Category: Pain Management

Corydalis: A Revolution in Holistic Pain Relief

Corydalis Relief Salve is a traditional Chinese medicinal treatment for topical pain relief. It works to manage all types of pain, including chronic conditions, neuropathic symptoms, inflammation, and circulation.

Corydalis Relief Salve is a traditional Chinese medicinal treatment for topical pain relief. It works to manage all types of pain, including chronic conditions, neuropathic symptoms, inflammation, and circulation.

What is Corydalis?

Corydalis (traditional name: Yan Hu Suo) is a natural remedy for pain relief. It is a member of the Poppy (Papaveraceae) family of plants. Corydalis interacts with opiate and dopamine receptor sites to reduce pain. Unlike prescription pain medication, Corydalis is non-addictive, has no adverse side effects for topical use, and users will not test positive for opiate use.

We have cultivated a premium formulation of Corydalis to support pain relief, tissue recovery, and inflammation reduction. Corydalis Salve Relief has a soft floral scent that is not overwhelming like other topical ointments. Complementary herbs have been combined and added to provide a synergistic formula that may support your pain management needs.

How Does Corydalis Work?

Corydalis interacts with pain receptors to safely and naturally provide relief. It directly affects the central nervous system to treat chronic pain, inflammation, and poor circulation. Corydalis calms overactive and painful nerves. As a result, Corydalis Salve Relief is ideal for managing neuropathic pain.

Benefits of Using Corydalis

Our salve provides all of Corydalis’ benefits, including the following:

  • 2-8 hours of soothing pain relief
  • Pain management treatment of chronic pain conditions, including arthritis and neuropathy
  • Non-addictive, safe, and all-natural formula
  • A calming floral scent that isn’t overwhelming
  • It targets the same pain receptors as prescription pain pills without the risks and harmful side effects
  • Formulas do not contain THC or CBD
  • Safe for use by people who need pain relief at work and are required to pass drug tests

Who Should Use Corydalis Pain Relief?

Corydalis in topical form is effective for all types of pain relief. The combined botanical compounds may provide a pain relief solution for those struggling with addiction, chronic pain, or acute discomfort. Unlike prescription medications or other supplements that include THC in their formulations, Corydalis contains no addictive ingredients. The gentle formula composition and soothing scent are agreeable to most adults and children. Corydalis supplements work for all types of pain relief. It calms nerves, reduces inflammation, and improves circulation, making Corydalis perfect for pain management. However, the unique formulation relieves pain commonly experienced by cancer patients, diabetics, and the elderly. In addition, the gentle formula composition and soothing scent are agreeable to most people.

As a non-addictive sustenance, Corydalis is a great pain relief solution for those struggling with addiction. Unlike prescription medications or other supplements that include THC in their formulations, Corydalis contains no addictive ingredients.

The Pain Relief Power Couple: Corydalis Salve and Evil Bone Water

Take advantage of the synergistic effect of our two bestselling topical ointments for ultimate pain relief. Corydalis Relief Salve and Evil Bone Water are like the Yin and Yang of pain relief. Each topical works in separate yet complementary ways in managing pain. First, apply Evil Bone Water for fast and powerful pain relief. It will immediately soothe symptoms. Then, apply Corydalis Relief Salve for a longer-lasting, soothing effect.

Choose Corydalis Relief Salve and Evil Bone Water to eradicate any physical discomforts.

Evil Bone Water Benefits

  • Opens up pores for quick absorption
  • Intense stimulation with natural menthol and camphor
  • Natural pain-relieving compounds move blood faster, speeds healing, and decreases inflammation
  • Alcohol base

Corydalis Relief Salve Benefits

  • Soothes skin for prolonged absorption
  • Gentle stimulation with Corydalis, lavender, frankincense, and myrrh
  • Natural pain-relieving compounds activate dopamine and opiate receptors to decrease pain.
  • Coconut oil, Shea Butter and Beeswax base

Discovering Corydalis

I work with many patients in my clinic who need topical pain relief but can’t tolerate regular over-the-counter treatments like Icy Hot. The chilly feeling of typical ointments is uncomfortable for people with poor circulation. In addition, most have a potent smell that can be overpowering.

One of my dear friends underwent cancer treatment and struggled with pain in her hands and feet from chemotherapy. Her circulation was poor, causing coldness in her extremities. Like many patients, she couldn’t tolerate traditional pain relief ointments. The smell sickened her, and the icy feeling was too much for her cold feet.

This woman was kind and gentle. But unfortunately, she had already suffered so much from exhaustive cancer treatments, and I wanted to find a solution that eased her pain. And so I began my search for the perfect topical: gentle enough for sensitive users but powerful enough to treat neuropathy and arthritis.

I discovered Corydalis Relief Salve. It has a soft floral scent with no cooling effect. Most importantly, it provides soothing relief for all types of pain. Corydalis Relief Salve worked wonders for my dear friend. As a result, I brought this powerful formula to my practice to share with the rest of my patients.

The History of Corydalis in Traditional Chinese Medicine

Corydalis is a perennial herb native to most Asian countries. The first reported uses of a Corydalis painkiller date back to 618 AD and has been used for over 1,100 years as an analgesic agent in traditional Chinese medicine. Corydalis was initially prescribed to treat various forms of stasis, poor blood circulation, and pain relief.

Now, combinations of Corydalis herbs are given to patients struggling with chest, abdominal, and menstrual pain. It is also recommended to treat inflammation, depression, bacterial infections, and more. Corydalis Relief Salve is a staple ointment in traditional Chinese medicine and continues to provide pain relief to millions worldwide.

Doctors Recommend Corydalis for Topical Pain Relief

I sat down with Eliz Britton, DTCM, the CEO of Botanical EZ, LLC, to learn about her experience with Corydalis Relief Salve and why she considers it an essential traditional Chinese medicinal treatment.

Why did you start making Corydalis Relief Salve?

I started making Corydalis to help manage my pain and discomfort more naturally. When I was 16, I experienced a sports injury requiring back surgery two years later. At that time, I was diagnosed with degenerative disc disease and early-onset arthritis. I was on a long list of narcotics and pain medications to help me get through the day, and I didn’t like how I functioned on them. My body can no longer tolerate ibuprofen due to the large dosages I was prescribed as a teenager, so I was left with seeking some sort of medical intervention every time I had an issue with my injury. Decades later, I still found this massive gap in my pain management regimen. I began playing with Corydalis in 2018 to see if I could create an intermediate relief option to add to my self-care routine.

Why weren’t other topical pain relief products working for you?

The side effects. Not just the obvious ones like disorientation, nausea, and drowsiness, but the limitations of how often I could use them and how they smelled. Many prescribed and OTC drugs used to manage inflammation and pain also wreak havoc on your physical organs over time. I am unwilling to accept that my physical body needs to be jeopardized to manage my pain and discomfort successfully. The majority of topical products that are available for anti-inflammatory actions or pain relief smell terrible! I smelled like a cheap camphor factory trying to run errands. People knew I was in some kind of pain because they could just smell me, and that affected my social life negatively.

What specific results have you seen since using Corydalis Relief Salve?

The biggest results I have personally experienced are a reduction in nerve and joint pain, inflammation reduction, faster recovery from exercise and physical therapy sessions, the ability to perform everyday errands with less discomfort, and easing menstrual pain. In addition, I can do more activities with less pain and recover faster from musculoskeletal issues. Experiencing these results has increased the way I enjoy my life. Other Clinicians have reported using this product for various manifestations and injuries that involve the nervous system, joint issues, and acute or chronic musculoskeletal concerns.

How does a Cordydalis supplement work?

Corydalis (aka Yan Hu Sou) contains high concentrations of alkaloids (mainly Dehydrocorydaline) and berberine. Dehydrochorydaline attaches to Dopamine and Opiate receptors to inhibit pain and relieve pain without creating an addiction. It does this by avoiding Dopamine receptors 2 and 4 (responsible for cravings) and instead stimulates and attaches to Dopamine receptors 1,3, and 5. Receptors 1,3, and 5 allow you to experience relief but are also the shutoff buttons for craving and wanting more Corydalis. The high concentrations of berberine support reducing inflammation in various tissues. The other plants and oils in the Relief Salve also contain compounds that help support the two main functions of Corydalis. The most notable helper in the formula is Copaiba which stimulates Cannabinoid (CBD) receptors in the same way as hemp.

