Pain Articles
5 Tips to Ease Night Time Pain
by Jesse Cannone, CFT, CPRS, MFT

Nighttime pain is a cause of distress for millions of people. It seems that in the evenings when people are worn out from their long day and the body is shutting down its defenses, pain seems to jump front and center. And without the ability to ease the pain, inflammation, tightness and stress... getting a deep, sound sleep is next to impossible.

1.  Watch Your Diet

The food we eat is a critical piece of the puzzle when it comes to controlling inflammation and indigestion, which themselves cause pain. The typical American diet consists of too much fat, tons of sugar, loads of red meat, and a frightening amount of processed foods -- all of which are likely to increase inflammation and indigestion. By switching to an anti-inflammatory diet plan consisting of healthy whole foods, you can actually decrease inflammation and ease the pain and discomfort associated with it.

Eating plenty of whole grain and complex carbohydrates, as well as consuming ample fresh water, will help your stools move, decrease constipation and limit indigestion. Adding more of the aromatic spices to dishes (like ginger, garlic, onion, turmeric, curry) also aid the body in naturally fighting inflammation, pain and help expel toxins. In addition, avoiding the nightshades (tomato, potato, eggplant) will help as these have been shown to increase inflammation, which increases discomfort and pain.

2.  Have a Good Laugh

The notion that laughter is good for the body has been around for thousands of years - certainly as far back as the Old Testament. Proverbs 17:22 says, "A cheerful heart is good medicine, but a crushed spirit dries up the bones."

Seventeenth century English physician Dr. Thomas Sydenham remarked, "The arrival of a good clown exercises more beneficial influence upon the health of a town than of twenty asses laden with drugs." Or as the master Groucho Marx put it, "A clown is like aspirin, only he works twice as fast."

Here's a funny... How do you get a sweet 80-year-old lady to say the F word? Get another sweet little 80-year-old lady to yell *BINGO*!

A study published in the Journal of Holistic Nursing reported that patients who were told one-liners after surgery and before painful medication was administered perceived less pain when compared to patients who didn't get a dose of humor as part of their therapy.

Another study, this one published in the Journal of Applied Behavioral Analysis, found that young girls with burns who were shown cartoons during very painful hydrotherapy said they felt less pain than similar patients who were not exposed to cartoons during the same procedure.

Aside from distracting us from pain, laughter triggers the release of endorphins, the chemicals in the brain that can make us feel good. So make it a point each day, and especially each evening to laugh. Read something funny, watch something funny, think of something funny or talk to a funny person. Not only will this distract from pain, and reduce nighttime pain, but it will also help relieve stress and help get you a new focus on your life.

3.  Reframe Your Mind

Reframing the way you think of your pain is easy and it shows you that your outlook on life has a lot to do with the life you lead. Pain is simply a form of communicating information within your body.

You may say to yourself, "My back hurts, I have weak knees, they stop me from doing things and this gets me down." What you are doing is letting yourself know you have all of these problems. By focusing on the problems, you are actually reaffirming a negative cycle. Reframing helps break that cycle to bring on relief.

Step One is identifying the problem. Why is it happening (e.g., you have had a disc problem; you where sleeping in a new bed). When is it happening (e.g., while doing something that always sets it off). What is happening (e.g., what kind of pain is it?). And How is it happening (e.g., are making it worse? Is it fear-based pain where you are worried that it will get bad so you get in the mindset of being in pain?)

Step Two is separating the intention from the learned behavior. In other words, you slow down to really talk to your subconscious mind about a better way to deal with the problem at hand. You might say, "Okay, I know I am having pain, but it's not an injury, I am not my pain, it just happened today because I have been sitting all day and not moving." Thinking and acknowledging in this way keeps you focused on getting to step three.

Step Three is setting the positive way forward. You can even thank your body for the message of pain, as it focused you to work with a better intention of achieving your health and long-term life goals.

You can reframe in many ways, just look at the positive view of the situation and let your mind work for you!

4.  Take Systemic Enzymes

Most physical pain is caused by inflammation. Enzymes are the main line of defense against inflammation by neutralizing the bio-chemicals of inflammation to levels where the creation, repair and regeneration of injured tissues can take place.

Reducing inflammation can have immediate impact on improved heart health, cancer prevention and recovery and Alzheimer's prevention. It also helps speed up recovery from sprains, strains, fractures, bruises, contusions, surgery -- and arthritis. And any of these areas certainly cause nighttime pain and poor sleep.

Enzymes also break down scar tissue and fibrosis. They cleanse the blood of excess fibrin that causes the blood to thicken, which sets you up for clots, which can cause heart attack or stroke. Enzymes also help take some of the strain off of the liver by keeping the blood clean and not allowing it to thicken beyond normal. Enzymes are adaptogenic and they work to restore the body's balance. When the immune system is low and we become more susceptible to infections, the enzymes clean the blood to help fight off infection. And if the immune system is too ramped up, as with autoimmune diseases, the enzymes work to tone down the immune system and eat the antibodies that are attacking the healthy tissue.

Systemic enzymes truly are one of nature's most powerful natural remedies. After years of research and testing, the only systemic enzyme formulation that I have found to deliver consistent and excellent results is called Heal-n-Soothe™. This formula includes what I believe is the best combination of enzymes and herbs that have been proven to fight off inflammation and reduce pain. In fact, Heal-n-Soothe™ is the most powerful proteolytic enzyme formulation that's ever been created and is now available to you today.

5.  Get Deep, Restorative Sleep

While it is a catch-22, deep sleep is necessary to relieve pain. Yes, nighttime pain will keep you awake, but finding ways to reduce it and over time getting that sleep will do wonders in the long run.

During sleep, the body works to repair itself. The liver purifies blood, the muscles repair, serotonin increases. Without ample sleep, these things do not happen at optimal levels.

In our natural circadian rhythm, or biological clock, sleep is set to take over during the evening hours. We are genetically programmed to get up and lie down with the sun. So it was the invention of artificial sources of light (candles and bulbs) that began our stressed-out drive for more working hours at the expense of much-needed rest.

What's the big deal, you ask, if you sleep only a few hours per night? You can always drink coffee, take NoDoze caffeine pills, cat naps... life is good. Well, not really. Did you know that in clinical tests rats die within a few short weeks of sleep deprivation? And it's not just rats at risk.

