Are you tired of those addictive Pain killing pills and looking for alternative solutions to manage chronic pain? Did you that natural options can be just as effective as pharmaceuticals—with fewer potential side effects?
Pharmaceutical approach often only masks symptoms and provides no real solutions to the underlying problems. This natural pain relief guide is for people who are coping with mainly chronic pain and who would like to find natural ways for chronic pain relief to achieve pain management without drugs.
It focuses on simple lifestyle measures and natural treatments for relieving pain. This guide will also explain how Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM) Methods have been used to help relieve pain. Traditional Chinese Medicine has a history of over 1000 years and is only becoming explored in the western world recently
First You need to understand: What is pain?
Pain can become chronic for various reasons: Sometimes a heightened inflammatory response is causative, injuries can become chronic due to different reasons such as repeated occupational or habitual injuries.
As you know poor posture due to computer and smart phone usage in the long term can contribute pain, especially neck, should and back pain. Spine surgeons are noticing an increase in patients with neck and upper back pain, likely related to poor posture during prolonged smartphone use, according to a recent report.
Some patients, particularly young patients who shouldn’t yet have back and neck issues, are reporting disk hernias and alignment problems, the study authors write in The Spine Journal.
It’s important to know there are many different causes and types of impingement. Getting an evaluation to determine the cause for your symptoms is key.
Pain is not necessarily an indication that something is dreadfully wrong with any particular part of the Body; pain can take on a reality of its own quite separate to the degree of physical problem: This is because the sensation of pain is generated by the nervous system and not the area of the body where it is felt. Phantom limb pain, a disorder where pain is projected into an area where a limb would be had it not been amputated, demonstrates this and serves as a reminder that pain is a property of the nervous system not the area where we perceive the pain.
Exercise and a healthy diet is important and can help in various ways such as aiding circulation, boosting growth hormone, stimulating endorphin, helping dispel the emotional aspects, facilitating pain detachment and helping to positively restructure the muscular and nervous systems.
It is important to note that for many, it is regular movement rather than strenuous exercise that is necessary and overdoing physical activity can be counter productive.
The foods that we eat can also influence the amount of pain that we feel. Foods that tend to reduce inflammation include olive oil, leafy green vegetables, fatty fish and fruits such as blueberries and strawberries.
Other dietary considerations can be helpful; i.e. eating too many foods high in fat and sugar can result in people being overweight and placing additional physical stress on their affected body parts. It can be hard to exercise effectively in the presence of pain but it is important to remember that much weight loss can be achieved with dietary adjustments.
Alternative Methods or Pain Relief Tools That Are Available in the Traditional Chinese Medicine Field
TDP, or Te-Ding Dian-ci-bo Pu (Chinese for “Special Electromagnetic Spectrum”) has been used in clinical applications in China and other Eastern Countries for over 40 years; the TDP machine has proven almost miraculously effective in treating ailments such as chronic wounds, joint pain, arthritis, back pain, injuries and some skin conditions like herpes and psoriasis etc.
Early in 1970, an odd and interesting phenomenon was noted at a century-old ceramic factory in a rural area in China. This factory had extremely poor working conditions. The workers there stood in mud for much of the work day and the new production manager recognized these abject working conditions, becoming concerned that the workers would be troubled with arthritis and other related ailments due to standing on the cold, sodden floor for long periods of time.
The ensuing investigations disclosed that the side effects of standing in the mud were the opposite of original concerns. They found that there was not a single case of arthritis among the workers.
After interviewing elderly factory employees, the same findings were indicated: no residual effects of any kind were found among the people who had been employed at the factory. Upon a full-scale scientific investigation, scientists discovered a single anomaly: an electromagnetic reading in the far-infrared spectrum emanating from the kiln used to fire the ceramics. Analysis of a metallic slag in the kiln, accumulated over years of buildup, showed it was made up of 33 minerals. These minerals happen to correspond with 33 essential minerals in the human body, and when heated sufficiently, radiate far-infrared energy exactly like the human body. Scientists worked feverishly to reproduce the effect in a portable device, resulting in the FIM Energizer.
It has won many awards, e.g., the Gold Medal at the 1986 Zagreb International Fair, the Silver Medal at the 35th Brussels Eureka Worlds Fair for Inventions, and the Chinese Science and Technology Invention Award. The conclusion of the research suggested that the clay was the reason for such few pain symptoms. After an intense study by research institutes, hospitals, and schools, the TDP Lamp was invented to mimic the properties of the clay.
The key part of this lamp is its heat-treated black clay, which contains 33 different essential mineral elements. This ceramic plate emits a unique spectrum of invisible light in the infrared range of 2 to 25 microns, which is compatible with the BIO-spectrum waves released by the human body and allowing for maximum absorption. The absorbed energy promotes microcirculation, metabolism and strengthens immune system as well as tranquilized pain on the body.
