Category Archives: Natural Pain Management
“The Human Spirit Needs Places Where Nature Has not Been Rearranged By the Hand of Man” ~Unknown~
Yay, warm weather is here, as we’re quickly approach the official first day of Summer. Like many of you, I long for this time of year when I can spend time outdoors and I also look forward to taking advantage of the many opportunities to reconnect with nature. This longing for fun in the sun and fresh air is not only rejuvenating both physically and mentally, the great outdoors also offers us incredible healing benefits. Scientists have discovered that by spending time outside we increase our exposure to phytoncides which naturally reduce stress. People who take walks in the park where they encounter many plants and trees, versus walks in the city where they are surrounded by buildings and cement sidewalks, had lower levels of the stress hormone cortisol, as well as a lower pulse rate, and lower blood pressure readings. In several other studies, specifically one that took place in April 2007, showed an increase in white blood cells within a group of 12 healthy men ranging in ages 37-55 , who took two-hour walks in a forest over a two-day period. In January 2008, a group of women who also participated in a very similar experiment entitled ”forest bathing” had an increase in white blood cells and a reduction in anti-cancer proteins, which lasted up to one week due to their exposure of phytoncides which are found in forest air.
The beach is another place to go for wonderful healing benefits. Salt water is high in minerals such as potassium, magnesium, calcium and bromide which not only accelerates the healing of cuts, it also helps to fight infections, reduces inflammation of joints and relieves muscle pain and soreness. Salt water also stimulates blood circulation, increases moisture retention, detoxifies and promotes cellular regeneration. As a result it offers beautifying and anti-aging benefits, for both the inner and outer body. Regular beach time & salt water swimming also offers healing benefits for skin disorders such as eczema, psoriasis and acne. In summary, spending quality time in nature, offers us incredible physical and psychological benefits, such as recovery from stress, increased relaxation, decreased mental fatigue, better performance, restored mental clarity, increased immune function for improved heath, healing and an increased overall sense of well-being.
Best Places to Enjoy Nature
3) Local Parks
4) National Parks
6) Camp Sites
A Few Outdoor Nature Activities for Summer:
6) Paddle Boarding
9) Outdoor Meditation & Relaxation
10) Outdoor Yoga & Fitness Classes
Want to feel better mentally, physically and emotionally? Increase the amount of time that you spend outdoors surrounded by nature!
“Keep going. That pain you feel? That’s fear melting away. Like wax off a candle. That’s weakness washing out of your pores like a monsoon. That’s the old you being shed away like dead skin. That’s the new you, rising out of the ashes of your former self.”
Natural Pain Management on The Positive Pear:
This is a fun time of year because it’s not only easier for people to make healthier food choices, it’s easy to find fun, healthy foods. Have you checked out your local farmers markets and food co-ops? If not, this is a great time to locate those nearest in preparation for your summer food shopping. A fun, easy and very healthy food to begin with is “fruit” it’s sweet, delicious and easy on the digestive system. Which is good for those who battle digestive issues such as IBS and IBDs. We’re less likely to crave comfort foods this time of year, so consuming more fruit is a great way to begin our day and a great way to wrap it up, by eating nice healthy fruit filled desserts. Fruit has incredible healing benefits, offering enzymes, healthy carbohydrates, fiber, vitamins, minerals, fatty acids, amino acids and cancer fighting tannins & flavonoids. For us Ankylosing Spondylitis & Autoimmune Arthritis Sufferers, fruit also offers amazing anti-inflammatory properties, while reducing pain and swelling. According to the Article: Inflammation and Foods That Fight via Arthritis Today, it is very important to consume a variety of colorful, fresh fruits and vegetables routinely for best results. This is one of many steps toward achieving and maintaining a healthy “holistic” lifestyle. By eating fruit we reduce inflammation, pain and swelling, while increasing energy levels and wellness. We also reduce the likelihood of developing age-related and degenerative diseases such as certain types of cancer, heart disease and Alzheimer’s. We also enjoy the added benefit of improving skin appearance, our moods and mental sharpness. Some of my favorite anti-inflammatory & low-glycemic fruits are: berries, cherries, apples, pineapple, grapefruit, kiwi, plums & of course pears. What is your favorite fruit? Enjoy your summer even more by adding healthy, delicious fruit to your diet!
