“Riding for health” - Ann’s Voyage
Once in a while Bicle asks one of its friends to contribute to Bicle.com. We are happy to share the insights of Ann Chen, VP of Velo with you again. This time about how to prevent backache, sore legs and numbness after cycling. ENJOY!
How to self heal by soothing the meridians
Backache, sore legs and numbness after cycling? You may have hurt the meridians. Actually, this is what Western medicine calls, a sports injury. The use of acupuncture in the thousands of years old Chinese medicine tradition to swiftly cure injury is still seen as mystical by non-practitioners in the West. Dr. Chang Yung-Ming, a Chinese medicine doctor who has been practicing in Taiwan for over 20 years, says that the point of acupuncture therapy is about soothing and channeling the meridians.
Dr. Chang confirms cycling can train the meridians. However, riding for too long or in the wrong posture can damage the meridians, resulting in backache, soreness, ache, swelling, numbness of the legs, and other symptoms. The Du meridian (governor meridian) and the bladder meridian run through the entire back. When the bending position of the cycling posture is incorrect, the two meridians get hurt. Bending legs while cycling with a tilted pelvis or an unbalanced pedaling height of the two feet can damage the spleen, liver and kidney meridians in the inner legs.
Dr. Chang reminds riders that when pedaling, the back must be straightened before bending forward. The best forward bending angle is 60 degrees; do not bend like a shrimp. When pedaling with two legs, pay attention to the even raising of the legs; do not let one come higher than the other. It’s better to take a break every 40 minutes to prevent over exercise. Also, because the pelvis is the fulcrum when cycling, the saddle that touches the pelvis needs to be carefully selected. It is better to choose a style with a hollow ventilation incision to reduce compressing of the perineum region; also pay attention to whether the saddle has a fine shock absorption function.
In order to help cyclists reduce sports injury, Dr. Chang recommends two workouts for cyclists to practice at home, training and stimulating the meridians, as well as to relieve occasional minor soreness and pain.
Dr. Chang uses the guiding practice in the famous ancient text “Yi Jin Jing (classics of tendon changing)” and adds in massaging the mingmen (gate of vitality) to vitalize the kidney meridian.
- Stand with feet shoulder-width apart, hands hugging chest. Slowly inhale and exhale several times until breaths are smooth and even.
- Rub both hands until they are warm.
- Press on either side of the spine (mingmen, gate of vitality) and massage from top to bottom to vitalize the kidney meridian. Repeat steps 2 and 3 for about 5 minutes.
Since the cycling posture is like the curve of a shrimp, this workout is a reverse exercise to correct the meridians in the over bending back. Practice this workout 3 to 5 times a day, with 15 to 20 lifts each time.
- Using waist as the fulcrum, gradually raise both arms and both legs, separately. Repeat five times to slowly raise the limbs to their maximum. This workout trains the du and bladder meridians. The patient can practice this on his/her own.
- Kneeling with four limbs on the ground, extend the left leg and right arm for about 10 seconds then rest. Repeat 5 times before switching to the other side. This workout trains the spleen, liver and kidney meridians on the inner thigh.
Dr. Chang Yung-Ming
Superintendent, Yi Ping Tong Feng Yuan Chinese Medicine Clinic,
Adjunct attending physician, internal medicine of Department of Chinese Medicine, China Medical University Hospital, Taiwan
Assistant professor, the school of Chinese medicine for post baccalaureate, I-Shou University
Dr. Chang has been in clinical care and academic research of Chinese medicine for over 20 years. He is healthy with a head of black hair – a perfect advocate of good health.