Wednesday, April 14, 2010

Herbs for Pain Relief

There are plenty of herbs and herbal remedies that are believed to have pain killing qualities, although it is generally accepted that most of these natural remedies are not as powerful as the pharmaceutical alternatives.

Hence, whilst the herbs and herbal treatments recommended in this section of the report will provide relief from some pains and aches, they are unlikely to be effective if you are in extreme, acute or severe chronic pain. Nevertheless, all of these remedies are worth trying if you are in some pain and want to solve the problem naturally and quickly.

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Willow Bark for Pain

It should perhaps be no surprise to know that willow bark is an effective herbal pain killer when you realize that the main active ingredient in aspirin (acetylsalicylic acid) is a derivative of salicylic acid which is one of the three main ingredients of the willow bark herb.

It was this connection between the active ingredient in what is still the world’s most popular over-the-counter painkiller and the active ingredient in willow bark that originally suggested that it would be a successful herbal painkiller. Unfortunately however, because the absorption rate of salicylic acid from willow bark is somewhat slower than the absorption rate of its chemical cousin and because there is a longer duration, the herbal remedy is not quite as effective as the chemical version.

On the other hand, there is some evidence that a sustained dose of willow bark over a week or so will start to reduce back pain (a daily dosage of 120 to 240 mg a day is recommended), while other studies suggest that a regular dose of willow bark can help to bring some relief to those suffering osteoporosis without any noticeable side-effects.

However, this is a herb that should be avoided if you have a high level of sensitivity to aspirin or suffer peptic or gastric ulcers. Moreover, if you are susceptible to diabetes, gout or have any form of kidney or liver disease, you should not use willow bark.

Can Self Hypnosis Really Work?

Can you remember the last time you went to see a movie at the cinema or movie theatre? If you can and it was a popular movie, you were probably not the only person in the cinema, just one of 200 or 300 excited souls waiting for the lights to go down so that the entertainment could begin.

When the house lights were bright, you were probably looking around, fully well aware of all of these people, but as soon as the lights went down and the movie started, you were very quickly completely engrossed (assuming that it was a good movie).

In this situation, you have effectively switched your point of focus from the real world of which we are all aware to the movie and you have done so completely. To coin a cliché, the real world has ceased to exist and the only world is that of the movie.

The principal of self hypnosis is not especially different to this basic concept. It is all about shifting and concentrating your focus, and the more successfully you can do so, the easier self-hypnosis becomes.
Most encouragingly, it is normally suggested that the ability to hypnotize yourself depends to a large extent on your desire to do so and your need to control your pain. In short, the majority of people who want to control their pain through self hypnosis manage to do so by sheer willpower and force of personality.

Having some guidance of how you can focus your attention at will is probably a useful thing, particularly at the beginning, so consulting a hypnotist or hypnotherapist who can help you to develop your own abilities is likely to be worth the effort. In this way, you get the proper guidance from the beginning and are taught by someone who really knows what they are doing.

On the other hand, there are plenty of web sites where you can learn everything you could ever need to know about self hypnosis, which has the advantage that you can learn self hypnosis in your own time and in the comfort of your own home.

Run a Google search for ‘self hypnosis techniques’, because doing so will show you just how many self hypnosis of sites there are:

Whilst you will probably not be surprised to know that a significant number of these sites are selling self hypnosis materials, many of them are packed with free information and ideas that will help you learn everything you need to know about self hypnosis.

When you do start digging a little deeper, you will perhaps be surprised to realize that the concepts or ideas behind self hypnosis are not nearly as wacky or weird as they might at first appear. For example, as is made clear on this excellent WikiHow ’How to performance self hypnosis’ page, self hypnosis is really nothing more than a twin stage process of relaxing as completely as possible and then focusing on something that takes your mind off the pain that you are trying to escape from.

The relaxed state that is most commonly compared to that of being in a self hypnotized state is the relaxation that is felt by those who meditate regularly.

And, as anyone who meditates on a regular basis will tell you, reaching the level of relaxation you need to achieve your objectives is not something that happens overnight.

