Hello dear friends!
These last few weeks have been all over the map for me. Between the crazy cold, wet weather here in Colorado, the full moon, the impending eclipse, and the realization that summer is almost over, I think my system has been seriously overloaded! I don’t know about you, but I’m particularly sensitive to environmental changes, and when things get intense, my pain levels tend to travel upwards.
Generally, I would say that my fibromyalgia is mild, and while I’ve gotten used to living in some amount of discomfort every day, it’s rare that it gets so bad that I need to rearrange my schedule. But that has been the reality as of late! So, I thought, what better excuse to write a blog about my own natural pain relief strategies.
I’ll start off by saying that everyone’s pain is different, and everyone’s pain responds to treatments differently too. At least from my perspective, I think physical pain is at least partially encouraged by unresolved mental, emotional, and spiritual pain…which is not to say that it’s the sole cause or even a cause at all at times. I’ve seen pain levels drop significantly after working on these deeper levels, like I do in my Reiki sessions, but I’ll get to that here in a minute!
What I’m trying to say is: pain is complex. Pain can take on a variety of shapes, textures, colors, temperatures, and sensations. It can ebb and flow. It can be concentrated in certain areas of the body (mostly joints, in my case), or it can move around. Thus, I believe in taking a wide-angle approach to pain management, and the more tools you have in your toolbox, the better! So let’s just jump into it!
Here are my top seven holistic pain relief therapies:
1. CBD/Cannabis oil
I will gladly stand up and say that I am 100% in support of cannabis medicine, and I have seen it work wonders for not only myself, but also many of my clients. While I’m not a huge fan of smoking cannabis, I really love the purified tinctures and oils that contain potent pain relieving compounds. These are easy to take, offer more precise dosing, and work pretty fast, in my experience. It’s important that you go with a company that does thorough testing and only uses top-shelf cannabis for their medicines. I can personally recommend Mary’s Medicinals (they have kick-butt topical patches too), and Simply Transformative (an offshoot of Honey Colony).
2. Golden milk
You’ve probably already heard about the health benefits of turmeric, and I will go ahead and put in my two cents on this awesome herb. Use it. Liberally. Especially when having a high pain day. My favorite way to take turmeric is by making golden milk. This ancient Ayurvedic recipe is warming and delicious, and is strongly anti-inflammatory. All you’ll need is turmeric, black pepper, ginger, cinnamon, honey, and coconut milk. You can check out my recipe below, or if you’re feeling lazy (no shame here!), this pre-made mix from Gaia is awesome. I also really like these capsules as well.
3. Infrared heat
If you’ve been using heating pads, and want to take it up a notch, I highly recommend trying infrared heat. Typically called “far infrared rays” or FIR, are found naturally in all living things, and in the sun’s light. These warming rays penetrate deeply into the cells, aiding in relaxation, detoxification, and tissue healing, without the discomfort of traditional saunas or those annoying thermal wrap thingies. FIR therapy is gaining popularity across the world, and I can personally attest to its benefits. I recently got an infrared heat mat from InfraMat, and I’ve come to call it my “magic mat” because I love it so much. I tend to get cold and stiff easily, and this baby loosens everything up in only 20 minutes or so. Stay tuned in the next few weeks, when I write up my full review of the InfraMat Pro!
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4. Epsom salt baths
This magnesium-rich salt is one of my biggest recommendations for those living with Lyme, ME/CFS, Fibro, MS, and pretty much any other neuro/muscular/immune illness. I use it quite a bit for detoxification and stopping Herx reactions, but it’s also wonderful for muscle soreness and insomnia. Magnesium is soothing for the nervous system, promotes muscular relaxation, and even works on achy joints and bone pain. If you’ve got a nice big bathtub, add a cup or so of Epsom salts to the warm water, maybe sprinkle in some essential oils, and settle in. There are also lots of great topical magnesium oils and creams too, if you don’t feel like soaking.
5. Essential oil blends
I remember the first time I ever used essential oils: I was in high school, and I dealt with headaches off and on, especially before a test or performance. I picked up an EO roller at the store one day, rubbed it on my temples, and the back of my neck, and within minutes, I felt so much better! Fast-forward to today, and my pain-relieving oil blends get a lot of use. Cooling, menthol-heavy oils like peppermint, spearmint, and wintergreen are great, and blend well with soothing oils like lavender and chamomile. I put a few drops in some unscented lotion when I’ve got joint pain, and use a roller-ball dilution for headaches.
6. Other herbs
There are several great pain-relieving herbs out there, and I figured I would present them together, to round out your natural medicine cabinet. White willow bark is what the original aspirin was made from. Valerian root is amazingly calming and relaxing for muscles and stress-related pain. Capsaicin, the heat-inducing ingredient in chili peppers, has been shown to relieve muscle, join, and nerve pain. Ginger root is powerful against inflammatory joint pain, like that seen in all kinds of arthritis. Cat’s Claw is not just an anti-microbial, but it’s also an antioxidant and anti-inflammatory, and works well on systemic, all-over pain.
7. Energy medicine
I couldn’t go through the whole list without at least mentioning energy therapies like Reiki. Like I mentioned in the beginning of this post, pain is multi-faceted, and when we can address subtle imbalances in the mental and emotional bodies, often, physical discomfort is lessened. At the end of each session, many of my clients report feeling deeply relaxed, and this is key to helping the body to heal. Like with many holistic therapies, Reiki is most effective when used regularly, and weekly or bi-weekly sessions can be powerful in managing chronic pain.
I know there are a lot of you out there reading this that live with some level of pain each and every day. And even if you don’t, we all experience acute pain now and then too! For this blog post, I wanted to go above and beyond the “usual” recommendations of exercise, massage, acupuncture, and the like. Most of us know about these, and these modalities can be extremely helpful, but again, the more options we have, the better. Especially those that we can manage at home, on our own!
So, friends, what do you think? What are some of your go-to pain relieving remedies? Share in the comments!
~ Hoping you feel as well as possible ~
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