During workshops, trainings and in interviews I’ve heard Jill begin to explain the benefits of Yoga Tune Up® by saying  “All too often we underuse, misuse and abuse our bodies.”

The Yoga Tune Up® methodology and Yoga Tune Up® Therapy Balls are very effective at speeding muscle recovery and helping to prevent injuries.  Nevertheless there will still be times when we over exert ourselves and our new powers of proprioception alert us to sensitive areas, indicating low-level inflammation.  It’s important not to ignore the pain signals from our body.  But pharmaceutical painkillers and anti-inflammatories just don’t make sense for small bumps and sprains since the side effects can be more problematic then the original issue.  Lucky for us there are many completely holistic ways to treat sports-induced muscle inflammation. Utilizing multiple remedies together from the list of 10 below will yield the best results:

  1. Rest is the simplest, the most reliable and the most overlooked treatment for new ailments. The recommended time frame is 5-7 days.
  2. Drink more water.  Lean muscle tissue contains about 75% water by weight. If those muscles are hurting, water is key to transporting the good stuff in and getting the bad stuff out.
  3. Heat and Ice Therapy – Ice treatment is the appropriate treatment for trauma injuries and is most effective if utilized within the first 48 hours.  Heat increases blood circulation and is the recommended treatment for basic muscle aches due to over exertion.
  4. Food Choices – Certain foods are highly inflammatory (sugar, refined carbohydrates, animal fats), so avoid them. Foods rich in phyto-enzymes (vegetable juices, green chlorophyll-rich foods) help the body to scavenge inflammatory proteins, reduce toxicity and speed recovery, so bulk up on the good stuff when the body is below par.
  5. Massage improves blood circulation, stimulates nerve conduction and facilitates lymphatic drainage. A pair of well-loved Yoga Tune Up® Therapy Balls provides a cheap but invaluable (and highly portable) daily self-care tool.  Soft-tissue stimulation significantly improves recovery time but be careful not to apply strong pressure on tender areas that are painful to the touch.
  6. Many Essential Oils – Add 5 drops of Arnica, Calendula, St. John’s Wort, or Peppermint oil mixed to one-quarter cup of carrier oil and rub into the affected area several times per day to relax tense muscles and improve circulation.
  7. In Homeopathy, Arnica stimulates white blood cells to digest congested blood and to disperse trapped, disorganized fluids from bruised tissues, joints, and muscles. Arnica cream can be applied topically (do not apply to ruptured skin) and is safe for extended use.
  8. Spices and Herbs – Turmeric, Ginger, Cayenne, Rosemary, Black Pepper, Cinnamon, Basil, Cardamom, Chives, Cilantro, Cloves, Garlic, Parsley all have strong anti-inflammatory properties.  Incorporate during mealtime prep or steep as a tisane (1 teaspoon herb: 8 ounces of water). Cayenne can also be mixed with a carrier oil for use as a topical ointment (1 teaspoon cayenne: 2 ounces oil).
  9. Vitamin supplementation – Research conducted by the University of Minnesota found that 93% of all subjects with non-specific musculoskeletal pain were Vitamin D deficient.  High doses of Vitamin C can reduce inflammation by 45% and Vitamin E plays a major role in reducing inflammation as well as cleansing the body of free radicals.
  10. Magnesium (and Magnesium Sulfate).  Magnesium is an amazing mineral and a terrific all-natural muscle relaxer.  It’s involved in roughly 300 vital biochemical reactions including transmission of nerve impulses, body temperature regulation, detoxification, energy production, as well as bone and tooth formation.  Sulfates help form brain tissue, joint proteins, digestive proteins, and they assist the boy in detoxification. A perfect segue to my all time favorite cure-all: Epsom Salt Baths!