In short, you need to learn how to relax as thoroughly as possible and then to keep practicing your relaxation techniques so that you get more and more proficient and become increasingly relaxed as a result of doing so.

But however crazy it might sound, self hypnotism is an effective way of dealing with pain completely naturally. At the same time, because a critical part of the self hypnosis process is your ability to relax more than you have ever relaxed before, the overall benefits to your health brought about by the inevitable reduction in stress and tension this causes will be a significant boost in your battle against pain.

There is one final alternative that you might like to consider.

I have already mentioned that a Google search will pull up many results related to self hypnosis products or services being sold on the net. Some of these products, many of which are CD or DVD presentations by professional hypnotherapists that will teach you to hypnotize yourself at home may represent an investment that is worth consideration.

Does Hypnosis to Deal with Pain Effectively?

Hypnosis for dealing with pain

Whilst for most members of the public, hypnosis is most commonly associated with hilariously funny stage shows where people do apparently crazy things or perhaps with bad TV sitcoms, the view of the medical and psychological community of what hypnosis is all about is very different.

Indeed, since it was first invented by Franz Anton Mesmer in the 1700, it has become increasingly widely accepted that using hypnosis can deal with or ‘treat’ many seemingly intractable problems, including the management of chronic pain.

For a long time, the view of many medical professionals was not all that different to the view of people who watch on-stage hypnosis shows, mainly because Western medicine has always tended to assume that finding a solution to a problem always involves ‘temperature-taking and shot-giving’. Hence, the idea that something as seemingly esoteric as hypnosis could play any genuine part in dealing with medical or psychological problems was simply too much for people of this nature to take on board.

But the fact is that when scientifically applied by a professionally qualified hypnotherapist, hypnosis is a remarkably effective technique that can be applied to dealing with a huge range of problems and difficulties. For example, hypnosis is often used as a highly effective way of convincing people to stop smoking whilst it is also used to treat
those who genuinely want to stop drinking and others who suffer because of a similarly obsessive or addictive personality.

Most importantly, over the last 20 or 30 years, hypnosis has been subjected to the continual scrutiny of many clinical trials and in almost every situation scenario, it has been proved that hypnosis is an effective way of combating pain. People suffering from pains associated with cancer, kidney stones, gallstones, backache and invasive dental and medical procedures have all been treated or dealt with whilst under hypnosis with remarkably successful result.

According to one noted psychiatrist, Dr David Spiegl M.D. of Stanford University, ‘Changing your mental set can change what’s going on in your body’, and all of the available evidence indicates that this is exactly right as far as dealing with chronic pain is concerned.

During the process of being hypnotized, the subject is lulled into a state of focused concentration, inner absorption plus intensely focused attention and all at exactly the same time as they are completely relaxed. Hence, because of their mental state, the subject in this pre-hypnotic state is able to pick up suggestions far more effectively than they might otherwise do in their conscious state whilst they can also tap into unused mental powers to expand the boundaries of physical possibilities.

Over the years, many papers and studies have provided compelling evidence that hypnosis is highly effective when it comes to dealing with pain.

For instance, in the April 29, 2000 edition of ‘The Lancet’, there was a report comparing the results enjoyed by patients under hypnosis with those under standard medical care who were undergoing invasive medical surgery. The results showed that the patients who were hypnotized suffered considerably less pain and anxiety than those who were using standard medical painkillers. In addition, the medical process itself took considerably less time to complete for the hypnotized patients, probably because there was no necessity to keep controlling their pain and calming their anxiety as there was with patients under standard anesthetic.

The final clincher was the fact that post-operation, the patients who had been hypnotized required less than half the amount of painkillers that the patients who had operated on using standard anesthetic procedures did.

This once again highlights the fact that in many cases, hypnosis is used in combination with traditional analgesic or anesthetic practices, although there is no reason why it cannot be used on its own in certain circumstances.

For instance, Dr. Alexander Levitan who is a medical oncologist in Minnesota reports that he has conducted many operations including tracheotomies and hysterectomies using nothing but hypnosis as the anesthetic.

There are many different theories as to why hypnosis would work in such a situation, with some suggesting that because hypnosis alters your expectations or perceptions of how intense the pain is going to be, this changes how you experience that pain a little later.