Got a chocolate addiction? Well that’s a good thing. According to a recent study led by Associate Professor of Medicine Beatrice Golomb at the University of California San Diego, chocolate has proven to have favorable metabolic effects on healthy adults who combined reasonable consumption with exercise. In this study those ranging in ages from 20 to 85, reported eating chocolate twice per week while also exercising an average of 3.6 times per week, had lower Body Mass Index (BMI). BMI is a fairly reliable indicator of body fat and is a calculated by using a person’s weight and height. A normal BMI is typically 18.5 – 24.9, while anyone considered overweight would have a BMI of 25.0 – 29.9 and 30+ for those falling into the obese category. Adults who consumed chocolate more frequently had a lower BMI than those who consumed chocolate less often. Galomb further stated “Our findings– that more frequent chocolate intake is linked to lower BMI — are intriguing,” while calling for more detailed research and perhaps a randomized clinical trial of chocolate’s metabolic benefits. In conclusion she added ”We have seen in multiple studies the benefits of chocolate, and yet again, we see as part of an overall healthy lifestyle, chocolate does not add to weight gain, but in fact, might help control it,”
Chocolate a treat ordinarily associated with a guilty pleasure, is high in antioxidant polyphenols and flavonols, which can improve mood by releasing the neurotransmitter serotonin and in the process can also enhance sleep and reduce stress and the sensation of pain. This amazing superfood can also lower blood pressure, cholesterol levels, blood sugar and the plasma concentrations of proinflammatory cysteinyl leukotrienes. Thus lowering risks of heart disease, by reducing inflammation. Also beneficial to those with live with chronic inflammatory conditions. According to a study led by Elizabeth Triche of Yale University, pregnant women who consume dark chocolate during pregnancy are less likely to develop pre-eclampsia and according to a study led by Katri Raikkonen at the University of Helsinki in Finland, using 300 pregnant participants, it was further established that pregnant women who consume one small square of chocolate each day have happier, livelier babies thanks to phenylethylamine an ingredient in chocolate. Having a chocolate bar a day does not necessarily keep the doctor away, so before you begin stocking up on chocolate bars remember that moderation is key. In addition, the types of chocolate and how it’s processed is incredibly important, because those less processed will have a higher flavonoid content and those with less sugar are healthier options. Consider a few Positive Pear recommendations: RAW unprocessed chocolate in the form of cacao nibs and Navitas Naturals is a great brand. ZICO chocolate flavored coconut water and your favorite whole food, high quality, chocolate flavored protein powder, such as Monitoba, Alive, Vega or Amazing Grass. If you’re dying for a chocolate bar make sure it consists of at least 70% cocoa, that it’s also Organic and/or “Fair Trade” chocolate. Your local health food store, Trader Joe’s, Whole Foods and Amazon.com are all great sources.
Keep Calm, Eat Chocolate & Exercise More!
Association Between More Frequent Chocolate Consumption and Lower Body Mass Index, Cocoa polyphenols and inflammatory mediators, Chocolate Consumption in Pregnancy and Reduced Likelihood of Preeclampsia, New Scientist magazine Journal reference: Early Human Development (vol 76, p 139)
There is now neuroscience research that support yoga’s positive effects on anxiety, stress and depression. As the medical community continues to embrace the healing benefits of yoga does this mean that one day your doctor just might prescribe yoga for what’s ailing you?
We’ve heard about the amazing healing effects of meditative techniques such as relaxation, meditation and yoga for many years, including how these reduce the activity of the autonomic nervous system, alleviating stress-related maladies, including migraines, anxiety and depression, among others. Now there’s additional medical research available to back these claims. Dr. Chris C. Streeter Associate Professor of Psychiatry and Neurology at Boston University School of Medicine practices yoga and conducts research on its effects.
