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Herbal Soak for Grappling Injuries

This herbal soak is a traditional Shaolin Herbal treatment formula for bruising and pain due to grappling. The formula contains exterior releasing herbs that work at the superficial layers of the body, as well as herbs that relax the sinews and warm and quicken the blood to move local blood stasis, prevent stiffness and kill pain.

Shu Jin Huo Luo Tang: Soothe the Sinews and Quicken the Network Channels Decoction [1]

6 grams     荆芥穗                Jing Jie Sui

6 grams     防風                    Fang Feng

15 grams    透骨草               Tou Gu Cao

3 grams     羌活                    Qiang Huo

7.5 grams   獨 活                  Du Huo

6 grams     桔梗                    Jie Geng

6 grams     艾 葉                   Ai Ye

6 grams     川椒                    Chuan Jiao

15 grams    赤芍                    Chi Shao

15 grams    雪上 一 枝蒿       Xue Shang Yi Zhi Hao

  • External Use Only as a Soak or Fumigation
  • Effective for superficial bruises with swelling or deeper pain due to grappling or injury.
  • Use three times a day: for three days if mild injury and up to nine days if serious.


Add the ingredients in a half gallon or more of water. Bring to a boil, and then turn down the flame, cover the pot  and simmer for 40 minutes.  When the decoction is still hot steam the injured area, fumigating it completely with the steam. This allows the formula to penetrate the superficial layers of the skin and flesh. Then soak towels or cloth in the formula and use as a compress over the injured area. Have at least two cloths, so that as soon as one cools down you can replace it with another. Make sure to let the cloths cool slightly before putting them on the skin so as not to burn yourself. If the injured area is on the hand or foot you can immerse it in the liquid.

Save the herbs and liquid and reheat for the next use. There is no need to boil and simmer the herbs after the first time. Simply warm the herbs up to the appropriate temperature (very warm, but not burning or scalding) and use as directed above.

One soak, as listed above, will last for three days if used three times a day.

[1] From Shaolin Secret Formulas for the Treatment of Injury, transmitted by Patriarch De Chan and translated by Zhang Ting-liang and Bob Flaws (Boulder CO: Blue Poppy Press), 1995, p. 42.