Alternatively, another theory suggests that hypnosis focuses your attention on other objectives or images which shifts your primary focus away from concentrating on the pain.

There are many studies currently being carried out to discover exactly why hypnosis is so effective in blocking pain, many of which are focusing on the physiological changes (the changes in your brain) that take place whilst you are under hypnosis.

From these studies, it seems likely that hypnosis activates certain parts of the brain that are concerned with focusing attention. In effect, hypnosis enables your brain to focus on something completely different than the pain. In this way your brain is prevented from bringing the pain that you were previously suffering or were about to suffer to conscious awareness.

So, now you know that pain relief is 100% possible through the use of hypnosis, the next question is, what are you going to do about it?

The first option is to find a hypnotist or hypnotherapist in your neighborhood who can help you by analyzing your problems and then hypnotizing you in order to start addressing your pain.

External Sources to Read;

How Does Acupuncture Relieve Pain?

Acupuncture – the great pain reliever…

Acupuncture is an ancient Chinese art that had been practiced for thousands of years, one that has been proven on many occasions to be extremely effective for promoting general good health but also for relieving pain of many different types and descriptions.

The first thing to understand about acupuncture is that it is adopts a holistic view of any medical or even psychological problems that you might be suffering, including physical pain.

In essence, whereas a Western doctor will treat the symptoms of that pain by prescribing a drug that attacks only the area where the pain is felt, an acupuncturist adopts the view that the ‘something’ that has caused your pain is not necessarily located in that particular part of the body. Consequently, they will try to find the root cause of that pain wherever that may be located in your body before dealing with it.

Acupuncture is based on the concept that every human being contains a ‘vital energy’ flow that courses around their body and that pains, illnesses or sicknesses are signs that this vital energy flow has been disturbed in some way. Vital energy flows along meridians or ‘channels’ that are recognized by acupuncture to connect certain apparently unconnected parts of the body to one another.
Hence, when a problem that represents a disturbance in the vital energy flow appears, it is logical that the acupuncturist will address that problem by attempting open up the appropriate energy meridian so that the flow can be stimulated and the problem solved.

There are certain points along each of these channels or meridians that are recognized by traditional Chinese acupuncturists as being ‘acupupoints’, the places where interruptions most commonly occur. Hence you have the idea that the traditional acupuncturist will insert very fine, long needles through the skin to stimulate these ‘acupoints’ to free up the vital energy flow.

Nowadays, many traditional acupuncturist still continue with the practice of using needles but there are many alternative forms of acupuncture, such as using small, highly targeted electrical charges on the same ‘acupoints’ as a way of stimulating the energy flow. Other practitioners have been known to use magnets whilst there is ongoing study and development of using lasers for the same purposes.

One of the problems with acupuncture is that whilst it has been used for in excess of 2000 years as a treatment for pain and illness, it is still not fully understood why acupuncture works as well as it does. Although even medical doctors accept that acupuncture can be a very highly effective treatment for dealing with pain, we (and they) still don’t really understand why this should be.

However, as reported in this article, two research studies carried out in the mid-90s provided a very clear indication that for whatever reason acupuncture seems to work so well, it does. This is why the same article reported that acupuncture is the favored nonmedical treatment alternative of the majority of medical doctors.

There are many theories put forward as to why acupuncture can be such an effective treatment for pain in apparently unconnected areas of the body. One of these theories suggests that acupuncture points stimulate the central nervous system which then releases chemicals and hormones into the spinal column and muscles.

It is further posited that these chemicals and hormones alter the experience or perception of pain whilst also stimulating the body’s ability to heal itself considerably more quickly than would happen without acupuncture. Hence, the pain relief is more immediate and as the underlying condition is dealt with more quickly, the pain recedes far more swiftly too.

An alternative theory propounded by Western scientists is that there is some evidence that acupuncture points represent the bodies electromagnetic ‘junctions’. Hence, by stimulating the junctions, it frees up the flow of electromagnetic charges throughout the body, which in turn appears to stimulate the flow of natural painkilling chemicals such as endorphins.