Dr. Streeter conducted a study with doctors of McLean Hospital in Belmont, Massachusetts, comparing two groups of exercisers (group 1) people doing yoga and (group 2) people walking. After 12-weeks, those in the yoga group showed greater improvements in their mood and anxiety levels compared to the walkers, and there was a positive correlation between increased Gamma-Aminobutyric Acid (GABA), a key neurotransmitter in the brain. GABA levels were measured through brain imaging, and improved mood. The results of her study latest study is published in The Journal of Alternative and Complementary Medicinein 2010.
There is an estimated 20 million Americans practicing yoga. It’s no wonder that yoga and alternative therapies have shown up as elective courses at many medical schools across the country, including Boston University, Dr. Rob Saper of BU a former burned out medical student in the 80′s took a year off to study at Kripalu, the yoga retreat in western, Massachusetts, which he says, inspired him to “try to change medical education and medical care in a way that’s more wholistic” with an emphasis on self-care. Medical students at BU learn of yoga’s research-based benefits, in hopes that these future doctors will be able to exploit their knowledge to help patients as they become comfortable enough to include this alternative therapy in their evidence-based practice (EBP), perhaps one day prescribing yoga as they would Prozac or even pain killers.
Thanks to much research, the medical community continues to embrace the healing benefits of yoga among other natural and alternative healing methods, this is a wonderful news for those of us with who live with invisible chronic illnesses, and their multitude of symptoms, and many of which we might choose to manage naturally. Yoga is also great for chronic pain, it also lowers levels of inflammatory proteins, and helps with many other ailments. As an avid yogi and sufferer of Ankylosing Spodylitis, Fibromyalgia & Chronic Fatigue & Immune Dysfunction, I for one look forward to seeing yoga or even acupuncture appear on doctor’s electronic prescription pads. Perhaps doing so will garner even more support from insurance companies, hopefully making alternative treatments affordable and accessible to everyone.
Zingiber Officinale also known as Ginger Root, has been used as medicine in parts of world such as Asia, India, and Arabia as herbal traditions since ancient times. In China, for example, ginger has been used to help digestion and treat stomach upset, diarrhea, and nausea for more than 2,000 years.
Ginger is an incredible herb with powerful anti inflammatory properties. I can attest to this, as I use this herb regularly to manage inflammation associated with an autoimmune disease that I have known as Ankylosing Spondilitis. It’s also good for approximately 100 other arthritic conditions including Osteoarthritis. Because Ginger is a natural and very powerful (cyclooxygenase) Cox-2 inhibitor, just as NSAIDs and aspirin are, it is also quiet effective for pain. I find it incredibly helpful for the pain associated with AS, as well as the widespread musculoskeletal pain associated with having Fibromyalgia.
There have been studies on ginger comparing its efficacy to that of aspirin and not only did it take smaller dosages to accomplish pain relief, there were also no known side effects. In further comparison to aspirin, it is common knowledge that doctor’s recommend daily usage of aspirin to inhibit the blood thickening enzyme which can lead to clogged arteries. The only issue with taking aspirin daily are the potential side effects, such as stomach upset, bleeding ulcers, joint discomfort and a potentially compromised immune system. Other studies show that regular aspirin consumption increases the rate of mortality, and this would include the use NSAIDs. One way to successfully accomplish the effects of aspirin without the harmful side effects, is to substitute with the use of Ginger Root. A cardiology clinic in an Israeli hospital now recommends that all of its patients take 1/2 teaspoon of ginger daily in place of aspirin. Ginger is quickly becoming the “wonder herb” because of its incredible healing effects on the circulatory system, even transcending the potential of many modern cardiovascular drugs. Heart disease is the #1 killer in United States, and individuals are becoming more “heart health” aware, wanting positive results without the harmful side effects, so its no wonder that ginger is growing by leaps and bounds in its popularity.