Chronic fatigue, adrenal fatigue, attention deficit disorder, chronic migraine and headache, body aches and pain, mental illness, depression and anxiety are all in part caused - or made worse -by lack of sleep. And no caffeine pill or taurine-laced energy drink can cure these dangerous side effects of our global-economy-size workloads.

Here are seven ways to help you fall asleep and repair.

  1. Do not consume ANY sugar or caffeine after 6:00pm.
  2. Stop working at least two hours before bedtime.
  3. Turn off the computer and television at least one hour before bedtime.
  4. Make sure your sleeping quarters are as dark and silent as possible. Studies have shown that those in darker and quieter spaces tend to sleep through the night more deeply than others.
  5. Establish a sleep/wake schedule, and stick to it.
  6. Make a set routine out of bedtime. Change into pajamas, brush your teeth, set out clothes for the morning, even jot down any last thoughts but promise yourself to revisit them tomorrow, then turn off the light... breathe deeply, relax, sleep tight.
  7. If a racing mind is nagging, slow your breath and focus on the sensation of air as it passes through your nose. This will derail those busy thoughts to help you drift off.

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Are the Foods You are Eating Keeping You in Pain?
By Steve Hefferon, CMT, PTA and co-founder of

An Anti-Inflammatory Diet Could Be the Ticket to Feeling Better

When I say the word "inflammation," it's likely to evoke thoughts of painful joints and muscles, swelling, and a loss of mobility. But did you know that recent research shows that chronic inflammation in your body can lead to serious diseases such as diabetes, heart disease, some cancers, and Alzheimer's disease, to name just a few?

The amount of inflammation in your body varies and is dependent on a number of factors - including your activity level, the amount of sleep you get, the degree of stress in your life, and even the foods you eat. What you have to realize is that these factors are cumulative - meaning they build up over time. And the more that any or all of these factors get out of whack, the risk for disease increases.

Early in life, these levels can be so low that you might not even be aware that you have any inflammation in your body. That's because our bodies do a fairly decent job of controlling the inflammation - at least for a while. Then one day you wake up and you're in your 40s and something is just not right. That's when the fear begins to set in, and you think to yourself: What did I do wrong? or What can I do now to help myself?

The first step is to get your C-reactive protein (CRP) levels tested. C-reactive protein is produced by the liver, and the level of CRP rises when there is systemic inflammation in the body. Ask your doctor about this (you may have to demand to have the test done). All it requires is a blood sample that will be evaluated by your doctor. And because diet can play a large role in how much or how little inflammation you have, you may want these levels looked at by a registered dietician who can help you formulate an appropriate eating plan.

If you have pain due to inflammation, you may choose to take the traditional medical path, which includes non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs), steroids, and even joint-replacement surgery in extreme cases. The good news is that there are natural ways to fight inflammation without the undesirable side-effects that often result from the treatments listed above.

What You Eat Makes All The Difference

The food we eat is a critical piece of the puzzle when it comes to controlling inflammation. The typical American diet consists of too much fat, tons of sugar, loads of red meat, and a frightening amount of processed foods - all of which are likely to increase inflammation and contribute to obesity, which itself is can cause inflammation. By switching to an anti-inflammatory diet plan consisting of healthy whole foods, you can actually decrease inflammation and ease the pain and discomfort associated with it.

The first step is to avoid processed foods, foods high in sugar, and junk food whenever possible. Instead, choose fresh whole foods, especially anti-inflammatory varieties such as lean proteins, fruits, and vegetables. But choose carefully. Many vegetables and pre-packaged "health" foods can actually work against you. Use this handy list of the best and worst foods for controlling inflammation:

Anti-inflammatory foods:

  • Atlantic Salmon (wild)
  • Fresh whole fruits, vegetables
  • Bright multi-colored vegetables
  • Green tea
  • Water
  • Olive oil
  • Lean poultry
  • Nuts, legumes and seeds
  • Dark green leafy vegetables
  • Old fashioned oatmeal
  • Spices, especially Turmeric and Ginger

Inflammatory foods:

  • Sugar, from any source
  • Processed foods
  • French Fries
  • Fast Foods
  • White bread
  • Pasta
  • Ice Cream
  • Cheddar Cheeses
  • Snack Foods
  • Oils such as vegetable and corn
  • Soda, caffeine and alcohol

In addition to these dietary changes it is also recommended that you:

  • Maintain a healthy weight - There is no question that eating healthy is not easy nowadays, whether you're at home or at a restaurant. But at the very least, you must try to decrease your intake of sugars and hydrogenated oils and increase your daily intake of fiber. Ideally, you should be consuming 35 grams of fiber (that is a ton of fiber, but it's worth shooting for).

  • Get better sleep - 7 to 9 hours of sleep is a must for optimal health; getting a good night's sleep is key to controlling systemic inflammation.

  • Relax more often to lower stress levels - Find time for yourself throughout the day to focus on your breathing and clear the clutter from your mind; learn to stay focused on the most important tasks in your life.

  • Exercise on a regular basis - People always ask me: What's the best exercise to do? I always tell them: Do something you like to do and, if your body can tolerate it, aim for 15-20 minutes three times a week.

  • Demand to have you CRP levels tested - This simple blood test is the best indicator of the amount of systemic inflammation in your body. Have the levels evaluated by a certified health care provider who can suggest the most appropriate action.

So, if you are in pain and you've made a conscious decision to help yourself get better, then...

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Beyond Pain
By Maggie Good

Pain, particularly chronic pain, is much more than a neurological response, a simple cause-and-effect. It is a complex physical, emotional, intellectual, environmental and social response to damage, disease or distress. While most pain becomes evident with nerve or tissue damage, the origins of some pain may be emotional, intellectual or even spiritual.

Pain is a common human experience and yet we don't really know what someone else's pain is like. Pain is personal; we all feel and respond to it differently and our tolerance levels vary. What is painful for one might be dismissed as insignificant by another. Long-term pain, or chronic pain, can be a lonely experience and sufferers can feel isolated and powerless.

Perhaps the most destructive aspect of chronic pain is the way it steadily erodes and fragments the life force of the person in pain. The pain sufferer can lose a sense of being in charge of their life, becoming reactive and increasingly powerless, devitalised and demoralised. By its very nature pain can affect all aspects of the sufferer's life — their relationship with themselves and with others, their finances and, if they are able to work, their work performance.