Other studies have shown that acupuncture appears to alter the chemistry of the brain by prompting the release of neurotransmitters and neuro-hormones. In addition, because it also appears as if acupuncture stimulates subtle changes in your central nervous system’s ability to deal with pain, there does seem to be some evidence for why acupuncture seems to be such an effective treatment for pain.

One of the beauties of acupuncture as a natural pain treatment is that unlike massage (as an example), it can be used to treat pain of any type and in any area of the body due to the fact that it is an entirely holistic (whole body) approach to pain management. Whereas as a method of pain relief, massage is very firmly focused on getting rid of muscle pain, acupuncture can be used to address any kind of pain, anywhere in your body.

This is one of the reasons why acupuncture is becoming increasingly widely accepted by the ‘traditional’ Western medical fraternity who are nowadays increasingly likely to recommend a combination of analgesic painkillers and acupuncture in many situations where pain needs to be dealt with.

For example, this approach is becoming increasingly common for people who suffer post-operative pain. By providing a combination of analgesic painkillers and acupuncture, many doctors have found that they are able to completely rid post-operative patients of pain in a way that analgesics on their own have never been capable of doing at safe dosage levels.

Unlike many natural techniques for bringing relief from pain, acupuncture can be used to deal with almost any kind of pain, a fact which is often unreported or ignored.

For example, many women report that acupuncture can be highly effective for inducing labor and that many of the pains and stresses of suffering through pregnancy can also be significantly relieved by acupuncture.

Some women suffer back pains or sciatica whilst pregnant because of the additional weight being carried which acupuncture can significantly reduce. Many women also suffer morning sickness and whilst acupuncture will not necessarily get rid of it, it can provide significant help in reducing the nausea levels that most women feel at this time.
It will do this by putting pressure on the Pericardium 6 acupuncture point which is inside the wrist. A strategy that has been proven time and again to reduce all forms of nausea, including that associated with morning sickness.

Incidentally, as an alternative to acupuncture, you might want to consider using a commercially produced acupressure band to put pressure on the same acupuncture point as a way of reducing the nausea of morning sickness.

In the last trimester, many women suffer pelvic girdle pain and according to Swedish studies, acupuncture can help relive these pains too.

The beauty of using acupuncture to reduce the severity of the various aches and pains associated with pregnancy is that by doing so, you reduce or remove the necessity to taking drugs. For some women who are drug intolerant, this is a necessity but even if you do not fall into this category, it obviously makes sense to reduce your reliance on drugs whilst you’re carrying baby and during the birth process.

Another area of pain relief that can be dealt with highly effectively and efficiently with acupuncture is the relief of pain for cancer patients. Because cancer is not one disease (there are over 300 different malignant cancers) and also because chemotherapy treats all of the different forms of cancer in a different way, it is not possible to say that acupuncture is going to be helpful in every case.

Nevertheless, in terms of helping cancer patients get over their pain or the dreaded nausea that is a very common side effect of undergoing chemotherapy, acupuncture can once again be an invaluable additional ‘tool’ in the pain management toolbox.

As this article concludes by answering the question which it attributes to many cancer patients ‘Can acupuncture help me?’, it is likely that acupuncture can ‘in all probability help in the care of the cancer patient’.

Whilst it is fair to suggest that we still don’t really understand why acupuncture is so effective as a treatment for pain, the overwhelming evidence collected over thousands of years from medical experts all over the world is that acupuncture represent a superbly effective way of dealing with pain, almost irrespective of why or how that pain occurs.

If therefore you suffer pain – especially chronic pain that is unlikely to be dealt with by something that provides more temporary relief such as massage – acupuncture is certainly an option that you should consider.

Whether acupuncture on its own can provide complete pain management or whether you need to use analgesic pharmaceuticals in combination with this particular form of natural treatment, if you can use acupuncture to reduce your pain, the level of analgesics you need will be similarly reduced.

Sometimes it is a fact that however we might prefer to use natural treatments to deal with pain, it is impractical to do so from time to time, particularly where pain is particularly extreme. In this case, painkilling drugs may well be necessary but if they can be combined with a natural solution like acupuncture to reduce the amount of drugs necessary, this helps to reduce the toxicity and therefore the potential adverse side-effects that you might be risking by taking these drugs.