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Dinneen Viggiano

An experienced Therapeutic Movement & Back Pain Specialist with 18 years’ experience, Dinneen offers classes, workshops, trainings and online programming to optimize nutrition, improve mobility and Retrain Back Pain®. As a Senior Teacher Trainer for Tune Up Fitness® & Roll Model® Method, Dinneen travels the globe leading professional trainings. She is also a NeuroKinetic & CranioSacral Therapist and a Certified Health and Nutrition Counselor. www.dinneenviggiano.com

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First I just want to say, thanks so much for the list! Being that I’m not completely comfortable with the idea of treating different issues with medications, I’m constantly looking for holistic alternatives to treat symptoms. This is a nice, simple list of ways to deal with pain and inflammation. While I was already aware of some of these solutions, it’s always nice to find new ways/alternatives to dealing with any inflammation I could be experiencing. I will definitely be using more of my tune up balls, as well as incorporating more of the spices in my diet. I also… Read more »


Inflammation is such a hot topic right now. It can manifest itself in so many ways (not just bodily injuries). I appreciate this breakdown of holistic ways to manage it. After all, we want to treat the cause rather than just manage the symptoms with meds. Getting enough sleep is right up there with rest. As I get older, it’s amazing how much better my body feels and recovers when I get a full nights sleep. I plan to incorporate all of these spices and herbs in my diet as well.

Katherine Deicke

Such a fantastic and simple list I may have to print it and put it on my refrigerator! Love everything that was listed and agree that rest is #1. This also gives me the perfect excuse to have a “me” day where I sleep in, go for a massage, enjoy wholesome foods for lunch, and treat myself to everything holistic! Thank you for sharing 🙂

Julie Granger

I was “diagnosed” with what is sometimes called an “extra bone” in my foot 9 years ago. I was training intensely to be a ballet dancer, and this injury always made my foot really inflamed, and I was always in extreme pain. As I was aware of a few techniques you wrote about (drink water, rest, heat and ice therapy…), I was really happy to discover that there is more I can do to prevent it from hurting ! If it hurts again badly, I will make sure to use essential oils, as well as watching the kind of food… Read more »

Julie Granger

Thank you so much for this post ! I was “diagnosed” with what is sometimes called an “extra bone” in my foot 9 years ago. I was training intensely to be a ballet dancer, and this injury always made my foot really inflamed, and I was always in extreme pain. As I was aware of a few techniques you wrote about (drink water, rest, heat and ice therapy…), I was really happy to discover that there is more I can do to prevent it from hurting ! If it hurts again badly, I will make sure to use essential oils,… Read more »

Nadjiba Medjaoui

I agree, to reduce inflammation we need to have a global approach and I would add meditation to this list.


Thank you for this insightful blog. In doing body work, we often forget that some of the greatest pain reducers come through micro and macro nutrients. I’ve know the RICE recipe for healing injuries for a long time, but add to it magnesium, vitamin D, turmeric and water and you have a powerful recipe for rehabilitation. Thanks again for the suggestions on repairing from the inside out.


love this because with an inflamed disease that I live with I can always tell when I haven’t done 1 or the other. Probiotics/ and Hydrocolontherapy is also a great way in working with anti-inflammation.

I consistently share with my clients to use Food/ water /rest as a way to heal the body from inflammation and prevent it, and also those therapy balls.


Arnica and magnesium have both helped me tons over the years! I’d take sublingual Arnica right after many falls snowboarding or mountain biking and swear it made a difference in my speed of healing. And magnesium has been so useful for general muscle tightness (tho be careful with too much = upsets the tummy:( I find enough sleep (vs rest) is also crucial for supporting my healing process and keeping inflammation down.
Do you have a link for the vitamin D study? Thanks for all the info!


thanks. great to have a comprehensive list. Would be interesting to test vitamin D levels on a group of people with healthy tIssues, may be that we are generally 93% deficient as a population.

Amanda M

This is a great holistic approach and I think it is so important to know when we require rest. In society where it’s all about productivity and pushing forward – the idea of slowing down or rest is almost a foreign concept. This was a lesson I learnt the hard way.