In the range of help available to the chronic pain sufferer, there is a vast resource that is potentially and consistently the most powerful of all. This is the mind. In combination with appropriate therapies, the healing power of the mind gives us access to enduring, effective pain management.

The bodymind network

Psychoneuroimmunology (PNI), a science that integrates neuroscience, endocrinology and immunology, establishes that the nervous, endocrine and immune systems are functionally integrated. What all three systems have in common is they each have a number of locations throughout the head and body and they 'speak' to each other in a biochemical language. PNI makes it clear that the mind and body contain interrelated components of the same system that historically has been located only in the head and attributed only to the workings of the brain.

Pain affects more than the nervous system and brain because the mind network extends far beyond this. This mind is a communications network of hormones, chemicals and cells that move throughout the head and body. These biochemical couriers carry and deliver 'mind messages' as they travel through the head and body via the cardiac highway, the circuitry of neuronal synapses and the rivers of the lymph, cerebrospinal fluid and other extracellular fluids.

Beyond the physical body is an energy body called the aura or etheric body. The aura surrounds the body in an oval shape. In the average person it is between two and three metres across at its widest point and comprises several layers. It also includes a number of energy centres called chakras. Emotions, thoughts and states of being, including pain, also exist in the energy field around the body. Bio-energetic changes flow on throughout the entire system, including the etheric.

In good health, this psychosomatic network is in a dynamic state, a series of friendly conversations throughout the bodymind to create a constant flow of information, feedback and response to maintain homeostasis (balance). In the chronic pain sufferer, the communication system is 'down', conversations cease or become distorted, the flow of information is restricted or blocked.

Pain pathways

Pain generally begins with neurological or tissue damage, though this isn't always where pain begins. Depending on the type of pain, messages travel at different speeds and are stored in different parts of the brain. Pain is broadly categorised as acute or chronic, though even these distinctions can become blurred. Acute pain is sharp and insistent, caused, for example, by a heavy blow or fall, an infection or a bite, which eases as the injury heals. It doesn't last more than a few days. The acute pain pathway involves pain receptors reacting to tissue damage. The information is sent along the faster A-delta nerve fibres, through the dorsal horn in the spinal cord. The acute pain message is then passed along the neospinothalamic pathway to parts of the brain called the thalamus and the cortex.

Chronic pain is long-term. It can present after the acute pain of an injury or surgery has healed. In the case of disease, it may increase in intensity as the disease progresses. Chronic pain can be neuropathic (nerve), inflammatory, ischaemic (circulatory blockage causing diminished blood supply), visceral (internal organs), musculoskeletal (muscles, tendons, ligaments, bones) or psychological. In chronic pain, messages are relayed along C nerve fibres, which transmit more slowly along the paleospinothalamic pathway. Its final destination in the brain is different from that of acute pain. Chronic pain is registered in the hypothalamus and limbic parts of the brain.

The brain's response to pain is an area currently under investigation. There is still much to be substantiated. What is known is that the limbic system, sometimes called the primitive brain because it deals with survival and emotions, is part of the pain pathway. When pain messages are received in the brain, the limbic system sends messages to the periaqueductal gray (PAG), a part of the brain stem, which is filled with opiate receptors. The PAG acts as a sort of analgesic dispensary and these 'natural painkillers' are then sent to the site of pain.

Ligands and receptors

Receptors are sensing molecules found on cell walls. The ligand is the chemical partner of the receptor. It binds with the receptor to cause a chemical change that results in a biological response. There are three types of ligand: neurotransmitters, steroids and peptides. Ligands, broadly speaking, are the couriers in the bodymind network; they travel throughout the nervous, endocrine and immune systems to find the particular receptor they 'click' into.

Natural ligands are produced in parts of the brain and at other sites throughout the body. The natural ligands of particular interest to the pain sufferer are epinephrine (also called adrenalin), norepinephrine (noradrenalin), cortisol, serotonin and endorphins. These ligands all play a vital role in alleviating pain, lifting depression, normalising biochemistry and promoting healing. Ligands to help the pain sufferer can also be synthesised in a laboratory. For example, morphine and codeine are some of the synthetic opioids used to treat pain. Another group of drugs produced to help with inflammatory pain are NSAIDs (non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs).

Post-traumatic stress disorder

Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) or Post-Traumatic Stress Syndrome (PTSS) are terms that describe a number of unpleasant symptoms, psychological and physiological, that can develop after a painful event such as a serious car accident or repeated surgery. If left untreated, symptoms can persist and even escalate long after the trauma. PTSD can add to the pain and suffering of someone who has been injured or badly traumatised, but not everyone develops PTSD.

As well as the physiological trauma suffered at the time of the event, there may be psychological trauma stored within the bodymind. For the person with PTSD, symptoms and sometimes memories of the trauma will keep replaying, sometimes at the slightest provocation. While PTSD isn't fully understood, it is believed that repeated post-trauma arousal may cause damaging changes to the nerve fibres in the limbic brain. The post-traumatic response isn't clear-cut but the following states can be identified and individuals may at times exhibit a combination of these.

Hypervigilance is the result of elevated levels of catecholamines (adrenalin and noradrenalin) and cortisol, the fight/flight hormones. It is a state of full alert, ready to fight or flee. Heart and respiration rates are elevated and there is a release of extra glucose into the bloodstream. When trauma has not been treated, relatively minor events can continue to trigger this arousal in what can seem to be an exaggerated reaction. Dizziness, shakiness and trembling may be felt. The individual is bio-chemically re-traumatised, which results in further emotional arousal, insomnia, irritability and anxiety. Repeated episodes of hypervigilance may lower cortisol levels in the long term.

Freezing or numbing affects the individual by creating tension deep within the body. It affects respiration and fluid movement. In this state the level of neurotransmitters tends to be low. In the frozen state, the individual will have a tight chest with shallow respiration, a rigidity or stiffness to their posture and appear to be emotionally numb. Freezing affects homeostasis by restricting the flow of cerebrospinal fluid, lymph and other extracellular fluids, thus restricting an already depleted supply of neuropeptides throughout the bodymind network.

