Alternative Methods of Chronic Pain Management: Reiki, Crystals, Visualization, and More
Managing Chronic Pain the Natural Way
For those who suffer with chronic pain on a daily basis, you might be wondering how you can manage your pain more naturally, without putting more chemicals into your body. I am here to tell you how I manage my chronic pain using natural, healthier alternatives. It can be done.
What happens when we use opiates or other pain medications to control our chronic pain? While medications be a quick fix and control our symptoms temporarily, they may also cause damage to our bodies. For example, let's say you take Percocet on a daily basis (or any opioid for that matter) in order to control your fibromyalgia pain or arthritic pain. A few years down the road you wind up in the hospital with a bowel obstruction. Why did this happen? The opiate medications used to manage chronic pain almost always cause the side effect of constipation. So although you may have successfully controlled your joint pain, now you have to deal with chronic constipation issues, hospital admissions, and potentially surgery. And what do they give you after your surgery or to control the pain of a bowel obstruction? You guessed it. More opiates. Doesn't this seem counterproductive?
The time is now for us to realize there are other ways to manage our pain—and in some cases free ourselves entirely from it. Read on to learn about some of the most effective, alternative and natural ways to deal with chronic pain, written by a person who has experienced chronic pain herself.
Reiki: Self-Treatment or Sessions
Have you ever heard of Reiki? If you haven't, to put it simply, it is a Japanese technique of stress reduction and relaxation that can also help with relief of pain and discomfort in the body. Recently I took a Reiki course and was attuned (meaning I was given the ability to use Reiki). Now I am able to channel divine, healing energy into my own body when I need it to help control my pain and put me into a gentle state of relaxation. It works by using one's hands to channel healing energy into a body part of a person (or yourself) who needs it. Only those who have been attuned can give Reiki...anyone can receive it, though!
I use Reiki when I'm in pain. I've used it to control the pain associated with a bladder condition I have, but I've also used it when I've had stomachaches, headaches, muscle pains and when I just needed to calm myself down and relax before bed. Everyone I know who has received the energy of Reiki say it is the most relaxing energy and can put you to sleep at the drop of a dime. Sound wacky? It has been clinically proven when used in hospitals and other acute care settings to reduce pain, speed up recovery times, and provide the individual with an overall feeling of wellness.
Zero tools, medications, doctors, or hospitals. Reiki is just you and the energy. So if you have the ability and money to get attuned, go do it! You'll be able to do reiki on yourself whenever and wherever you need it. If you don't have the ability to take a Reiki course, you can always seek treatment from a Reiki practitioner in your area. Simply google Reiki practitioners or use social media as an outlet to find a qualified practitioner near you.
Crystals for Healing
Did you know that Mother Earth has a healing energy ready to be used for those who seek it? Healing energy can be found in nature, particularly in plants, crystals and stones. Many people are learning how to use the healing powers of crystals and stones to manage their chronic pain. It seems like a complicated task, but it can be as simple as purchasing a small stone from a nearby metaphysical store and learning the stone's medicinal properties.
How can a crystal or stone have healing properties? Everything is made up of energy and energy is constantly moving...flowing. Energy vibrates. Stones and crystals are made up of energy and therefore have their own unique vibrations, as they come directly from the Earth. And because we are made up of energy, our energy can absorb energy around us. This includes the vibrations given off by stones and crystals. You can wear crystals to help with healing, or you can keep them near you (for instance, keeping a rose quartz by the bedside will help bring a soothing, loving energy into the bedroom).
Pick up a book on crystal basics to get started. This is an easy method of healing that can be done by anyone at almost any time and doesn't require attunement, licensure, certification, or a whole lot of money in order to treat oneself. Some great books on crystal basics include: Judy Hall's Encyclopedia of Crystals, Philip Permutt's The Crystal Healer, or Karen Frazier's Crystals for Healing.
Some wonderful beginner crystals and stones that you can find almost anywhere online or in retail stores include: rose quartz, bloodstone, tiger's eye, selenite, and amethyst.
Sound and Visualizations to Manage Pain
Sometimes when I've been in my worst pain, the only thing I can do to manage it is listen to soothing music and visualize that I'm in a different place and time. I don't know what it is about meditative music, but it automatically puts me into a different state of mind. It allows me to relax, ground and center myself while also focusing on healing myself from the inside out.
Soft music and warm baths. The next time you are in pain, try turning on some soft music (preferably without lyrics as lyrics can distract the mind), and sit in a warm bath. Let the music wash over you, along with the water soothing you. Visualize all of your pain being carried away by a wind, as the music plays so too does your pain melt off of you. Visualize yourself on vacation, and feeling the best you've ever felt. Imagine all of the pain you are feeling is leaving your body and dissipating in the air then being sucked away to leave you forever.
Visualization techniques and meditation. You can download guided meditations on iTunes, Spotify, Pandora or any other music service or you can get them for free online via YouTube or elsewhere. Simply google "free guided meditation". You can also find free meditations online geared specifically towards pain management and healing.
Other Natural Ways to Manage Pain
Keep in mind there are many options to manage pain naturally as opposed to taking constipating opioids or toxic pharmaceuticals. Start by changing your lifestyle. First, change the way you eat and what you eat. Don't eat so much and when you do eat, make it healthy natural foods like vegetables, fruits, lean meats, nuts, and healthy carbs like rice, potatoes, and quinoa. Cut out sugary foods, junk foods, processed foods and red meats. Often our diet is to blame for much of the inflammation we have in our bodies and once we eliminate these things from our diet we reduce inflammation...thereby reducing some of the pain we are feeling (in some cases, all of the pain). Increase your water intake. You should be drinking half of your weight in ounces every day. For example, if you weigh 140 pounds, you should be drinking 70 ounces of water daily.
More diet-related changes that can help you manage chronic pain:
- Cut out or reduce drinking alcohol
- Reduce caffeine intake
- Stop smoking
- Stop doing any damaging drugs of any kind
Following your diet change, start getting out and being active. Exercise 4-5 times a week if not every day. Walk around your neighborhood for a half an hour to an hour every day. By getting the oxygenated blood to pump through your body, you are enabling your body to heal itself.
Other things you can try after your lifestyle change include: herbal remedies (turmeric is great for reducing inflammation anywhere in the body), massage therapy, chiropractors for back and neck pain, acupuncture, and more. There is a plethora of options to manage your chronic pain, all you need to do is break out of the box of western medicine pain management and give up the opioids for a healthier and happier life.
© 2016 Nicole Canfield