holistic therapies for pain relief, part 3

Posted by on Jun 1, 2015 in Anti-Inflammatory Ideas, Holistic Pain Relief, Wellness | 0 comments

SaunasI’m just like you. I want remedies for chronic pain to be easy to use and cost effective. But more than anything, I want them to WORK. Since I think of myself as a skeptic with a strong tendency to believe, I’ve probably tried more remedies than most people. If I’m convinced it won’t hurt me and it’s affordable, why not give a new remedy a try? That’s the approach I have to this post’s two therapies: magnets and far infrared saunas and mats. They certainly can’t hurt me, so it’s worth a try no matter what scientific studies have or haven’t proven.

Magnetic therapy can include many things – jewelry, wraps for specific body parts, mats, mattress pads, shoe inserts, etc. It’s been around for many thousands of years. In fact, I found reference to it in 16th century Switzerland with lodestones, a naturally magnetized mineral.  However, it’s also been questioned for thousands of years.

In the late 20th century, a study was done with 50 post-polio patients who lived with chronic pain. Study participants were asked to use either a sham magnet or a true magnet for 45 minutes. At the end of one therapy session, “The 29 who received an active magnet reported a reduction in pain to 4.4 from 9.6, compared with a smaller decline to 8.4 from 9.5 among the 21 treated with a sham magnet.” It’s a small sample of just 50 people, who were only treated one time. But that’s a significant effect.

How do magnets help chronic pain? According to proponents, they increase blood flow, decrease swelling,  and change the functions of nerves carrying pain messages to the brain.

A few years ago I tried some magnetic insoles from a friend’s company, aVivoPur. I was having significant foot pain, and I often stand for several hours when I’m in my massage office. Just a few weeks later, I realized my foot pain had decreased significantly. Now I have magnetic insoles in a few different pairs of shoes.

It’s important to say that these therapies are NOT diagnostic. If you don’t know why you’re having chronic pain, see your doctor. Magnets should not be used if you have a pacemaker, or other electrical implant such as an insulin pump or brain stimulator. And it may be wise not to wear them 24/7.

Far infrared therapy has been controversial, but generally seems to have science to back up its claims. You can receive far infrared therapy from sitting in a sauna, lying on a mat, or wearing a belt-type device. There are saunas in spas and treatment locations that can be booked by the session, or you can purchase a small unit for your home.

Essentially, the heat from the sauna or device is where the benefits start. Far infrared heat works differently because it heats your body’s core to a cellular level, rather than just at the surface. Infrared heat has different spectrums, which provide different results. The most effective for chronic pain would be mid infrared, but there are also pain-related benefits from far and near infrared. You may want to find a full spectrum infrared sauna to gain all types of benefit.

A 2006 study published in Pain Research & Management found that infrared therapy was an effective way to reduce chronic, intractable lower back pain. The sample was small (21 patients) but, “The mean numerical rating scale (NRS) scores in the treatment group fell from 6.9 of 10 to 3 of 10 at the end of the study. The mean NRS in the placebo group fell from 7.4 of 10 to 6 of 10.”

Another study, published in 2005, found that infrared therapy as a part of integrative therapies was a promising method for treatment of chronic pain.

In truth, I haven’t given infrared saunas a full try yet. It’s challenging to find time to schedule sessions nearby. However, I did purchase a far infrared mat a few months ago. Most days I use it for about an hour, while I’m sitting still. It feels good and seems to have helped my pain levels.

Before you try infrared therapy, please make sure you’re properly hydrated with at least 8-32 ounces of filtered water. Consider starting with some partial sessions before you move up to a whole hour of sauna therapy. And always listen to your body during a session – if it’s uncomfortable, it may be you’ve had enough for that session.

Let me know what you decide to try and how it goes!

 

Do you just wish you could find a set of realistic, holistic tools you can put in practice that will minimize your pain and maximize your energy? Download my free PDF report to learn 17 EASY WAYS TO START MINIMIZING PAIN TODAY!

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holistic therapies for pain relief, part 2

Posted by on May 15, 2015 in Anti-Inflammatory Ideas, Holistic Pain Relief, Wellness | 0 comments

Reiki Holistic Therapies for PainLast time we talked about three of my favorite holistic therapies for pain relief: massage therapy, acupuncture, and chiropractic care. These are the mainstays of holistic care for people living with chronic pain, particularly because they integrate so effectively with Western medical care.

