Up with hope, down with dope

Is alternative medicine the better alternative?

Courtesy photo

Jovan Abernathy is an international marathoner and owner of Houston Tourism Gym. To claim your free tour, contact her at info@tourismgymhtx.com

There I was sitting at the traffic light at 19th and Yale. I was so ready to get home. All I could think about was a glass of wine and Black Mirror on Netflix when….I hear a loud screech. I turn my head to the left just in time to see an old Mercedes strike the driver's side grill of my car. I was hit.

The next morning, I could barely walk to the bathroom. My hips, lower back, neck, and shoulder were in pain. Later that day, I went to the doctor to get my diagnosis. After some very expensive tests and scans, (thank god insurance was paying for it) I was diagnosed with whiplash and muscle strains. What do you think happened next? If you guessed the doctor wrote me a prescription for pain pills, you are right.

Don't get me wrong. I partied like it was 1999 in 1999 and I'm no prude, but I'm getting tired of having to pop a pill when maybe there is a better alternative out there. And since I'm not footing the bill, I decided to try something new. I took to the internet. After some research, I decided that cryotherapy, sports massage, and acupuncture looked interesting. Over the last few weeks, I received all three treatments. This is how it went:

Myofascial Release


Rene treats his patients with tender hands.


Because of running, I have had many sports massages. It was my first go-to, however, I needed to find a new masseur. I remembered that I recently met a massage therapist at a networking event. His name was Rene and he owned Massage Innovations. So, I gave him a shot.

The first thing Rene did was check my posture. He was looking for the alignment of my body at my shoulders, hips, and feet. This gives him a visual of what might be wrong. After, the assessment, Rene decides that the best treatment for me was not a sports massage, but a Myofascial Release.

"I'm beginning to hear a lot about fascia," I say "exactly what is it?" He goes on to educate me.

Fascia is the weblike organ that holds your other organs, muscles, and tendons in place. Years ago, when dissecting cadavers, med students were told to move it aside. Now, we know, it is really important to our health and fitness. In fact, if we experience physical trauma (like a wreck), are dehydrated, have a bad diet, or you have a lot of wear and tear on your muscles due to training, your fascia gets sticky or torn. This causes pain. Myofascial release is also great for people with cancer because it relieves pain without being to harsh on the patient.

So how does he do it? After putting me in position, starting from my head and working his way down, he gently applies pressure while making swooping motions on my skin. I can literally feel the pressure manipulate the fascia just beneath my skin. I was definitely impressed. I knew that I would have to come back for more visits, but on to the next method.

Cryotherapy



This method is all the rage nowadays. Cryotherapy spas are opening all over Houston. What is cryotherapy?

Cold therapy has been used in the medical and sports industry for years. When you see NFL athletes soaking in a bathtub full of ice water or when a doctor sprays his patient with localized nitrogen gas before surgery, that’s cold therapy. If you aren't an NFL player or having surgery, how does this help you?

To experience cryotherapy and get the answers to these questions, I chose Defy Cryotherapy Studio. Wait, I have to give props to Aubrey. I called the day before and grilled him with about 25 questions. He patiently answered all of them and I could see the smile on his face through the phone.

Aubrey explained that Cryotherapy is a breathable air system where instead of sitting in an ice bath for extended period of time, you are exposed to cold, dry air for a short period of time. Cryotherapy is great for injuries, pain relief, weight loss, and better sleep. When the body undergoes extremely cold temperatures for short periods of time, it has to recover quickly. Cryotherapy acts like a switch that accelerates blood circulation and metabolism. Over time, it benefits our overall wellness.

So when I arrived, I was given a full tour of the spa. We entered the Cryo Room. There stood a tall white chamber tall enough for you to stand in. The chamber uses liquid nitrogen to create the purely cold, breathable air. This is why Defy is different. They are equipped with second generation chambers which allows you to include your entire body including your head in the procedure.

"What am I supposed to do while I'm in here?" It was suggested that I count aloud and do shadow boxing. It was quite an experience. I was in the chamber for two minutes with knee high socks, gloves, a face mask, and slippers. As told, I made sure to breathe through my nose to get the full benefit. When my time was up, I got out and felt so energetic. My skin felt almost effervescent. I'm definitely going back for more and the float room. But, Ihad two more experiments to try.

Chiropractor

The last chiropractor I went to flipped me over and spanked me. I have yet to return.

Acupuncture


A steady hand is needed to administer acupuncture.


I'll have to be honest. I have already received acupuncture treatments a few years ago for another matter. I have never used it to relieve muscle pain, so I had to try it. I went back to my prior Acupuncturist named Danny Ting. He is the owner of Ting Acupuncture. Most of us have heard or seen pictures of those little needles penetrating skin, but how does it work?