Dissociation is caused by excess levels of adrenalin and endorphins, neurotransmitters that affect memory, and can result in amnesia of sorts. The person will be forgetful, depressed, disconnected and lacking motivation. These people may not feel very good but can't identify what is wrong and they may not be fully aware of pain. The pain sufferer becomes disconnected from the bodymind network and the ability to manage pain. It dulls the pain but also nullifies personal power and volition.

Psychological trauma in many cases accompanies physiological trauma. Someone who has been injured in a car accident will have possibly experienced fear, confusion and feeling out of control at the time of injury. Emotional states can become stored with the physical pain. Just as the nervous system responds to injury by setting off a chain of chemical reactions, so too the emotions that accompany a traumatic event produce an energetic pattern and a chemical response when injury occurs. Candace B. Pert, author of Molecules of Emotion, provides an explanation for the interrelatedness of energy, emotions and body states. She describes some ligands and their receptors as the biochemical substrate of emotion. For those with PTSD, emotional reactions become part of a cellular and etheric memory, locked in until there is a conscious release. The cortex, the conscious, thinking part of the brain, and limbic system, in part responsible for survival instincts and emotions, are both involved in the experience of trauma and pain.

Stored trauma, hurt and shock and the emotions that go with them remain subconscious until we do something to release the 'charge'. Does this awful stockpiling contribute to insidious diseases such as cancer, Parkinson's disease, MS, fibro-myalgia, chronic fatigue and chronic myofacial pain syndrome? The bodymind reaches a state of dysfunction and is unable to revive itself. Energetic patterns are distorted, bio-feedback is blocked, nerve pathways are broken, receptors wait in vain for ligands to 'fire-up' the cell into healing and pain-alleviating action and the pain state gets worse.

Emotional repercussions

Pain is rarely confined to aching, stabbing, burning or gnawing felt in the body. It often blurs into feelings of anguish, despair, anger and futility. Mind and body, thoughts and feelings mesh together in a series of unhappy reciprocal interactions. Exhaustion following a poor night's sleep can lower tolerance to pain. Lowered tolerance can make interaction with others and maintaining daily activities seem too difficult. Depressive withdrawal and inactivity may appear to be the only way to cope. This will, in turn, affect biochemistry, mood and pain levels.

The psychology of pain explains, in part, the factors that influence our experience of pain and recovery. The Olympic athlete with a painful chronic injury who is very likely to win an event has greater motivation and purpose to heal their pain than an injured worker who hates a job where they feel undervalued and underpaid. The athlete is motivated, feels important and, with a support team behind them, has much to gain by winning the event. The worker sees nothing to be gained by getting well and getting back to work. The emotions felt by the athlete and the worker will influence the pain state, which will have repercussions throughout their bodymind network.

The body can be the repository for repressed or denied emotions and thoughts. The body speaks a language all of its own. Learning to interpret this language gives us insight and a means to help heal disease and injury. Louise Hay, in her book Heal Your Body, makes a connection between disease and belief systems. The pain of the psyche can present ultimately in the physical body. Hay speaks of how she healed her vaginal cancer by mentally and physically cleansing deep resentment she had harboured in her body, mind and heart since being sexually abused as a child.


Pain is a warning signal that something is wrong, so it is important that you establish as clearly as possible the causes of your pain, both physical and metaphysical, in order to treat it most effectively. It may take time to change your pain. If you have had pain for a number of months or even years, you will have developed a pain habit. The pain will have become part of your life. There will be a certain degree of psychological dependence, as well as possible drug dependence, so taking charge of your pain needs to be a slow and steady process.

A combination of therapies -- meditation, clinical nutrition, movement and body therapy, psychology, subtle energy therapies and medicine -- will support, empower and encourage you to get your life back. Self-awareness is the key. It turns the tide on the wave of powerlessness that threatens to engulf the chronic pain sufferer. Taking charge of your pain empowers you to take charge of your life again.

Acute pain tends to be a more obvious cause and effect. Chronic pain is more complex and a lack of information or a wrong self-diagnosis can result in the wrong treatment. At best this may be a waste of time, effort and money; at worst it may delay proper treatment and this could be fatal. For example, pain felt in the chest that is thought to be indigestion could be cardiac dysfunction.

Ask your doctor or specialist to explain X-rays, test results and procedures. Identify where your pain is coming from and, where possible, what is causing it. Understand how your drug therapy works and be aware of any contra-indications. Many synthetic opiates block the body's natural response, so you may be able to plan to reduce or even eliminate pain medication under the supervision of your doctor. Many of these drugs are addictive and can have side effects. Morphine, for example, inhibits the production of the brain's own natural pain-killing ligands — enkephalins and endorphins.

Seek other opinions and enlist other health practitioners, such as a naturopath, herbalist or homoeopath. If they too prescribe remedies, be sure that all your health practitioners know what you are taking and doing. Herbal remedies, nutritional supplements, homoeopathics and allopathic medicine don't always combine well. For example, if you are taking pharmaceutical medication for depression and the herb St John's Wort (Hypericum perforatum), you will be running the risk of a serotonin storm. An overdose of serotonin may increase dissociative states. Some drug and herbal medicine combinations can be fatal.

Counselling and psychotherapy

Disease and injury are not simply bad luck. Thoughts and feelings are energy, which causes biochemical reactions in the psychosomatic network. There is no such thing as a bad or negative emotion. Love, anger, joy and grief all have a place in our emotional repertoire. An emotion that is repressed or denied could be considered unhealthy rather than bad. This pent-up energy has an effect on respiration, cardiac efficiency, bodymind chemistry and the etheric field. Repressed or denied emotions cause breakdowns in the communications network of the nervous system, endocrine system, immune system and etheric body.

A less obvious but still significant emotional trauma can emerge from the circumstances around chronic pain. Anger, bitterness and resentment may be part of the pain of someone who has been disabled by pain and can no longer earn enough money to support themselves. Raymond B. Flannery, author of Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder, suggests that some chronic pain is psychological in nature. He calls it a somatoform disorder. Somatoform disorders are those disorders in which a person's psychological distress is expressed in bodily symptoms rather than in words, feelings, or recurring thoughts. This pain may have no apparent cause, but it is nonetheless real.

Psychotherapy can help you identify and release such health-damaging energy by changing belief systems, behaviour and emotional responses. The counselling process provides you with a trained listener with whom you can share your thoughts without censorship. Self-discovery and solutions emerge. Counselling, art therapy, psychotherapy, psychology, or psychiatry will encourage you to release submerged emotions. Discussion and processing will bring to your conscious awareness the beliefs that affect your pain levels and recovery rate.

