Injuries: Ice or Heat?

by Nicole Smith on January 21, 2014

tennis elbow

I have found over the years that even among the most seasoned everyday athlete, people do not know what to do when they get injured. It is a very common thing for me to hear, “I slipped on some Sore shoulderice Saturday and now my knee is injured” or “I went to a class at the gym and now my body is EXTREMELY sore”. When I then ask the person if they did anything like ice the injury or take a hot Epsom salt bath after this they most often say, “Um no, but I took some Advil.” These situations are frustrating for me as a personal trainer because if the person would have taken a day to really address the problem they were having with heat or ice, it wouldn’t STILL be an issue several days, sometimes even months later.

Now as a disclaimer, I am not a doctor, so heed this information as a guideline and if there is ever something that is extremely painful, is internally not normal (such as heart palpitations, dizziness, numbness, etc.), is a fall where you have hit your head, is an injury with a cut/laceration, or is clearly broken bones, please use common sense and seek medical assistance right away. However, I think it’s extremely important for people to know the simple tips for the more common, less serious injuries that I have experienced to work the best during my 12 years as a personal trainer and my 25 years as a professional dancer/teacher.

So what to do…

Ice or Heat It’s a very controversial subject if you Google it which seems to confuse most people, so they just don’t do anything. I have found time and time again that what I am going to suggest works for most people so instead of doing nothing, try it out…


Epsom saltIf your body is sore the day after from working out or doing too much in a physical activity, heat is the best approach. I recommend a hot Epsom salt bath for a minimum of 10 minutes. I recommend this over a heating pad because the salt water lets the heat penetrate deeper and around the whole area getting all the fascia that surrounds the muscles. This is important because sometimes the soreness comes from other areas being tight in the fascia and then pulling on the muscle creating the stiffness. The hot bath takes care of all of this and gets you feeling better fast!



pulled hamsting runner

If you are doing something and instantly feel a sharp pain, or a muscle begins to burn and throb, you have strained it. Stop doing movement with that muscle and ice it immediately to get the inflammation down. Ice as soon as you can after the injury happns for 10 minutes on/10 minutes off, minimum of two times for at least two days in a row, preferable with real ice over ice packs. Try not to use the area that had just been iced until the skin is not cold to the touch. This prevents the blood from having to rush back into the area and ruining the work you just did by having the ice on the injury.


knee inflammationThese areas are very congested with lots of tendons and ligaments from various muscles and are bound to have inflammation if you injure them. If you fall and jam your wrist, turn your ankle on a curb, hurt your shoulder from doing a new move in yoga, feel pain in the kneewrist tendons when going up steps, etc., you have inflammation in that joint. The sooner you can start an ice recovery regimen the better to keep that area from getting the dreaded tendinitis. I know many people who injure themselves in these areas and don’t ice right away and then the problem gets worse and the inflammation harder to get rid of, resulting in weeks, sometimes even months of pain instead of just a few days.

RICE methodFollowing the tried and true R.I.C.E. (Rest, Ice, Compression, and Elevate) Method for these types of injuries works best. Ice as soon as you can after the injury happens for 10 minutes on/10 minutes off, minimum of two times for at least two days in a row, preferable with real ice over ice packs. Until the skin is not cold to the touch, try not to use the area that had just been iced. This prevents the blood from having to rush back into the area and ruining the work you just did by having the ice on the injury.



hip painThis joint is more complicated because sometimes the injury needs heat, and sometimes ice. If your hip hurts from a fall or banging it on something, it is bruised and needs ice. If you are experiencing  hip pain from a muscle being tight, heat from an Epsom salt bath will alleviate it. Be mindful with what is causing the injury, because if it is tight muscles, icing it can actually make the muscles go into spasms, hence making the pain worse. However,because this joint is so complicated and often the pain is coming from somewhere else than you think it is, I always recommend seeing a doctor as soon as possible for this one.



sore back

To know what to do with back pain you need to ask yourself, “Is the pain directly from the spine or is it the muscles on the sides of the spine.”

If the pains coming from the muscles, heat will usually work best. However, if the pain is coming directly from the spine, it is very possible that you have injured a disk, in which you will want to ice the area and see a doctor as soon as possible.


What if you are still not getting better? If you have been diligently doing your ice or heat regimen and it doesn’t start to get better after two days or it gets worse after one day, you need to seek medical attention.

ankle xray

Remember, this is a guideline for you to use. If you are running and you feel a sharp pain in your foot and then it swells up, you have most likely broken it and need to see the doctor immediately. If you fall or have an accident in which you hit your head or anything is cut or clearly broken, again seek medical attention! However, if it is something that you think “Oh, I’ll be OK in a few days” I implore you to please take action and do the ice/heat recommendations. You will heal so much faster resulting in less time from you being active, thus you getting to stay fit and healthy. taking yoga class


A deeper way to approach New Year’s Resolutions

by Nicole Smith on December 26, 2013

Ahhhhhh….New Year’s resolution time…..

I actually love the New Year. For obvious reasons it an amazing time to set your New Year’s resolutions, but it’s also a perfect time to reset your life intentions as well. I’m talking about reassessing your personal and spiritual conduct (aka morals), and choosing to act, behave, and think according to how you want to not only be seen in the world, but also how you want to BE in this world.

It’s a great time to review treasured teachings of how to behave and live so that you are not only a good person, but so that you will be happier and you will be magnet for positive things, people, and events throughout the year. If you have your own religious believes that you abide to that’s great, but I think it’s also wonderful learning other peoples teachings and being inspired by them as well.

