If you suffer from anything from a toothache, headache, back ache or just general niggling aches and pains your first impulse might be to reach for the paracetemol or aspirin, but that’s not always the best option. Many pharmaceutical drugs come with a risk and generally aren’t great for you.
Instead of chemical laden drugs turn to nature instead. There are many natural pain relievers that can work just as well and don’t contain all the nasty ingredients that other drugs contain!
In fact, there are many safe alternative treatments that fall under the complementary and alternative medicine category that can help relieve aches and pains, including herbs and spices, different forms of exercise, yoga, reiki, massage, acupuncture, bowen therapy, chiropractic, vitamins and minerals and so much more.
Here are just 10 of my favourite natural ways to reduce aches and pains (there are so many more too!)
1. Epsom Salt Soak
A relaxing warm to hot bath with 2 cups of Epsom salts can help to sooth and reduce aches and pains. High in magnesium and sulfates, the Epsom salts are quickly absorbed into the skin to provide a relatively quick relief and also aid in reducing inflammation. Try soaking in the bath for around 20 minutes. You might also like to add some Lavender essential oils to also aid with relaxation.
If you suffer form joint pain one of the underlying causes could be stiff muscles. Regular exercise can help to stretch and strengthen your muscles, therefor reducing pain and inflammation. The stronger the joints and muscles become the less likely you are of suffering from joint pain. Find a style or form of exercise that you both enjoy and can commit to regularly.
Turmeric is a spice that gives Indian curries that incredible yellow colour and has a very unique flavor. One of the best things about turmeric though is that it contains a compound called Curcumin, an antioxidant that protects the body from free radical molecules that can damage cells and tissue. It can also be responsible for reducing inflammation in the body, therefor helping to reduce aches and pains, as well as reducing symptoms such as irritable bowel, psoriasis, and arthritis. Try adding some to your cooking on a regular basis.
Acupuncture is a complimentary medical practice that has been part of Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM) for thousands of years. It works to reduce and relieve aches and pains by balancing the body’s natural energy pathways. Depending on your reasons for having acupuncture the practitioner will insert tiny, very thin needles into different acupoints on your body, promoting self-healing. The insertion of needles into acupoints helps our bodies flow of energy known as Qi (pronounced ‘chee’) to once again become balanced. When the Qi is balanced the body is healthy and free from pain.
5. Heat and Ice
If you’re looking for immediate joint pain, try a hot and cold pack applied directly to the areas of pain. A cold pack used for a short period on the head may take away the pain of a headache.
6. Essential Oils
There are many oils that can aid in pain relief but a few of my favourites are Eucalyptus for muscle aches and pains used in a massage oil, added to a bath or in a compress. Lavender oil used directly on the temples can make a headache completely disappear.
7. Fish Oil
The Omega-3 fatty acids present in fish oil work to lower inflammation in the body and also to reduce pain, support the immune system and improve joint mobility. Taking a good high quality Fish Oil is something I recommend to all my clients for long term health.
Massage not only promotes relaxation and stress relief. The touch of a qualified therapist can also ease pain and promote healing in sore muscles through the increased blood flow to sore, stiff joints and muscles. Massage also triggers the release of oxytocin, a hormone that relaxes muscles and encourages feelings of calmness and contentment.
9. Diet and Nutrition
One of the easiest ways to prevent aches and pains in the long term is through the improvement of diet and nutrition. A poor diet can cause chronic inflammation in the body causing all sorts of issues from aches and pains and skin conditions to much more serious illnesses. Make it your goal to eat a variety of fresh seasonal (organic if and when possible) fruits and vegetables on a daily basis and limit or completely remove processed foods, trans-fats, alcohol and added sugars as these foods can cause severe inflammation in the body.
Because sometimes those little aches and pains might just be our body’s way of telling us to slow down and rest.
Melanie Hansen is a certified Integrative Nutrition Health Coach, Personal Trainer, Yoga Teacher, healthy living enthusiast and busy mum! Melanie’s passion is to help women bring balance in to their lives and to live a fit, healthy, happy life. She wants you to feel beautiful, to be happy, confident, motivated, full of energy and for the most part to love yourself and your life every day.
Looking to rejuvenate and unwind?
Watch the video below to learn how a sauna can be your own wellness retreat.