Meditation and breathing

Meditation is perhaps one of the greatest analgesics available. The particular benefits of meditation for the pain sufferer are:

  • It changes brain waves. It is believed that 'natural pain killers' serotonin and endorphins are produced by the body while in alpha and theta states
  • It helps integrate all your therapies. Meditation communicates with all levels and aspects of who you are. It unifies body, mind, heart and spirit and provides you with a powerful synergy.
  • It brings you into the moment. Time can become blurred for the chronic pain sufferer in remembering past pain and preparing for future pain. Meditation can do much to stem this energy-depleting behaviour by focusing attention on the moment, the here and now.
  • Meditation potentiates change. Meditation is a time-out zone, a space in which anything is possible. It provides a gateway into a space and time separate and different from what you know. It is a place where things can be re-ordered, regenerated.
  • Conscious breathing. This does more than oxygenate the body and boost the production of opiates. It restores life force — known as chi or prana, among others — that sustains all aspects of who we are - physical, mental, emotional and spiritual.
  • It encourages you to face yourself and live consciously. In the stillness of meditation you have an opportunity to be more aware of your inner self. Just as a cloudy glass of water will settle and clear if left undisturbed, meditation will bring recognition and clarity.
  • You don't have to make this journey alone. As you heal your pain, you can draw on Universal Life Energy (Source, God/Goddess) with every breath you take. There can be much comfort, solace and inspiration in connecting with this energy.

Physical therapies

Some aspects of these therapies can be part of your self-management plan. It is recommended that you consult with qualified professionals in these areas before you take up any of the suggestions.

Bodywork: Massage, Bowen therapy, reflexology, osteopathy and chiropractic will help restore your health and vitality by adjusting, stimulating and balancing visceral, circulatory, lymphatic and musculoskeletal systems. Aromatherapy massage, Bowen therapy, cranio-sacral therapy, reiki, acupuncture, kinesiology and ortho-bionomy, to name a few, will release the charge that locks pain and trauma memory into your system, counter the effects of dissociation, re-balance the subtle energy body and restore the physio-emotional field.

Movement, posture and exercise: Tai chi, yoga, qi gong, hydrotherapy, Pilates, Feldenkrais, Alexander technique and walking will improve circulation, help release distressing emotions, encourage mindfulness, encourage you to breathe better, improve strength and flexibility and, in some cases, promote the production of endorphins.

Restore the subtle energy body with vibrational medicine: Homoeopathy, reiki and flower essences correct patterns of imbalance. They heal and restore the auric layers, release traumatic cellular memories and provide a template for healing.

Clinical nutrition

Help your body produce its own opioids and anti-inflammatories. See a naturopath or herbalist. Clinical nutrition can, at the very least, improve your nutritional state. Nutritional deficiencies will affect healing and mood. Some pain states can be exacerbated by a deficiency of macro- and/or micro-nutrients. A deficiency of magnesium, for example, may cause muscle cramps and spasms.

It is known that some nutritional or herbal supplements decrease the side effects of drugs. In some cases, supplements will help the body produce its own opiates and moderate inflammatory pain. Tryptophan (a precursor to serotonin) will decrease the perception of pain and DL Phenylalanine will potentiate the effect of opiates. Zinc, GLA/EPA and Vitamin C are nutritional modulators of the inflammatory pain cycle.

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How to Handle Pain Yourself Without Drugs

Pain is both an emotion and a sensation.  Learn how you can help ease this.

Here are some tips in handling your pain level.

1. Think of ways you can reduce your discomfort.

2. Stop using the term (pain) use discomfort or disease.

3. Focus on a part of the body that does not hurt.

4. Expectations about pain can be self-fulfilling.  If you think it will be bad, it will be and you might even feel worse than you should.

5. Keep a 2 week diary.  Put down your pain level with 10 the worse and 1 nothing.  Put down what you ate each day.  You will be able to see which days were worse than others and what did you eat and drink.  What we eat and drink affects how we hurt.

6. Do not dwell on your pain. By dwelling on the pain your brain must devote itself to it and the longer you will hurt.

7. Control your thoughts.  When a negative thought comes in, squash it down and put it in a mental box and lock it with a mental key.  Think of a time when you are happy.

8. Play a video game, read a book, take a walk, take a hot bath or shower.

9. Enjoy some music.  Sing to yourself or out loud.  But be careful with this.  I used to do this when my kids would be playing outside and they would rush in to see what the matter with their mother.

10. Don't be a drama King or Queen.  Like saying maybe I have cancer.   This pain will never get better etc. This magnifies your discomfort and leads to greater disability.

11. Change your focus to something other than your own self.  There is always some one worse off than you.

12. Stress is the greatest cause of pain.  Learn to turn stress into something relaxing.

13. Stop being stressed out.  Practice any form of relaxation.

14. Listen to tapes or CD's.   You will find you need less and less pain drugs.

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Laugh Your Way to Pain Relief
By Steven Hefferon, CMT, PTA, CPRS

A man rushed into a veterinarian's office carrying his limp, lifeless dog. The vet examined the animal and told the man the dog was dead. The man asked if there was any way the doctor could revive the dog. The doctor left the room and returned with a cat, who sniffed the dog from head to tail then looked up at the vet and meowed.

"Sorry," said the doctor. "There's nothing I can do."
"Thanks for trying," said the man with a sigh. "How much do I owe you?"
"Three hundred and fifty dollars," replied the doctor.
"Three hundred and fifty dollars! Just to tell me my dog is dead?"
"Well," said the doctor, "it was $50 for the office visit. The other $300 is for the CAT scan."

Whether the above joke made you laugh or groan, it lightened your mood. And if you had been in pain, many scientists agree, it would have eased the hurt - at least temporarily.

A fresh take on an old idea

The notion that laughter is good for the body has been around for thousands of years - certainly as far back as the Old Testament. Proverbs 17:22 says, "A cheerful heart is good medicine, but a crushed spirit dries up the bones."

Seventeenth century English physician Dr. Thomas Sydenham remarked, "The arrival of a good clown exercises more beneficial influence upon the health of a town than of twenty asses laden with drugs." Or as Groucho Marx put it, "A clown is like aspirin, only he works twice as fast."