It it really cool. Danny assesses the problem based on what your diagnosis is. He lays you on a massage table and tells you to get comfortable. After he exposes the area that needs treatment, he slips hairlike needles into the trigger points of the injured area.

Next question: Does it hurt?

Not usually. You may experience discomfort due to inflammation, scar tissue, and being tense. He turns out the lights, tells you to take a nap, and leaves the room. You get to jam out to the soft melody of the Asian harp.The needles are left in for 30 minutes. Sometimes, for more intense treatment, he attaches wires to some of the needles, shines a hot lamp over the area, and sends electric pulses through the needles to your muscles. I'm not going to lie, It is really intense. Your muscle feels like its jumping up and down. But, it works.

Next question: What else is acupuncture good for?

Acupuncture is used to treat anything and everything from menopause symptoms, heart disease, depression, weight loss, and alcohol and drug addiction

Last question: Which is the best?

Take your pick. I was impressed with all three methods. Honestly, I'm really curious about the weight loss promises. I'm going back to all three.

To learn more about these methods, visit MassageInnovation.com, defy-studio.com, and omdclinic.com

The Fitter Side of Golf

Speedgolf: The new revolution to traditional golf

Author's Own

Jovan Abernathy is an international marathoner and owner of Houston Tourism Gym. To claim your free tour, contact her at info@tourismgymhtx.com. Follow her on Twitter @jovanabernathy. Instagram @TourismGymHtx. Facebook @TourismGymHtx

So remember my first SportsMap article? Where I said that I met a pro golfer when I ran the Honolulu marathon? He was such a cutie. Of course, when I came back to Houston, I had to try my hand at golf. I was always intrigued by the sport. I had to give it a try.

I would go to Memorial Park and go to the range and whack some balls, but I could never get into it. There were three main reasons why.

It took too much time. I once clocked myself. It took 7 hours from start to finish to drive to the course, warmup, do a whole 18 holes, and of course have post food and drinks, and then drive back home.

It cost too much. I did some calculations. After everything, that's the green fees, cart rentals, buying and maintaining clubs, the bag, the balls, the glove, the shoes, stylinsh apparel, and of course lessons, and whatever else. It came out to $15,000 for a year.


David Harding from Oregon taking a swingAuthor's own


And it was kind of, well boring. You had to wait so long to get your turn. That was at least 4 of the 7 hours. I would get so antsy from standing still that long. Instead of relieving stress, it was causing stress. Instead of looking like Tiger Woods, I looked more like Charles Barkey.

At that time, I was running so many races that required a lot of time to train and lots of money. By the way, running allowed me to let my mind go because I was in constant movement. Then, I heard about this new thing (well new to me) called speedgolf. It seemed like the answer to my golf problems. Let me tell you about it.

Speedgolf is the funner, faster, and more fitness oriented format of the traditional game of golf. It was believed to be started in the 1970's in California when Steve Scott ran 18 holes in 29 minutes and 33 seconds holding only a 3-iron and finishing with 99 strokes. Basically, it is golf and running mixed. There's no golf cart. You are jogging to each hole as fast as you can. You carry one club or 4 clubs in a light weight golf bag.

I have to admit that I only have played one game of Speed golf. In that one game , I had more enjoyment that regular golf and it was really exciting. It took less time. I'm not even the fastest runner, but I finished 18 holes in half the time as a regular round of golf . Better than that....I burned 800 calories while I did it. The next day, I ran my regular route and I finished the 3-mile Memorial loop in 26 minutes instead of 29:30:00, so I got over 3 minutes faster.

The thing that really sold me is the imagination that Speedgolf sparks. The picturesque green is really inspiring. I hate getting up early to play, but I love seeing the dew dripping from the moss that is hanging from the trees. You can see the previous runners footprints in the dewy, manicured grass. I imagined myself at MacAllen Scotch Distillery in Ireland. See what I mean.

So, how do you play? So, basically, your score is comprised of your running time added with your number of strokes. So, if you had a count of 80 strokes and a running time of 60:00:00, you would then add them together. The strokes + time = Speedgolf score. So, 80 + 60:00:00 is 140. The lowest score wins. I highly recommend it. Be ready to get up early. Most golf courses want Speedgolfers to go first because they are faster than everybody else.

If you are a golfer looking to jazz it up, try Speedgolf. If you are a runner trying to mix it up, try Speedgolf. If you are looking for a cool sport to get into and you like taking pictures, get into Speedgolf. And if you want to save money, try Speedgolf. See you on the Green at the finish line!

To learn more about Speedgolf, visit SpeedGolfUSA or listen to Scott Dawley, founder of Speedgolf USA, on his podcast Pace of Change which can be downloaded from iTunes.

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