Alternative Medicine Self Treatments for Pain
Pain comes in several forms, physical, mental, emotion, spiritual. Pain is a message that something is wrong with one or more of these forms. Identifying the underlying cause is a difficult process. Western medicine addresses pain by trying to remove or reduce it without necessarily seeking out the causation. In this article the hope is to help individuals find ways to deal or alleviate pain without the use of medications, surgeries or devices.
Before you read further, as always, get checked by a competent healthcare professional prior to making any medical decisions and follow their advice. This article should not be consorted as clearance to ignore their advice or alter prescribed medications or dosages. This article is for informational purposes only and does not constitute any professional medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment.
There is an extensive array of energy medicine techniques that may bring at least some pain relief. As we are all unique beings, what works for one individual with the same area and type of pain may not work for another, as the underlying cause may be different. Trial and error is one of the only ways to see what works. This is often where many individuals point to alternative medicine and claim it doesn’t work, but the truth is they don’t have the patience to allow a practitioner to do the detective work necessary to tease out the solution.
One form of assessment used in energy medicine is called Applied Kinesiology (AP) or energy/muscle testing. 24Life states: “Energy testing is a way of asking your body if what you’re doing is having a positive impact energetically, and if it is strengthening to the body or to a particular system—or if it’s making you weaker. Energy testing is both deceptively easy to do and incredibly complex and nuanced. Like diagnosing, it is both an art and a science.”
24Life suggests the following procedure:
“The easiest way to learn energy testing is with a partner.
Stand facing your partner and ask them to hold an arm out to the side at shoulder height. Put one hand on their other shoulder and one hand [use only 1 or 2 fingers placed above the wrist bone (towards the shoulder)] on their outstretched wrist. Make sure they have an open palm, not a fist. [The elbow should be locked out]
First, you want to get a “testable muscle.” Say the person’s [correct] name and have them repeat it.
You say: “My name is Sally.”
They say: “My name is Sally,” as you apply [a quick] downward pressure on their arm and they try to resist. The arm should remain strong. [ If not, stimulate the Kidney 27 points and try again]
Next, you test for a “negative” to make sure the test is reliable.
You say: “My name is Nancy [a false name].”
They say: “My name is Nancy,” as you apply downward pressure on their arm and they try to resist.
If you’re testing Sally, her arm should go weak when she says, “My name is Nancy.” If she stays strong for both, or goes weak for both, you both need to do the wake up practice to get the energy flowing correctly. Then do these pre-tests again.
Once you have a testable muscle, you can work with a substance, a thought, a vow or anything that you want to confirm is or is not beneficial to the body.
If you’re testing a substance, your partner holds it against their belly. You’ll then push down firmly on [above] their wrist. If the arm collapses, the substance is not good for the person. If the arm stays strong, either not moving or moving slightly with a bounce but staying strong, then the substance is good or neutral. You can write a vow or thought on a piece of paper and test that as well.”
Placing a hand or finger or two of one hand on a particular acupuncture point, meridian, or other part of the body such as a particular muscle and the using the other hand to apply downward pressure above their wrist as they resist is a way to see if a particular point or pathway is “blocked”, if something is out of align or where a particular issue is located. Using this technique can then guide you to deal with the root cause, whether it be an energetic imbalance or a muscle pull.
Performing Donna Eden’s Daily Energy Routine prior to using any techniques is extremely beneficial.
Prune Harris suggests “Always effective in reducing the stress of the pain is holding the main neurovascular points on the forehead. These points help balance fluid in the body, which can certainly help shift congestion in the ear, but even more importantly they held relieve stress. … Holding the NVs can remove this so that the ability to manage the pain is much greater.”
Donna Eden suggests the use of magnets for healing and pain. She states the following: “Magnets can be used as a supplement to the techniques mentioned above [see the article linked above]. They should not be placed over a pacemaker or over the womb during pregnancy! Nor should the south side of a magnet, which stimulates growth and increases circulation, be placed over an infection, a swelling, or a tumor, or on a person with diabetes!