Below are the Jewish/Christian 10 Commandments, the Buddhist 10 Paramis, Patanjali’s Yamas & Niyamas from Eight-Limbed Yoga, and the Golden Rule.

Hopefully, they will help inspire you to add some moral resolutions to the mix this year, I know they have for me….



1) I am the Lord thy god, who brought thee out of the land of Egypt, out of the house of bondage.

2) Thou shalt have no other gods before Me.

3) Thou shalt not take the name of the Lord thy God in vain.

4) Remember the Sabbath day to keep it holy.

5) Honor thy father and thy mother.

6) Thou shalt not murder.

7) Thou shalt not commit adultery.

8) Thou shalt not steal.

9) Thou shalt not bear false witness against they neighbor.

10) Thou shalt not covet anything that belongs to thy neighbor.


BUDDHIST 10 PARAMIS (The 10 Perfections) *Meditations by Melissa McKay & Melanie Chevarie.

1. Dana (Generosity).  May I be generous and helpful.

2. Sila (Morality).  May I be well-disciplined and refined in manners. May I be pure and clean in all my dealings. May my thoughts, words, and deeds be pure.

3. Nekkhamma (Renunciation). May I not be selfish and self-possessive but selfless and disinterested. May I be able to sacrifice my pleasure for the sake of others.

4. Panna (Wisdom). May I be wise and be able to see things as they truly are. May I see the light of Truth and lead others from darkness to light. May I be enlightened and be able to enlighten others. May I be able to give the benefit of my knowledge to others.

5. Viriya (Energy). May I be energetic, vigorous and persevering. May I strive diligently until I achieve my goal. May I be fearless in facing dangers and courageously surmount all obstacles. May I be able to serve others to the best of my ability.

6. Khanti (Patience). May I be ever patient. May I be able to bear and forbear the wrongs of others. May I ever be tolerant and see the good and beautiful in all.

7. Sacca (Truthfulness). May I ever be truthful and honest. May I not hide the truth to be polite. May I never swerve from the path of Truth.

8. Adhitthana (Determination). May I be firm and resolute and have an iron will. May I be soft as a flower and firm as a rock. May I ever be high-principled.

9. Metta (Loving-Kindness). May I ever be kind, friendly, and compassionate. May I be able to regard all as my brothers and sisters and be one with all.

10. Upekkha (Equanimity). May I ever be calm, serene, unruffled and peaceful. May I gain a balanced mind. May I have perfect equanimity.


PATANJALI’S YAMAS & NIYAMAS  from the Eight-Limbed Yoga Sutras.

The Five Yamas:

  1. Ahimsa (non-harming). Ahimsa, or non-injury, implies non-killing. However, it also means abstaining from causing any pain or harm whatsoever to any living creature, either by thought, word, or deed.
  2. Satya (truthfulness). Satya is more than just telling the truth, it is making sure ones actions be in accordance with one’s words and thoughts.
  3. Brahmacharya (control of the senses). Brahmacharya is restraining from indulging in harmful sensual gratification.
  4. Asteya (Non-stealing). Asteya means to not ever take something that is not of one’s own without permission.
  5. Aparigraha (Non-covetousness). Aparigraha means to not be jealous of others and to be happy and grateful for what you do have.

The Five Niyamas:

  1. Saucha (Purity). Saucha means to be clean in with our bodies, surrounding, and  minds.
  2. Santosha (Contentment). Santosha is the ability to recognize that although it is important to try to better our environment and life situation through proper effort, it is also important to become content with the fact that the world is never going to be necessarily perfect to our liking.
  3. Tapas (Austerity). Tapas are practices that help the mind become stronger, such as meditation and fasting.
  4. Swadhyaya (Study of Self). Swadhyaya is the practice of spiritual study that will help enlighten our minds and connect our hearts to the universe.
  5. Ishwarapranidhana (Belief in a higher power). Ishwarapranidhana is the surrender to God’s will and devotion.


 And last but not least, from all the religions:


Do unto others, as you’d have done unto you.



Ho ho Oh, the gluttonous holidays!

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 We are now completely in the midst of holiday season, a time of joy, family, giving, and wait…oh yes, GLUTTONY! If you haven’t heard the definition of gluttony lately, it means over-indulgence and consumption of food, drink, and wealth items to the point of extravagance or waste. Most people will gain minimum of 10lbs during […]

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Classic Exercise Burnout

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Thai Massage, traditionally known in Thailand as Nuad Boran, is not a typical massage as known in the West, but rather an ancient energy-based healing system that combines acupressure, reflexology, and assisted yoga postures. The easiest way to explain it is: It’s like doing yoga without doing any of the work! In a traditional Nuad […]

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Afternoon Snacks to Help You LOSE WEIGHT!

January 30, 2013

So when 4pm hits, most people start feeling tired, grumpy, hungry…yes, it’s afternoon snack time in the adult world. As our society works more and more, later and later, we tend to eat dinners on the later side so that afternoon snack is almost like a pre-game meal for the actual dinner.  When you skip […]

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Manifesting Your 2013 ~ what that even means!

January 9, 2013

It was exactly 2 years ago when the concept of “manifesting” came into my life via Erin Stutland. I had just returned back to NYC after my 2-month stay in India doing my advance teacher training studies. I was as relaxed and open-minded as I have ever been in my life, and also the fattest. […]

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Metta Meditation for the Holidays

December 19, 2012

PEACE ON EARTH As I was shopping for holiday cards this morning, I was enjoying the classic captions such as “Peace on Earth” and “Goodwill to Men”. Although the lines are from Christian Christmas cards, the practice of wishing “Peace on Earth” and “Goodwill to Men” can actually be traced back 2,500 years to Pali […]

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