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Our joints are actually the connections between each of the bones and any type of damage can create a lot of pain when we move. There are a variety of conditions that lead to joint pain and since almost one-third of adults report experiencing some form in the last thirty days, it is considered a major health condition. Looking for natural joint pain relief can be a far better prospect than taking medications that can create harsh medical side effects. → Read more

Vanilla essential oil has been used for many years beyond the confectionary and sweet items that we eat. Natural healers have been making use of vanilla essential oil as an anticarcinogenic, antioxidant and for its properties as a sedative and tranquilizer. → Read more

There is no doubting that massage is good for the body and mind and scientific evidence is showing that this goes beyond just relaxing. The art of the massage actually enhances the body to produce a variety of natural chemicals that help in the process of healing. Massage therapists make use of their intense knowledge of muscles, soft tissues, ligaments and joints as well as the combination styles of massage to assist their patients in rejuvenation and many are turning to naturally sourced topical creams and lotions for pain relief.

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The idea of CAM (complementary and alternative medicine) includes therapies and treatments that are instituted outside the realm of mainstream medicine. ‘Complementary’ works in conjunction with conventional medicine and ‘alternative’ is used instead of mainstream medical modalities. Many of these treatments have been used for thousands of years by cultures around the globe and have become more popular in the Western world as patients seek replacements from standard drug treatments.

Making use of healing products and practices that work with traditional medicine is known as ‘complementary’. An example might be a cancer patient that is receiving chemotherapy and is experiencing vomiting and nausea. A physician may recommend that the patient undergo acupuncture therapy to offset the physical reactions of the treatment. Alternative medicine is one that is used instead of the standard medical treatment. An example of this might be the same cancer patient that chooses to relinquish chemotherapy treatments and instead opt for in-depth dietary changes.

While many define CAM as just two therapies, there is actually a third which is known as integrative medicine. This form of treatment draws from the expertise and success of complementary, alternative and then combines with mainstream medicine. An example of this might be a patient that is taking a high regiment of medications and receives consultations and recommendations on medicinal interactions and medication depletions with the addition of supplementation to offset the depletions.

In the last number of years mainstream medicine has adopted the concept of complementary and integrative but remains skeptical of the alternative choices. The reasoning behind this is the fact that very few scientific studies are being funded for alternative therapies. One of the ideas is that alternative therapies undermine the bigger businesses that have invested in standard treatments such as the pharmaceutical companies.

NCCAM (the National Center for Complementary and Alternative Medicine) released the results of a survey of 20,000 adults and 10,000 children. The information showed that nearing forty percent of adults and twelve percent of children make use of some form of CAM. The most popular forms included meditation, acupuncture, yoga and massage therapy.

There are five main categories of CAM that are recognized by NCCAM: mind-body medicine, which focuses on the ways that the emotional and mental status affects and interacts with body function. Whole medical systems such as traditional Chinese medicine, homeopathy, naturopathy and Ayurveda. Manipulative and body-based practices, which relies on the physical manipulation of specific areas of the body for health such as osteopathy and chiropractic. Energy medicine is an alternative medicine form that makes use of energy fields for the promotion of healing. This can include qi gong and Reiki. Biologically based practices, with a focus on the use of nutrition, herbs, dietary supplements and vitamins for whole body health.

Prior to instituting any CAM treatment, always consult with your primary care physician to ensure that your medical and physical condition can tolerate the therapy techniques that you are interested in pursuing.


Western culture has elevated the knowledge and use of essential oils over the last fifteen to twenty years as they are discovering the many benefits that our ancestors were aware of. Essential oils have been used for thousands of years in a variety of modalities including wellness/medical, food preparation, aromatherapy and beauty treatments. Caravan trade routes were established in bringing some of the most valuable cargo of sandalwood, frankincense, cinnamon and myrrh.

The ancient Egyptians held many of the essential oils in the same elevation as gold and often used them for therapeutic massage and personal hygiene. Aromatic herbs were used by many of the great civilizations, including the Greeks, Romans, Chinese and Indian Ayurveda and these influenced the Persians to develop a method of distillation for the extraction of the essential oils within the plants. These oils were continued in use in Europe throughout the dark ages as they were highly priced for both the fragrance and their anti-bacterial properties.