In China, the TDP Lamp is called ‘Miracle Lamp’ because it does not give off any visible light and it has been widely used to treat over 100 chronic conditions.
The TDP Lamp was introduced into clinics and homes around the world including Japan, Hong-Kong, Korea, Europe, Australia and recently North America and over 60 million patients have been safely treated due to its simplicity and flexibility.
In 1988 the device was accepted by the FDA (FDA 510K number is K991503) for use in the United States and has been used by doctors to treat millions of patients with promising results.
TDP lamps may be used to reduce inflammation, tranquilize pain and improve micro-circulation, as well as stabilize the metabolism. Undisputed evidence has also shown that TDP is conducive to cell growth, multiplication and restoration, along with promotion of specific types of enzyme activity and immunity levels. TDP lamps are used by many national athletic teams, including ballet, soccer, martial arts, and the famous China women’s Volleyball Olympic Team (champions of the 1984 Los Angeles Olympics).
“…. Device for localized treatment is a lamp on a stand. It’s called the TDP Far-Infrared Therapeutic Lamp, and it can provide focused deep heating in therapeutic treatments such as those to increase blood circulation and metabolism. Clinical studies have shown some of the following benefits: decreased inflammation and edema from soft tissue injuries; promotion of circulation and healing; and balancing of the nervous system.” – Alternative Medicine Magazine
2. Far Infrared Lamp, How Invisible Light Can Help Chronic Pain
This lamp is not used by TCM Practiciner, but it belongs to one of the most effective and safest natural pain relief tool, so I like to mention in this guide. Unlike the TDP Lamp which use a mineral plate, infrared lamp uses a red light bulb that emits invisible infrared light waves deep into your body. So what’s the difference?
Infrared light is the heat you feel when you’re out in the sun. This powerful heat penetrates deep into your tissues – all the way through your muscles to your nerves and bones.
In technical terms, infrared therapy uses light between 600 – 1000nm in wavelength, which is invisible to the human eye. Your body experiences infrared energy as a gentle radiant heat which can penetrate up to 1.5 inches (almost 4 cm) beneath your skin!
According this this NCBI Research Paper Infrared light therapy is a 40-year science backed method to relieve pain and reduce inflammation throughout the body, frequently used by doctors (the good ones), physical therapists and professional athletes.
Infrared wavelength is felt as gentle heat, yet proven to penetrate deep into your tissues and improve blood circulation (by 400% within a few minutes!), hydration and oxygenation in the area.
This supercharged blood flow brings pain relieving and healing components and speeds up recovery from any injury in your tissues or skin.It’s as simple at that, and it works.
What Does Infrared Therapy Do to Your Body?
Infrared waves go deep in your body and naturally raise your body’s temperature, which quickly speeds up your blood circulation.
Fast pain relief – via pain reducing components in your blood
Inflammation reduction – via healing components in your blood.
Arthritis helps your body do what it knows best (healing!) – only much faster, and better.
Why Not Use “Regular” Heat?
A regular electric heating pad won’t help you relieve joint pain in the long term, because the heat doesn’t penetrate your skin all the way to your joints and the muscles surrounding them.
Plus: regular electric heating pads can burn your skin and are sometimes a fire hazard.
Is Far Infrared Light Therapy Proven by Science?
Many clinical human studies have proven that Infrared light therapy (also known as Low Level Laser Therapy) is more effective than NSAIDs in relieving pain and healing inflammation.
The National Institute of Health study concluded:
“In general, any side effects of infrared radiation treatment were minimal and transient” .National Institute of Health study by Lee, Roh, and Lee (2006)
FIR heat is so safe, that most hospitals use it to heal newborns with Jaundice.
To be on the safe side, do not use it if you are pregnant or nursing, before checking with your doctor.
3. Acupuncture: How Needles Can Open Up Body Blockages and Relief Pain
Acupuncture is the practice of inserting needles into the superficial skin, subcutaneous tissue, and muscles at particular acupuncture points and manipulating them.
In TCM, there are as many as 2,000 acupuncture points on the human body that are connected by 12 main meridians. These meridians conduct energy, or “Qi,” between the surface of the body and its internal organs.
Acupuncture is believed to keep the balance between Yin and Yang, thus allowing for the normal flow of “Qi” throughout the body and restoring health to the mind and body.
Does It Work?
According to the National Institute of Health (NIH), a number of studies suggest that acupuncture works particularly well on chronic pain such as back and neck pain; osteoarthritis/knee pain; and headache. It often reduces the incidence and severity of tension headaches and may prevent migraines. “Therefore,” the NIH concludes, “acupuncture appears to be a reasonable option for people with chronic pain to consider.”