Thai Massage as Natural Pain Killer

Thai massage was originally believed to have originated in India where it was heavily influenced by Ayurvedic ideas and philosophy before migrating to Thailand some 2500 years ago.

From that time to this, the original massage techniques that came from India have been increasingly influenced by traditional Chinese medicine so that what we now recognize as Thai massage represents a physical manifestation of a combination of the two great medical traditions of the East.

With the original antecedents of Thai massage coming from India, you may not find it a great surprise to realize that this particular form of massage is often called Thai Yoga Massage, as some people describe it as undertaking a yoga session without doing the exercise yourself.
It is a form of massage that is considerably more demanding and energizing than Swedish massage for example, which of course means that if you suffer serious physical problems of any form, you should consult your doctor before considering undertaking a Thai massage session.

The massage itself is usually performed whilst the ‘patient’ is on the floor and involves the masseuse using their hands, legs, knees and feet to provide the massage. In a similar (but different way) to deep muscle massage, Thai massage gets down to the deepest levels of your muscles and joints, providing relief that Swedish massage may not be capable of providing.

People who have undergone Thai massage will tell you that it is both incredibly relaxing and energizing at exactly the same time, and that muscle aches, pains and strains will go away after the initial ‘buzz’ has subsided.

Once again, if you have muscle pains or aches and Swedish massage does not do the job for you, this is another alternative to consider trying.

Deep Muscle Massage for Your Pain

As the name would probably suggest, the concept of deep muscle massage is to work the muscles more thoroughly than is common in Swedish massage, with the ultimate objective being the release of deep muscle tension to reduce potential muscle pain and stress.

Using this particular form of massage, the masseuse will usually use direct pressure or friction allied with slow strokes as a way of ‘digging’ deeper into the muscles fibers and tissues to alleviate the deepest tension. This is not to suggest that deep muscle massage needs to be painful but it is far more noticeable than Swedish massage, as are the beneficial effects.

With this particular technique, the movements are most commonly carried out across the muscle fibers in a ‘cross grain’ pattern and applied with the fingers, thumbs or perhaps sometimes even elbows. Because of this, the effects are likely to most beneficial to those who have deep muscle tensions, strains and aches that cause them discomfort or pain. Consequently, if Swedish massage does not really provide the pain relief that you need, it might benefit you to consider going one stage further with deep muscle massage.

Swedish Massage for Your Pain

Swedish massage is a massage style that was first developed in Scandinavia nearly 200 years ago by Pehr Henrik Ling who learned many of the basics that he would later develop into Swedish massage from a Chinese fellow named Ming with whom he sailed for four years.

After returning to Copenhagen, he developed these ideas still further into something similar to what we recognize as Swedish massage which was first brought to the USA in the 1850s.

From just a small handful of Swedish massage clinics in Boston and Washington, they can now be found in almost every city and town throughout the USA (and throughout most other western countries as well). Hence, Swedish massage is the most popular form of massage in the USA and if using this type of massage to bring pain relief sounds like something you might work for you, it should be relatively easy to find a local practitioner.

The basic concept of Swedish massage is that it focuses on long, gliding strokes of the masseuse hands across your skin, with some ‘kneading’ (the exact same action as if you were making bread) allied to the application of friction techniques to some of the most obvious muscle groups.

Most commonly, the majority of strokes go towards the heart, following the blood flow because there is an emphasis on stimulating blood flow through the soft bodily tissues. This form of massage can be practiced in a relatively vigorous and not so gentle manner or it can be very soft and gentle on the other hand, depending upon circumstances and requirements.
Swedish massage is commonly used to prompt a wide range of benefits including all of the following:

• It helps relax muscles. Hence, if you have a muscle pain caused by stress, tension or even a slight muscle damage, massage can loosen the muscle and thereby reduce the pain and sometimes also the swelling too.

• It can help to reduce the pain from other bodily damage such as fractures, sprains, sciatica, stiff joints and strains. This applies equally to people who have suffered injuries and to those who are simply feeling the adverse effects of getting older!