There was a rediscovery of the health benefits of essential oils in 1937, when Rene-Maurice Gattefosse, a French chemist, used pure lavender oil as a healing treatment for a hand that was badly burned. Dr. Jean Valnet, a French contemporary used a higher quality of essential oils called ‘therapeutic-grade’ as a treatment for World War II soldiers that had been injured. The credit for the development of aromatherapy practices in the Western world has been given to Dr. Valnet and carried through to modern use of essential oils that are used by medical practitioners and health scientists.

Essential oils offer a variety of uses, both individually and when combined with other ingredients as applications for physical and emotional wellness. They can be administered in three different ways: diffused aromatically, taken internally as dietary supplements or applied topically. Making use of the aromatic senses with essential oils can have an effect on the psychological pathways that can stimulate metabolic and hormonal processes. The purpose of each oil varies from stimulation to a soothing or calming effect. The oils can also purify the air of unwanted pathogens or odors.  From a topical perspective, the natural molecular composition make them a perfect ingredient for massage as the skin absorbs them easily. Many essential oils have a restorative and calming effect to the skin and some contain natural disinfectants. Those essential oils that have natural healing benefits are also absorbed into the bloodstream and bring a faster method of relief.  There are some essential oils that are available in supplement form but a patient must consult with their physician as some may cause harm when either taken in conjunction with other natural products or foods as well as medication interaction.

Many of the massage therapists and naturopaths are currently making use of specific essential oils as part of their patient therapies and some of the healing essential oils are being combined in scientific methods to make use of their natural chemical structure for use in the relief of pain for topical treatments.

Always confer with a primary care physician prior to making any changes in your medical regiment.


As the popularity of the Mediterranean Diet has increased, so has the knowledge about the one main ingredient that can be found in every Mediterranean kitchen: olive oil. While Hippocrates, the Ancient Green physician discovered the therapeutic uses of olive oil in treating ailments, much of the world has really known it as a dietary additive.

The Western world has just been waking up when it comes to the health benefits of olive oil as a mainstay for one of the ‘healthy fats’, mono-saturated.  Extra-virgin olive oil is rich in vitamins K and E as well as the coveted omega-6 and omega-3 fatty acids. Science has begun to discover that consumption of olive oil, especially the extra-virgin level has been helpful in treating a variety of conditions: high cholesterol, high blood pressure, diabetes, osteoporosis, digestive ailments and the antioxidants in olive oil help fight the free radicals in the body that have been shown to cause cancer.

The benefits of olive oil goes beyond just consumption, it contains a natural substance called ‘oleocanthal, which is nature’s own brand of ibuprofen; helping in the reduction of inflammation. When used in topical creams, the oleocanthal can assist in the reduction of inflammation which is a major cause of pain.

The natural healing properties, both internal and external of olive oil have been used throughout the centuries, mainly known in Greek and Roman cultures. Olive groves have grown in various parts of the Middle East for thousands of years. The success of one crop for so many diverse health purposes have made it a popular export.

In more recent years, the contents of olive oil have been used externally for the treatment of dry skin, specifically the extra dry areas of feet and elbows, rash, insect bites, diaper rash, wounds, and sun burns. The soothing effects of olive oil make it an excellent gentle product to remove makeup while not depleting the skin of essential oils and it has therapeutic uses for the skin and scalp for shaving and dry hair.

Many of today’s natural topical treatments for pain are including olive oil as part of the ingredients to assist in the reduction of inflammation while bringing a soothing effect to the skin area. The Arthritis Foundation has included scientific studies and articles on the benefits of extra-virgin olive oil as a potential alternative for those patients that cannot take harsh medications. The extra-virgin olive oil acts as a preventative in the production of the COX-1 and COX-2 enzymes that are found in NSAID medications. Co-Author of a study, Paul Breslin, PhD, stated, “By inhibiting these enzymes, inflammation and the increase in pain sensitivity associated with them is dampened.”  The olive oil that has the highest quantity of olecanthal levels have a stronger ‘throaty bite’ to the taste. The research seemed to narrow down the best olive oils from the Tuscany, Italy area for the highest olecanthal content.