Can you name 2-3 things that make your products stand out?

Contains no CBD, THC camphor or menthol. It has a pleasing light floral

How has it affected your life?

For starters, I have shifted my career from practicing in a clinic to brewing plants and procuring high-quality ingredients! As a result, I can function better as a mom, a wife, and a human because I can manage my pain easily. Saving money on Doctor’s office copays and prescriptions have also been a huge bonus. I am grateful to be able to make an impact in this area of health and wellness, and I see myself continuing to make this product for the rest of my life.

What type of person or patient would you recommend Corydalis Relief Salve to, and why?

I recommend this product to anyone old or young because pain management looks different for everyone. If you are looking for a natural option for relief, this product provides a first line of support or can easily be integrated into an existing healthcare plan.

If you have a history of addiction or are concerned about becoming addicted to prescription medications, this product would be a good fit and worth trying.

Individuals who need pain relief on the job or get subjected to drug screenings could also safely use this product. Four years ago, I ingested Corydalis and covered myself in salve; then had a urinalysis and labs drawn to see if I tested positive for opiates or any other drugs. All tests came back clear. If you can not afford to continue investing in CBD products or find that they do not work for you, the plant combinations in our salve may give you a different experience for relief.

Buy Corydalis Relief Salve Today!

Corydalis Relief Salve is a traditional Chinese medicinal treatment for topical pain relief. It works to manage all types of pain, including chronic conditions, neuropathic symptoms, inflammation, and circulation.

If you don’t like strong medicinal smells or menthol and camphor cooling sensations, then this is the product for you. I have found this product to work exceptionally well for diabetics or cancer-induced peripheral neuropathy.

Combine the synergistic effect of our two best-selling topicals. They work together in separate but complementary ways to quickly eliminate your pain. These two products are the Yin and Yang of pain relief!

Plantar Fasciitis Treatment Method

Plantar Fasciitis Treatment Method

Plantar fasciitis (PLAN’-tar Fashee-EYE’-tis) is a medical condition characterized by moderate to severe heel pain stemming from when the plantar fascia (FA’-shee-uh) becomes inflamed, usually by trauma or overuse. The plantar fascia is a tough band of connective tissue on the bottom of your foot that runs from your heel to the base of your toes at the ball of your foot.


Commonly experienced first in the morning or after a period of rest, this heel pain can mimic the pain of stepping on a piece of glass or can feel as if the heel itself is bruised. If the patient has been off of her or his feet for at least 30 to 60 minutes, for example, while watching television or having a meal, the patient will often hobble for the first several steps due to the pain before being able to put any weight on the heel.


The most common cause of plantar fasciitis is a sudden increase in use, like walking or running. However, sometimes the cause of the specific trauma may go unnoticed until symptoms worsen.


There are two common approaches to treating plantar fasciitis — (1) Stretching and (2) Resting.

The Stretching Method

If the tissue is loose enough, it will not get inflamed when being used. Here are a few ways to administer the stretch:

Plantar Fasciitis Stretches
  • Stretch the calf with the knee straight to isolate the gastroc.
  • Stretch the calf with the knee bent to isolate the soleus
Plantar Fasciitis Stretches
  • Stretch the calf using a stair or edge on the bottom of the foot to isolate the plantar fascia.
  • Splint the foot in a flexed position at night by untucking the sheets of the bed so the foot can rest in a more neutral position.
  • Roll the bottom of the foot with a tennis ball or frozen water bottle.

The Resting Method

When rested for an extended period of time, the inflammation has the opportunity to subside. Consider:

  • Decreasing activity of being on feet
  • Wearing soft and cushy shoes
  • Using crutches or wearing an orthopedic boot.

If you have tried both of these methods and have found that you are not healing as fast as you would like, I would suggest trying a third method that I have found works very well.

Below is an excerpt from the founder of this technique, Harry Oxenhandler:

One day, after having walked quite a long distance, I noticed pain in my heel. I had no recollection of having injured my heel other than the walk itself. The pain persisted, and I noticed that I was hobbling after having been seated for a while or after having gotten out of bed. I finally realized that I had plantar fasciitis and that it had probably been caused by one of the soft spikes on the bottom of my athletic shoe. After several days of rest and stretching with no positive results, I became very frustrated. I sat down on a chair and crossed my ankle on my opposite knee and turned the sole of my foot towards my face, and began to probe the bottom of my sore heel to see if I could find the most tender spot. Once I located the most tender spot, I marked it with a ballpoint pen and then took the rounded, blunt end of the pen and began to apply deep pressure to that very specific spot.

Needless to say, it was very tender, but I have to tell you that it was a “good hurt,” if you know what I mean. It felt as if I were, somehow, getting to the root of the problem. I switched to using my thumb because it gave me more leverage and continued to push on the most tender spot until I felt the tip of my thumb actually touching the heel bone itself. Of course, I had not penetrated the skin. I had merely pushed the underlying tissues out of the way by applying steady, deep pressure for about 5 minutes until it felt as if my thumb tip were touching my heel bone. At that point, I stopped.

The next day, my heel was sore. After a couple of days, however, the heel felt better. The symptoms of pain and hobbling around were still there, but it was not nearly so severe. I repeated the above treatment about every three days for a total of six times. The heel pain disappeared and has never returned since.

I decided to offer this treatment option to those of my patients with plantar fasciitis that had suffered from the problem for a long time, that had tried many of the treatment modalities available and that were willing to give it a try. Many of my patients were more than willing because plantar fasciitis can be very disabling. I would ask the patient to lie face down on the examining table, and I would bend the knee to 90°. Then I would carefully poke around with my thumb until I found the most tender spot on the heel. I then explained to the patient that when I applied gradual but deep pressure, that s(he) was going to feel some tenderness and to tell me if s(he) wanted me to stop at any time. I am being completely honest with you when I say that no one had ever asked me to stop until I had finished (about 5 min).”

– Excerpt from MEDICAL PEARLS of WISDOM: 4 Secret Cures from a Pain Specialist

As shown in the example from the founder of this method, the simple yet profound impact of slow, steady, and deep pressure cannot be understated. Different tissues in the body have different tissue densities. The denser the tissue, the slower it responds to pressure.

A few examples of this phenomenon can be shown through foods. For example, when you are spreading butter, warm butter is less dense and spreads easier than cold. Another example is jelly vs. peanut butter. Jelly spreads easier than peanut butter because it is less dense. If you have ever tried to spread peanut butter on bread too quickly, it will tear the bread. You need to apply slow and steady pressure to avoid tearing.

Like jelly and peanut butter, muscles are less dense than ligaments and tendons. And as we go deeper, ligaments and tendons are less dense than bone.

Therefore, it’s important to note that muscles respond quickly to external pressure. Bones, on the other hand, respond more slowly. This is why extended periods of muscle tension can cause pain and aggravation in the tendons, like tennis elbow. Extended periods of tendon tension will create aggravation in the bone, like bone spurs. With plantar fasciitis, there is some level of muscle tension and tendon tension and, in severe cases, possible bone inflammation. To treat this inflammation, we need to apply the appropriate amount of pressure to stimulate the appropriate tissue.

Typically done with plantar fasciitis, applying heat for 10 minutes, foam rolling, and a quick massage will relax the muscles, however, it will not have an impact on the plantar fascia.

I have found that instead, soaking the foot for 20-30 min and applying slow, steady pressure will have a greater effect on relaxing the deeper and denser plantar facia.

The key to successful treatment was to make sure that I applied deep and steady pressure until I felt as if the tip of my thumb had gradually pushed away the fat and fascia layers beneath the skin of the heel and had actually touched the heel bone. The heel can have quite a thick layer of fat and fascia between the skin of the heel and the heel bone, so it can take considerable pressure to separate those tissues and reach the heel bone.

Tips & Tricks

I would recommend this method for treatment with your patients:

  • Foot soak for 20 to 30 minutes
  • Topical Liniment Rub to the area
  • Apply Knobble with slow and steady pressure

Foot Soak
I have found that longer exposure to heat, like a foot soak, is better and more relaxing to the deeper tissue of the feet than a topical healing pad. The heat helps the tissue move and spread apart so you can reach the deeper plantar fascial layer more quickly. Botanical Biohacking Foot Soaks are by far the best I have found.

