Easing the pain

If you’ve ever suffered from a splitting headache, you will know the miracles a painkiller can perform in desperate times. Whereas few people would argue the efficacy of painkillers and the great relief it brings to millions of serious pain sufferers throughout the world, there are many of us who reach for painkillers far too easily. We forget that pain is a message from our bodies that something is wrong and that we should stop for a moment and listen.

Whereas extreme and/or chronic pain definitely warrants a visit to your doctor as soon as possible, there are many milder pains and aches that could be dissolved by making some simple changes to your lifestyle.

We live in a rushed and stressful environment and stress is one of the main culprits when it comes to pain and tension in the body. Having too little time causes us to neglect our health. However, following a balanced diet, maintaining a healthy weight, exercising and stretching regularly, limiting the intake of caffeine, alcohol and cigarettes, and getting enough sleep, can go a long way in protecting our bodies from the backaches, stomach aches and tension headaches that so often accompany stress.

Many people think of pain only as physical pain, but so many people also experience emotional pain and trauma, which very often can be an underlying cause of physical pain. It is essential that you make some time for yourself every day – book some time into your hectic schedule to focus on the important things in your life. Whether it’s enjoying a hobby, spending time with your kids, having a good heart-to-heart with someone who really cares about you, or simply relaxing in a bath with a good book, having some me-time is one of the best medicines out there.

It’s also worth exploring the many natural, drug-free alternatives and treatments on offer. Why not treat yourself to a relaxing massage, reflexology, reiki, or learn more about the secrets of essential oils, flower essences and natural herbs. You could also try out meditation, tai chi or yoga: meditation helps to release emotional pain and restore balance, whereas tai chi and yoga help ease pain while strengthening the body and mind.

- (Birgit Ottermann, Natural newsletter, November 2012)

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