Always confer with a primary care physician prior to making any changes in your medical regiment.


The Eucalyptus tree has been referred to as one of the most useful trees in the world as it is used for everything from mulch and paper to fuel, wind breaking and the oil for its antibacterial properties, especially in fighting malaria. The Eucalyptus is regarded by the Aborigines people of Australia as a ‘cure-all’ due to its antiseptic abilities. It belongs to the same tree family as the tea tree (the Myrtacae), and is not only one of the fastest growing trees, but can quickly reach heights of 300 to 480 feet. There are over seven hundred varieties and three hundred species of Eucalyptus.

The tree grows in damp moist land areas and has an extensive root system that absorbs an immense amount of water. In an attempt to purify the air and soil as well as dry up marshy areas that were infested with malaria infected mosquitos, natives deliberately planted Eucalyptus trees. Various European scientists and doctors studied the Eucalyptus to explore the health benefits of the oil as well as the fragrance. The most successful story occurred in 1855 when the French government sent Eucalyptus seeds to Algeria’s disease ridden sectors and achieved a conversion to healthy and dry areas. The popularity of this almost miracle tree and its oil became popular during World War I when there was an outbreak of meningitis as well as the famed influenza outbreak in 1919. Eucalyptus was used in such high quantities for its antiseptic value that the seeds and trees were expanded to other countries including Spain, South Africa, China, Chile Portugal and Russia.

To produce one pound of Eucalyptus oil, it required over fifty pounds of plant material. In search of a treatment of chest problems, Doctors Cossiden and White made the first distillation of Eucalyptus oil in 1788. In a publication by German doctors, they listed the classification of Eucalyptus oil as a ‘sudorific’, an anticatharral stimulant and astringent. It was prescribed during that time for respiratory conditions such as bronchitis, asthma, flu and coughs. The oil that was introduced to Europe was extracted from the peprita Eucalyptus and was referred to as ‘Sydney peppermint’. The oil and leaves became so popular that it was a household remedy for medical conditions involving fever, respiratory ailments and applied topically for burns, wounds, ulcers and other skin problems.

Although it may have started out as an Aboriginal medicine, Eucalyptus has become one of the most versatile and universal oils in the world. The properties that are contained include: antiseptic, anti-parasitic, analgesic, expectorant and deodorant. The active ingredient has a stimulating effect on the nervous system and can cause invigoration on the mucus membranes. When applied topically it is used to relieve muscular pains and aches, specifically those that involve rheumatic pains. Chinese medicine makes use of Eucalyptus for clearing mucus and is part of the treatments for the common cold, sinusitis, bronchitis and onset of fever or flu, with applications in massage, compress, and bath.

Always confer with a primary care physician prior to making any changes in your medical regiment.

Tea tree oil has been used by the aboriginal natives of Australia for hundreds of years for its antimicrobial properties. Derived from the Melaleuca Alternifolia plant, which is commonly found throughout the country, the native people would crush the leaves for the oil and use it in applications for cuts and wounds. When British soldiers overtook the country, the local people shared the knowledge of their healing plant and it was then introduced to the Western world, where it has now become a popular oil for healing.

Tea tree oil has become one of the most popular treatments in complementary and alternative medicine (CAM). Scientific studies have shown that the essential oil contains high levels of healing properties including antibacterial, antiviral, antifungal and antiprotozoal. It is said that Captain Cook, the famous British explorer, coined the name of ‘tea tree’ during one of his discovery missions, although it is known by a number of other name of melaleuca oil.

As a country, Australia became one of Britain’s ‘penal colonies’, and therefore there was a high level of British presence within the boundaries. The reports of the healing properties of tea tree oil reached Dr. A.R. Penfold, who was both a chemist and a curator at Sydney Australia’s Government Museum of Technology and Applied Sciences.  He decided to institute a study on the tea tree leaves to discover the content and reasoning behind the claims.

