Recently in the news, there have been more and more horror stories about overdose from pain medications. Many of us have friends and family who have become addicted to serious drugs like heroin after being prescribed opioids like Vicodin. The New York Times explains the epidemic has bulldozed its way through America and is now among the leading causes of death.
But what are the 76.2 million people suffering from chronic pain in the United States to do? According to The American Academy of Pain Medicine, chronic pain can be caused by headaches, lower back pain, arthritis, cancer, and damage to nerves, among other health issues. Many of these ailments are quite serious and can put a person in so much pain as to be debilitating.
Sometimes it seems the only solution is pain killers. Right?
Wrong. We're here to tell you about Traditional Chinese Medicine and how this ancient healing system approaches pain management without the use of drugs.
1. Acupressure for general pain. You may be more familiar with the ancient art of acupuncture, in which experienced practitioners put thin needles in your skin in order to stimulate different systems in the body. You can get similar effects of acupuncture at home with acupressure, says Acupressure.com. One pressure point in particular is known to release endorphins and relieve pain. To find this pressure point, known as K 27, place your fingertips below your collarbone. Press firmly and rub, searching for spots of soreness. Apply pressure and hold for 2 minutes as you breathe slowly and deeply. Repeat this exercise 3 to 5 times daily for regular pain management.
2. Acupressure for chronic headaches. Pressing the fleshly part between your thumb and forefinger can relieve chronic pain from headaches. MediBank says this pressure point, known as HeGu also relieves pressure in the neck and can restore balance between the head and neck.
3. Tui Na. The practice of Chinese medical massage is called Tui Na. It is meant to relieve pain and release tension by reinvigorating the flow of energy throughout the body. Balance Flow recommends starting a self massage at the arm and torso, moving to the legs and torso, and finishing with the chest, abdomen, back, and head. By using the four strokes of brush, grasp, tap, and circle, you can take control and relieve yourself of pain.
4. Green tea. Since the Ming Dynasty rose in the 14th century, Chinese practitioners have prescribed green tea for treatment of chronic pain from migraines. Healthline explains caffeinated teas like green tea are still used to treat pain from headaches, as well as pain from stomach problems, cancer, skin damage, and kidney disease.
5. Peppermint. It may sound almost too easy, but drinking peppermint tea or simply smelling peppermint essential oil can quell even the most painful chronic pain. Cultural China explains this is because peppermint is a medicinal herb that contains more than 100 beneficial compounds. One of which is menthol, known to relax intestinal spasms, ease abdominal pain, work as a decongestant and as a topical pain reliever.
6. Parsley and egg. Some women suffer from such terrible chronic pain during their monthly menstrual cycles that they are unable to work or go to school. MediBank recommends this ancient remedy of boiling 1.75 ounces (50 g) parsley in 3 cups (740 mL) water until the water reduces to 1 cup. Then, crack an egg into the boiling parsley water. Whisk the mixture until the egg begins to coagulate. Season with salt and pepper and eat with a spoon.
7. Cinnamon. This warming herb is used by Chinese practitioners to treat pain from sciatica. This excruciating pain occurs in the sciatic nerve, which runs from the lower spine all the way to the backs of the legs to the feet. ITM Online says cinnamon is helpful in this chronic syndrome because it invigorates blood vessels.
We like these Traditional Chinese Medicine therapies because they can be used at home and are great alternatives to harmful and addictive pain killers.
What is your favorite home remedy using Traditional Chinese Medicine? Tell us and SHARE this article on social media!