How do you get a sweet 80-year-old lady to say the F word? Get another sweet little 80-year-old lady to yell *BINGO*!

The value of laughter in helping to relieve pain began to attract significant attention in the 1980s when Dr. Norman Cousins in his book Anatomy of an Illness described how watching Marx Brother movies and reading humorous books and articles helped him recover from a life-threatening tissue disease.

Cousins made it a point to enjoy a hearty belly laugh several times a day. He claimed that a few minutes of laughter gave him an hour or more of pain-free sleep. As a result, many pain centers around the country began to use humor therapy to reduce the level of pain medication needed by patients.

There was even a movie made about real-life doctor Patch Adams, a physician who was totally committed to making his patients laugh as an essential part of his treatment.

How does laughter reduce pain?

Clinical staff consistently note that the primary benefit of humor therapy is that it serves as a diversionary tactic - that is, it takes a patient's mind off the pain.

A study published in the Journal of Holistic Nursing reported that patients who were told one-liners after surgery and before painful medication was administered perceived less pain when compared to patients who didn't get a dose of humor as part of their therapy.

Another study, this one published in the Journal of Applied Behavioral Analysis, found that young girls with burns who were shown cartoons during very painful hydrotherapy said they felt less pain than similar patients who were not exposed to cartoons during the same procedure.

A second theory of how laughter helps relieve pain is that it triggers the release of endorphins, the chemicals in the brain that can make us feel good.

Natural healing

Around the same time that the Cousins book appeared, the departing editor of the New England Journal of Medicine, Dr. Franz Ingelfinger, noted that 85 percent of all human illnesses are curable by the body's own healing system. Building a positive focus in your life - which includes a regular dose of laughter - can play a key role in supporting the body's ability to do just that.

Laughing, in fact, has been shown to increase the body's natural killer cells and T-cells, which are types of cells that attack foreign material in our bodies. Laughter also keeps away negative emotions such as anxiety and depression, which tend to weaken the immune system.

Why are they called "hemorrhoids". They should be called "asteroids"?

Research on stress-related hormones and humor has shown that laughter reduces at least four of the hormones associated with the stress response, including epinephrine, cortisol, dopac, and growth hormone.

Some studies have indicated that laughter improves lung capacity and with improved lung capacity come improved oxygen levels in the blood, thereby alleviating ischemic pain or pain do to lack of oxygen-rich blood.

Internal jogging

According to Dr. William Fry from Stanford University, one minute of laughter is equal to 10 minutes on the rowing machine. Laughter is a kind of "internal jogging" that exercises our heart and reduces blood pressure in the same way as does standard aerobic exercise. This kind of laughter exercise is well suited to sedentary people and those who are confined to a bed or wheelchair.

If you keep the Huh Huh Huh - going for long periods of time and increase the number of times you do it while at the same time shrugging your upper body you will keep the oxygen flowing to the cells that need it and you will be giving what you body need to begin to reduce your pain and speed healing.

And here's a final fascinating fact:

Researchers at St. Paul Ramsey Medical Center in Minnesota say that tears of laughter remove toxic substances that normally build up during periods of emotional stress…So, whether you prefer Dirty jokes, Redneck jokes or Funny Photos the Internet has provide us with an unlimited number of resources not to mention the ton of emails that you get from your friends that they think are funny and they just have to send to you for some reason thinking that you have the time to read it and that you have nothing else to do. Maybe just read on a week and see how you feel.

If you do read a joke or see a funny photo and it does put a smile on your face learn to keep that smile going longer and feel how good you feel when you keep your head up and a smile on your face.

Life will always be full of challenges but we should always be driven to seek those thing that give us Joy and Peace, so if a joke can give you 30 seconds of joy, read a joke and keep smiling.

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Over The Counter Pain Medications - What you should know before your next pain

Iburprophen - Brand Names: Advil, Motrin, Medipren, Nuprin, etc.

Ibuprofen belongs to a class of drugs called non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs).

Other members of this class include aspirin & naproxen (Aleve).  These drugs are used for the management of mild to moderate pain, fever, and inflammation. Pain, fever, and inflammation are promoted by the release in the body of chemicals called prostaglandins. Ibuprofen blocks the enzyme that makes prostaglandins. Therefore, inflammation, pain and fever are reduced. The FDA approved ibuprofen in 1974.

Drug Interactions:
Ibuprofen is associated with several suspected or probable interactions that can affect the action of other drugs. Ibuprofen may increase the blood levels of lithium by reducing the excretion of lithium by the kidneys. Increased levels of lithium may lead to lithium toxicity.

Ibuprofen may reduce the blood pressure-lowering effects of drugs that are given to reduce blood pressure. This may occur because prostaglandins play a role in the regulation of blood pressure. When ibuprofen is used in combination with aminoglycosides [for example, gentamicin (Garamycin)] the blood levels of the aminoglycoside may increase, presumably because the elimination of aminoglycosides from the body is reduced. This may lead to aminoglycoside-related side effects.

Individuals taking oral blood thinners or anticoagulants [for example, warfarin (Coumadin)] should avoid ibuprofen because ibuprofen also thins the blood, and excessive blood thinning may lead to bleeding.


There are no adequate studies of ibuprofen in pregnant women. Therefore, ibuprofen is not recommended during pregnancy. Ibuprofen should be avoided in late pregnancy due to the risk of premature closure of the ductus arteriosus in the fetal heart..

Nursing Mothers:

Ibuprofen is not excreted in breast milk. Use of ibuprofen while breastfeeding, poses little risk to the infant.

Side Effects:

The most common side effects from ibuprofen are rash, ringing in the ears, headaches, dizziness, drowsiness, abdominal pain, nausea, diarrhea, constipation and heartburn.

NSAIDs reduce the ability of blood to clot and therefore increase bleeding after an injury.

Ibuprofen may cause ulceration of the stomach or intestine, and the ulcers may bleed. Sometimes, ulceration can occur without abdominal pain, and black, tarry stools, weakness, and dizziness upon standing due to bleeding may be the only signs of an ulcer.

NSAIDs reduce the flow of blood to the kidneys and impair function of the kidneys. The impairment is most likely to occur in patients who already have impaired function of the kidney or congestive heart failure, and use of NSAIDs in these patients should be cautious.