Great comments team! There are many many wonderful ways to enhance our body’s response to inflammation. At the core of this article is the premise that our response to inflammation should not be to suppress it, but rather we are trying new ways which will ameliorate our body’s natural ability to manage inflammation. That said, the best solution is always “find the root cause” but then the sky’s the limit on natural ways to help the body recover homeostasis with minimal side effects. I love hearing what works for each of you! ~Dinneen

Sharrari Fit

Ah! How about cold pressed juices from roots like turmeric. I saw spices, but cold press turmeric with oregano oil and cayenne flake from cafe Graditude always makes me feel like a million bucks! ….a real Inflammation stopper.

Sharrari Fit

Such a great complete list, i had to repost this to my facebook…of course credit to #YTUballs
Wish i could think of something to add to it.


Thank you for addressing natural remedies – great reminders and I found some new ones, too!


Thank you for your article, in the past I used to take anti inflammatories or pain killers when I feel I muscle inflammation. Some times we take pills in order to have a quick fix, but we ignore the side effects. Now I’ve already tried some of the remmedies you listed above and they are very efficient. The natural remmedies as drinking water helps to clean our system and also hydrate the muscles. Other that like so much is put some ginger, turmeric, cayenne to my juices or meal, it really helps with the inflammation. I will add the YTU… Read more »

Linh Taylor

This list is amazing and more useful beyond just treating inflammation. I think this could also be a guideline to healthy living. We often only gives our body the best care after putting it through trauma, which is unfortunate because it deserves more. Our body is like a home that could use some daily house cleaning and love. It works so hard for us. I didn’t know how effective vitamins are to treating inflammation. Interesting. Thanks for sharing Dinneen.

Gennifer Morris

I appreciate all the natural remedies in your article. I wish more people would realize the benefits of self care before they let the pharmaceutical companies take over their lives at the financial gain of the companies and who knows what side effects.


Love me some Arnica for almost anything; essential oil or gel-form! Thanks for this checklist, Dinneen. What a lovely reminder list of holistic remedies.

pam everson

This was great! I do most of them except the herbs, I try to follow the steps regularly since my calf and achilles pain is so acute and I it fixed!


Hi! This is great article. Chronic inflammation in western society is a major health concern both resulting from and leading to heart disease, diabetes, and autoimmune diseases. However, I am a registered nurse in the cardiothoracic intensive care unit and I have one major concern on #10 – Magnesium. Magnesium is an electrolyte the is used by the heart muscle to regulate its contractions. Magnesium overdose or misuse can result electrolyte disturbances that can cause an arrhythmia, potentially fatal. This is even more likely if the person has known or unknown kidney disease. (early stages of impaired kidney function have… Read more »


Inflammation seems to be a hot topic these days. Or at least it is in my circles. It is most interesting to me that it can be caused and treated from the outside in or the inside out. Meaning poor diet can be the culprit or poor movement habits. This is a great composite of things to do to alleviate inflammation. Love it! thanks

Holli Rabishaw

I have always been an ibuprofen girl myself but I am willing to adjust. Last night I had a headache. I admit I reached for the ibuprofen but then I reached for my YTU balls. Sarah Court taught this fantastic sternocleidomastoid roll out ball on mastoid process with the press and twist approach then turn gaze away. I felt my headache melt away. It was really bizarre as I have always counted on my little brown pill. Next time I reach for YTU ball first! Thanks for the reminders above.


Great reminder of the things I’ve used in the past, to incorporate again. Like with anything consistency is key too. I’ll use spices here and there but to experience the wonders regular use is needed. Water is a major one!
I didn’t know about magnesium. I’ll add that one in.
Love Espom Salt baths!


Thanks for this useful advice. I’ve been doing some of what you suggest above, but I think I’m going to add even more spices to my daily green smoothies and see if that helps my recently aching hips. Cherry juice seems to be helping, too. I was surprised at the impact that just a little bit of it 2x a day had. I’m all for nutritional solutions like these.


I really thank you for this great list and will post it at the studio. I have already posted that people need to do a “bone tuneup” once a year with an osteopath or a really good chiropractor because if the body is not aligned then that is conducive to other problems so I will add this to my list on the bulletin board.

Rebecca Weible

As a full time yoga teacher I try to be as present in my own body as possible while teaching but I still discover minor aches and I’ve always used rest as my number one cure all. I’m so fascinated at the power of herbs – I’m going to go make myself a tisane right now to relieve my back from a long week of work with no break in sight!


