How to Recover From an Injury

Let’s talk about injuries and how to get over them! Before we do that, let’s quickly get the painful stuff out of the way first.

WARNING: Exercise, stretching, sports, and other fitness related activities can be dangerous. You can be seriously injured, crippled, or killed. The opinions, stories, and ideas presented here are my own and do not constitute a recommendation of or endorsement for any particular or general use. I strongly recommend getting a complete physical and doctor’s approval before starting any type of strenuous activity. Especially if you are over the age of 40 or have high blood pressure, genetic heart problems or conditions, or elevated cholesterol levels. If you choose to workout, you do so at your own risk. In addition, working out requires patience, diligence, and above all else, using good form. Never bounce or over strain! Most important: listen to your body…

My first piece of advice in this article is how my disclaimer ends… Listen to your body! You might think that sounds more like a fantasy, then real life… However, I’m here to tell you that I am not only capable of listening to my body, but I literally communicate with it. Perhaps hemophilia is a gift, because I believe it’s the reason I can hear my body speaking. Most easy bleeders that I know are gifted with the ability to listen to their body. If you aren’t a hemophiliac or dealing with some other painful disease or problem, you might need to dig awful deep to hear your body talk. I recommend meditation for starters to get yourself in tune.

There is a very popular and silly saying: No pain, no gain! Well, that is just plain ridiculous. I would actually say: No gain comes from pain! Regardless of what you might think, there are some kinds of pain that are not good and it’s rarely a smart idea to workout when you’re experiencing this kind of pain. Keep this in mind the next time you are trying to exercise while your body is trying to heal.

I bring this up because we all know many active athletes (myself included) who not only complete races on injuries, but even train through them. Everyone thinks differently about this but I’ll share my thoughts. I believe in pushing myself despite injuries when I’m in an actual race or event… That said, I do not like to push my body through training when I’m injured. Do you guys see the difference? You need to talk to your body, listen, and then determine if you can workout or not.

Once you know you are injured and decide to skip a few workouts, you need to figure out what to do during the healing process. Certainly you guys all know what RICE stands for, but let me spell it out anyways:

Rest – Recovery requires sleep and downtime.
Ice – Cold helps with the healing process.
Compression – Wrap your injury.
Elevation – Raising the injury spot helps it heal too.


I made up my own mnemonic (I have a need to be different). I call it, the five I’s:
Injury = Ice, Ibuprofen, Interlude, and Invert.

Regardless of what you use, it’s important that you have your own process to follow during your healing phase of an injury.

Many folks like to alternate ice and heat on an injury… As a hemophiliac I sort of fear heat. So, I’m very careful to ensure the bleeding is not only stopped, but won’t recur before I apply heat.

Depending on the injury, you might want to do specific stretching too. Always do gentle smooth stretches and never bounce. This is true whether you have an injury or not. Carefully stretch injuries and slowly go until you get close to pain. Never stretch to the point of pain. As I’ve said over-and-over again, listen to your body. Focus on that painful injury area and slowly stretch. Listen. If you feel (hear) pain approaching, stop the stretch where you are

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. If possible, hold it. For the best results, hold this stretch for 22+ seconds and then slowly ease up and relax. Repeat a few times for a deeper and more invigorating stretch.

Once the damaging pain of an injury starts to subside (this can be a day or several months), I recommend starting to do some extremely light weight exercises that pinpoint the injury area. As I keep saying, take it easy and do not push yourself in the beginning. Over the next several days, carefully and slowly raise the weight and range of motion.

Normally you only need a day or two of rest between workouts… However, when dealing with an injury, you know what to do by now… That’s right… Talk to your body, and listen. If it tells you that it is ready to continue, then by all means… Continue.

Depending on how bad the injury was/is, go through several days to several weeks of gradual increases in stretching and lifting. Continue this until you have full range of motion and no pain before moving back into your “normal” workout routines.

I hope you never need the advice in this article… But, if you do, you can always lean on me and my experience.

Be well,

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How To Properly Fight Yourself

Today’s topic is something I’ve practiced and improved upon for years. It’s something that I believe very strongly in… The power of the mind. It is my honest belief the brain holds more answers and power than we can imagine. Not the least of which is the ability to cure ailments in the body. Today we’ll talk about how I have tapped this power and managed to survive for 28+ years with a virus that was supposed to have killed me 25+ years ago!

Most of you know that I run another blog called In many of my previous posts on that blog I’ve talked about “the war of the body.” I’ve even posted some information about it. Today’s article is based on some of those previous posts and I’m going to breakdown my idea and how it has helped me. You can determine if it would benefit you in your life. That said, if you decide to try it out, I guarantee that you will be amazed at the results!!!

