Drink warming herbal tea: Ginger tea is excellent for keeping your body warm and increasing circulation so you don’t stiffen up too quickly. Make it using fresh ginger, sliced up and boiled or just a dry ginger tea bag steeped in hot water. Any of the warming spices are beneficial in this way- cardamon, allspice, nutmeg, clove, star anise, etc… the Chai spices! All fantastic for promoting circulation and keeping out colds/viruses. Honey is also an excellent sweetener to harmonize the stomach and cut the edge of the warmer spices. Keep a chunk of ginger, dried herbs or tea bags on you to drink up after a ride in the cold to keep up health!
Foot Bath: Simmer rosemary and lavender (fresh or dried) and dried mugwort in a couple quarts of water for 10-20 minutes, then pour into a little foot tub/bucket. Add epsom salts or sea salts if you got em. This will relax and rejuvenate your whole system. If some part of your body is aching, soak a washcloth in the same water, wring it out and lay it on the aching area to decrease inflammation and pain.
Tiger Balm patches: excellent for prolonged local pain relief. Just don’t put them on too soon before or after a shower. Make sure to wash your hands well afterwards so as to not get any in your eyes. Wowee, that can be spicy.
Use one of these “smokeless moxa rolls” to relax muscles and ease joint pain. Just use a candle to light it, make sure to keep an ashtray handy so you can scrape off any ash that forms, and pay attention to how hot your skin gets!! (this seems obvious, but sometimes you may have decreased sensation in an area, and not notice how physically hot the skin gets). Be sure to examine the pole for any cracks or splits, a sign that the pole can no longer be used. Extinguish the pole in sand or salt, instead of water, so it can be used multiple times (extinguishing in water promotes the formation of cracks/splits, a bad thing).
This type below is good as well, since you can just peel off the plastic at bottom and stick it onto your skin, while keeping the cone from ever touching the skin directly (they look like fireworks but are very easy to use):
The idea is to feel a sense of pressure and/or movement within the muscle that is being treated. You will need: one stick-on moxa tube, one lighter, an ashtray/heat-proof receptacle, and tweezers or hemostat. To treat yourself: just stick on the moxa tube (peel off plastic to reveal sticky circle), light the incense-looking portion with a lighter (or crackpipe-torch from the plaid), and let it burn down until it feels hot enough. At that point use the tweezers or hemostat to remove the moxa tube from your skin. It helps to press the skin nearby to get the sticky portion to come off.
This point is called leg three miles, since if you stimulate this point you should be able to have the strength to walk another three miles. This is one of the best places for the stick-on moxa! Also good to just massage or knuckle-tap this area.
Stick-on moxa is good for the back as well, along the thighs at any sore points, and parallel to the shin (the muscle portion, NOT the boney portion).
***Remember, this information is to give you a general idea of how easy this is to do at home. You should always consult your acupuncturist before attempting this at home, and make sure to get full instructions regarding which symptoms can be successfully treated with this therapy.***
The low-back/kidney rub… with hands in light fists, rub the thumb/forefinger portion along both sides of your spine in circular motion, covering your whole low back.
For tight shoulders: Stand with feet shoulder width apart, knees slightly bent. Relax arms completely and twist the torso, rotating the shoulders while keeping hips facing forward. Let the arms swing with your rotation, like limp noodles. Do this for a few rounds, settling into your feet and relaxing the whole body, swinging the arms with the torso twisting side to side (lead with your torso and let the arms just swing naturally). Now while you’ve turned to the left side, swing your right arm up, cup your hand gently and pat your left shoulder firmly using the relaxed downward swing of your right arm. Let the right arm fall to your side as you turn to the right and bring the left arm up with hand cupped, letting it drop down onto your right shoulder, (on top of that tense trapezius muscle that clenches when you shrug your shoulders.) And let that arm fall to the side as you swing back the other direction, bringing the right arm up, etc. Do this exercise for a few minutes, letting the shoulders release a little more with each pat. Imagine that the hand patting the shoulder is bringing a handful of fresh, relaxing energy into your shoulders while dispersing the pent-up, tired energy, and don’t be afraid to make a good slap (but never use a flat palm). Now pause, still standing with feet shoulder width apart and relaxed knees. Shake your whole body, moving any portion that feels stuck or tense, and just wiggle and bounce around until you feel stress leave your body in embarrassment. Invite a nice deep breath of fresh air into your body through your nose, and feel it drawing energy up through your feet and into your belly (or from the top of your head into your belly). Exhale fully through your mouth, letting the rest of any remaining tension dissipate to the far corners of the universe/into the earth. Remember that our carbon dioxide out-breath is beneficial for plants (in small amts of course)- our waste and stress can be recycled into the food chain as well 🙂
Cupping: See your acupuncturist about this therapy, since it’s a little more complex. It works great on thighs and calves, although for the hammys and back it requires a helper!