A group of researchers from Cornell Medical School published an article in the New England Journal of Medicine in 1980 confirming that ginger did in fact inhibit the life-threatening process of platelet aggregation. Because of ginger’s many physical healing properties, it offers synergistic cardiovascular effects, such as antioxidant, strengthening of the heart muscle and lowering serum cholesterol. Ginger is known to actually prevent cholesterol biosynthesis.
Because of Ginger’s stimulation of immunity and inhibition of platelet aggregation, it has a positive influence on cancer patients. Ginger also soothes the stomach and aids in digestion, so for this reason its great for symptoms relating to irritable bowel syndrome (IBS), flu, stomach upset, nausea, vomiting, morning sickness, even chemotherapy related nausea. It also eases cold symptoms, and works as a catalyst for other herbs making their effects stronger, so for this reason you’ll want to be mindful of other herbs and medications that you decide to use with Ginger. Because of Ginger’s effects on the circulatory system and its ability to regulate blood sugar it is great for diabetics and for those looking to give a boost to their reproductive system. Researchers have concluded there is a significant increase in the sperm swimming ability and sperm content associated with ginger consumption, so with this being said Ginger has the ability to increase fertility.
Ginger is good for:
3) Stomach upset/Digestion
5) Morning Sickness
6) Chemotherapy Related Nausea
7) Heart Health
10) Blood Sugar
12) Cold & Flu
Ginger Root is great in many forms, Tea, Herbal Supplements, Liquid drops, Herbal Powder and Fresh Ginger. Do not exceed 4g of ginger per day. Recommended dosage: 2 ginger capsules, or 90 liquid drops, 1/4 Fresh Ginger, 1 pre-packaged tea bag or 1/2 tsp of Ginger Root Powder. Take 3x times daily or every four hours as needed for many of the symptoms mentioned above.
Contraindications and Precautions Ginger Root:
If you have any of the following, please consult with your doctor before taking: Food Allergies, Medical problems associated with your Heart , Gall Bladder (gall stones), Brain or Nervous System. Do not take Ginger if you have a bleeding disorder, taking heart medications, on a blood thinning medications such as Warfarin (Coumadin), aspirin or NSAIDs.
The use of herbs is a time-honored approach to strengthening the body and treating disease. Herbs, however, contain components that can trigger side effects and interact with other herbs, supplements, or medications. For these reasons, herbs should be taken with care, under the supervision of a health care provider qualified in the field of botanical medicine. Side effects from ginger are rare, but if taken in high doses the herb may cause mild heartburn, diarrhea, and irritation of the mouth. Many of these side effects are avoidable if Ginger is take in capsule form, but remember it is highly recommended that you not exceed 4g of Ginger Root Daily.
The Kellogg Report: The Impact of Nutrition, Environment & Lifestyle on the Health of Americans, Encyclopedia of Alternative Medicine, Encyclopedia of Natural Medicine, Medicinal Qualities of GINGER: Common Spice & Wonder Drug 3rd edition, Chart page 64, The Aspirin Myocardial Infarction Study Research Group. “The aspirin myocardial infarction study: Final results.” Circulation 62 (6, Pt 2.) (Dec. 1980): V79-84, Dorso, C., et al. “Chinese food and platelets.” New England Journal of Medicine 303, no. 13 (1980): 756-57, Journal of the Pharmaceutical Society of Japan ginger 2005 byYakugaku Zasshi, A Literature Review Of Ginger, The joy of ginger.” American Health, Bioscience Biotechnology biochemistry: Induction of neutrophil accumulation by vegetable juice by Yamazaki M, Nishimura T, Ethnopharmacologic investigation of ginger (Zingiber Officinale) 1989, Biomedical Reviews (Bulgaria)-Pharmacological effects of spices
Relaxation is good for the mind, body & soul. Create your very own relaxation ritual that you are sure to use each night. You can curl up with a nice warm cup of decaffeinated-herbal tea, such as Chamomile and a good book. This will allow for well needed emotional, mental & physical recovery time. Everyone can benefit from taking the time decompress and reflect on the events of the day. However, those suffering from chronic invisible illness need more recovery time than the average person. Taking the appropriate amount of time for rest and recovery will help with the daily battle of managing symptoms such as fatigue, pain and inflammation.