Moxibustion: How these burning Moxa sticks Help Relieve Body Pain
Moxibustion is a therapy that involves burning moxa (mugwort root) made from dried Artimesia vulgaris (spongy herb) to facilitate healing. Burning moxa produces a great deal of smoke and a pungent odor that often is confused with that of cannabis. The purpose of Moxibustion is to warm and invigorate the blood, stimulate the flow of Qi, strengthen the kidney Yang, expel wind and disperse cold, and dissolve stagnation. Historically, this therapy had been used to treat menstrual pain.
Moxibustion is a cross between acupressure and old-fashioned herbalism—but with fire. It involves burning moxa (the herb Artemisia vulgaris, also known as mugwort) very close to the skin at acupoints—acupuncture meridian points. In one common moxibustion technique, the moxa is packed into a very small pillar that sits in a hollow cylindrical base that is placed on an acupoint. Tiny holes in the base allow smoke and heat from the burning moxa to escape and make contact with the acupoint.
To prove by Western standards that moxibustion is effective for pain relief of knee osteoarthritis, Chinese researchers recruited 110 people with painful knee osteoarthritis. Half of the participants received real moxibustion treatments, as I described above, and the other half received a sham procedure three times per week for six weeks. Moxa was burned in its cylinder in the sham procedure, but the holes at the base of the gadget were covered by a hidden, internal membrane that blocked the escape of smoke and heat. None of the participants knew whether they were getting real moxibustion or a sham treatment. The practitioners providing the treatments also were kept in the dark by the study researchers about whether they were providing a real or sham moxibustion so that they wouldn’t unconsciously or consciously perform treatment or record results in a biased way.
Moxa Sticks, It’s Not Just Blowing Smoke
Three weeks into the study, the moxibustion group reported a 25% reduction in pain, on average, whereas the sham treatment group reported a mere 3% reduction. By the end of treatment, reduction in pain more than doubled—to 53%—in the moxibustion group and improved to 24% in the sham group. These results held up for quite some time after treatment ended. At 24 weeks, patients in the moxibustion group reported 51% less pain than before the study, and patients in the sham group reported 20% less pain.
There was improvement in use of the knee, too. Function increased by 39% after six weeks of moxibustion treatment and by 51% after six more weeks went by. Meanwhile, function improved by only 13% after six weeks of sham treatment and did not improve anymore after that.
For anyone hoping to improve an arthritic knee, here’s an important time marker—the level of improvement in function began to slip after 18 weeks had gone by, suggesting that the healing effects of six weeks of moxibustion for knee osteoarthritis could last 4.5 months.
And the only complication of moxibustion was temporary redness at the acupoint site.
Source: Study titled “Effectiveness of moxibustion treatment as adjunctive therapy in osteoarthritis of the knee: a randomized, double-blinded, placebo-controlled clinical trial,” published in Arthritis Research & Therapy.
Fire Cupping or Suction Cupping Therapy
Cupping is a type of Chinese massage, consisting of placing several glass or plastic “cups” (open spheres) on the body. TCM practitioners warm the cups using a cotton ball or other flammable substance, which is then placed inside the cup to remove all the oxygen. The practitioner then removes the substance and places the cup against the skin. The air in the cup then cools, creating lower pressure inside the cup, creating a vacuum and allowing the cup to stick to the skin. Fleshy sites on the body, such as the back and stomach, are the preferred sites for treatment.
People get it for many purposes, including to help with pain, inflammation, blood flow, relaxation and well-being, and as a type of deep-tissue massage.
The cups may be made of:
Cupping therapy might be trendy now, but it’s not new. It dates back to ancient Egyptian, Chinese, and Middle Eastern cultures. One of the oldest medical textbooks in the world, the Ebers Papyrus, describes how the ancient Egyptians used cupping therapy in 1,550 B.C.
During both types of cupping, your therapist will put a flammable substance such as alcohol, herbs, or paper in a cup and set it on fire. As the fire goes out, he puts the cup upside down on your skin.
As the air inside the cup cools, it creates a vacuum. This causes your skin to rise and redden as your blood vessels expand. The cup is generally left in place for up to 3 minutes.
A more modern version of cupping uses a rubber pump instead of fire to create the vacuum inside the cup. Sometimes therapists use silicone cups, which they can move from place to place on your skin for a massage-like effect.
You might get 3-5 cups in your first session. Or you might just try one to see how it goes. It’s rare to get more than 5-7 cups, the British Cupping Society notes.
Afterward, you may get an antibiotic ointment and bandage to prevent infection. Your skin should look normal again within 10 days.
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