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CHINA: LUNAR NEWYEAR
carving competition part of the annual Christmas market in an effort to promote local agriculture. Seeing as radishes were already an integral part of Oaxacan cuisine, citizens latched on tight and haven’t let it go since.
While this holiday is celebrated all around the world with varying customs from country to
country, China’s history and traditions surrounding the holiday are the most renowned. Often falling in late
AROUND THE WORLD: SANTACON
January, Lunar New Year marks the start of a new lunar cycle, and thus a time to reflect on the past and look to the future. Family from across the country comes together to spend time appreciating one another and their ancestors as neighborhoods are adorned in a festive scarlet red. Cash gifts are given in small red packets, and food, dancing, parades, and fireworks entertain late into the night. It all culminates in the Lantern Festival when families light lanterns as a sign of peace and forgiveness.
You may have heard of this one or even participated in the past. But for those of you who haven’t, SantaCon is open to all! Throughout the month of December in cities big and small, men and women alike
dress up in Santa’s traditional red garb and get together to have some fun. The biggest gathering ever recorded occurred in New York in 2012 where an estimated 30,000 Santas all congregated to celebrate! While some like to get a little rowdy by turning their celebrations into events like festivals and pub crawls, others volunteer their time at charities or raise funds for good causes. Whatever the case, it’s a time for adults to get into the spirit of the season by harkening back to their childhood whimsy about Santa and all the joy he brings. This winter, we hope you’ll celebrate and cherish your own fun traditions to the fullest, whatever they may be. The season can be cold and drab for some, but for all, it should be a time to reflect on our past, be thankful for what we have, and tap into the potential of all the things the coming year may bring.
MEXICO: NIGHT OF THE RADISHES
Celebrated every year on Dec. 23 in Oaxaca, Mexico, Night of the Radishes is pretty much exactly what it sounds like. Bright magenta radishes are grown just for this one-night celebration, when they’re picked then carved into fun and intricate figurines, including Nativity scenes,
mythical monsters, and much more. They’re put on display for all to enjoy for just a few hours before they start to wilt, and prizes are awarded to the best carvings. This tradition has roots (pun intended) that date back to 1897 when the mayor of Oaxaca at the time made the
WHAT’S THE DEAL WITH PAIN?
Saint Augustine once called physical pain the “greatest evil” known to man. If you think back as early as you can remember, you’ll probably recall painful episodes involving scraped knees and twisted ankles, among many others. While almost everyone can experience physical pain (more on that later), most of us don’t know a lot about the nature of pain. Experiencing physical pain is hardwired into our evolutionary biology, but not all types of pain are the same. Since almost all physical therapy treatment deals with pain, let’s take a moment to demystify the nature of the beast. WHYWE FEEL PAIN “At the most basic level,” states the Mayo Clinic, “pain begins when particular nerve endings are stimulated.” In other words, pain is a type of signal; it’s our brain’s way of communicating that something is wrong. The world is full of dangers capable of causing us serious, irreparable harm, and when we feel pain, we know to leave those dangers alone. A small percentage of people suffer from a congenital insensitivity to pain. While that sounds like a superpower in theory, it’s a nightmare in practice. If you can’t feel pain, you have to be constantly mindful not to do something that could permanently injure or even kill you. 2 TYPES OF PAIN Pain can be categorized inmany ways, but one of the most useful distinctions is between acute and chronic pain. Acute pain occurs from an A Look at the Most Common Human Ailment
injury and subsides once that injury heals. In cases of acute pain, our brain tells us that part of our body is physiologically wounded and in need of repair. If we sprain an ankle, we know to avoid walking on it because it hurts to do so. Treating acute pain often involves protecting and encouraging healing in the injured area while strengthening the surrounding muscles for added support.
Chronic pain, which lasts indefinitely and can lack a clear cause, is a murkier subject. Chronic pain is undoubtedly real, but diagnosing and treating it requires more guesswork. Sometimes it is the result of an underlying condition, such as arthritis. In others, it is the result of damage to the nerves, a condition known as neuropathy. No matter how much or what type of physical pain you suffer, physical therapy can likely help get you on the path to feeling less of it.
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