• There are certain substances in the body that naturally slow down the process of recovering from muscle strains, sprains and damage. Because Swedish massage is effective for removing uric and lactic acid (and other waste products) from your muscles, it helps to speed up the recovery process, meaning that any pain you are suffering will disappear more quickly.

• As Swedish massage can be used to help to stretch muscles, tendons and ligaments, it helps to prevent the kind of damage that might cause pain at a later date. In effect, Swedish massage is not only curative but preventative too.

• In general terms, Swedish massage helps to stimulate improved blood circulation, relaxes the nerves and stimulates the nervous system at one and the same time. It also helps to reduce stress and tension which can be a cause of physical pain as tensed up muscles are far more likely to suffer damage or injury the muscles that are loose and flexible.

The bottom line is that 95% people who undergo Swedish massage leave their session feeling markedly better in many, many different ways, both physically and psychologically.

The benefits of Swedish massage for anyone who is suffering any of the particular types of pain highlighted in the previous list are undeniable. If therefore you are suffering muscle, joint or sprain pains, trying Swedish massage before resorting to analgesic painkillers has got to make sense.

In order to find a local Swedish massage center, the most effective tool to use is Google maps to find what you’re looking for (as it is with pretty much anything nowadays).

In this case, a search for ‘Swedish massage Washington’ turns up quite a few results although I have no doubt that searching for something a little less specific and narrowly defined (for example ‘massage’) would probably generate considerably more results, but they would be considerably less well targeted:

On the right you have your map whilst on the left there is a list of all the businesses highlighted on the map. Run a similar search for your own local town or city and you should see broadly similar results.

Massage for Pain Relief

There are apparently over 80 different styles of massage and body therapy, many of which have been developed by individual practitioners who have taken the original massage idea and developed it as a result of their practical experiences.

Furthermore, there are many associated practices like reflexology and shiatsu which are broadly associated but not entirely synonymous with massage that some people sometimes confuse with massage.

The basic concept of massage as a pain relief strategy is that rubbing and massaging various different points of your body confuses or ‘side-tracks’ your ability to register pain according to what is known as the ‘gate control theory’.

This theory is based upon the concept that pain impulses travel from various different parts of your body through the central nervous system and your spinal column to the brain. It is only when these pain signals arrive in your brain that you register pain although of course, it is a matter of a very small number of nanoseconds between the stimuli happening at some place or point on your body and your brain registering pain.

The ‘gate control theory’ explanation of why massage works as a pain relief strategy is based on the idea that your body only has the ability to send a certain number of signals to your brain at any one time, and if certain signals do not reach your brain, they will not be ‘registered’. Consequently, when you are enjoying a relaxing massage, the rubbing and stroking sends other far more pleasurable signals to your brain, thus ‘populating’ the nerves that carry these signals with a positive message leaving no room for the negative pain message to get through.

There is also some evidence that pleasurable massage results in the release of endorphins which are enzymes produced by the pituitary gland, the positive effects of which resemble the effects of opiate drugs. However, as endorphins are entirely natural and their production is strictly controlled by your body, there is no potential harm involved in experiencing the happiness or exhilaration that is often known as an ‘endorphin rush’.

Furthermore, endorphins also prevent nerve cells releasing more pain signals, which is for example one of the reasons why top sports people can often continue to compete even when they are injured, because extreme activity allied to excitement prompts the ‘rush’ that masks the pain.

The following are the forms of massage that are most commonly associated with providing pain relief.

Tuesday, April 13, 2010

Easy to Make Natural Moth Repellent

Your can make a very effective repellent mix by blending together the following herbs and spices:

Natural Moth Repellent - What You Want?

25 g tansy
25 g rosemary
25 g wormwood
15 g freshly crushed cloves
2 tablespoons orrisroot powder (from chemist)

Natural Moth Repellent - How to Prepare this Natural Moth Repellent?
Using your hands thoroughly mix all the ingredients in a large ceramic bowl. Add the mix to a plastic bag, seal it airtight, and leave to cure in a dry, dark spot for 6 weeks. Wash your hands thoroughly afterwards before touching food or your face. Give the mix a good shake every other day. Place the mixture in small sachets and sew the ends together.