Qi the North! Here are my Chinese medicine prescriptions to supercharge the Raptors!


As Toronto and the country sit on pins and needles heading into game six of the series, as a Raptors megafan, I’m stocking up on extra acupuncture needles and reaching out to the Raptors with some tips on how to heal injured players, improve performance and increase their odds of a game six win!

Traditional Chinese Medicine has been quietly working for thousands of years promoting healing, quicker recovery and injury prevention for people of all walks of life. But because I work with high-performance athletes, I can suggest specific ways TCM could bring the Raptors an immediate and considerable advantage!

As I watch every game with fans, I’m looking critically at what could cause chronic and long-term issues with the players. I’m actually cringing at every hit, jump and twist, thinking about the importance of following post-concussion protocol. I am aware of the exhaustion associated with playing at this level of intensity for these players. And because I’m such a huge fan, I’ve reached out to tell the Raptors I’m willing to treat any of the players or management pro bono before or after any game for as long as this series goes!

Read on for my specific Chinese medicine prescriptions for some of the key players!

1.Leonard’s claw hand

Kawhi Leonard, being the “Buddha” of the team, could use a recharge to helping him maintain his Zen state. On top of that, his infamous claw hand could be prone to carpal tunnel syndrome from all those glorious rebounds. The repetitive nature of that movement needs continuous Qi and blood flow. Acupuncture to the rescue!

2. Pascal’s “spicy” kidney

For Pascal Siakam, I’m concerned there may be serious strain on his back and knees from his Spicy P routine dunking. I suggest a round of pre-game acupuncture with a focus on injury prevention by balancing his kidney Qi with to support the bones of the back and knees.

3. Lowry’s whiplash

Imagine if a hockey player were to take check after check without protective equipment. It’s kind of like a car crash repeated over and over again. This is the same kind of potential soft tissue damage I’m concerned about with Kyle Lowry, because I see him spending an unusually high percentage of the game getting knocked around and checking. Whiplash is a common soft tissue injury that often goes unnoticed until the adrenalin has subsided, which could be days or weeks later. The sooner an acupuncture treatment is performed, the quicker the acute inflammation can be relieved!

So for this player, I would administer acupuncture to alleviate specific tension points and swelling in the neck and shoulders, preferably before and right after the game, as soft tissue injuries of this type can become chronic. Without this course of treatment, I worry that Lowry could end up not being able to turn his head and that he might develop headaches due to pain and inflammation.

4. Gasol’s “Repetitive Rebound Syndrome”

I’m concerned about the impact of Gasol overextending his reach during rebound shots. This puts a lot of pressure on the neck and spine that could lead to pain and inflammation. For him, I recommend hitting localized and relaxation points along the back and body with acupuncture.

5. Ibaka’s overblocking ouchies

Ibaka may be heading for rotator cuff issues and other related problems based on his frequent need to raise both arms to block. I would address these issues by using acupuncture on the lung and large intestine channels to help nourish the shoulder and repair any damage.

6. VanVleet’s baby

Like any new parent, Fred VanVleet is likely suffering from exhaustion and insomnia. He’s on the road with the team and dealing with sleepless nights at home. Amar would treat VanVleet by tonifying and invigorating his Qi to give him more energy and less fatigue. This would be done through the Yintang point in the centre of his forehead, which I like to call a natural Prozac point! Also, he is now nursing a major hit to the right side of his face with seven stitches and a knocked-out tooth—more areas that need extra attention!

It’s not just the players... here are some bonus tips for other key Raptors figures!

Drake’s “Raptor Rage”

I would start my treatment of Drake by stocking up on many extra acupuncture needles which would be required to balance his chaotic Qi! Then, because Drake’s rage, frustration and emotions are running high, my first move would be to choose points to help calm down his fiery liver Qi. I also recommend that he not troll Steph Curry with new t-shirts during game six.

Nurse’s lockjaw

I speculate that Nick Nurse is heading for a classic case of Temporomandibular Joint Syndrome (lockjaw) based on the constant tension in his face and his frequently open mouth. I would treat this with cosmetic acupuncture on his face. This would have the added benefit of removing fine lines, making him look younger, and preventing headaches.

Whether or not the Raptors take me up on my offer of free treatment, I hope they take really good care of themselves to stay strong for the big game. And either way I’ll be cheering for them tonight at the top of my lungs!

Andrea Zanin