This time we’ll talk about two more holistic therapies that have big advantages for pain relief: topical analgesics and Reiki energy work.

Topical analgesics sure sounds like a medical term, not a holistic one. But actually there are many choices available over the counter, without a prescription. These lotions, gels, sprays, or patches usually include a few common ingredients: menthol and camphor. Each has a different formula, fragrance, and delivery method. You’ll find what works best for you! (Personally, I like patches because they stay on the skin longer. But you may find that adhesives aren’t comfortable for you.)

Why menthol and camphor? Menthol comes from peppermint and spearmint, and has natural cooling effects. If pain is inflammation and heat, then the cooling effects of menthol help counteract that. Menthol causes a signal to be sent which your brain interprets as cold, relieving the uncomfortable heat of inflammation. Menthol is also a vasodilator, which means it encourages your blood vessels to widen or dilate. When they dilate, increased blood flow can help relieve pain, especially in muscles.

Camphor comes from a tree called the camphor laurel. Originally from Asia, it’s now cultivated in many places around the world. Camphor is used for pain relief because it numbs the nerve endings. It also produces a cooling sensation similar to menthol. A volatile oil, it should always be added to a carrier lotion or oil.

Based on personal experience, and various clients’ experiences, I recommend Salonpas® products. They offer a wide variety of methods (patches, gel and sprays), and have been around for 150 years. That’s a lot of time to perfect their formula!

Full disclosure: I was recently quoted in two Salonpas blog posts. I hope you’ll read them if you’re interested in the topics.

Top Ten Ways to Ditch Excess Pounds and Become Pain Free

Tips for Weight Loss during Menopause

Reiki is something I experienced for the first time over ten years ago. A friend in massage school offered to give me a session, and I loved the peaceful way it made me feel. I started my own Reiki training soon after. When a client asks me to explain Reiki here’s what I say:

Reiki is a way of harnessing the positive energy that’s all around us. By positive energy, I mean the way you feel when you’re spending happy time with a friend or family member. It’s the way you feel in your “happy place.” It’s not spirits, ghosts, or anything intended to be forced on you. It’s not a religion or religious ceremony. Reiki energy is designed to go only where it is needed and welcome. The person giving the Reiki session is merely a vessel through which that universal energy flows.

Having a Reiki session can begin with an intention. For example, the client might say, “my knees have been bothering me and I’d like to picture the Reiki energy focusing goodness on them.” The session can also be broader in intention, such as to lift sadness or tension. Or the client may choose to “ask” the Reiki to go and to do what is needed.

How does Reiki relate to pain? Well, it’s individual of course. But in 2008 a meta study was done, reviewing results of previous studies. This meta study looked at pain relief and Reiki, as well as two touch-based therapies. The conclusion was that of the studies reviewed, Reiki was more effective than the other therapies. They also found that an experienced practitioner assisted the study participants in achieving greater pain relief.

These are just brief discussions of two holistic pain relief methods. Don’t forget to look at the first post in this series. Next time we’ll discuss

  • Magnetic therapy
  • Far infrared saunas & mats

 

Do you just wish you could find a set of realistic, holistic tools you can put in practice that will minimize your pain and maximize your energy? Download my free PDF report to learn 17 EASY WAYS TO START MINIMIZING PAIN TODAY!

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tap into your pain—let your fingers be your guide

Posted by on Apr 15, 2015 in Anti-Inflammatory Ideas, Guest Blogs, Holistic Pain Relief | 0 comments

Tap Into Your PainThe process of gaining holistic pain relief is a puzzle. It’s not the quick, easy puzzle for the 3-year old. It’s the puzzle you give your teenager—full of layers, tricks, and complications. The medical side of our treatment plan is one set of pieces. But another group of pieces are completely under our control. These are the choices we make every day. For example, food choices, exercise options, and even the way we think and feel about our body and pain situation.