The north side of a magnet draws energy toward it; the south side disperses energy away from it. Begin with a small magnet that has a weak force field (such as the lifesaver-like magnets [once] sold by Radio Shack [can be purchased on Amazon]). Once you are familiar with the effects of a weaker magnet, you may wish to experiment with magnets that are somewhat more powerful.
Generally for pain work the north side of the magnet is placed against the skin (though there are exceptions, and you should trust your experience). The south side may be held to an area for about 30 seconds to restore balance after the north side has been taped to the skin for a period of time. The magnet is placed on the skin directly over an area of pain, unless there is an open wound or other reason not to. In that case, place it immediately below the area of the pain (i.e. away from the head and closer to the fingers or toes). Do not place the south side of the magnet directly on a painful area. You can, however, place the south side above the pain (closer to the head). This can help with blood flow, digestion, and overall energy. The exception to this is in the case of a burn. First place the north side below the burn for pain relief and fighting infection. Once there is a scab, laying the south side on the burn can help skin heal faster, but if it begins to increase the pain, turn the magnet over for a few seconds. Then remove it, or try again.
You can also use the interplay between the north and south sides. For instance, suppose you want to hold the south side over your stomach because you have indigestion, but you also feel some pain in the area. You could hold the north side over your stomach until the pain goes away and then turn it over so the south side can work with the indigestion. For a headache, you could put the north side on the top of your head to sedate the energetic congestion, and once you feel some relief, use the south side for about 30 seconds to disburse the energy. Use Band-Aid-type tape to attach the magnet to your skin.
It is not possible to provide exact guidelines for how long to keep the magnet taped to your body, so stay attuned to your intuition. You may remove the magnet as soon as the pain resolves, perhaps in as little as a minute. You may wear it all night. You may wear it for a few minutes several times each day to change the field of a chronic pain condition. When the pain stops, remove the magnet; if the pain returns, replace the magnet. As a rule of thumb, never keep the north side of the magnet taped on for more than 12 hours or the south side for more than 30 minutes.”
Breathing for pain relief is often a simple way to diminish the pain. Using sensory inputs can greatly enhance the effect of breathing on pain. focusing on the area of the pain begin to notice if the pain has a color, then ask the pain, or yourself, what color feels comforting to this pain. Then visualize breathing out the color of the pain and breathing into the pain the color that is comforting. You can do this same technique with temperature, smells, sounds, etc.
Another technique suggested by the National Service Scottish is as follows: “Breathe in deeply through your nose and say to yourself “breathe in calm, peace, relax”. Breathe out slowly through your mouth and say to yourself “breathe out tension, pain, stress”. Repeat … focusing only on those breaths and those words. Feel yourself settling and letting go. Take your attention to the place that hurts, acknowledging it whilst realizing that you can relieve it. Breathe in calm and peace to that area and then imagine breathing out through the place that hurts. Keep gently breathing in and gently breathing out right through the place that hurts. Imagine that area being softened, soothed and calmed. Continue until the pain is relieved.”
Acupressure can often be helpful in dealing with pain. Beware that acupressure should not be used if the area having pressure applied is in an area with: a cancerous tumor or if the cancer has spread to bones; rheumatoid arthritis; a spinal injury; a spinal or bone issue that could be made worse by physical manipulation; varicose veins; open sores; or if you are pregnant.
Stimulating the Large Intestine 4 point, located in the fleshy area between the base of the thumb and index finger, by using firm, but not painful, circular pressure with your thumb is an often prescribed point for upper body pain such as headaches.
Stomach 36 is often recommended for generalized lower body pain.
For more specific areas of pain there are many other points can be helpful, such as Spleen 6 for knee pain or Kidney 3 for lower back pain.
Utilizing the energy produced during qigong and using sword fingers or laying the palm on an area of pain may help open the energy pathways. Intuitively placing your hands is often the most productive. That pain in your neck might be caused by an imbalance somewhere else.