People who are allergic to aspirin, should not use ibuprofen. Individuals with asthma are more likely to experience allergic reactions to NSAIDs.
Fluid retention, blood clots, heart attacks, hypertension and heart failure have also been associated with the use of NSAIDs.

Asprin - Common side effects:  Heartburn; nausea; upset stomach

Severe side effects:

Rash; hives; itching; difficulty breathing; tightness in the chest; swelling of the mouth, face, lips, or tongue; black or bloody stools; confusion; diarrhea; dizziness; drowsiness; hearing loss; ringing in the ears; severe or persistent stomach pain; unusual bruising; vomiting.

The most common side effects of aspirin involve the gastrointestinal system. Aspirin can cause ulcers of the stomach and duodenum, abdominal pain, nausea, gastritis (inflammation of the stomach), and even serious gastrointestinal bleeding from ulcers.

Occasionally, aspirin may be toxic to the liver.

Another serious but rare side effect of aspirin is intracranial hemorrhage (bleeding into the tissues of the brain), similar to a hemorrhagic stroke.
Serious side effects of aspirin, such as bleeding ulcers or intracranial bleeding, are rare (less than 1% of patients) among patients taking moderate doses of aspirin (e.g., 325 mg/d). Serious side effects of aspirin should be even lower with low doses such as 75-160 mg/d. However, the actual incidence of serious bleeding with long-term use of low dose aspirin has not been clearly determined.

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Pain Relief in the Produce Aisle
from, The Healthy Back Institute

If you’re looking for pain relief you might find it at your local grocery store. Not in the pharmacy or over-the-counter medicine aisle, but discreetly tucked into the produce section.

The people of Guadeloupe introduced Christopher Columbus to this tasty tropical healer in 1493, but native South and Central American tribes had discovered its amazing attributes long before he sailed in. Today we call it the pineapple.

What makes the pineapple special are enzymes found throughout the plant called bromelain. Bromelain is a protease, or proteolytic enzyme, which means it breaks down protein. That’s why you’ll find it commonly used as a meat tenderizer.

You may be thinking tenderizing your already sore muscles is the last thing you want. But there’s another type of protein bromelain eats up too. It’s a protein called Circulating Immune Complex (CIC). Let me explain.

Our cells talk to each other through receptors. When we’re injured they tell our immune system to produce CIC proteins. The CICs are rushed to the scene of injury or irritation. Pain signals are generated to alert your body to trouble while inflammatory substances are called to build a protective wall around the injured area. These continue until our body sends proteolytic enzymes to counteract the CIC-induced inflammation.

The problem is our body may not produce enough proteolytic enzymes to tell the CICs to stop producing pain and inflammation when they should. That’s because by our mid-20s production of proteolytic enzymes drops off dramatically leaving us vulnerable to runaway inflammation. Left unchecked, inflammation increases the risk of heart attack, stroke, arthritis and dementia related disorders like Alzheimer’s. It causes hidden damage to tissues and organs throughout your body. And it just plain makes it harder for our bodies to heal and stop hurting.

Fortunately there’s a simple answer. Since the cause of runaway inflammation is a lack of proteolytic enzymes, the natural response is to get more of those into our system. That’s why pineapple with its natural proteolytic enzymes in the form of bromelain is such a great find. Eating pineapple increases the supply of proteolytic enzymes present in your body. You do have to eat the pineapple raw though. Cooking or heating destroys the enzymes’ effectiveness. This means canned pineapple won’t work either.

The highest concentration of bromelain is found in the stem of the plant. I’ll admit you would have to really love pigging out on tough raw pineapple stems every day to get the most benefit. Or you can just take a proteolytic enzyme supplement with bromelain harvested from pineapple by peeling and crushing the stem then purified and dried into a powder form to be taken orally without getting the sore mouth.

By the way, pineapple isn’t the only source of proteolytic enzymes. You can also find them in papaya (papain), figs (ficin) and kiwi fruit (actinidin). Good supplements will usually combine various forms of the enzymes for maximum effect. Restoring your body’s proteolytic enzyme levels will go a long ways towards reducing inflammation and ending chronic pain.

Related references:
Murachi, T and Neurtil, H.; Dept. of Biochemistry, University of Washington; Fractionation and Specificity on Stem Bromelain
Blumenthal, M., Goldberg, A., Brinkman, J.; ed. Herbal Medicine, Expanded Commission E monographs; Boston, Mass: Integrative Medicine Communications; 2000:33-35
Kapes, B.; Encyclopedia of Alternative Medicine; Bromelain, April 6, 2001
Vukovic, L.; Better Nutrition: Pineapple Power; July 2007

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10 Tips to Overcome Morning Stiffness
by, Robert Chu, PhD, Lac

Do you find it difficult to get out of bed in the morning, because of too much pain? Does it take you an hour or two for your body to ‘warm up' and your joints and muscles to loosen before you can tackle the tasks of the day? You are not alone.

According to the American College of Rheumatology, Fibromyalgia affects 3 to 6 million Americans. That's 1 in 50 Americans, with seven times more the frequency in women than in men. And according to the NHIS, by 2030 an estimated 67 million Americans are projected to have doctor-diagnosed arthritis.

Morning stiffness is one of the more common complaints doctors hear about from patients with fibromyalgia, arthritis, rheumatism and those whose bodies no longer rebound after a day of activity—even gardening—like it used to.

Don't let morning stiffness cut your day short, by starting it later... And while most people reach for muscle relaxants like Motrin and pain relievers like Aleve to get them going, you don't need to.

Main Causes of Morning Stiffness

The basic causes of morning stiffness are lack of daily physical activity, being overweight, having a poor diet, not sleeping properly, and being in an environment that tends to be cold and/or damp

Exercising on a daily basis (even walking while swinging your arms) is a great way to release those feel-good endorphins, get the blood moving and help clear nasty toxins from the body.

Being overweight causes you to carrying unnecessary poundage, which puts strain on your joints, muscles, tendons and ligaments.

A poor diet that is high in simple carbohydrates causes weak muscles, bad posture and lethargy.

A poor sleeping posture can lock your body in a bad position for hours, causing reduced blood flow to the local muscles, and a buildup of lactic acid, causing stiffness.