I also believe that pain has two sides: physical and emotional. No, I would never say, “It’s all in your head!” But what I do think is that chronic pain affects us emotionally and mentally. A new diagnosis or medical opinion can be depressing. A friend’s careless comment about our pain (and how it changes our life) can make us angry. There are clearly emotional aspects to living with chronic pain.

Recently I had a conversation with my friend Nicole Lewis-Keeber about the method called Emotional Freedom Technique (EFT), or Tapping. I’ve used Tapping occasionally, but have never used it specifically for pain relief. The intrigue for me is Tapping’s ability to address both physical and emotional pieces of the pain puzzle. And as a Pathway to Empowerment Coach, Nicole has a lot more experience with Tapping, so I asked her to give us the story.

Here’s Nicole:

What if I told you that your fingertips could be a healing tool? That they could guide you down a pathway to pain management?

EFT or Tapping is a technique that is widely used as a tool for managing many emotional and physical ailments. Tapping combines the physical benefits of acupressure derived from tapping with your fingers on acupressure points on your body, with the cognitive benefits of therapy for faster treatment of physical and emotional pain. This short video will reveal more information on the use of tapping for pain and will guide you through a quick tapping round.

This makes it a highly successful technique to be incorporated into a plan of action for treatment and management of chronic pain. Barbara often talks about the Puzzle of Pain and how to uncover the pieces to creating a holistic picture of health. I believe the use of Tapping could be one more piece to that puzzle and provide us all with relief.

Tapping is an ideal tool to be used for pain relief. Gary Craig, one of the fathers of EFT says, “EFT can assist physical healing by resolving underlying energetic or emotional contributors.”

As a Life Coach that uses Tapping, I’ve seen so many people transform their lives by using Tapping techniques to address a variety of areas in their lives where they have pain.

Using Tapping for pain relief has been in the news a lot lately because Nick Ortner, author of The Tapping Solution, is releasing a book that directly addresses pain. The new book is The Tapping Solution for Pain Relief.

Nick’s new book has some powerful endorsements from experts in the fields of wellness and pain relief. He’s a leader in the field of Tapping.

If you want more information on tapping for pain and would like some instruction, here is a link to a longer video class on Tapping for Pain, which includes the ability to download the transcript and workbook.

One of the things that I love about tapping is that it can be taught and then easily practiced by the individual with little oversight. It gives you the tool of tapping and the empowerment to manage your pain immediately.

That’s good news right? I sure think so! I hope this information will help you find more of the pieces to your own puzzle.

 

This post’s author, Nicole Lewis-Keeber, is a Psychotherapist and Life Coach who helps dynamic men and women find their pathway to empowerment. Coaching programs include transforming wealth, retraining your brain for success, and long-term success coaching for post op weight loss surgery patients. Nicole’s clinical experience and time-tested coaching techniques help her clients progress quickly and easily towards finding success and empowerment

 

Do you just wish you could find a set of realistic, holistic tools you can put in practice that will minimize your pain and maximize your energy? Download my free PDF report to learn 17 EASY WAYS TO START MINIMIZING PAIN TODAY!

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7 healthy foods that may
be your migraine trigger

Posted by on Apr 1, 2015 in Anti-Inflammatory Ideas, Holistic Pain Relief | 0 comments

Migraine TriggersWhat if you’ve already “cleaned up” your food choices, and are dairy-free, gluten-free, and sugar-free but still having migraines? I’ve had chronic migraine symptoms nearly every day for the last 15 months. So let me tell you, I’ve done a TON of research about migraine triggers.

Would you believe that foods full of health benefits could be a migraine trigger for you?

Here are seven healthy foods that you might want to test for their migraine trigger potential in your body.

  1. Avocado
  2. Nuts
  3. Garbanzo beans / chickpeas (hummus)
  4. Many fresh and dried fruits: citrus, pineapple, figs, papaya, plums
  5. Lentils
  6. Onions
  7. Treats like dark chocolate and red wine

Migraine triggers fall into two basic categories: stuff you can control, and things out of your control. You can’t control the weather, barometric pressure, your hormonal fluctuations, stress (sometimes!), or other environmental factors. You CAN control things that go in your mouth: foods you eat and drinks you drink.

Food and drink choices basically come down to a few things. Foods with tyramine, monosodium glutamate (MSG), sulfites, and nitrites are the biggest culprits.

