3 Natural Pain Therapies

In my previous blogs on pain, I covered some natural interventions for managing arthritis and back pain. With the current opioid crisis and prescribing guidelines tightened for pain medications, consumers are increasingly seeking alternative options for pain relief. This Journal of the American Medical Association editorial outlined the CDC guidelines recommending nonpharmacological interventions before any pharmacologic ones. So in this blog, I’ll cover some non-traditional evidence-based modalities for managing pain. Mindfulness Meditation Did you know that the mind can provide a pain-relief effect without engaging the opioid receptors in the brain? This study showed that similar brain areas are activated during both mindfulness meditation and use of pain-modulators like opioids. These findings also demonstrated that mindfulness meditation reduces pain independently of opioid neurotransmitter mechanisms. Although more rigorous research is recommended, this systematic review of 38 ran...

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Top Tips for Managing Back Pain

According to the CDC, lower back pain is the most common type of disability globally. In the US, one in four adults reported having back pain in the last three months. Lower back pain is classified based on the type and duration of clinical symptoms: acute (lasting less than 4 weeks), subacute (lasting 4-12 weeks) and chronic (lasting more than 12 weeks). What is alarming is that even with the lack of evidence to support its efficacy, almost 14% of insured patients who sought care for lower back pain were prescribed pharmacological drugs like opioids and/or benzodiazepines. These addictive narcotics and sedatives have severe consequences which can lead to overdose, mis-use and death (nearly 50,000 people died in the US from opioid mis-use in 2019). So in this blog, I’ll share some evidence-based complementary approaches for back pain that are non-invasive and non-pharmacological treatments. In this review of 45 clinical trials, participants exhibited significantly lower chronic back pa...

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Tips for Managing Pain: Arthritis

According to the CDC, an estimated 78.4 million adults will have some form of physician-diagnosed arthritis (one in four of the population) by the year 2040 with about 35 million adults reporting arthritis-attributed activity limitations. In osteoarthritis, the cartilage that caps the bones in your joints is degraded whereas in rheumatoid arthritis, the membrane that protects and lubricates the joints is inflamed which leads to joint erosion. I’ll share some movement tips and herbs for managing the discomfort and pain associated with arthritis in the first blog of this series. Also, check out my earlier blog on natural options to manage pain. Movement Strength Training Regular exercise and movement can alleviate arthritis pain, decrease stiffness of joints, improve flexibility and may help you reduce your prescription or over-the-counter medication. Although the thought of exercising when in pain may not be appealing, it is a necessity for maintaining healthy weight and lubricating our...

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Natural and Alternative Options for Managing Pain

It’s estimated that over 150 million of us in the US live with chronic pain and take prescription and over-the-counter painkillers, both of which provide only temporary relief, have limited efficacy and come with side effects including potential addiction. This leaves us looking for safe and effective analgesics to manage pain – so in this blog, I’m going to cover some evidence-based alternative and complementary solutions that can provide natural pain relief. It’s important to note that while you can find relief from these options, looking into the root cause of the pain is the key to long-term wellness. And this may require a dramatic shift away from pro-inflammatory habits (affecting your diet, sleep, exercise and mind) which I’ll cover in another blog. 
Acupressure – a traditional Chinese medicine technique dating back more than 2,000 years – is still popular today as an inexpensive and non-medical intervention without side effects. This stimulating practice sends ...

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Making Sense of the Alphabet Soup

Licensure for Acupuncturists and Oriental Medicine In the recently posted webinar by Dagmar Ehling, author (The Chinese Herbalist’s Handbook), acupuncturist, Chinese herbal, and functional medicine practitioner, you may note that she has quite a few titles next to her name. In the field of Oriental medicine, figuring out how to make sense of an acupuncturist’s degree and licensure titles is often confusing. Depending on the college an acupuncturist graduated from and the state he or she practices, you can see different degree and licensure titles. This also comes with the added complexity of different licensing requirements in each state. To make sense of this alphabet soup, below is a short list of some of the titles you may see in the acupuncture and Oriental medicine profession. My suggestion – trust references you may have received but verify the credentials of the practitioner for licensure in your state prior to getting needled. LAc (Licensed Acupuncturist) AP (Acupuncture Physic...

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Is CBD All It’s Cracked Up To Be?

Cannabidiol, more commonly known as CBD, has grown in popularity over the past few years. But what really is CBD, is it actually beneficial for you, and is it marijuana? While, yes, CBD is a component of marijuana, it can be derived from either the hemp plant or the marijuana plant1. Also, unlike marijuana, CBD by itself will not give you a “high” or any feeling of intoxication1.

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Is Chinese Medicine Effective Against COVID-19?

A recent publication in the Internal Journal of Biological Sciences (Int J Biol Sci 2020; 16(10):1708-1717), provided an interesting perspective and review on the use of Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM)  for SARS /COVID-19 infections.  Application of TCM in the treatment of SARS-CoV-2 has been inspired by the outbreak of SARS-CoV in late 2002 in China, and the use of TCM to treat it. Based on observational studies and randomized clinical trials, there is some compelling evidence to support the notion that TCM has a beneficial effect in the treatment or prevention of SARS. A critical analysis of eight randomized controlled trials concluded that as a complement to conventional medicine, TCM showed a  decrease in mortality and relief of symptoms, as well as control of fungal infections in patients with SARS. Additionally, an analysis of 90 peer-reviewed papers showed that TCM used as a complement to conventional treatment had some benefits, including better control of fever, and faster ...

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Acupuncture and Pain Management – Dr. Bonnie McLean Podcast Review

I had the pleasure of listening to this interview podcast of one of our Wholistics advisors, Dr. Bonnie McLean, on How Acupuncture Chinese Medicine Works for Pain Management. I love her approach to treating the whole person and she has provided me with much guidance on the Wholistics platform. Dr. Mclean is an RN with over 35 years’ experience in acupuncture and Chinese Medicine. In addition to being an author of the book, Integrative Medicine, she recently won Top Doctor of Oriental Medicine and Acupuncturist 2019 by the International Association of Top Professionals. At the time of this blog writing, she was on her way to Las Vegas to accept her award – congratulations Bonnie! In this interview, Bonnie noted that she got into integrative medicine as she wasn’t getting the care she wanted as an allopathic nurse. This led her to receive her doctorate in Acupuncture and Oriental Medicine. Here are the salient points from her interview: Acupuncture is part of an umbrella of integrative m...

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