Living or working in cold or damp environment causes muscles to stiffen because the cold or damp affects the blood flow throughout the body.

Relieving Morning Stiffness

You can be happy to know that what is causing your morning stiffness can be avoided or corrected... Here are 10 easy things you can do to make a big difference in your life.

Be sure to get ample deep sleep, so your body can repair and recharge. Forget about those troubles or conversations or tasks that need addressing; they can be handled tomorrow. Also, be sure to sleep either on your side or on your back - as stomach sleeping causes unnecessary stress on the low back and spine.

If your room is drafty, seal the windows or door. If it is cold, try a space heater or using extra blankets to prevent that cold or dampness from stiffening your body.

Do some easy stretches while lying in bed, then sitting up in bed - such as bending to the front and sides. This will stretch and loosen the muscles and help flush them with more blood.

Take a hot shower. This serves as a means to induce sweating, promote blood circulation and release muscle spasms. Simply stand under the hot water and... relax.

After you are warmed up from the shower, do some gentle knee bends - as far as you can go without falling! You can hold on to something for balance, if needed. You don't have to go all the way down, either. These exercise almost 90% of the skeletal muscles. Find a counter, table or chair and use your hands for support. Then exhale and squat as low as you can go, then inhale and stand up again. Do 10 of these to get the morning blood flowing and creaky joints silent.

Drink the best water you can get. Often the tap water in our cities is not the freshest or safest. Even cities like Los Angeles have traces of psychiatric medicines and estrogenic-like compounds in its tap water - and these toxins build up in our systems over time, causing pain. It is advisable to drink either bottled water or reverse osmosis filtered water.

Eat better. Cut down on simple carbohydrates and start reading labels to avoid consuming more toxins. Simply eliminate all foods with artificial color, enriched white flour and artificial flavors / sweeteners (high fructose corn syrup, crystalline fructose and aspartame). If you don't know what it is, or have difficulty pronouncing it, avoid ingesting it.

Learn some coping mechanisms and stress management techniques, so that you're not lying awake all night thinking about your problems. Learning how to deal with toxic people in your life will both allow you to sleep better and reduce the stress-induced muscle spasms that cause pain.

Get some regular exercise. The idea is to go out and do some something physical with your body. Even a simple routine of 10000 steps a day (buy a pedometer!) will greatly improve your health!

Be the fashion police! You want to dress appropriately for these cold months, and you might do well to sleep in flannel pajamas or sweats. Remember, cold air causes muscles and joints to stiffen.

These simple tips followed with a little dedication, along with some minor lifestyle changes and changes to the living environment, can help you overcome morning stiffness in no time.

50 Years of Back Pain Gone in Just Days!

Jerry Talisman had suffered from chronic back pain on and off for over 50 years. Like most people, he had tried it all... chiropractors, physical therapy, he even overdosed on tylenol but nothing gave him lasting relief until he discovered muscle balance therapy.

Unlike most treatments which only deliver temporary relief, if any at all, muscle balance therapy delivers lasting relief to 8 out of 10 people who use it because it addresses the underlying cause of the pain, not just the symptoms.

If you suffer from any type of back pain, neck pain or sciatica, I urge you to learn more about this breakthrough new treatment. Click here to learn more...

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Herbal Pain Killer: Better Than Tylenol?

Did You Know...   that there's an aromatic herb that relieves the pain of tension headaches just as quickly as aspirin and over-the-counter analgesics, such as acetaminophen (Tylenol)?

Tension headaches are the most common type of headaches experienced by a vast cross-section of the population.  Statistics show that 95% of women and 90% of men have at least one headache per year, and approximately 1 out of every 6 people in America experience the agony of chronic tension headaches. 

As a result, most of us reach out for common over-the-counter headache medications, especially those containing acetaminophen, the most commonly used painkiller in the country today.  On average, 7.3 billion adult Tylenol tablets are consumed annually.

But take heed:  Each year, acetaminophen use causes 100,000 calls to poison control centers, 56,000 emergency room visits, 26,000 hospitalizations, and more than 450 deaths from liver failure alone.  Acetaminophen is a leading cause of acute liver failure, even at doses that are within the recommended range.

In May 2009, a U.S. Food and Drug Administration working group released a report urging stronger warnings and stricter dose limits for drugs that, like Tylenol, contain acetaminophen -- and hence may pose an increased risk of liver injury to those who use them improperly.

The ironic thing is that the use of acetaminophen may not be the most effective way to stop headaches.  Here's why:  Headache pain does not originate from inside the brain.  The brain is incapable of feeling pain because it contains no sensory nerves.  The pain actually comes from tension in the outer linings of the brain, the scalp and its blood vessels and muscles.  Common tension headaches occur when the face, neck and scalp tighten up, and that tightening is often induced by stress.

Since headaches originate from the outer surface of the head, peppermint oil has been used to alleviate the pain.  German research headed by Dr. Hartmut Gobel shows that rubbing peppermint oil on one's forehead is just as effective in relieving headaches as taking a headache medication like Tylenol.  

Researchers have long known that peppermint oil, whose main constituent is menthol, has an analgesic and cooling effect when applied on the skin.  Menthol calms and soothes the excited nerve fibers in the painful region and can quickly make the pain subside.

Historians report that Gaius Plinius Secundus, better known as Pliny the Elder, a naval and army commander of the early Roman Empire, personal friend of the emperor Vespasian, and a writer and investigator of natural and geographic phenomena, recommended applying peppermint leaves to the forehead to treat headaches. 

In 1996, the leading headache researchers at the Neurological Clinic at Christian-Albrechts University in Kiel, Germany showed clinical proof that peppermint oil applied to the forehead indeed reduces headache pain just as effectively as the standard dose of 1,000 milligrams of acetaminophen (or 2 tablets of Tylenol).  Dr. Hartmut Gobel's randomized, placebo-controlled, double-blind study also proved that peppermint oil is just as effective at relieving headaches as acetaminophen.

In addition to relieving headaches, peppermint oil also has other therapeutic uses:

  • Helps relieve gas, bloating, nausea, cramping and stomach upset
  • Muscle tension and pain relief - since it increases the blood flow to the injured area, it aids in healing as well
  • Helps alleviate stress
  • Helps alleviate motion sickness
  • Eases irritable bowel syndrome

Peppermint oil is available at Whole Foods and other health food stores.

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