The Healing Power of Chamomile Tea
The medicinal and healing benefits of Chamomile Tea have been well known among herbalist and tea enthusiasts for centuries. Now there is scientific proof that this amazing herb is useful in relieving a wide-range of physical ailments. Chamomile known by many names: Matricaria recutita, manzanilla, chamomilla or German chamomile; is an annual plant belonging to the Asteraceae or Compositae family, also known as aster, daisy, or sunflower family. Also referred to as Chamomilla chamomilla, Chamomilla recutita, Matricaria recutita, and Matricaria suaveolens.
The heath benefits of Chamomile Tea are many, including it’s ability to boost the immune system and aid the body in fighting infections associated with colds & flu. This fact was supported in a study conducted by American Chemical Society’s Journal of Agricultural and Food Chemistry, where fourteen men and women drank 5 cups of Chamomile tea daily. Urine samples where taken before and after consumption for comparison, where is discovered that there was an increase of hippurate, which is a natural compound of phenolics or polyphenols found in plants. Many polyphenols have been known to have antibacterial properties. This is one confirmation of the plants ability to boost the immune system helping the body to fight infections.
This study further discovered the existence of glycine, which is a a nonessential amino acid and an inhibitory neurotransmitters which works as a mild sedative, nerve relaxant and antispasmodic. Successfully relieving muscle spasms, menstrual cramps and proving useful for relaxation and symptoms of insomnia. Balancing out neurotransmitters such glycine can be incredibly beneficial to those who suffer from anxiety, depression, compulsive behavior, ADD, ADHD and stress-related disorders. This amazing, yet powerful herb has also shown to have anti-inflammatory, antinociceptive and antibacterial properties. Making Chamomile useful for reducing pain and inflammation when applied topically and when taken internally, successfully reducing and eliminating headaches, migraines, intestinal cramps, stomach upset, gas and diarrhea in both children and adults. In addition, studies have confirmed it’s efficacy in eliminating colic in babies.
Chamomile remains in the system and continues to heal even if when it isn’t consumed daily, as proven by the London Chamomile Tea study. Participants were tested for levels of hippurate and glycine up to two weeks after they’d discontinued drinking the herbal remedy and it was discovered that levels of both compounds remained quite high.
The healing properties of herbs are numerous and offer us an abundance of health benefits, as with any medicinals, proper safety precautions must be taken with use. Chamomile should be avoided by those who suffer from ragweed allergies or those who may have reactions from other plants in the composite family, such as daisy, aster, chrysanthemum, or marigold. Joining the ranks of herbal tea enthusiasts, herbalist and the Holistic Health community, are those of the medical communities who are also embracing the need for functional foods and natural remedies. This numerous studies relating to Chamomile Tea and other and natural supplements. Chamomile helps to calm the mind which then in turn relaxes the body, be sure to add this amazing herbal remedy to you daily relaxation ritual.
Read more on Natural Stress Management Techniques.
The Chamomile Study was published in the January 2005 Journal of American Chemical Society’s Journal of Agricultural and Food Chemistry, Colic study and the results of two clinical trials under Complementary, Holistic and Integrative Medicine: Chamomile; by Paula Gardiner; April 2007 issue of Pediatrics in Review.