Topical Liniments
I have also found that applying topical liniments can help the foot feel better and recover quicker from the deep pressure. For Plantar Fasciitis, Evil Bone Water is the best. It penetrates deeply into the tissue and bones, stimulating fresh blood flow to the area to supercharge the healing process.

Unlike oral pain medications, EBW gets to work on pain immediately. You don’t have to wait for the ingredients to go through your stomach and digestive system, degrading along the way and depositing harmful compounds into your blood and vital organs. Simply apply EBW to the affected area, and the patient will instantly feel warm relief.

The Knobble

Buy Evil Bone Water Today!

Evil Bone Water (Zheng Gu Shui) is a Chinese topical medicinal hand-crafted with only empirical grade herbal ingredients in an approved facility.

We make available natural products that have been observed to make a difference in the lives of our patients, friends and family. You’re in good hands shopping with us.

Why is it Called Evil Bone Water?

Why is it called Evil Bone Water?

What is Evil Bone Water?

Evil Bone Water is a powerful, topical Chinese herbal liniment formally called Zheng XIE Gu Shui. Literally translated, Zheng Gu Shui means “bone-setting liquid.” Its name proved challenging for Westerners to recall. Eventually, the liniment was coined “Evil Bone Water” by herbalists and this quirky nickname stuck!

Evil Bone Water’s benefits are explained in its traditional name:

  • Zheng – “to rectify”
  • Gu – “bone”
  • Shi – “water”
  • XIE – “something that must be corrected or come out of the body.”
  • Zheng gu – “bone-setting”

Today, Evil Bone Water is used to treat pain and trauma from muscle, bone, and joint injuries. It is popular in martial arts and sports medicine for treating strains, bruises, sprains, and breaks. Evil Bone Water is also beneficial in treating arthritis and carpal tunnel.

Why Is It Called Evil Bone Water?

The name became common when the CEO of Evil Bone Water, Mark T. Brinson, DOM, Ap, was still in school. He had 18 amazing double doctors from China as instructors. They all used Zheng Xie Gu Shu (ZGS) liberally in the student clinic. When asked what ZGS translated to, several of the Master Herbalists would chuckle and say, “Evil Bone Water.”

As Mark learned Medical Chinese, he realized this was far from a literal translation. The true translation is “Rectify or Correct Bone Water.” Now in his practice, Mark often tells this story to patients prescribed Evil Bone Water.

When Herbalists decided to make ZGS using traditional Chinese Medicine methods, the legacy herbs were reintroduced into the formula. Now, Evil Bone Water aka Zheng Xie Gu Shui or “Rectify Evil Bone Water,” contains only the highest-grade herbs available.

Buy Evil Bone Water Today!

Evil Bone Water (Zheng Gu Shui) is a Chinese topical medicinal hand-crafted with only empirical grade herbal ingredients in an approved facility.

We make available natural products that have been observed to make a difference in the lives of our patients, friends and family. You’re in good hands shopping with us.

Treating Chronic Pain with Tibetan Foot Soaks

ladys feet in Tibetan soak

Interested in hearing one of the best kept secrets to naturally treating chronic pain? Well, we’re breaking the silence and sharing our most recommended practice and it involves soaking your pain away. 

Tibetan Foot Soaks are specially packed tea bags containing a herbal mixture of Chinese herbs and minerals that have shown to be particularly effective at alleviating chronic pain and improving circulation.  Commonly used by practitioners of Chinese medicine, these natural soaks have becoming increasing popular in western medicine as well due to their effectiveness.

The Benefits of Tibetan Foot Soaks

The Tibetan herbal foot soak is designed to get rid of blood stasis, wind, cold, and phlegm from the channels. (Traditional Chinese Medicine) Modern day living along with a culture that influences us to eat more than we need, particularly foods that we really shouldn’t, creates phlegm

Unlike our ancestors, many people live relatively sedimentary lifestyles, which creates less blood flow throughout the body, but add phlegm on top of that, and now you’ve got chronic blood stasis. 

Additionally, this lack of movement and chronic stress (without a proper outlet) leads to increased muscle stiffness as we age, especially in our feet. 

As the fascia (an inflammation of a thick band of tissue that connects the heel bone to the toes), in our feet become less manageable, the normal shock absorbing actions of our feet become stunted and the impact from our normal day-to-day activities, like walking and going up and down stairs, starts to be absorbed by our joints (ankles, knees, hips and all the way up the spine). 

As this progresses, we can end up in that place of overall body stiffness and lack of mobility that we often see in our elderly population.


What conditions may this help?

Tibetan Foot Soaks Also Help With:

  • Chronic health conditions
  • Most autoimmune conditions
  • Plantar fasciitis
  • Cardiovascular conditions
  • Improving fertility 
  • Digestive problems
  • Sciatica and lower back pain
  • Neck and shoulder pain and frozen shoulder
  • Knee and hip pain
  • Immune regulation
  • Increasing circulation
  • Reducing blood clots
  • Increasing blood oxygen
  • Mood enhancement
  • Regulating digestion

    How Do Tibetan Soaks Work?

    The sheer act of placing your feet in the warm/hot soak water warms your feet, aids in relaxing the fascia, and dilates the vasculature in your feet and lower legs (very important).

    The terpenes, found in the herbs, can then carry the precious volatile oils from the herbs in through the skin and into the vascular system (plant terpenes are also being used in making topicals in modern medicines).

    As the feet soak, the effects penetrate deeper and begin improving circulation throughout the entire body which creates prominent effects on multiple body systems.

    Tibetan foot soak’s particular blend was originally used for treating cardiovascular disorders and have decreased coronary blockages in patients.

    Why we need foot soaks

    If you live in a cold region, like Tibet, the act of turning fat into heat is incredibly important and requires very good peripheral circulation. Tibetan foot soaks increase the heart rate as though you’re exercising, which is essential for those of us who are no longer able to run and jump like we used to. 

    Having the ability to do cardiovascular exercise and being able to break a sweat is just as crucial for getting our body’s processes back in the right direction.

    We find that these soaks are exceptional for nerve pain and nephropathies of the feet, eyes, gout and arthritis.Will Sheppy OM, LAc, BS

    The mixture of herbs and minerals in the Tibetan foot soaks addresses pain caused by the immune system imbalance, which tends to cause pain that wanders from limb to limb. It also aids in the relief of pain and inflammation caused by gut dysbiosis. 

    Gut dysbiosis can cause a heavy pain sensation and is associated with brain fog. The condition gears down nerve pain caused by the deregulation of cortisol and nitric oxide, marked by burning or electric sensations. Additionally, it influences prostaglandin regulation for sharp pain and has beneficial effects on menstrual cycles.

    Woman foot soaking with tibetan foot soaks

    Bring tradition and science together

    The first thing to understand is how these herbs are affecting your body at a trans-dermal level by going into the skin.

    In high school biology, we were taught that our skin is an impenetrable shield. If there was any truth to this, then why does poison oak make you itch?

    Why do so many poisons travel through the skin and cause systemic effects on the body? The truth is that plants can affect us systemically via terpenes, alkaloids and volatile oils. 

    Tibetan foot soaks work similar to an herbal poultice, however herbal patches and poultices are dependent on peripheral blood circulation, because if too little blood is getting into the skin they don’t work very well.

    It’s important to not only place herbs against the skin, it’s vital to increase circulation at the same time.

    Using a poultice or oil blend in a sauna can work very well. It introduces the skin to the botanical chemical while increasing blood circulations, which can be absorbed for more sedentary people. 

    They work very well for farmers in China who lead active lives and are almost in a constant state of sweating. In these cases, I’ve seen the poultice work incredibly well for local pain.

    In the United States, for people who may work on a computer or have a sedentary lifestyle, I see very minimal effects. By working with an herbal foot soak, you increase circulation, while at the same time, introduce the botanical chemicals through the skin into the bloodstream. The effects they have on us is quite extraordinary.

    Tibetan Foot Soak Product Photo

    4 Stages to Soak Away Chronic Pain: Tibetan Foot Soak Instructions

    Stage 1

    Initially you put your feet in the water. The water should be at a hot temperature but still safe for you to use. It can be a little tricky to do, but the heat itself will signal the body to dilate blood vessels. It allows all of the tissue in the area to become oxygenated. 

    Think of your body as a snow globe, anything outside the cells will drain downward and it tends to drain down into the legs and feet. You can imagine it building up sediment and rotting there. The sediment causes oxidative damage to the body by way of an inflammatory reaction.