I love how rest is your #1. As a teacher, I always tell my students when they are fresh from an injury, or over doing it in yoga that their bodies need REST REST REST.. but, it is so hard to honour that yourself. I find rest incredibly difficult, so its nice to be reminded and told again and again and again. (and not just rest in savasana) .

If your ingesting Arnica, do you know how long it is safe to take?


Great article about muscle inflammation! #8 and #10 are totally new info for me. So thank you! As for #8, I will have to try some of these herbs/basic spices…for a while I’d been on the turmeric shot kick – good to have some alternatives since 1) turmeric shots pretty much always turn on my gag reflec and 2) can be expensive I’ve also read a bit about how acid (sugars, animal fats, coffee) and alkaline foods (fruits, veggies) affect your body’s natural pH levels. Anytime you work out, eating alkaline food afterwards helps counteract/flush out all the lactic acid… Read more »

Kimberly Lou

Getting no sleep is no joke and so is inflammation in the body. It’s amazing how so many little things add up to create inflammation. What’s even more amazing is how forgiving the body can be when you nurture it back to health.

Jessica Sleiman

I am so glad I found this article, as inflammation is an issue that I believe almost everyone deals with, and might not even know it. My brother and mother have been battling with inflammation and the effects of it on our bodies – acne, joint pain, etc. It’s so refreshing to read an article that approaches the holistic methods to healing rather than going with the mainstream method of putting more drugs in our bodies and then having to deal with the side effects. We sometimes let go and take the easy way out, but even so, you mention… Read more »

Diane Walters

Great article! All of the suggestions are very easy to implement. One of my yoga instructors told me about arnica cream and suggested that I try it for shoulder pain. It worked well and now after reading this article, I understand how it actually works, That Vitamin D is a touch one. It is not always easy to bring up the levels. I have a thyroid condition and even with taking supplements, my levels can be low. It is a constant challenge. One new habit I have implemented is to put cinnamon or cardamon into my coffee before I brew… Read more »

Kevyn McAnlis

Arnica is a vital element it my remedy cabinet, and through an awesome chiropractor I’ve come to learn the value of hot/cold therapy and how healing and soothing it can be when you give it a chance. I’ll have to try these other remedies as well! Thanks for the ideas!

Lisa Harris

Thank you for this list. I never remember about when it’s best to use ice vs. heat. I could use some arnica or epsom salts right about now as YTU training can be pretty intense! This list will be helpful when students ask about pain remedies.


I really appreciate the way you explain this in an accessible list format. I use arnica for bruising or swelling, but didn’t know exactly why it made things better ( stimulating the white blood cells !) Thanks for this important how-. The YTU teacher training is really getting me int he habit of explain the how’s and why’s of what I’m doing… I’m appreciating the practice of being concise. Thanks for your wonderful example of this!

Jiin Liang

Thank you for such detailed information regarding inflammation. From my own expereience, I found Arnica, high dose in the beginning, very useful. I also find turmeric an excellent anti-inflammtory. Pineapple and all the tropical fruits can reduce inflammation. Lastly, I notice seaweeds is helpful for arthritis.

Meredith Brockriede

Thanks for these suggestions! I haven’t tried magnesium supplementation myself, but I will be looking into it. I also wasn’t aware that epsom salt baths can be beneficial for inflammation (I’m not sure I ever knew what they were for). Sounds lovely.

In my own body I’ve found that fish oil has been helpful with regulating joint inflammation and discomfort. And yes, it is kind of strange but we often seem to forget what we’re putting in our bodies makes our bodies run and function— the more fresh, colorful fruits and vegetables the better!