It has been my motto to stay away (for the most part) from discussion about my HIV. This posts sort of relies on it as proof and as an extreme example of how this type of meditation works. Let me step out on a limb and discuss how I turned my low T-cell count into a climbing number, and potentially saved my own life. Many moons ago, my HIV was winning the battle of stealing my life. I was taking 22 pills each day. And, I was taking them five or six times per day. Each time I took the pills I was thinking (literally) to myself, I’m taking this medicine because I’m dying. It may not sound like much, but that single incantation was bombarding my body with negative thoughts and powerfully dangerous chants five or more times per day. No wonder I was dying!!!

One day I literally woke up and discovered an answer to changing this and prolonging my life… This type of negative thinking was truly a devious and deadly mistake and I figured out a way to not only improve myself, but turn my death spiral into a form of survival. I realized that I could just as easily chant something motivational and positive instead of my typical doom and gloom. I came up with a better statement to say with each ingestion, and decided to give it a try. From that day forward, instead of thinking about dying, I altered my internal message to, This medicine is healing me, making me stronger, and giving me longevity. You might (or might not) be surprised to hear that this immediately turned around my emotions and even my health!

This solution was so simple that I kicked myself. Of course I could teach myself to use positive brainpower to redundantly think of optimistic things instead of pessimistic.

Shortly after adapting this solution, I took it several steps further and incorporated my meditation into an event. I started envisioning a battle going on in my body. And, as I took the medicine and chanted positive things I also imagined my meds being field generals in a war in my body. Each of these generals was given regiments of T-cells and I saw them rolling through my body and kicking virus ass. I still use this technique today, and I am healthier than I’ve ever been in my entire life.

Recently, a friend, mentor, and two-time cancer survivor, Alan Hobson (cancer survivor and bestselling author of Climb Back From Cancer), showed me a powerful way to do what I was doing and make it more peaceful. He said, instead of viewing a war in my body, why not imagine a flowing river of holy water (or something similar). In this way, you can imagine magical water flowing into your body and cleansing it from the inside out. This was a powerful alternative to war that I had never even considered. To this day, I sometimes switch my war meditation and turn it into a pristine river of clear, healing water.

The positive thoughts, war, and holy water turned out to be more powerful than I ever imagined, and my T-cell count has climbed through the ceiling!

Later on, I discovered that I could use a similar positive incantation session for other health issues

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. Over the years, I have become obsessed with mental healing. I use images of my favorite American generals to command troops of cells to combat illness and ails of all sorts. I spend time imagining General William Tecumseh Sherman (one of my favorite wartime generals) crashing through my body tearing viruses and other bad elements to shreds like he did the South. My General Sherman shows no mercy for the enemies that have entrenched themselves in my flesh. Whenever I pull him out of the thin air to use in battles against my sicknesses, he offers no quarter and cuts a swath from shoulder-to-shoulder and head-to-toe. No mercy!

This violent engagement is an important weapon in my overall war against the disease that plagues my corporeal self. As a matter-of-fact, I consider it as powerful a tool as the medicine that is prescribed to me by extremely competent physicians.

I’ve recently included attacking hemophilia episodes (bleeds) with a similar technique. I have tried many meditations and one of my favorites is having a team of engineers who move in under the command of a head engineer. They are building a damn of sorts. Essentially, I get into a peaceful resting position with my offending joint (usually my ankle or knee) elevated and cooling under an ice pack. Then, I calm myself and move into a meditative state by flushing my thoughts and centering myself. Once I am focused, I have the head engineer move into my body, and lead a team of engineers and builders to the local area of the bleed (this is all in my imagination… I can literally see a team of workers marching through my arteries and arriving at the bleed location). Once there, my team surrounds the bleed and curbs it using tools, supplies, and ingenuity. I spend ten to thirty minutes focusing on this response while the ice and elevation do their parts. It’s my belief that my bleeds are less severe and often heal quicker/easier because of this mental process.

Lately I’ve broken down different parts of my meditation and improved upon it by imagining the separate areas of my body (mostly organs) and what there roles are. Here is a breakdown of my process:

Brain is the general (commander)

Heart is the special forces (think Navy SEALs or Army Delta Force)

Blood is the foot soldiers.

Liver is the defensive units and artillery.

Stomach is the supply units.

Lymph Node is the hospital corpsman (medical and doctors).

Arterial Infrastructure is the explorers and spies.

Skin is the radar and sonar.

Nervous System is the communication channel.

You get the idea? Basically I focus on each of these areas individually during my meditation and utilize them accordingly. I know this may sound like science fiction or the rantings of a lunatic, but I truly believe that I’m here today, alive and kicking, (at least in part) because of this powerful tool… My brain!

Imagine if cancer patients successfully used this technique (along with medicine and a healthy lifestyle) to cure themselves?? Wouldn’t that be awesome?! Remember that this technique can be applied to almost anything corporal. The next time you have a headache, why not try something along these lines? What do you have to lose by spending a little bit of time relaxing and meditating?

I’m looking forward to hearing your opinion and experiences, please leave me a comment and let me know if you believe in this type of medicating and also if you’ve ever experienced anything along these lines.

Sent from the field,
General Vaughn Ripley

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