    Vasodilation will also lower blood pressure for those who want a nice foot soak that’s going to have a tranquilizing effect.

    If you need help getting to sleep, then you’ll start with a foot soak and just allow the feet themselves to get warm, but you’re going to stop before the heat travels throughout the whole body. For high blood pressure you want to do a shorter foot soak. 

    Stage 2

    During the next stage, the heat will begin to rise up the legs. The first time you do a foot soak, the heat may only rise halfway up the shin. As your vasculature improves, you’ll gradually be able to feel the heat past the knees and up through the hips to the lower back. 

    At this point we see a lot of healing taking place, within the knees and the lumbar area, also this stage is where you get a lot of pain relief.

    Stage 3

    As the heat continues up toward the chest and heart, you may begin to feel an increase in heart rate. 

    Doing a prolonged foot soak in a way that increases the heart rate is not ideal if people have high blood pressure. However, blood pressure is not a problem, allowing the heat to go up and cause the heart to beat faster can be a very good thing. It can really increase the energy of the body and activate that mitochondria and get that cardiovascular effect.

    Stage 4

    The final stage of the foot soak is when the heat will travel up through the head and cause the person to break a sweat.

    After you break a sweat is a great time to dry off your head dry and feet, then bundle up and go about your day.

    4 step Tibetan foot soak instructions

    How the 4 stages relate to the 4 seasons


    Initially it draws Qi down as it opens up the blood circulation of the feet. This stage relates to winter just as a tree will have most of its nutrients in the root area during winter. The tree draws the SAP down into the core, into the roots. This represents winter.


    Spring is the rising effect. If you think of shoots going up in spring, the active heat coming up through the legs is spring.


    Summer is when the heart begins to really pump. This is similar to the way working outside in the summer heat would cause increased heart contractility.


    Is the final stage when they’re sweating. This is the end of the cycle, as rising has given way to descending again. Generally during the autumn stage is when you’ll break a sweat, you’ll get a feeling as though your lungs are open.

    This may increase your ability to breathe, which is often accompanied with pain relief.

    Tibetan foot soak ingredients

    8 Sacred Herbs & Minerals Used in Tibetan Foot Soaks

    One of the first herbs in this formula is called Du Yi Wei which helps stop hemorrhaging. If you have internal bleeding from an injury or inflammation that’s causing dilation of the blood vessels this may help it. 

    Du Yi Wei is an antioxidant that promotes red blood cell production and alleviates pain. 

    Hong Jing Tain increases oxygen in the blood and improves immune function and helps people fight fatigue. It is incredibly good for chronic long-term fatigue disorder or people who have been in a state of chronic inflammation.

    Zang Hong Hua this lowers cholesterol and reduces clotting. It is cardio-protective and is a powerful antioxidant. 

    Most of the blood clots that cause people to have a heart attack or stroke are found in the legs, so the increase in circulation at the same time using herbs to reduce these clots, it can drastically help to improve longevity. 

    By doing these foot soaks as a regular part of health maintenance it’s possible to reduce your risk of heart attacks and strokes. This is something that’s very commonly used throughout Tibet and China. 

    We have sourced high-quality Qiang Huo, which is very important as this herb is traditionally used for arthritis pain, it is an anti-inflammatory and inhibits fungus. 

    Fungi in the body can have direct effects on pain signaling and this helps to alleviate it. The herb also does wonders to help regulate the timing of the heart. 

    We use this herb extensively with our cardiology patients and just using this foot soak it’s been able to help restore their normal heart rhythm. This herb works very well in conjunction with another Tibetan herb called Hong Jing Tain or Tibetan Rhodiola.

    Zang Chang Pul has a mild tranquilizing effect to relax people. It is antibacterial and has regulatory effects on the digestive system, which is so crucial for diseases involving the gut brain axis. 

    Some people can’t take herbs or supplements, but by using Zang Chang Pu trans-dermally, it’s still able to affect their digestion in a very positive way without asking their stomach to digest anything new.

    Ku Shen in addition is antifungal, antibacterial, antiviral and antiparasitic. Ku Shen inhibits bacterial bio-films. This cannot be understated; bio-films are associated with most chronic diseases in the body. 

    These bacterial properties have gene expression which cause up to 20% of themselves to become mucus. They cover themselves in mucus to avoid the burn of the inflammation as your body goes into fever mode. By covering themselves, it allows them to go through the body and spread. Once the inflammation in your body goes down, they begin eating other tissues.  

    Bacterial bio-films are associated with Parkinson’s Disease, dementia, and other chronic diseases, particularly obesity. 

    Sheng Jiang is another wonderful herb in this formula as it is a liver protective. Sheng Jiang protects the gastric mucosa of the stomach lining. It is also anti-inflammatory, a painkiller, prevents clotting and is anti-bacterial.  

    AiYe has very strong volatile oils which transfer trans-dermally. It’s an anti-bacterial, anti-fungal, and inhibits blood clotting. AiYe also increases the secretion of bile in the gallbladder which can help you burn fat.

    Tibetan foot soak products

    Don't Use Tibetan Foot Soaks If:

    Caution using foot soaks with varicose veins:

    Foot soaks can be very helpful for those with varicose veins, but be careful with the dose. Start with only 1 teabag and have the soak done for shorter period of time at first (20 minutes); as the health and vasculature improve, the dose and soak time can be increased.

    Foot soaks should NOT be used for:

    • Pregnancy
    • Metastatic cancer
    • Active infection
    • Diseases that are made worse by increasing circulation
    • Recent surgery (wait at least 2 weeks)

    Our Conclusion

    Ultimately the only thing that is going to fix chronic pain is movement. As the heart contracts and blood circulation is increased, there’s the feeling that your lungs are open and it becomes much easier to get around and walk, start some yoga, or tai chi.

    Tibetan foot soaks create a window of opportunity to help heal and restore the body and help people to go through longer periods of movement without pain or fatigue.

    Where to buy Tibetan foot soaks

    Valley Health Clinic makes available high quality Tibetan Foot Soaks sourced ethically from Botanical Biohacking of Oregon. 

    We also recommend a quality Foot Spa Massager to pair with like the one from ArtNaturals.

    sustainable sources products

    Purchases give back to the community

    This entire project is being done by incredibly wonderful people who are working cooperatively with local Tibetan doctors and wild crafting herb gatherers. 

    We are working hand in hand with local government in a way that helps to preserve these herb growing regions. With respect for the cultural and spiritual traditions of the regions all of our foot soaks have been blessed by a Buddhist priest.

    You’re helping the ecology of some very precious areas of the world. It’s important to know that you’re actually protecting the ecology of the region. You’re helping to preserve the culture and traditions in that region. Today, so much use and consumption come at the expense of people in other areas and at the expense of the ecology of that region.

    The wild-crafting is done responsibly. When we come across a bunch of Du Yi Wei, we may only take 20% of it and leave the rest to make sure that it’s growing and thriving for the next year.

    We are working with local Tibetan charities. Partial proceeds from this go back into the community. It is something that’s making a truly positive change in the area and the people who are in charge of these charities are friends of ours.

    Thank you for making this decision because not only is this medical therapy the most effective, it is something you can do yourself at home. 

    Ingredients, History & Benefits of Evil Bone Water (Zheng Gu Shui)

    Ingredient of Evil Bone Water

    What is Zheng Gu Shui?

    Developed by a Chinese Master Herbalist over 500 years ago, Zheng Gu Shui is used today to treat pain and trauma. It successfully heals injuries related to muscles, bones, and joints, such as backaches, arthritis, strains, bruises, sprains, and breaks. Zheng Gu Shui is an external analgesic salve and is a must-have for everyone’s first aid cabinet.

    Evil Bone Water is well known in martial arts and sports medicine circles for its quick and effective healing properties and pain relief. Used by martial artists to aid in the healing of iron fist training, it is believed to stimulate circulation, reduce pain and swelling, and improve the healing of injuries and wounds.

    Today the most common applications for Zheng Gu Shui involve traumatic injuries, bruises, and sprains. However, many people have found Zheng Gu Shui helpful for common ailments like carpal tunnel and arthritis.

    The Origins of Evil Bone Water and Why It Is Better Than Zheng Gu Shui

    Evil Bone Water has made a splash in the Chinese medical community. This popularity is because its premium herbs are ethically sourced. In addition, the quality of ingredients is upgraded to surpass traditional Zheng Gu Shui.