Sophie Maranda

I love YTU ball therapy for working out problematic muscle pain (inflammation and chronic contraction). I have recently started using a foam roller to supplement my routine. For instance, I am unable to use the balls in my adductors, as my gracilis is too tender. Instead, I use my foam roller and though it is still incredibly painful, the pressure is more dull and I am able to better breathe through it. I make it part of my daily routine and I hope that this effort, along with correcting poor postural alignment like crossing my legs, will help to return… Read more »


I have been interested in the whole inflammation topic for a while and try to follow most of these pointers. I just started the Tune Up training and hadn’t really thought of it helping in these terms. I was happy to see the therapy ball massage as one of the tips. I also LOVE epsom salts baths!


Dineen, great article. Water seems like such an easy one but I miss this all the time. Thanks for the reminder. I plan to buy some Magnesium Sulfate this week as well…thanks!


This is such a good list – simple, easy and effective. I second Alda about food choices – that is key for me! I am hesitant to introduce a “medical” item here as I have been advocating for “alternative” health for 20 years plus but in the past year, I have discovered that hormone and thyroid balance play a key role in addressing inflammation. In the last year, I have had huge fluctuations, throbbing joints and surging neck pain all currently being addressed by my beloved naturopath who suggested I try supplements (and dietary changes) to target hypothyroid and estrogen… Read more »


Thank you for taking a comprehensive approach to dealing with inflammation of the tissues. Personally, I have found that food choices is truly the most critical component and obviously foundational to maintaining overall health, i.e. increasing consumption of greens in addition to reducing sugars and carbs. Along with rest, incorporating Yoga Nidra has been extremely helpful also.


Great article! I try to incorporate most of these in my regular routine as part of an overly-active type. I take tumeric shots/wellness shots (with ginger, cayene), drink “muscle recovery” yogi tea and take a fish oil and magnesium supplement at night or ZMA (zinc, B6, magnesium, theanine) which also promotes better recovery and better sleep! Oh, and with my newly acquired skills on the YTU balls, I do that every chance i get. I gotta work on the “rest” part :/

Vincent Budac

Spectacular post Dinneen! The lymphatic drainage is particularly noteworthy with the Yoga Tune Up Therapy Balls! This can also be accomplished with the hot and cold therapy but when the heat is being applied. Sometimes inflammation is important and needs to be able to run it’s course – your immune system is an incredible thing and speedier recovery is found my facilitating and assisting the body as opposed to preventing the necessary inflammation and healing. Thanks!

Lisa S

Great article, thank-you! Inflammation is something we all want to minimize our bodies, I’m happy to be reminded of all the natural ways this can be done. I keep meaning to buy some turmeric as I have heard wonderful things about the spic. I am quite excited to be able to add Yoga Therapy Ball to my health regime, in just two days I’ve noticed a huge difference in my body, less pain. Imagine that!


The common theme for the most part seems to be regular care and maintenance rather than treatment of this kind of imbalance after the fact! Makes complete sense but of course this is so not the way Western society views health. We don’t take care, we push until we can’t anymore and then expect a quick-fix. These are such useful tips for taking care of ourselves in so many ways in the long-term

Judy Swens

Thanks! This is amazing information… I just learned WHY epsom salt baths are so good for you! I knew they were good, but didn’t realize it was the magnesium sulfate that made them soooo great!

Allison Shapiro

Dinneen – put this list on a refrigerator magnet and sell it at Kripalu! What an excellent list to look at day after day. I fall short at the get go – your #1. Rest? Who has time! I will cut and paste and embrace this. Thanks!

Diane M

This is an excellent and succinct list that I would like to share with students if you don’t mind? I am an avid reader on this subject, but did not know about # 9 (vitamin D) and while I realized that magensium/calcium containing foods or supplementation was beneficial for muscle relaxation, I only was re-introduced to Epsom Salts a few weeks ago. How simple and gentle. I am a huge fan now:) Thank you!!

Cynthia Bunt-Gardner

Great article, I am wiggling around a strategically placed therapy ball behind my back as I write this. My right shoulder never recovered 100% post rotator cuff surgery but I use several of your suggested holistic therapies to treat my inflammation when it flares up. In fact, I just took an Epsom salt bath, one of my favorite treatments and I have massage scheduled for tomorrow. In addition, I will apply some arnica cream tonite before I hit the hay. Thanks for reminding me of all the other holistics treatments available.