The reasons why these substances trigger migraine activity are hotly debated scientifically. But there is enough evidence to give eliminating them a try—especially if migraines are difficult for you.

Tyramine is produced when the amino acid tyrosine breaks down. This process can happen naturally in a food—for example, as a tomato ripens. In the list above, tyramine is the biggest trigger.

Tyramine can also be created as a food is aged or cured (as in cheeses), or through fermentation. When eaten, tyramine constricts and then expands (dilates) your blood vessels, which can cause migraine symptoms.

Glutamate is also naturally occurring in some foods, and commonly used as an additive in others. It’s what creates that “umami” flavor and savory taste.

Nitrites are naturally found in citrus foods or juices and in soy products. They’re also used in processed meats like bacon and sausage. You’ll find them in caffeine and alcohol as well.

Sulfite additives are used to prevent foods from turning brown when exposed to air, such as during the drying process. They’re sanitizers, and prevent the growth of molds and bacteria. They can be naturally occurring in the winemaking process.

Hey, I heard you! You just sighed really loud, and I know it’s frustrating. Believe me, I do know how it feels.  We try everything to be healthy, relieve our chronic pain, and then end up with extra migraine activity.

Most likely, you won’t have to eliminate these foods forever. But eliminating them for a short time (2-6 weeks) can give you a clearer idea of which foods trigger you. You may also learn that many of these trigger foods are okay in the absence of other major triggers like hormones or extra stress.

The first step to finding relief is education and awareness. That’s why I’m here for you. Ask me your questions in the comments, and let’s discuss!

 

Do you just wish you could find a set of realistic, holistic tools you can put in practice that will minimize your pain and maximize your energy? Download my free PDF report to learn 17 EASY WAYS TO START MINIMIZING PAIN TODAY!

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I’m in a Family Circle article
on chronic pain relief

Posted by on Mar 18, 2015 in Holistic Pain Relief, Kick Pain in the Kitchen, Wellness | 0 comments

Big excitement over here in my world!

Barbara in Family CircleI’m honored to be included this April in a wonderful article by Rachel Rabkin Peachman  about pain management. More importantly, the article tells inspiring stories of four different women’s journey from pain (fibromyalgia, migraines, scoliosis and arthritis) to pain relief. You can find it in the April 2015 issue of Family Circle – on the stands now. (I’ll add a link when it’s available online.)

Rachel does a great job of capturing my story of living with chronic pain and arthritis, but there are always more details to tell. Here’s a bit more about me:

When I decided to get certified as a massage therapist, I wanted to leave the stressful world of advertising behind. I thought my favorite clients would be people who “just wanted to relax.” It wasn’t long before I learned that what really connected me to my clients was the chronic physical pain I’d experienced. Because they asked for my help relieving their pain, they were glad to know I understood how it felt to hurt.

It wasn’t long before I realized that helping people relieve chronic pain was my true career thrill. Holistic pain relief coaching combines three elements:

  • My own experience
  • Working with clients as a massage therapist
  • Health and nutrition knowledge and certification

Last year I decided to capture all this stuff and move it from my brain (and my heart) to a book. That’s Kick Pain in the Kitchen: Holistic Pain Relief You Can Eat, published last October.

I hope you’ll also take advantage of my free offer. It’s a report on my favorite 17 ways to start relieving your pain TODAY! It’s a lot of small, easy changes you can make that will start adding up to gains in pain relief. Did I say it’s free? Just fill in the form in the upper right corner of this page.

If you’re finding me because of the Family Circle article, why not look over some of these blog posts to start understanding my coaching approach?

7 holistic changes that improve pain relief

nutrients for holistic pain relief: a 3-part series

3 skills you can learn from 
living with chronic pain

anti-inflammatory diet for holistic pain relief

three reasons why resolving chronic pain is challenging

relieving chronic, systemic inflammation (a 4-part series)

using recovery days to help relieve chronic pain

Welcome to our community – please comment and join in the conversation!

 

Do you just wish you could find a set of realistic, holistic tools you can put in practice that will minimize your pain and maximize your energy? Download my free PDF report to learn 17 EASY WAYS TO START MINIMIZING PAIN TODAY!

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