Aromatherapy can be used for pain management therapy. Aromatherapy uses scents from essential plant oils that are either applied to the skin or inhaled. According to Healthline, “Researchers have found evidence to suggest that certain oils may treat the symptoms of certain ailments, such as: inflammation; headaches; depression; sleep disorders and respiratory problems.” They go on to warn, “Always use caution when trying a new essential oil. Take care to dilute essential oils in a carrier oil such as olive oil or sweet almond oil. Never apply essential oils directly to the skin. Some people can be allergic to some essential oils. To do a patch test, mix 3 to 5 drops of the essential oil with an ounce of carrier oil Apply a bit of this mixture to unbroken skin of your forearm, about the size of a dime. If no reaction in 24 to 48 hours it should be safe to use.Talk to your doctor before use if you: are pregnant; are nursing; have an existing medical condition; wish to use essential oils on children or older adults. Potential side effects of using essential oils include: skin irritation; skin inflammation; sun sensitivity; and allergic reaction.”
A study in the Pain Research and Treatment Journal, published by the NCBI, concluded “This study found a significant positive effect of aromatherapy in reducing pain. These results indicate that aromatherapy should be considered a safe addition to current pain management procedures as no adverse effects were reported in any of the included studies. Additionally, the cost associated with aromatherapy is far less than the cost associated with standard pain management treatment. Although the present meta-analysis indicates a large positive effect for the use of aromatherapy for pain management, the sample size is small. Given the prevalence of aromatherapy, more research is necessary to fully understand clinical applications for its use.” Prevention states, “Research shows that lavender essential oil can help with headaches as well as menstrual, arthritis, muscle, and post-operative pain. Meanwhile, peppermint can help ease headaches along with gastrointestinal, muscle, and neck pain. Chamomile, mandarin, black pepper, and rosemary can also help manage pain.”
Shamanism may also provide the tools to alleviate pain. According to a study dealing with patients with Temporomandibular joint disorders (TMDs) in The Permanente Journal published by the NCBI, concluded “This research supports other studies suggesting that treatments that attend to the psychosocial needs of individuals with TMDs may have lasting effects. For most of the participants in this study, the positive effects of treatment appear to have lasted for at least 9 months after treatment ended. Moreover, the continued participation of those who entered treatment (19/23, or 83%) suggests that shamanic healing is feasible and acceptable to women with TMDs.” … “Shamanic healing had lasting effects on TMDs in this small cohort of women.”
The study explained that “Shamanic healing is an ancient and widespread form of spiritual healing that focuses on illness (ie, the patient's experience of their disorder), which can be influenced by both biology and the sociocultural context of the disorder. In the shamanic worldview, illnesses may be due to both spiritual and nonspiritual factors. Shamans worldwide believe all living beings have a soul—the vital essence required for life. The soul is the spiritual, nonphysical part of us that is the center of our emotions, feelings, and spirit. Part of this vital essence can “split away” when there is trauma (eg, an accident or loss of a loved one). A person suffering from soul loss may feel dead inside, suffer memory gaps, experience out-of-body or listless feelings, or have frequent physical illnesses. For a shamanic practitioner (SP), it is important to find those essences that have split away, help them to heal, and bring them back into the person to help make him/her whole again. Although the client may express their experience of shamanic healing to the SP, the SP encourages the client to experience the changes quietly; clients need not describe their experience to the SP. In contrast, contemporary psychology recognizes the phenomenon of dissociation, when people split off from their body at times of stress. In this context, the client is helped to regain and sometimes describe the lost experience and can be healed.” … “The primary task of the SP is to help restore wholeness to the individual or community. SPs use their connection with helping spirits to clear out blocking, or negative, intrusive energy (extraction), bring back soul essences lost during trauma or illness (soul retrieval), and engage in spiritual healing (guided visualizations, ritual, etc). The shaman's preverbal imagery for treating health problems may permit the client's imagination to act directly upon the physical substrate of tissues, organs, and cells through a system of biologic communication that evolved before language. This healing information and energy is transmitted to the participant through verbal and nonverbal communication.
Shamanic healing is interactive, enabling individuals to regain their power and participate in their own healing. An individual need not be an SP to learn to journey, although simply learning to journey does not qualify one to be an SP."
I hope that I have opened your eyes to roads less traveled that might help you enjoy a long, happy, productive life.