By Dr. Isaac Eliaz, M.D.
In my last column, I told you about natural supplements for safe pain relief.
But there are other effective solutions that can take pain out of your life. In fact, they all work together to make you feel better. These are clinically-based treatments, exercises, and foods that have been found to reduce inflammation, ease pain, and improve overall quality of life.
The best part? None of these treatments carry the side effects and risks of over-the-counter or prescription pain medications.
Here are four alternative pain relief methods that have been proven effective:
- Acupuncture has been used throughout Asia for thousands of years to treat pain. The small needles help release energy blockages in painful areas, improving the flow of vital energy (chi). Research confirms that acupuncture stimulates the production of neurotransmitters that help block pain.
- Craniosacral therapy uses gentle manipulations to improve circulation and support neurological health and relaxation. The practitioner gently moves bones, tendons, and other tissues to release areas of tightness.
- Massage has become a multidimensional art with countless techniques and methods. Results include muscle relaxation with improved circulation, reduction of stress hormones, and endorphin release.
- Frequency specific microcurrent therapy uses a machine that conducts a very light electrical current to the inflamed area. This helps avert pain signals. It stimulates circulation and healing. Originally used to accelerate healing of sports injuries, this technology has broad applications for chronic pain.
Gentle Exercise Brings Relief
Gentle exercise—in particular mind-body practices like yoga and tai chi—offer another way to help reduce pain. Low-impact exercise such as walking, swimming, and mind-body practices improve circulation to stiff and painful areas. They release endorphins that alleviate pain. Exercise also helps cleanse toxins and stress hormones that build up in muscles and tissues.
Yoga, tai chi, and other mind-body exercises offer the additional benefits of meditation for reducing stress hormones and relaxing mind and body. Many studies have shown these practices, including simple meditation, can alleviate pain and improve numerous areas of health.
Healing Foods that Fight Pain
No discussion of pain relief is complete without addressing diet. In fact, food may be the most critical factor in controlling inflammation, reducing toxins, improving circulation, and alleviating pain.
Avoid pro-inflammatory foods such as refined sugar, grains, and dairy. Some of the worst culprits are gluten and trans fats in processed foods.
Many people report full recovery from chronic pain when eliminating these problem foods. Emphasize nutrient-dense whole foods instead. These include healthy fats and brightly-colored fruits and vegetables. They nourish the body, remove toxins, cool inflammation, support circulation, and increase flexibility.
A combination of healthy diet, exercise, supplements, manual therapies, and mind-body practices can work together synergistically to provide remarkable relief from pain and discomfort.
Best of all, these approaches deliver other important benefits for long-term wellness, taking your health and vitality to new heights.
Dr. Isaac Eliaz, M.D., is one of the nation’s premier integrative physicians. He has been a pioneer in holistic medicine since the 1980s and has published numerous peer-reviewed research papers. He is founder and medical director of Amitabha Medical Clinic in Santa Rosa, Calif., which specializes in cancer and chronic conditions.