    Practitioners are discovering how to use Evil Bone Water for martial art conditioning, such as in iron fist training. Meanwhile, western practitioners are learning to use it clinically for arthritis and joint pain.

    The original formula of Zheng Gu Shui had 26 ingredients. These ingredients were local to the herbalists who made the topical, and there wasn’t enough to support high-quantity production. Eventually, the demand for Zheng Gu Shui became too high for local herbalists to supply. Mass-market herbalists took the product to the commercial market but had to lower the quality of the product. They removed all but 7 of the original ingredients in the traditional Zheng Gu Shui formula.

    We recognized the ineffectiveness of this product. Essential ingredients were left out, making the liniment sub-par. Evil Bone Water rose to the challenge of creating the most effective product on the market by including four essential ingredients mass-market herbalists leave out of their formulas.

    What Are the Ingredients in Evil Bone Water?

    We have provided a complete ingredient list of Evil Bone Water, including supplemental information regarding each ingredient used. In addition, we explain why each component is used and what benefit it provides.

    Zhang Nao, Camphor, Cinnamomum Camphora

    Zhang Nao, Camphor, Cinnamomum Camphora

    Increases local circulation and relieves pain. Camphor is a natural product derived from the
    wood of the camphor Laurel Tree (Cinnamomum camphora L.) It increases circulation and relieves pain.

    The trees that Camphor is derived from are 50 years old. First, the camphor laurel tree’s wood is steamed or roasted. Then those vapors are caught and condensed to capture the volatile oils.

    Zhang Nao is highly graded, medical quality camphor and a key ingredient Zheng Xie Gu Shui.
    Genuine, medicinal-grade, natural Camphor only comes from trees that grow in Southeast Asia. Other regions cannot grow trees with enough medicine to make harvesting for Camphor worthwhile.

    The synthetic version of Camphor is made from the stumps of the southern pine tree. It is produced through a chemical process similar to turpentine. However, the difference between synthetic and natural Camphor is striking. While natural turpentine oil from southern pine trees has some healing properties, it is unsafe to use directly on the skin. Unfortunately, synthetic Camphor became popular because it is less expensive to produce. In addition, Southern Pine trees are more abundant than Camphor Laurel trees, making it possible to produce larger quantities of synthetic Camphor.

    Fun Fact About Synthetic Camphor

    In WWII, Camphor was used in the U.S. as a critical component in insect repellant. The prices for natural Camphor skyrocketed since the commodity was only produced in Southeast Asia. The demand was so high its value exceeded that of gold! However, scientists in America found a way to synthesize Camphor from the Southern Pine Tree stump, the same tree that produces medicinal-grade turpentine oil. To this day, the discovery of synthesis is the only thing that keeps Zhang Nao’s prices regulated!

    Bo He Nao, Menthol, Menthae Haplocalycis Herba

    Bo He Nao, Menthol, Menthae Haplocalycis Herba

    This ingredient is aromatic and provides cooling and clears heat from the body. Vent rashes are used in the early stage of inflammation to induce the rash to come to the surface and vent heat, leading to a speedy recovery. Menthol is a derivative of peppermint and is either extracted as oil or synthesized.

    San/Tian Qi, Notoginseng,Pseudoginseng

    San/Tian Qi, Notoginseng, Pseudoginseng

    San Qi stops bleeding and eliminates blood stasis. It also reduces swelling, bruising, inflammation, and pain from trauma.

    San Qi is expensive and is as hard as a rock. It takes special handling to extract it properly, however its healing benefits are worth the trouble. San Qi stops bleeding without clotting and reduces swelling and pain. It also has some profound synergistic effects with antiviral and antibacterial herbs.

    In Chinese medicine, San Qi has been reported to have several benefits, including reducing thrombogenicity and arrhythmias and increasing erythrocyte deformability. Additionally, San Qi has been said to be an antioxidant, which can counteract free radical damage associated with atherogenesis and myocardial injury seen with ischemia and reperfusion. These pharmacologic effects explain why this essential healing herb has been used to treat circulatory disorders for centuries.

    Source: Chan, Paul, G. Neil Thomas, and Brian Tomlinson. “Protective effects of trilinolein extrated from Panax notoginseng against cardiovascular disease.” Acta Pharmacologica Sinica 23.12 (2002): 1157-1162.

    Ji Gu Xiang, Japanese Knot Weed, Eupatorii Herba, 47, OR Linderae Radix

    Ji Gu Xiang, Japanese Knot Weed, Eupatorii Herba, 47, OR Linderae Radix

    Ji Gu Xiang is translated to mean “Cracked Chicken Bone.” However, this ingredient is actually a root. It got its name because it resembles chicken bones. This potent ingredient is incredibly rare and difficult to source, even in its native country of China. Ji Gu Xiang is effective in treating bruises, sprains, and inflammation. It also helps to alleviate pain.

    Gui Pi, Cinnamon Bark

    Gui Pi, Cinnamon Bark

    Gui Pi, also known as Cinnamon Bark, releases muscles, promotes circulation, and warms. This picture shows a fabulous, imperial-grade Gui Pi (Cinnamon Bark) that just came in from a Botanical Biohacking agent in China. This Gui Pi came from trees 20-30 years old and will provide enough medicine for thousands of Zheng Xie Gu Shui bottles. The colors of this bark are beautiful. It emits a dense and complicated smell unique to this ingredient of Evil Bone Water.

    Gui Pi Pre Soak Process

    After soaking for only a few hours, this photo is of our Imperial Grade Gui Pi. Certain herbs are pre-soaked before adding them to the Evil Bone Water decoction. Pre-soaking Gui Pi prevents its volatile oils from escaping in the cooking process. These potent oils offer several healing benefits and must be applied directly to the skin. Pre-soaking is an extra step we take to ensure we get every last drop of oil into Evil Bone Water. Next, we pre-soak the Gui Pi (cinnamon bark) in Everclear and the other herbs in water. This process helps to soften the cell walls before decoction and allows for total alcohol extraction. The extracted goodness will return to the pot when it’s cooled enough.

    Gui Pi Soak Stages

    Pre-soaking Gui Pi is not necessary, but we are dedicated to creating the best linament on the market. We include steps that take additional time and care but result in better medicine. Each batch of Evil Bone Water is handmade to ensure the highest quality product.

    E Zhu, Zedoary Rhizome, Rhizoma Curcumae

    E Zhu, Zedoary Rhizome, Rhizoma Curcumae

    E Zhu promotes the circulation of blood and breaks accumulations. As quoted from a renowned Chinese medical journal:

    “Curdione, one of the major sesquiterpene compounds from Rhizoma Curcumae, has been shown to exhibit multiple bioactive properties that are anti-platelet aggregation and antithrombotic activities of curdione.”

    In addition, E Zhu is an essential oil used in treating cancer in China.

    Xia, Quan, et al. “Inhibition of platelet aggregation by curdione from Curcuma wenyujin essential Oil.” Thrombosis research 130.3 (2012): 409-414.

    Lu, Jin-Jian, et al. “Anti-cancer properties of terpenoids isolated from Rhizoma Curcumae–A review.” Journal of ethnopharmacology 143.2 (2012): 406-411.

    Bai Zhi, Angelica dahurica

    Bai Zhi, Angelica dahurica

    This ingredient is darkly colored and very aromatic. It imparts a sweet smell to the formula reminiscent of maple syrup. The aroma is robust and will linger on your body.

    In traditional Chinese medicine Bai Zhi, it is praised for its therapeutic effects in treating colds and headaches and alleviating pain. It also effectively reduces swelling, eliminates toxins, and expels pus. In addition, Bai Zhi has various bioactivities such as anti-inflammation, anti-tumor, anti-oxidation, analgesic activity, and antiviral and antimicrobial effects. This is just one of the many herbs that make Evil Bone Water so powerful.

    “Research has also shown that both crude extracts and active components of A. dahurica possess a wide range of pharmacological activities, including anti-inflammation, anti-tumor, anti-oxidation, analgesic activity, antiviral and antimicrobial effects, effects on the cardiovascular system, neuroprotective function, hepatoprotective activity, effects on skin diseases.”

    Zhao, Hui, et al. “The Angelica dahurica: A review of traditional uses, phytochemistry and pharmacology.” Frontiers in Pharmacology (2022): 2367.

