Holistic Pain Management & The Energetic Connection - By Rachel Hughes & Kismet Salem

Written By: Lauren Holmes

What's considered "holistic" pain management? 

Holistic, by definition is the treatment of the whole person, taking into account mental and social factors rather that just the physical symptoms of a disease.  Therefore when applying this term to pain management, it is looking at all the factors that might be attributing to the pain, putting you in a place to enable lasting relief instead of a reactionary pill/surgery to aid the problem.

Kismet Salem, our resident energy guru explains - "I do not believe in Management of pain. To manage something means to handle, wield, direct, control, dominate or influence etc.  Pain is very much misunderstood. First of all, pain is amazing, it is your body communicating to you that energy is stuck and that there is no free flow of "your energy".  Your bodies communication to you is via emotions and sensation and pain. By the time pain sets in, there has been something at work there for a while already. So it is always a good idea to go on a hunt for the origination. The help of a very skilled bodyworker, or energy worker, Ayurvedic Doctor, acupuncturist etc. can help a lot! Sometimes it takes a moment or two to release, especially considering the pain did not get there from one moment to the next."

Some holistic methods that work instantly, or quickly, to help with pain...

It may seem simple, but make sure you have things like :

Meditation - quietening the mind

Exercise (even if something light and restorative like yin yoga), 

Getting outside - 10 to 15 minutes of sun exposure a day can help the body produce vitamin D. People who got the recommended daily 400 to 800 IU of vitamin D experienced less pain than those who didn’t. 

Laughing actually shows to increase ones pain tolerance

Sleep - Getting enough sleep is critical to managing pain and promoting healing, so it's important to employ a variety of sleep aids to help you get a healthy amount of sleep. Regular exercise that physically exhausts the body helps promote deep sleep. Visualization, meditation, and other psychological techniques can also help you get to sleep and stay asleep. 

Hydration -It is common knowledge that drinking enough water throughout the day is good for you, but did you know it can also help reduce pain? For people with back conditions, staying well hydrated helps the intervertebral discs stay healthy. Drinking enough water also helps reduce stiffness, it helps your blood carry healing nutrients and oxygen throughout the structures of you body, and helps flush toxins out of your muscles and other soft tissues.

If we can start with this as a baseline to keep in check we can address pain immediately. We all get so caught up in our daily lives it is easy to forget the simple things. 

For things that are beyond maintenance 

Heat & Cold therapy - Hot Epsom salt baths relax the mind and change the nervous input from the body to the brain, using ice is a well-accepted modality that decreases inflammation locally.

The key is to know when to use which. When you have an acute injury, put ice on it right away, if you have lingering back spasms, heat would be the best for that.

Acupuncture - This ancient Chinese medical practice seeks to relieve pain by balancing the body’s natural energy pathways.

Kismet explains "In Ayurveda there is a different approach the administering of letting go of the "Ama" (toxins) and the administration to bring relive from outside (abhyanga=oil massage (these oils are all herb induced and usually specially cooked for the person} and inside {Herbs and oils and essential oils taken orally}."

A few herbs or medicinals that you can keep in your pantry when a headache or sore back strikes...

Recently I have been trying CBD oil as a pain reliever, this really helps to relax the stress receptors pretty instantly.

In other ways, we can look at this in a maintenance, preventative way by adding some of these herbs to your diet: 

Turmeric - can be used to treat indigestion, ulcers, stomach upset, psoriasis, and even cancer. Some people with osteoarthritis turn to turmeric as a natural pain reliever because it helps relieve inflammation.

Willow Bark - Originally, people chewed the bark itself to relieve pain and fevers. Now willow bark is sold as a dried herb that can be brewed like tea. It also comes as a capsule or liquid supplement. It can be used to treat headache, low back pain, osteoarthritis, and many other conditions.

Cloves - cloves are used to treat a wide range of conditions. Cloves may help ease nausea and treat colds. They may also help relieve the pain associated with headaches, arthritic inflammation, and toothaches. Cloves can also be used as part of a topical pain reliever. 

Kismet Salem advises "Arnica, anything menthol, Quan Lung Oil is amazing for any back pain or muscle pains or spasms."

Some interesting methodologies to look into in relation to pain management are...

  • Nutrition for decreasing inflammation and pain
  • Nutrition to increase speed and healing of injury
  • Infrared light to decrease pain and increase healing
  • Bio-identical hormone therapies to decrease pain and restore function
  • Prolotherapy to reduce pain and restore function to ligaments, tendons, and joint cartilage
  • Trigger point injections to reduce pain, restore flexibility and function
  • Platelet rich plasma injections to reduce pain and restore function, regrow partially torn ligaments and tendons
  • Stem cell injection therapies to restore damaged tissue
  • Needle fascia therapy to stop the progression of scoliosis in a growing child
  • Dermapen therapy to restore skin tone, reduce scars, reduce wrinkles and the effects of aging on skin
  • Environmental detoxification by several methods including infrared sauna therapy
  • Massage therapy
  • Energy healing/healing touch/Reike
  • Herbal medicine
  • Myofascial release
  • Health and wellness coaching

My favorite way to treat pain holistically... 

I usually up my hydration, head to a sauna/ steam room, up my oregano oil intake with Turmeric, cayenne, Himalayan salt, lemon & ginger juice. Pop some CBD oil in my coffee, run myself an epsom salt bath and try to get more sleep than normal. If I have some really bad pain, then I’ll get a massage, try some light yin yoga or some acupuncture. 

Please remember..

"There is no cookie cutter version as such everybody is unique yes even if they come in with the same ankle sprain. Your body is just showing up as the imprint of energies that you allow to swirl around." - Kismet Salem