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White Willow Bark: A Natural Pain Reliever — General Health Magazine

White willow bark is a natural pain reliever that works like aspirin. White willow bark is a natural pain reliever that contains a chemical called salicin. It acts like aspirin, which is why white willow bark benefits include reducing inflammation, fever, joint pain, headaches, menstrual cramps, and more. Willow bark has been used as a […]

White Willow Bark: A Natural Pain Reliever — General Health Magazine
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Research has revealed that massage has various health benefits. Massage treatments can be utilized to assist with dealing with things like nervousness and sorrow, sleep deprivation, and bad posture.

Aromatherapy massage in particular is very popular for pain release. Aromatherapy is a combination of two words “aroma” which means smell or fragrance, and ‘therapy” which means treatment for the body, mind, or social condition of a person, to assist a process where healing and change can take place. People who are suffering from problems such as arthritis, or fibromyalgia can benefit from the service of therapist to improve their quality of life.

Massage is one of the most important activities that help people to recuperate from injuries. Wounds are converted into scar tissues hampering the movement of the body. Over a period of time, the muscles acquire strength and the healing occurs at a faster rate.

It is a method of healing using very concentrated essential oils that are often highly aromatic and are extracted from plants. On a personal note, I do find that aromatherapy massage helps with pain relief be it only for a short period of time. Some say that it’s a placebo effect but I do genuinely feel in less pain and more calm. Let’s put it this way, if I could afford a massage on a weekly basis I would have it booked in a second but once a month is a help to me for the time being.

The massage generally refers to the use of hands or other tools to rub and knead muscles and joints of the body, often to relieve tension or pain. Other types of massage include Swedish, Sports, Deep Tissue, Trigger Point, Hot Stone or Tai massage.

According to Rest Less Research shows that 20-minute massages are enough to see positive results. This means that the majority of professional massages – most of which tend to be around 50 minutes long – provide more than enough pressure to the body to experience optimal benefits.

Massage has so many benefits from relieving stress, anxiety, depression and helping you sleep better. It can help with chronic fatigue, give pain relief, and can boost your immune system. It can also improve your posture and relieve headaches and can be done on yourself or by using a massage gun or having treatment. I find massaging acupressure points of great benefit to me although I can obviously not reach certain areas.

A great home massage tip is to use a tennis ball, which can help with back and other muscle pains.

For self-massage, they suggest that you lie on a mat with two tennis balls under your back, and roll up and down. The balls then massage the muscles and ligaments around your spine. This then stretches the muscles and surrounding tissue, increasing blood flow and nutrients to the area to help ease the pain.

For specific acupressure using your tennis ball lie on your back with your knees bent and your feet flat on the floor or sofa if you cannot get onto the floor. Your knees should be separated by about the width of your hips. Then raise your hips slightly and slide the tennis ball under one of them. Come back down and rest on the ball. You can treat both sides of your body and the sides of your hips.

There is a great book on how to use self-massage with a tennis ball by Angie Sage ‘Tennis Ball Self Massage : Effective Trigger Point Therapy to Relieve Your Muscle and Joint Pain, available on Amazon

This book offers you lots to learn from what is Tennis Ball Self-Massage, Trigger Point Therapy for Head and Neck, Massage to Relieve a Headache, and Massaging the Neck., and Tigger Point Therapy for your Back, Shoulder, Arm, Forearm, Hand, Hip, Thigh and Knee and much more.

Massage guns are very popular at the moment but for someone treating themselves and already in pain then the best type to buy is the lightest you can find otherwise it will just aggravate your pain.

A brilliant app that can help you find a therapist is

Source: Rest Less

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Complimentary and alternative therapies, do they work for you and if so which therapy is it? I don’t know about you but you read so much about complementary therapies and alternative therapies but I’m not quite sure which category they go into.

The National Centre for Complementary and Alternative Medicine (NCCAM) is the Federal Government’s lead agency for scientific research on complementary and alternative medicine (CAM). The mission of NCCAM is to define, through rigorous scientific investigation, the usefulness and safety of complementary and alternative medicine interventions and their roles in improving health and health care.’

Experts put CAM into four major categories. Biologically based practices ie homeopathy and herbalism, energy medicine ie chi, reiki and healing touch and manipulative and body-based pratices ie acupuncture, and massage therapy and yoga and finally mind-body medicine ie cognitive behavioral therapy.

Patient info explains that an ‘Analyses of studies into the prevalence of use of CAM in the UK report poor methodological quality. A 2013 systematic review found that across surveys on CAM in general, the average one-year prevalence of use of CAM by people in the UK was 41.1% and the average lifetime prevalence was 51.8%

Basically Complementary medicine is used together with standard medical care and alternative medicine is used in place of standard medical care for example in treating heart disease with chelation (pronounced “kee-lay-shen”) therapy (which seeks to remove excess metals for the blood) instead of using a standard approach (nihseniorhealth.gov)

The term alternative medicine, as used in the modern Western World, ecompasses any healing practice “that does not fall within the realm of convential medicine” or the practice of medicines without the use of drugs, may involve herbal medicines or self awareness or biofeedback or acupuncture. Complementary meaning the practice of medicine that combines traditional medicine (drugs) with alternative medicine.

Which treatments are available on the NHS ? The NHS say that the availability of CAMs on the NHS is limited, and in most cases the NHS will not offer such treatments.

The National Institute for Health and Care Excellence (NICE) provides guidance to the NHS on effective treatments that are value for money. NICE has recommended the use of CAMs in a limited number of circumstances.

For example:

  • the Alexander technique for Parkinson’s disease
  • ginger and acupressure for reducing morning sickness
  • manual therapy for lower back pain

They also explain how you should go about getting a complimentary or alternative therapy treatment, ‘If you think you may have a health condition, first see your GP. Do not visit a CAM practitioner instead of seeing your GP. It’s particularly important to talk to your GP if you have a pre-existing health condition or are pregnant. Also, some CAMs may interact with medicines that you’re taking or should not be taken if you’re pregnant.’

You can go onto the NHS website and find complementary therapies in your area by tapping in your postcode to see if there is a practitioner near you. But Networks NHS UK point out that ‘More people would enjoy the benefits of complementary therapies if they were available free on the NHS. One of the big advantages of our health service is that you can go to the doctor and receive treatment free of charge, but while you may be given a prescription for drugs or referred to a specialist, what are the chances of being sent for a massage or a session of reflexology to ease your stress?

The answer is that the chances are quite slim and again it is a bit of a geographical lottery. If you live in areas where the GP practice (or Primary Care Trust) is in favour of such therapies you may find it much easier, than one where only traditional treatments are available.  Both osteopathy and chiropractic are regulated which means that they are accepted under NICE (National Institute for Clinical Excellence) guidelines, yet surprisingly they are not as available as you might expect.
Acupuncture is, however, widely available in the NHS but provision is still patchy and you may not get it wherever you live.

When I first went to my local pain clinic I was initially offered acupuncture and aromatherapy massage. The acupuncture pain relief just didn’t last long enough to warrant further treatments but I did benefit from a relaxing massage but the postcode lottery cams into place and just like facet joints injections the treatments were no longer available to me.

Most complementary and alternative therapies for pain are expensive to have on a regular basis and so for chronic pain sufferers it’s a catch 22 situation as most of us are not fit enough to work full time and so therefore cannot afford these treatments on a regular basis. We can only hope that future research proves they do more good than harm.

The book I published in 2015 is all about Complementary and Alternative therapies for pain but a lot has changed since then, and new treatments have arrived on the scene so I am just in the process of updating it and adding new treatments now available.

Have you had any therapy treatments for pain, and if you have how successful were they?