According to the Bureau for Labor Statistics, approximately 3.3 million people suffered non-fatal occupational injuries in 2009. The Center for Disease Control and Prevention reported approximately 2.3 million adult non-fatal motor vehicle injuries for that same year. Broken bones, surgery, a dentist visit, even a separation or residential move can all be considered one form or another of trauma. Physically and/or mentally, experiencing post trauma recovery forces your life to slow down while your body goes into an all out offensive. The immune system is turned up to full throttle sending out white blood cells and pain decreasing endorphins. Cortisol, a chemical response to stress, is released and the body begins to store vital nutrients and fats. Inflammation can be temporary or unending causing the body to swell topically as well as on a cellular level. Fatigue may ensue and sometimes depression. It is a challenging time to listen to your body and let it rest. It is also a time to reflect and ask yourself questions about your health. How do you propel your body and mind through each and every day? How might be the best way for you to heal and come out of your healing even stronger than you were before?

Naturopathic medicine can be used to assess your recovery and help relieve pain, speed healing, balance mental clarity, restore vital nutrients and increase muscle and/or skeletal weakness.

Zinc for Wound Healing

A 2007 study by Caruso and colleagues found that zinc was beneficial and could reduce the length and severity of some common colds. It has also been attributed to successful wound healing. A naturopathic doctor may suggest an increase in the mineral zinc. As it not only helps wounds and colds but zinc boosts immune function, protein synthesis, DNA synthesis, mucosal membrane and skin integrity. A careful dose according to diet, age and gender is considered ranging anywhere from 10 mgs to 50mgs and is never taken on an empty stomach. Foods high in zinc include oysters, beef, chickpeas, kidney beans, milk, some cheeses, lobster, cashews and some fortified cereals. Be careful when you drink liquor. The byproduct ethanol, from alcohol consumption, decreases the intestinal absorption of zinc and increases zinc excretion through urine.

Acupuncture, Herbal and Homeopathic Remedies for Post Trauma Recovery

Awakening stuck qi (life energy) using Chinese and western herbs as well as specific acupuncture points can catapult the body into a swift recovery. It can also create a broader consciousness on how to manage energy and overall health after healing is complete. Recently, to help soldiers with varied chronic ailments, a battlefield acupuncture kit was designed to reduce pain and increase range of motion. Using the classic five ear point model, needling could be applied to the following:

  1. Wonderful Point a/k/a Point Zero – inside ear on beginning ‘spine’ just above center
  2. Shen Men – top inside center of ear
  3. Omega 2 – outer anterior center rim of ear or internal helix
  4. Thalamus – bottom center between the inside/outside of ear
  5. Cingulate Gyrus – bottom outside center of ear

*Points #4 and #5 are the most used by practitioners.

In addition to many post trauma recovery scenarios, acupuncture has been successful in treating certain stroke victims. According to a 1997 study by Hopwood and Lewith, stroke victims treated within the first 3 months of their affliction were found to have a significant rise in motor function according to the Motricity index. Therefore, the best results are often found when acupuncture is administered shortly after a traumatic experience such as a stroke.

Using herbs is a finite practice that requires a detailed intake of a patient’s history. A naturopathic doctor can evaluate the proper herbal prescription for optimal post trauma recovery. Some herbs that may be used include:

Bromelain (pineapple enzyme) and Papain (papaya enzyme): These are known as proteolytic enzymes which are beneficial in soft tissue healing as well as swelling and bruising.

Arnica Montana: This homeopathic/herbal remedy is optimal in relieving traumatic injuries especially those involving bruising, lacerations and sore muscles. It comes from an endangered flowering herb found in high regions of Europe and Asia and can be administered as pellet, tincture or topical cream. Other names for arnica are Mountain Tobacco, Mountain Snuff, Leopard’s Bane and Wolf’s Bane.

Echinacea (purple cone flower): This flower indigenous to the American Midwest is beneficial as a cold, flu and infectious disease remedy. When correctly administered (sometimes alongside the herb goldenseal) it is considered an immunostimulator which helps the immune system work at optimal performance.

Aloe Vera – A botanical gem known to help skin trauma such as burns, herpes and some wounds as well as digestive disorders including irritable bowel syndrome.

Gotu Kola – This ivy like leaf can be used as an anti-bacterial, anti-inflammatory, anti-

Chamomile – Calms an anxious spirit, certain stomach ailments and soothes teething in children.

St. John’s Wort – Excellent for the mental trauma experienced as a result of certain depressive disorders.

Nutrition and Formulaic Prescriptions for Post Trauma Recovery

When one experience’s trauma it is often best to seek out a naturopathic doctor sooner than later. This way he or she can immediately begin a recovery program. This may include the above mentioned remedies often prescribed as single or formulaic doses plus a particular nutritional program to compliment it. Specific foods will enhance immune function, increase wound healing and keep one mentally strong as they heal.

  • Bromelain, Vitamin C, Rutin (a citrus flavonoid found in buckwheat and asparagus)  and Quercetin (a plant derived flavonoid found in grains, leaves, fruits and vegetables)  – This is an excellent formula for cutaneous and soft tissue healing.
  • Rescue Remedy – This is an essential oil formula for aromatherapy de-stressing.  There are 5 ingredients:

1. Rock Rose for panic and terror

2. Clematis for focus

3. Cherry Plum for illogical thinking

4. Star of Bethlehem to alleviate distress

5. Impatiens for irritability and impatience

  • Grape Seed Extract – Athletes have reported faster recovery by using grape seed extract which includes the aforementioned Rutin as well as OPC’s (Oligomeric Proantho Cyanidins).

If you are experiencing a healing period after a physical or mental traumatic event schedule your naturopathic or acupuncture appointment with Dr. Lisanti of Integrative Med Solutions (IMS).  It’s with the intention of inspiration and integrity that our highly trained doctor creates customized health plans that synergize the best of healing arts with contemporary natural medical science. IMS is located in Eastchester, New York with close proximity to New York City (also via Metro North railroad), Southern Connecticut and parts of New Jersey. Please call us at 914.337.2980 to make an appointment or feel free to email appointment queries to

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