Relieving Pain Naturally

Many of the following options have been used for centuries, we got it right the first time and have been trying to make pain relief easier ever since. Drugs are great when used properly and very convenient, but if you can try one of these methods it will most likely bring long-term relief instead of just putting a band-aid on it.

Detox Bath

I love taking a weekly detox bath to carve out time for myself, put on a hair mask, a face mask and to soak uninterrupted for 40 minutes. Soaking in hot water no matter what you add to it can help relieve pain, lower blood pressure and make arteries more flexible for vascular health.

DIY Detox Bath

giphy17Mix all these ingredients in the hottest water you can stand to sit in and soak for anywhere between 20-40 minutes. Your heart rate will go up and you may get a little sweaty, but power through it. Initially, you may only be able to handle 20 minutes but if you make it a routine you will be able to watch an entire episode of your favorite show. Drink a ton of water before, during and after.

The Epsom salt relieves inflammation that could be causing pain, and soaking in it can also helping with bruising and allow you to absorb magnesium through your skin. Magnesium can help give you some good feels and offset depression. Apple Cider Vinegar can also help with joint pain but I really add it for the skin benefits. It’s also a fungus fighter and can help with hemorrhoids since sitting in the bath is kind of like a big sitz bath. We all know and love Bentonite clay as a face mask mixed with water or apple cider vinegar, but your skin if your largest organ and extends past the face! Soaking your whole body in it is great for the skin and is a big part of the detox process since it draws out the toxins.

Topical Lotions

Boiron Arnica Gel is one of my favorite topical muscle pain relievers. This one is not greasy and it doesn’t have a strong scent like tiger balm, yet it still is nice and cooling. As a bonus, it works on bruises and stiff joints as well!

Peppermint lotion is a nice, natural way to soothe soreness due to it’s tinging and cooling sensation. I love this one by Dr. Bronner’s, their products are all natural and use high-quality oils very liberally. You can also take any one of your favorite lotions and add Peppermint essential oil to it, just don’t be too heavy handed with it and make sure you mix well before every use! One of my favorite combos is Palmer’s Cocoa Butter and peppermint oil, it smells like mint chocolate!

Infrared Sauna

giphy16Infrared Saunas use a modest 115-130 degree heat that penetrates your skin to heat you up internally, sounds scary but it’s really not compared to a traditional dry sauna that can get between 170-200 degrees. It helps relieve pain by improving circulation while detoxing and aiding in weight loss. The benefits are huge and you don’t even have to leave your home to get to one, you can get one of these portable infrared saunas that fold up under your bed when you aren’t using it.

Acupressure

Acupressure consists of laying on a mat of plastic spikes, or a “bed of nails”. This stimulates the skin and accesses pressure points that release endorphins to relieve pain. You can lay on it, you can stand on it, though admittedly that is hard, and the neckroll pillow feels great. They also have a neck and head pillow that cradles the back of your head and an acupressure body strap you can apply anywhere, even at work.

Foam Rolling

Anyone who has been in a gym or a physical therapists office has seen a foam roller, but they are great for targeting muscle pain from lactic acid build up. Those couple days after a hard workout can be pretty brutal, so invest in a foam roller and embrace more pain because foam rolling is not a walk in the park. I contributed to a Kickstarter for this travel foam roller called Neofit, and it’s now on pre-order.

Heating Pad

Yes, the heating pad has been around for a while, but its effectiveness in soothing a variety of muscle pain makes it a popular option for many people. Just don’t rely on it too much or you put yourself at risk for toasted skin syndrome! This is when you slowly and minimally burn the top layer of your skin and it creates and splotchy pattern. This can happen if you sit in front of a fireplace for too long as well. Using a heating pad before stretching or foam rolling can help loosen up those muscles.

Swearing

giphy18Yes, folks, studies show swearing can get you through a painful situation. So when all else fails, use your favorite expletive, it increases your heart rate and decreases your pain reception.

How do you deal with muscle aches and pain? Any tips I missed?

HeaderPhoto by Tanja Heffner on Unsplash

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How to Detox Through Your Skin

They all have one thing in common which is to stimulate the lymphatic system and create blood flow to your skin to move and transport toxins out. This can help with existing and budding acne (even the deep cystic kind), promote healing, anti-aging and create that healthy glow only a good rush of blood can offer. Here are a few ways to detox and flush out your system without a cleanse.