The results of Dr. Penfold’s research showed that the essential oils of tea tree to be thirteen times more powerful as an antiseptic bactericide, when compared to phenol (carbolic acid), which was commonly used in the early 1900’s.  It became one of the most popularly used and distributed treatments in Australia. The use was continued even during World War II when the influx of British soldiers experienced an outbreak of foot-fungus. When nothing seemed to have an effect on the debilitating problem, hundreds of soldiers were hospitalized. An aboriginal medic applied the tea tree essential oil as a treatment and the soldiers recuperated within days. Due to the success in this case as well as its healing properties with burns, infections, cuts and scratches, soldiers were given a bottle of tea tree oil as part of their first aid kit.

The essential oil of the tea tree is based on the extraction through steam distillation of the leaves and some terminal branches. Once the condensation process is complete the oil, colored from clear to pale yellow, is separated from any of the remaining material. The aboriginal tribes of Australia crushed the leaves for multiple medical purposes. They were applied directly onto cuts and injuries, inhaled to treat colds and coughs, used for poultices and were soaked to use for skin problems and sore throats. The native people told stories of what they called ‘healing lakes’, where the leaves of the tea tree fell and then decayed in the water.

Tea tree oil continues to be used in a variety of topical creams and lotions for treatments and healing with an incredible percentage of success.

Always confer with a primary care physician prior to making any changes in your medical regiment.

When you have pain, you want it to stop right now. That’s why you may consider grabbing the nearest NSAID or aspirin.

However, you do have options you may not realize – ones from the herbal kingdom that have been around since the beginning of time.

Take a look at two solutions below. Understand what it is you must accomplish in order to reduce your pain and also bring healing to the parts of your body that ache.

Herbs That Have Research Supporting Pain Relief Cat’s claw herb (Uncaria tomentosa)

Cat’s claw herb hails from the Peruvian rainforest where it grows as a vine. What an incredible plant this is because it contains a medicinal constituent called mitraphylline. This substance inhibits about 50% of the interleukins that cause inflammation in the body. Interleukins are substances produced by the cells that are linked to inflammation.

When compared to the prescription medication dexamethasone, mitraphylline is the true cat’s meow because it reduced about 40% of the interleukin-4 produced during inflammation while dexamethasone’s response was zero. Mitraphylline (and cat’s claw herb) is nontoxic to cells as well. You could call it a natural alternative to painkiller drugs.

And that’s only one part of this herb. Cat’s claw prevents macrophage Pac-man like cells of the immune system from dying when hit by free radicals and inhibits negative genetic changes from occurring in the body from fat oxidation. It also helps inflammation in the intestines heal from damage done by a prescription NSAID called indomethacin. These attributes make scientists admit that it’s an effective anti-inflammatory agent plus it contains antioxidants.

Early research on Cat’s claw found that it increases the number and activity of the white blood cell army by 33% within 2 hours. This is a benefit to you because if you suddenly develop the aches and pains in your muscles due to the common cold or flu, taking cat’s claw could nip the virus in the bud.

Many people can feel a difference in the pain they have in their body within a few hours if the pain is caused by inflammation or infection by taking a few 500 mg capsules, and continue taking this dosage three times total per day.

Curcumin, a Constituent of Turmeric

Turmeric is a spice used in some great Indian food dishes, and its regular consumption can only do good in the body. One of the active ingredients in turmeric is curcumin.

Curcumin is great because it regulates the inflammatory mediators in the body; those chemicals in the body that travel around creating inflammation no matter where they go. An example of an inflammatory mediator is histamine. When histamine levels rise in your skin, you begin to itch.

Curcumin also attacks the inflammatory mediators that are created from fat cells, which can cause obesity, inflammation throughout your whole body, and metabolic disorders such as diabetes.

In one rat study, curcumin was compared to hydrocortisone when animals had fibrosis of the lungs. The herb decreased inflammation as much as the hydrocortisone did.

