Photo: Charleston Pain Relief Center
In our modern age of “better living through chemistry,” we tend to fall into the habit of just popping a pill when we experience pain. But through thousands of years of holistic medicine, people were relieving pain with purposeful eating and non-invasive practices. In most cases, natural treatment has little to no side effects.
But for run-of-the-mill aches and pains, a natural technique could very well do the trick. Try out these 7 time-worn strategies for feeling your best.
Acupuncture has featured in traditional Chinese medicine for 2,000 years and is now practiced all over the world. The process involves inserting very thin needles into specific parts of the body. The holistic explanation for why it relieves pain is that it balances your chi. Western doctors believe that acupuncture works because it stimulates nerves, muscles, and connective tissue. At least they agree that it works!
2. Epsom Salt
If your pain is the result of a muscle strain, arthritis, bumps and bruises, or a skin abrasion, Epsom salt can be your best friend. Taking the time to soak in a warm Epsom bath both relieves pain and improves mental wellbeing. The benefits of mindfulness and meditation – which comes easily while soaking in a bath – cannot be ignored.
Sometimes pain results from tensed muscles that also pull other parts of your body out of whack. Chronic inflammation can also linger around stiff joints and the site of any injuries; this reduces blood flow and causes pain. Massage can loosen tense muscles, relax stiff joints, and increase your blood flow.
Clove is a sweet and spicy herb that can be used to relieve many kinds of pain. In fact, the active compound in cloves, called eugenol, is used in lots of OTC ointments sold for pain relief. Clove oil is an effective topical remedy for pain caused by headaches, inflammation, and toothaches. But clove can also be taken internally – you’ll find it whole and powdered as well as in oil.
5. Comfrey Extract
Another natural treatment you can try is comfrey root cream. A recent study on people with back pain shows that it can significantly reduce suffering when applied topically. Almost 95% of participants reported that they felt better after using it. Further studies in people with arthritis and with ankle sprains had consistent findings.
6. Heat and Ice
The use of heat and ice to relieve pain is an age old technique that is still used because it works. Going through the process of alternating heat and ice is an important first step to treating pain. But to get the best results, you need to observe the correct order of application.
7. Willow Bark
If you’re clear that you need something stronger to bust through your pain, try willow bark. It contains a compound called salicin that is closely related to acetylsalicylic acid, which you probably know as aspirin. Long before aspirin was designed and produced in a lab, people chewed willow bark to manage pain, fevers, and inflammation. Today, you can find dried willow bark for brewing a pain-relieving tea. Even easier, though perhaps less soothing, is to take a liquid or capsule supplement.
(with inputs from Agencies)