The Positive Pear is a health, wellness and fitness blog providing information on “holistic” health & whole body wellness for invisible chronic illness. The goal is to provide in a single location information for those looking to control the symptoms of Ankylosing Spondylitis (spondyloarthropathy) Fibromyalgia & Chronic Fatigue and Immune Dysfunction Syndrome naturally (CFIDS). You’ll find recipes and articles on whole healthy nutrition, with a focus on gluten-free, low-fat, low-carb, low-starch low-sodium, real food, & whole foods. You’ll also find information on natural and alternative therapies herbal remedies, natural supplements, pain management, stress management and appropriate forms of exercise. In addition to ways of maintaining a positive mental attitude while living with invisible chronic illness. A boost in positive thinking is encouraged through beautiful images accompanying quotes and words of inspiration. The TPP blog & Facebook page have attracted even those who aren’t battling chronic health conditions, because the information provided is crucial to maintaining a healthy, vibrant, well balanced lifestyle with a positive frame of mind. Knowledge is powerful!
What is Holistic health?
The word “Holstic” is characterized by the treatment of the whole person, mind & body while taking into account physical, mental psychological, social, economic, spiritual and even cultural factors, rather than just the physical body. Holistic treatment/natural medicine: is a way of upholding all aspects of a person’s health requirements by focusing on the physical, mental, psychological, spiritual and social needs which are all taken into account and seen as a whole. The holistic health care is widely accepted within the Natural, Homeopathic & Alternative Medicine communities. This acceptance continues to expand within the traditional medical community as their knowledge grows and as research supports the efficacy of alternative therapies and natural remedies. In addition to research upholding the influence that mental and emotional factors may have on a person’s health. There are natural remedies that focus on a single aspect of treatment, for example cherry juices is used to treat inflammation. However, this would not be considered “holistic” treatment, though it would be considered a natural remedy, which may or may not be incorporated into a holistic health care regimen. In addition, simply focusing on nutrition in an attempt to treat the entire person, would be utilizing aspects of holistic treatment. Remember the goal in holistic health care is to treat the whole person. People’s resistance to the term “holstic’ especially when it comes to treating chronic illness has a lot to due with their lack of knowledge. Through The Positive Pear I attempt to bring greater awareness to the holistic healthcare and the natural “whole body” approach to managing invisible chronic illness and it’s positive effects on a both the mind and body.
How The Positive Pear utilizes the holistic approach to whole body wellness to help those with chronic invisible illness.
Taking a holistic approach to both managing and treating chronic invisible illnesses such as Ankylosing Spondylitis, Fibromyalgia & Chronic Fatigue Syndrome means treating the whole body, as discussed in many articles on The Positive Pear. “Whole Body Wellness” is separated into categories and discussed in several key points. The many ways in which we can take a holistic approach are: (1) The mind, by maintaining a positive mental attitude & positive thinking, meditation and positive energy. (2) The body through healthy nutrition, herbal remedies, natural supplements, natural pain management and exercise. (3) Social aspects with an emphasize on healthy association and a reliable support system. (4) psychological through educational articles regarding mental health and invisible chronic illness, in addition to driving awareness of symptoms such a anxiety, stress and depression and their impact on emotional health, as well as tips on maintaining emotional balance.
Maintainin good health and being happy is a result of a lifestyle that incorporates all facets of health, hence the term “holistic” meaning whole body. I have been an herbalist & a holistic health advocate for more than 20 years. I also live with invisible chronic illness. There is no cure for the auto immune disease that I have, so being able to successfully manage my symptoms naturally has empowered me. I’ve managed my own symptoms with great success by utilizing “whole body wellness” even utilizing this approach for many years prior to being diagnosed. I’ve also experienced great benefits by maintaining an open mind, while learning, growing an evolving as we should as humans and recognizing that we must take this approach with our bodies as well. Everyone can benefit from aspects of a holistic health regimen, but great benefits can be achieved by embracing all aspects of holistic health care. Of course it can never be an all or nothing approach, because life is never quite that cut and dry. However, one can benefit from taking small steps in the direction of whole body wellness, while keeping in mind the ever important goal which is balance. You can find much helpful information here on The Positive Pear to help you along the way.
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