One of the ways that curcumin acts against inflammation is via going right after the substances that produce free radicals and nipping them in the bud, so to speak. These antioxidant functions are to your benefit when you have pain because once the inflammation is gone, so is your pain. Quenching free radicals always results in lessened inflammation.

Curcumin is widely available at health food stores and it’s not uncommon to take five to six 900 mg capsules daily for an inflammation, and up to 12 capsules if results are desired immediately. One capsule is equivalent to about 5 curry meals so it’s easiest simply to take the active ingredient rather than eat an extra few meals a day!

Herbs work, and now it’s up to you to start using this information to your advantage. The primary rule to remember is to never mix herbs plus medications. Always take them one hour away from medications to prevent any potential reaction but do also remember that many herbs enhance the effects of medications.

When using herbal knowledge, your health ascends to a new higher level, one where you live a brand new existence. You know that whenever you have pain, you simply get busy and eliminate it yourself. And that alone is life-transforming!

Now get out there and start eliminating your pain. Make it a discovery process, and let the herbs do all the work. Stand by and observe the results and be amazed.


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While the U.S. remains one of the most over-medicated countries in the world, there has been a dramatic shift from mainstream medicine and popping pain pills to the side of integrative and natural alternatives for pain reduction. The increased number of people that are rejecting medications and seeking natural alternatives is increasing on almost an exponential basis.

It is believed that the Baby Boomers are the main reason for the uptick in interest in CAM (complementary and alternative medicine) as they are a generation that has a history embedded in thinking outside the realms of the norm. The popularity of such notables as Andrew Weil, MD and Dr. Oz have escalated alternative therapies and modalities, addressing all levels of pain relief and management, without the side effects due to the use of drugs.

There are many different forms of natural alternatives for pain medication therapy, and most have a basis of scientific evidence for proof that they work. Since humans are each uniquely different, we also have variations in response and success and each person needs to select what is best for their own needs.


Massage goes beyond just loosening the muscles. The action of massage increases the body’s natural pain killers, serotonin and endorphins, and is believed to also encourage the reduction of stress hormones as well as turn the genes that are associated with inflammation on and off.  Massage is an excellent choice for those that suffer from neck pain, fibromyalgia, osteoarthritis, back pain, surgery-related discomfort and tension headaches.


The ancient Chinese method of acupuncture addresses pain through the light stimulation of the energy flow of the body, called the ‘Chi or Qi’. Used for thousands of years, the purpose is to realign the energy flow to correct the imbalances by the insertion of small needles in specific power points of the body. While there may not be scientific evidence for proof of acupuncture, there are reports showing that it does create adenosine activity, which is the amino acid within the skin that activates to ease pain after an injury. Patients that suffer from migraines, rheumatoid arthritis, chronic back pain, sciatica, fibromyalgia, tension headaches and osteoarthritis might want to consider acupuncture for pain relief.

Herbal Remedies:

Herbal remedies have become quite popular in the last number of years for use in pain management. Prior to making any changes in your dietary regiment, it is advised that you consult with your primary care physician. Mainstream medicine is examining and accepting that many of the patients that have added omega-3 fish oil supplements have experienced relief due to its anti-inflammatory properties. It is believed that increased levels of inflammation acts as an accelerant for the existing pain and reducing inflammation is a method to ease the problem.

Other supplements of choice include turmeric, vitamin D and ginger.


Yoga is a mind body discipline that has been used in various cultures for centuries. It combines stretching and movement with breathing exercises that relax and de-stress. The meditative practice sessions of only twice per week have produced results in published studies that show a 42% reduction in lower back pain. The American Pain Foundation now recommends yoga as one of the methods for lower-back pain treatment.

Each therapy brings a different attitude and approach and selecting a therapy that works for your type of pain is a personal choice. The purpose of alternative and natural treatments is to address and assist in the reduction of the causes of pain, as well as any additional situations that may be accelerating it. Pain reduction through natural sources and therapies is designed to bring you back to a quality of life.

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