    Magical Properties of Bai Zhi

    • Exorcism
    • Protection
    • Healing

    Sprinkle the house’s four corners with Bai Zhi to ward off evil. Then, add it to a bath to remove hexes, curses, and any spells cast against you.

    Qian Jin Ba, Philippine Flemingia Root

    Qian Jin Ba, Philippine Flemingia Root

    Qian Jin Ba strengthens tendons and bones. This herb is acrid and warm. It effectively removes cold and dampness from the body, commonly present in conditions related to arthritis, bone pain, fractures, and sciatica.

    We get Qian Jin Ba wildcrafted in large bundles of roots. We only use imperial-grade herbs to ensure the maximum amount of herbal medicine is in every batch.

    Hu Zhang (Japanese Knotweed Root)

    Hu Zhang (Japanese Knotweed Root)

    Reynoutria japonica houtt is a favorite herb with a deep, rich smell. It works by invigorating the blood and dispersing stasis.

    Hu Zhang is effective in clearing heat in the body. It is used to discharge toxins, burns, pus, and carbuncles. This same property also helps with inflammation. Hu Zhang promotes the healing of burns by enhancing the immune system and cardiac functions. Leaves of R. Sachalinensis are used as a disinfectant and are protective against boils.

    In China, Hu Zhang is currently used in combination with other herbs to treat inflammatory diseases, including hepatitis and suppurative dermatitis, favus, jaundice, skin burns, scald, cough, amenorrhea, and hyperlipidemia. Hu Zhang contains resveratrol, polysaccharides, flavonoids, quinones, and large amounts of condensed tannins.

    We use substantial amounts of the highest quality Hu Zhang in Evil Bone Water.

    Navrátilová, Zdeňka, and Maribel Ovando. “Biologically active compounds of Knotweed (Reynoutria spp.) Review article.” (2017).

    Why Evil Bone Water is Superior To Other Zheng Gu Shui Formulas

    Marrying and mixing herbs through decoction and alcohol extraction creates Evil Bone Water’s unmatched potency. We use the highest quality ingredients and the best production methods. Evil Bone Water is set apart from the competition in several ways:

    • Evil Bone Water is crafted using imperial-grade herbs that are 2-5 grades above the C-quality herbs used in most other products made by U.S. supplies
    • Evil Bone Water has no animal products.
    • It is non-GMO, gluten-free, cruelty-free, pesticide-free, and contaminant free.
    • The Camphor and menthol in Evil Bone Water are natural. Competitors use lesser-quality synthetic versions,
    • We only use 190 Everclear in our topical ointment. Other manufacturers use cheaper products like ethanol or isopropyl alcohol.

    190 Everclear Vs. Ethanol

    While ethanol is 800% cheaper than 190 Everclear, topically applied ethanol acts as a skin penetration enhancer and may facilitate the transdermal absorption of herbs. The topical application of 10% ethanol stimulates the proliferation of skin, which can be interpreted as a positive influence on the stimulation of wound healing. In addition, studies show that ethanol on the skin increases blood vessel dilation. The ethanol also breaks down lipid or skin oils which can enhance hydration because of increased cutaneous permeability to alcohol.

    The decreased skin oil lowers the skin barrier function and makes the membrane more permeable. This action also explains how ethanol can help other herbs penetrate the skin, explaining why ethanol has such a strong effect as a skin penetration enhancer.

    Imperial-Grade Herbs in Evil Bone Water

    Imperial-Grade Herbs in Evil Bone Water

    Every herb is microscopically tested for proper variety, contaminants, and strength. We make sure all ingredients are sustainably and ethically sourced. Everything that goes into a bottle of Evil Bone Water comes from the finest ingredients on the planet.

    In addition, we pre-soak certain herbs for 12-72 hours before adding them to the Evil Bone Water decoction. Doing this prevents volatile oils from escaping during the cooking process. The extracted goodness will return to the pot when it’s cooled enough. Pre-soaking is an additional step we take to make sure our Evil Bone Water is produced with the highest quality standards. Zheng Xie Gu Shui is our passion. That is why each batch is handmade with the best possible ingredients.

    Evil Bone Water Stages of Production

    Finally, we use a complex double extraction process to ensure every last drop of medicine is pulled from these fantastic herbs. The “dregs” from a batch are never boiled twice. Instead, they go into fresh alcohol and sit for weeks or months, awaiting use in next-generation batches. They are technically good enough to use by the time they have soaked, but we take it one step further. The resulting alcohol extraction will then make current Evil Bone Water batches. This “double extraction” process is unnecessary, but it is one of the premium quality details we do to make the finest product possible.

    When we craft our product, I always ask myself- What do I want on my skin? In my patient's body? My own family?


    When it comes to natural pain relief, nothing beats the powerful healing benefits of Evil Bone Water. It effectively stops the pain associated with backaches, arthritis, strains, bruises, sprains, breaks, and other ailments. Since its development by a Chinese Master Herbalist over 500 years ago, Evil Bone Water has stood the test of time and is used widely among practitioners for treating pain.

    Evil Bone Water from our clinic contains no animal products and is non-GMO, gluten-free, cruelty-free, pesticide-free, and containment free. Every herb is microscopically tested for proper variety, contaminants, and strength. We make sure they are all sustainable and ethically sourced. Everything that goes into the bottles comes from the finest ingredients on the planet.

    Buy Evil Bone Water Today!

    Evil Bone Water (Zheng Gu Shui) is a Chinese topical medicinal hand-crafted with only empirical grade herbal ingredients in an approved facility.

    We make available natural products that have been observed to make a difference in the lives of our patients, friends and family. You’re in good hands shopping with us.

    Rethinking Muscle Cramping and How to Treat It

    Rethinking Muscle Cramping and How to Treat It with Valley Health Clinic in Albany, Oregon

    Contrary to popular belief, muscle cramping after exercise has little to do with dehydration and electrolyte imbalance. While hydration and electrolyte restoration are important following a bout of intense exercise, there’s much more to cramping than formerly understood.

    In this article, we will discuss the real reasons behind exercise-induced muscle cramping and address treatment methods for this condition.

    Myth of Electrolytes

    A study of 43 triathletes reported cramping (cramping group) and were compared with the 166 who did not report cramps (non-cramping group). There were no significant differences between groups in any pre-race–post-race serum electrolyte concentrations and body weight changes. The development of cramps was associated with faster predicted race times and faster actual race times, despite similarly matched preparation and performance histories in subjects from both groups. A regression analysis identified faster overall race time (and cycling time) and a history of cramping (in the last 10 races) as the only two independent risk factors for exercise associated muscle cramps (EAMC).

    The study suggests that electrolyte levels are not a factor in cramping. Rather, competing at a faster pace and high intensity then what is normal can cause (EAMC). So why is this? The most up-to-date scientific theories attribute exercise-induced cramping to a body state called “alpha motor neuron excitability”. It may sound complicated, but alpha motor neuron excitability is relatively easy to understand and identify.

    Read more:

    Alpha Motor Neurons Explained

    Alpha motor neurons (also referred to as alpha motoneurons) are an essential part of the body’s central and peripheral nervous systems. They’re present in the brainstem and spinal column, and they’re directly responsible for telling muscles when to contract.

    Any time you contract (flex) a muscle to make a movement (for example, when you take a step, grasp a pencil or touch a finger to your nose), you’re putting your alpha motor neurons to use. During a bout of intense exercise, your alpha motor neurons work overtime.

    Importantly, when it comes to understanding muscle cramps: the more active your alpha motor neurons are, the more prone your muscles are to contracting when you don’t necessarily want them to.

    What is Alpha Motor Neuron Excitability?

    Alpha motor neurons are an essential part of the body’s nervous system. However, they must strike a delicate balance with other neurons and body systems for your muscles to work correctly. One of these balancing agents is the Golgi tendon organ, which we’ll discuss in more depth further on.

    When these systems become out of balance, your alpha motor neurons aren’t properly kept in check, and they enter a state of excitability. And since alpha motor neurons cause our muscles to contract, the result of this excitability is involuntary and prolonged muscle contraction: i.e. muscle cramps.

