Monday, August 08, 2011

Coping with Chronic Pain, Part 8: Alternative Therapies

It is a wordy post today, but I promise it is worth the read. :)

It is the final installment in the series on Coping with Chronic Pain (or any kind of pain for that matter).

Today I going to talk about  my favourite form of treatment:  Alternative Therapies.  These involve a more non-traditional approach to healing and pain relief.

There are many of of therapies from homeopathy to reflexology, but I am going to focus on three.

On a side note:  Make sure you check with you insurance company as many of these therapies are covered up to a certain dollar amount.  It can get very expensive, so any help you can get is fantastic.

Alternative Therapies

Massage can be a tricky creature when you suffer from pain.  To much pressure and you can find yourself worse off than when you started.  Not enough pressure and it won't help relieve any of the tension you are feeling. Massage is very personal and only you know what kind of pressure is right for you.

The key to a great and beneficial massage is finding the right therapist.  Ask your friends and family for a referral and try out a few different types (Swedish, Thai, hot stone etc.) to see which styles and techniques work the best for you.

Once you have found the right one(s), make sure you keep you are honest and open with your practitioner.  Tell them about any pain you are having and the areas you would like to focus on during your sessions.  Speak up if anything feels uncomfortable or is not working for you.

I have found that massages do wonders for my body, mind and spirit. 

The idea of laying down and having someone stick needles in you may make you feel squeamish, but I urge you to give this a try if you suffer from any kind of pain.

Like massage, there are many different approaches to acupuncture, but the most common is based on the idea of merdians.  Merdians are thought to be channels in the body through which life energy (qi) flows.  This energy can become blocked and the needles are used to release it.

It usually takes 10-12 session to notice any improvements from the treatments. Some people don't feel any changes at all.

While I noticed some changes, I have benefited more from other forms of treatment.  I would still encourage you to give it a try and I know many people who have had much success with it.

Infrared Sauna
The crowning glory of treatments in my book.  Infrared saunas are popping up everywhere (even Dr. Oz loves them) and for good reason: The heat is absorbed directly into the body, which allows it to penetrate the muscles.

As with any kind of sauna, you will sweat.  By sweating, you will help the body release toxins (which is thought to be very high in people who suffer from Chronic Fatigue Syndrome or Fibromyalgia) and this is a good thing.

You will also find it is not as hot or humid as traditional saunas, which is good news for those of you who are not able to tolerate high heat.

Admittedly, it has been a few years since I have been in an infrared sauna and I truly miss it.  I will have to find one in my area and take it for another test drive.

Are you a believer in alternative therapies?  Which ones have you tried?

Stay Healthy,

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