The BE CALM protocol grew from a shared passion for empowering people with optimal self-care skills. As the media began to report research questioning traditional icing practices, we, Rebecca and Jennifer, found ourselves needing to address our clients’ questions. As we explored this research, Rebecca’s deep knowledge of the biochemistry of healing illuminated the problems of traditional icing practices and resonated with Jennifer’s knowledge of the role of inflammation in the first of a three-stage healing process.
For us, the next question became: What to do with this knowledge? How might people be equipped to care for themselves powerfully?
With these questions setting the stage, we set out to integrate our clinical experience with the research, our goal being to create a new strategy for dealing with injury. Working together, we realized that this would be a process that allows people to breathe and be calm in the face of injury and let the healing masterpiece of the body take over. Familiar with the great capacity of breathing to calm the nervous system, it dawned on us what a powerful acronym BE CALM could be with Breathe as the first letter.
Thus the BE CALM process grew out of our synthesis of research-based initial healing actions, some traditional and some new. This protocol was shared with and embraced by the dancers, teachers, and physiotherapy staff of Canada’s National Ballet School throughout the 2014/2015 school year. The results have spoken for themselves with such good results such that ice use, except for “minimal ice” pain management, has ceased.
We have co-authored the document “Reasons to think twice before icing – and what to do instead” for two reasons: First, it is designed to help people understand the research behind changes in icing practices. We then move beyond research to action. BE CALM offers simple and always available steps to accessing our bodies’ built-in strategies for healing. Replacing the old acronym RICE, we suggest that to BE CALM in the face of injury is a powerful strategy of self care during those precious first 48 hours post-injury.