it, swelling and severity of pain, Harvard via Google said this was a Stage 3 of 3 ankle sprain. I expected to be on the couch with my leg iced and elevated for days, with weeks or even months for full recovery.
Day 1: Around 9 pm I woke up needing to get to the bathroom. I carefully moved my leg and noticed the overall body pain was gone. The shivers and low-grade fever were gone as well.
Crutching to the bathroom over a carpeted floor is challenging and actually dangerous when you’re new at it. I discovered I could now very gingerly touch my injured foot to the floor to help me feel stable in my crutching, at about 4.0 on the pain scale.
Back on the couch an hour later I felt very tired. I had a strong desire for my bed and a good deep rest. It did not feel right to sleep on the couch. With a fresh ice pack on my ankle, I complied with this “asking” from my body and was asleep in bed by 10:15. Slept soundly, with only one midnight trip to the bathroom on crutches.
Day 2: By 7 am Friday, the ankle pain was barely 2.0 if I applied weight. I crutched to the bathroom and continued RICE+NEOMA. I kept smiling, my mind on so many things to appreciate.
Day 3: On Saturday morning I didn’t really need crutches but used them as insurance. I drove to church to take in my daughter’s noon music gig at the Cedarburg Strawberry Festival. Over 100,000 people come for the 2-day festival, shutting down the main 7-block-long thoroughfare of our town of 12,000. Parking in our church lot was the best closest option. I crutched/walked 4 blocks from the church parking lot to the Cedarburg City Hall and the Main Stage behind it.
My husband oversaw video recording on a tripod so I could sit with my foot propped. I was so grateful to be there–Elizabeth and her duet partner, Callie Thurow were the first act of the day. It was lunch time, a large crowd gathered and enjoyed their hour-long set with lots of applause. One man gave a very high compliment calling them “the Everly sisters” for their exceptional harmonies.
Hungry for lunch after, I got into a very long, slow-moving line for That Taco Guy. With temperatures approaching 90 degrees in the sun, the ice pack was no longer cool but ho by the time I got back to the table with my food. My ankle was starting to throb. After eating (it was delicious!) Anthony was able to drive me to my car so I didn’t have to crutch 4 blocks back. Went home, repeated RICE+MNEO. Grateful to have a set of two ice packs, the other in the freezer. So much to appreciate!
Day 4: By 9 am the next day, Sunday, I attended church with a fresh ice pack, crutches on the side, read the Epistle, and visited downstairs with my leg elevated for a bit before heading home. Very mild discomfort, able to walk. More RICE+MNEO rest of the day.
Day 5: By 9 am Monday, zero pain. Kept the crutches nearby all week but did not need them again. I continued RICE+MNEO.
Day 6: By Tuesday I only used the wrap, and walked free of crutches.
Day 8: By Thursday, 1 week post accident, I was done with the wrap. My ankle never felt better.
With this natural protocol, my recovery was shortened to one week. A friend estimated I saved about $500 in x-rays and doctor visit fees.
That is my personal healing through natural solutions.
Please be advised that the foregoing is not intended to diagnose, treat, or cure any disease or condition and to please maintain a relationship with a trusted healthcare provider.
NOT ALL ESSENTIAL OILS ARE THE SAME
What I have stated in this post only applies to doTERRA® CPTG® (certified pure therapeutic grade) essential oils and oil-based whole-food supplements, and not any other brand. doTERRA® CPTG® oils and supplements all undergo strict third-party testing for purity and therapeutic potency of every batch. In 2018 an independent lab, the Aromatic Plant Research Center, conducted laboratory tests on the top 50 essential oil sellers whose oils are all labeled “pure.” The study revealed that 95% of companies on the market, including direct sellers and retailers, are in fact selling adulterated or contaminated oils. doTERRA is one of only 3 out of 50 that tested for 100% of all their products.