    Causes of Alpha Motor Neuron Excitability

    There are several factors that can cause alpha motor neuron excitability, including the following:

    • Fatigue
    • Dehydration and/or malnutrition
    • Inadequate conditioning
    • Muscle damage

    Just one of these factors can lead to alpha motor neuron excitability and subsequent muscle cramping. However, the real problem begins when several of these factors coalesce, causing more severe excitability, and therefore, more intense pain.

    Understanding the Golgi Tendon Organ

    As briefly mentioned above, the Golgi tendon organ (GTO or tendon spindle) is one of the most important balancing agents to the body’s alpha motor neurons. Golgi tendon organs are proprioceptive sensory receptor organs, located in the tendons, adjacent to the myotendinous junction (MTJ).

    So, how do the Golgi tendon organs located in the tendons keep alpha motor neurons in balance, and how can this aid in treating muscle cramps?

    The Golgi tendon organ performs almost the opposite role of alpha motor neurons. Whereas alpha motor neurons tell your muscles to contract, the GTO’s role is to make sure your muscles don’t contract too forcefully.

    When the body is fatigued, not only does alpha motor neuron activity increase, but Golgi tendon organ activity decreases, furthering the potential for unwanted muscle contractions.

    This is important in understanding muscle cramps and how to treat them because by stimulating the Golgi tendon organ, we can essentially “switch off” unwanted muscle contraction.

    The Answer is TRP Channels

    If you’re familiar with the electrolyte depletion theory, you may be familiar with the theory that pickle juice relieves muscle cramps. It was originally thought that pickle juice does this by balancing electrolytes in the body. We now know this is not true. A study by Miller found that it takes pickle juice 30mins to leave the stomach and that the cramp revealing effects happens much faster. Instead, the researchers theorized that pickle juice worked to inhibit the firing of alpha motor neurons by triggering a reflex-response in the mouth, throat and stomach called transient receptor potential (TRP) channels.

    TRP Channels and Muscle Cramps

    TRP channels are pathways through which the body transports positively charged ions (i.e. magnesium, sodium, and calcium). These pathways, or channels, can be stimulated by small molecules like capsaicin and menthol, and by spices like red pepper, cinnamon, ginger, and mustard.

    Numerous physical scenarios can also be explained by the alpha motor theory, where they cannot be explained by the traditional serum electrolyte depletion theory alone. For example, marathon-runners often suffer cramps when fully hydrated and electrolyte-balanced

    TRP channels help the body rapidly and accurately interpret the surrounding environment and adapt. And when it comes to muscle cramping, strong simulation of the TRP channels can calm alpha motor neurons and diminish cramping (

    Read More:

    Cramps and the Taste of Herbal Medicine

    Since ancient times, Chinese herbalists have classified medicinal materials according to their tastes. The taste was understood to have a relationship to the effect of the herb when ingested. This relationship was seen as having great importance in guiding the combining of herbs within formulas. In most traditional Chinese herb books, taste was the first property of an herb to be mentioned, helping to orient the reader to the information that followed. There are five tastes—sweet, salty, sour, bitter, and acrid (sometimes called pungent or spicy)—consistent with the five element concept.

    It is reasonable to raise the question whether or not the tastes really have a strong correlation with herbal effects. Now that we know about Transient receptor potential channels and their location in the mouth and esophagus, the answer to this is yes.

    If we take pickle juice as an example of a way to control cramps and overexertion. It’s flavor is sour. Lemonade is another example of how sour can control the outward energy of excessive sweating and fatigue. There is norther better then a cool glass of lemonade on a hot day.

    There are two major connotations of the sour taste in Chinese medical theory:

    • In five element systematic correspondence, the sour taste is associated with the liver. It has a moistening and softening effect, usually reducing contraction of the ligaments and tendons. Persons who are overly flexible may find that the sour tasting herbs worsen that condition. Peony, cornus, achyranthes, are among the main sour herbs used to affect the liver function and said to relax the tendons.
    • According to the taste/action dogma, the sour taste has an astringent and fluid recollecting function (that is, helping to reabsorb fluids as they begin to escape). Chinese medicine considers the sour and astringent qualities as restraining the leakage of any fluid, including perspiration, and blood. Tannins, a class of complex molecules with notable astringent effect, are present in some of the herbs. Schizandra, terminallia, cornus, and sanguisorba are commonly used as astringents.

    Here is a Formula that can help with muscle spasm and cramps:

    • Bai Shao (Radix Paeoniae Alba) and Gan Cao (Radix Glycyrrhizae) are commonly combined to relieve muscle spasms and cramps. Clinically, they may be used for musculoskeletal spasms and leg cramps associated with external or sports injuries.
    • (Radix Paeoniae Alba) and Gan Cao (Radix Glycyrrhizae) have strong antispasmodic and anti-inflammatory effects as confirmed by modern research. Furthermore, Bai Shao (Radix Paeoniae Alba) and Gan Cao (Radix Glycyrrhizae) are effective in treating both skeletal and smooth muscles.

    Summing Up Exercise-Induced Muscle Cramps

    It’s easy to see how muscular fatigue—like that following a bout of intense exercise — can wear down the body’s natural systems and balances, leading to muscle cramps. When the body is fatigued, alpha motor activity increases and Golgi tendon organ activity decreases, leading to painful and involuntary muscle contraction. But by understanding the root cause of exercise-induced muscle cramps, and that TRP and taste has a strong we can better treat the issue in sports acupuncture and herbal medicine.

    The Sports Acupuncture Pyramid

    Each level of sports acupuncture has a unique purpose and set of treatment goals. Each level also has its own sublevels—or phases—which build upon each other in the same way.

    What are the three levels of sports acupuncture? How do they build upon and work with one another?

    Sports Acupuncture Has Three Levels

    In sports acupuncture, our time falls into three main categories: injury, recovery and performance. These three categories work together and can be thought of as a pyramid with injury on the bottom, recovery in the middle, and performance at the top. Each level of sports acupuncture has a unique purpose and set of treatment goals. Each level also has its own sublevels — or phases — which build upon each other in the same way.

    About: The Injury Phase

    The Injury phase of the pyramid has three unique stages: pain, weakness and strength. Each process is equally important, but as acupuncturists, we tend to spend most of our time focusing on pain.

    While pain may the driving factor behind many of our athletes seeking our help, relieving pain is only a small part of what we aim to do in sports acupuncture.

    In the treatment of pain we often focus on musculoskeletal conditions and orthopedic acupuncture. This is only a small part of sports and performance acupuncture. Sports acupuncture is a greater field which includes orthopedic acupuncture, not vice-versa.

    Orthopedic acupuncture is important in the pain stage. This is where trigger points, motor points, manual muscle evaluations and palpation examinations are amazing tools to have.

    We can quickly get an athlete out of pain using orthopedic acupuncture methods, but what we do next–in the weakness stage–is just as important. The pain may be gone, but that doesn’t mean their muscles are working at 100%. At this point, we can say the muscles are “turned off”. We need to choose treatment methods that will turn them back on.

    This “turned off” state connects to what’s known as “competitive plasticity” (use it or lose it). If you don’t use a particular skill or set of neuronal connections, your brain will re-purpose them to be used for something you are using more regularly.

    If you hurt yourself (for example, if you sprain your ankle), the brain will try to stop using that muscle to allow it to heal. In doing so, the brain “turns off” the neuronal pathways that tell your ankle’s muscles to work.

    A muscle might also be considered weak if there is damage to the proprioceptive system. (Proprioception is the sense of knowing where your body part is in space.) Your proprioception capabilities can be impaired when a joint tendon or ligament is injured. This is where the proprioceptors are located. An injury like an ankle sprain can damage the ligaments neurotendinous spindle that lie at the origins and insertion of skeletal muscle fibers and into the tendons of skeletal muscle. When you lose proprioception of your joint after an ankle sprain, you may experience an unstable sensation of the joint. Your joint may even give out. When treating weakness, you can use orthopedic techniques, but you’ll often find distal methods or press tacks to be more effective.

    After you get rid of pain and restore muscle strength, you are able to move to the “Recovery” phase.

    About: The Recovery Phase

    During the Recovery phase, an athlete is not in pain but still dealing with stresses. This is where we need to focus on training stresses that affect the following:

    • Range of motion;
    • Sleep; and
    • Digestion.

    Most of this is controlled by the parasympathetic nervous system (PNS).

    When an athlete is training hard, they’re taxing their sympathetic nervous system (SNS); afterwards, they need to switch over to the parasympathetic nervous system (PNS) to rebuild and regenerate. The body’s sympathetic nervous system and parasympathetic nervous system balance each other out.