Jade Rolling

Jade Rolling and Gua Sha trending.The Jade Roller is a great tool keep handy in the fridge for those times when you have a headache, hangover or puffy eyes from watching This Is Us. Rolling the cool stone on your skin feels lovely, but I wasn’t able to work it into my routine. Taking the time to roll in front of an open refrigerator door isn’t realistic in the long term, I need one of those refrigerated medicine cabinets! I have not tried Gua Sha yet but it seems to be the 2018 buzzword, this crystal place by my office has it on their chalk sign. It takes the stone part from the jade roller but instead is shaped into dull blades that you can use to give yourself a smooth facial massage. With both of these tools, you start at the center of your face and swipe outward with as much pressure and speed as feels comfortable. Do not wipe them back and forth, you want to drain everything OUT of your face. The good thing about the Jade Roller is that you can also gently roll it over your eyes, and has the smaller end to get into the nooks and crannies around the eye socket.

Honestly, instead of using all these tools, I like to take my last three fingers (middle, ring and pinky) to do a quick facial massage after I apply my facial oil morning and night. This low maintenance, tool-less technique is free and ensures that you actually get the thing done and get that blood flowing! Just make sure that you start at the center of your face and work outward with every stroke. Don’t forget the jaw and neck!

Cupping

I found out about cupping from Farah Dhukai, her Instagram is amazing and she slathers all sorts of weird things all over her face and hair (but beware of Tumeric, it will stain your skin and everything you love). I won’t give a step by step instruction, just the video below. Note: this is not Michael Phelps cupping, if you google it you will see scary bruises and blood. This is nice and gentle facial massage that you can do for five minutes a few times a week.

I use chia oil as a lubricant for these, any edible oil is best since you will be applying this on your lips, and make sure it is not too thick like castor oil so that the cups can glide smoothly on your skin without tugging. One note about chia oil is that it can stain a little bit, my cups and the white bag they came in are a little yellow, but it is full of Omega-3s and is very nourishing for your skin. After coating your skin with it and massaging it in, you use the two small face-sized rubber cups to suction and massage the skin in outward motions. Just make sure to avoid thin-skinned areas like under the eyes and eyelids. Keep the cups moving, don’t let them sit on your face as you will give yourself a hickie!  This is best done before bed since you will get flushed, but it shouldn’t persist. BONUS: Steaming your face before cupping is a nice way to open up the pores and stimulate the skin even more.

You can also cup your body! Get yourself a cup set that includes all size cups for different areas of the body. The large cups can be used on your thighs and butt to help remedy cellulite and spider veins. The face cupping doesn’t hurt at all (or at least it shouldn’t if you are doing it right) but the thigh cupping can pinch a little bit. Videos online will show them moving the cups in circles, but I think it’s best to push stuff towards the heart so that it can get pumped out. I haven’t noticed a difference in my spider veins behind my knees but maybe I’m not doing it frequently enough. Again you apply an oil like chia oil and suction the cups to your skin and sweep them around to bring toxins to the surface and hopefully out.

Dry Brushing

IMB_7INTZv.GIFLast but not least, dry brushing can be done all over your body aside from the face. You take a natural bristle brush and starting with your limbs brush your skin in circular motions towards your heart, circling around it once you get to your abdomen. This is best done before hopping in the shower since you will be exfoliating a bit and might want to rinse off the dead skin cells. As much as I like the sensation of this, I NEVER REMEMBER TO DO IT when I’m standing naked outside the shower. I get in and curse myself for forgetting yet again even though the brush is in a basket next to the tub. The one time I do remember is before I take my weekly detox bath since that whole process is a little more deliberate. It’s such a quick easy thing to add to your routine that can really have great health benefits.

giphyIf you want to pay someone to do all this for you there are plenty of people willing to do it! You can find jade rolling and gua sha facial massages, body cupping and good ‘ol massages that will get those toxins flowing right out of you. And while it must feel hella nice to have someone else rub stones on your face, unless you’re Gwenyth Paltrow you are probably going to have you maintain it on your own with whatever tools you choose. Look at this cow, she knows dry brushing is good for her.

Have you tried any of these techniques? Any magical results? Any other recommendations? Let me know!