    The SNS is catabolic and mobilizes the body’s resources to help the body “fight or flight” threatening situations. This system is upregulated during workouts. The PNS is anabolic and helps the body rest, digest, and recover after workouts.

    Many athletes are especially vulnerable to being in a sympathetic-dominant state due to increased stress load. The chronic physical and mental stress that they experience may overtax their body’s ability to adapt and maintain homeostasis. Therefore, this type of athlete is more likely to experience challenges with recovery.

    The above is especially true if restorative techniques are not utilized to minimize sympathetic dominance and strengthen the parasympathetic response.

    During the Recovery phase, we are focusing on managing the PNS. We are watching and treating issues with sleep, digestion, and the immune system. We are also watching and treating issues in range of motion and muscle imbalances that are often the results of sport-specific movements.

    About: The Performance Phase

    The top level of the Sports Acupuncture Pyramid is the Performance phase. The Performance phase culminates on the day of an event or athletic performance, but it can also include up to two weeks leading up to the event.

    Most athletes will begin to taper or decrease training intensity during this time period, so focusing on recovery becomes less important. Instead, now is the time to treat the spirit; shift your focus to the mental game.

    Specifically, the three general areas of emphasis are as follows:

    • Stress vs. Relaxation;
    • Confidence & Optimism; and
    • Focus & Awareness

    Stress: Does the athlete perform better under stress, or does stress decrease their performance? Where do they feel gameday stress the most: physically or mentally?

    Russian sport psychologist Yuri Hanin suggested that different athletes had different levels of pressure at which optimum perform­ance occurs. He called these “zones of optimal functioning”. Some respond well to high tension and pressure; others do not. An athlete needs to learn what zone is best for him or herself.

    Confidence: Check in about internal motivations, positive vs negative attitudes, and feelings of self-confidence.

    Burnout is most common in athletes who feel like they’re playing for external motives, such as college scholarships or verbal commitments. Athletes who have a personal attachment to the sport or other internal motivations are much less likely to feel burned out.

    Focus: The ability to maintain a state of full concen­tration is vital to top athletic performance, particularly during a key game or tense moment.

    Visualization, for example, is a well-known technique in which the athlete imagines specific, important game-day situations as vividly as possible. When that specific situation occurs, the athlete feels better prepared, having already worked through the situation mentally.

    The day of an athletic event is not the time to do any major treatments. Treatments are kept to less invasive procedures, such as ROM evaluation and soft tissue work with Gha Sha, or cupping to help warm up tight areas.

    Press tacks or kinesio taping to clean up proprioceptive imbalances that are still present at that time can also be useful day-of.

    Injury Stage

    The Injury level is the base or foundation of the sports and performance acupuncture pyramid. This is where we tend to spend most of our time.


    A patient comes in with an injury. We treat the injury directly to relieve pain, overcome weakness and restore strength.

    • Pain. At the very bottom of the pyramid is the Pain phase of the Injury level. Before we can do anything else, we need to relieve the patient’s immediate pain. Treatment goal: Relieve pain.
    • Weakness. Treatment of an injury doesn’t end with pain relief. Once pain is resolved, the patient still has weakness in the injured area, where the muscles are essentially “turned off”. Treatment goal: Evaluate and overcome weakness.
    • Strength. Finally, once you’ve overcome weakness due to the injury, the patient can work to regain full strength. Treatment goal: Regain strength.

    Treatment Methods

    • Trigger points
    • Motor points
    • Manual muscle evaluation
    • Proprioceptive Aids, Press Tacks, KenisoTape, Distal Needling


    The middle level of the pyramid is Recovery. This level comes after Injury and before Performance. It is where we spend most of our time second to the three phases of the Injury level.


    Treatment doesn’t stop once an injury has healed. After an injury is resolved, the patient enters the Recovery level, which is where you can help them reintegrate into normal training and activity healthily and safely. Recovery focuses mainly on range of motion, sleep and digestion.

    • Range of Motion (ROM). As the patient heals, they begin to tax their sympathetic nervous system with training, which can cause imbalances. To continue to increase strength in the affected area and make sure it heals properly, we focus on range of motion.
    • Sleep. As the patient recovers, they need to switch their focus to the parasympathetic nervous system in order to heal from the taxes they’re putting on their sympathetic nervous system. This means focusing on improving sleep quality.
    • Digestion.Another crucial part of the parasympathetic nervous system is digestion. As the sympathetic nervous system gets put to work with increased training, more focus on improving digestion is needed to recover.

    Treatment Methods

    • Traditional Chinese Medicine Diagnosis. Focus on Sleep, Digestion and Mood to evaluate Autonomic Nervous System


    The top of the pyramid — Performance — is where we tend to spend the least of our time, but where we should try not to neglect important aspects of patient care.


    Finally, the patient isn’t in pain, they’ve worked hard to train healthily and to avoid further injury, and now it’s the day of. Now, our job is to address and treat the spirit: fears, motivation and focus.

    • Stress. When treating the spirit, it’s important to identify and address any fears or Levels of mental, emotional physical stress that might hinder—or improve—performance.
    • Motivation. Identify and create a focus around what makes the patient want to succeed and perform well.
    • Focus. Identify and address any distractions that can detract focus and energy away from peak performance the day of.

    Treatment Methods

    • Acupuncture with Performance Visualization

    Acupuncture and Pain Types

    Acupuncture and Pain Types - Valley Health Clinic, Albany Oregon

    Identify your pain at

    Acute Pain

    Acute Pain is the easiest to understand because there was a pain and it was recent. The patient can point to it and can remember what happened to cause it. The body is sending pain and location signals to the brain. Recent acute pain is often the east to treat and the body responds quickly because a chronic pattern or pain expectation has not set in. If the pain is sever, light local needling or distal needling is best. Strong local needling will add stress to a system that is already over stressed and aggravated. Light local needling with stimulation encourages a local healing response but not aggravation. It will act like a kind of homeopathic treatment. Distal points can block the pain and help the muscles rest.

    Chronic Pain

    Chronic Pain has affected the whole system and a correct local treatment will improve the condition but the pain will return because the body can not adjust to the pain free movement. You must treat local and adjacent points. With chronic pain the body can loose the location signal and the pain may feel vague or wandering. Local needling will stimulate the location nerves and help the body heal.

    Nerve Pain

    Nerve Pain is often described as burning or prickling or electrical shock. Some people with nerve pain will have hypersensitivity to temperature or touch. Very often it will radiate past two joints. Muscle pain radiation rarely passes two joints. Radiation will be along a path and patients will trace an area with there finger when describing it.

    Psychogenic Pain

    Psychogenic Pain aggravated with stress responds better to distal treatment. Pain will often feel better after treatment but always come back once the patient returns to work. It will be very frustrating to treat and can look like a repetitive injury that is aggravated from work. Often time psychogenic pain will be aggravated eerily in the work day will repetitive pain will be aggravated later.

    Muscle Pain

    Muscles Pain is classic. Dull, tight, and achy. It will be local and effected with pressure on the area either by aggravating or relieving pain. For tendon, meniscus, and ligaments, this pain is sharp and often sudden. Patients will describe a giving out of the joint or sudden weakness. For example patient has dull achy shoulder pain, this is muscle pain. When the patient does the arch of pain test at around 90 degrees they say ouch and drop their shoulder. The sudden sharp pain causing weakness would be the tendon being pinched. Another classic example is a tore meniscus or ligament in the knee. The patient will have dull achy pain and suddenly will step wrong and get a sharp pain. They will say it feels like their knee is giving out.


    Inflammation will have swelling heat and redness. Arthritis is worse in the morning and better with heat and movement as the swelling is moved out of the joint. Muscle pain is also worse in the morning and better with heat and movement but it will not come back as quickly with rest. Muscle pain will be aggravated at the end of the day with when patient over does the activity.

    Bursitis will be painful with pressure on bursae, It will typically only be painful with exercises or excessive movement but fine with normal movement. For example, it will only hurt when the patient runs.

    Tendonitis is worse in the morning. The most common pain that is worse in the morning is “itis”. The joints fill with inflammation at night and when you first start to move can be painful. The best example of this is Plantar Fasciitis. It will feel like stepping on glass when they first get up in the morning but will feel better once they move around.