U.S. Pain Partners
To heal does not
necessarily mean to cure. It can simply mean helping people to
achieve a way of life compatible with their aspirations—to
restore their freedom to make choices—even in the presence of
continuing disease. –Rene
There are so many therapies available to us that have the
potential to lower our pain, and help us find balance and
stability in the midst of chaos and pain. Here is a small list
of various complementary therapies that may be worth looking
into. Again, U.S. Pain Foundation does not endorse one type of
treatment. As an organization, we support all therapies. We just
want each of the 100 million Americans living with pain to find
answers and relief.
Complementary & Eastern Approaches to Treating Pain
- Acupuncture: The
philosophy behind acupuncture is that an increase flow of
chi (energy) in the body will result in balancing the seven
main energy centers (chakras), allowing the body to heal on
its own. This is accomplished by inserting tiny needles in
specific meridians (known energy sites) along the body.
- Acupressure/ Deep Tissue
Release: Acupressure is very similar to acupuncture by
using the same trigger points in the body. By focusing on
the meridians in the body, one can release old tension and
blocked energy, allowing new energy to flow freely. Instead
of using little needles, acupressurists apply pressure to
the power centers in the body, increasing circulation and
promoting well-being and health. Deep tissue release is
based on the same principles but focuses on larger tissues
and muscles in the body.
- Aura Imaging:
Surrounding each of us is a strong, vibrating energy field,
known as an aura. Auras are influenced by the energy within
us as well as those outside our physical state, in the
etheric field. Their function is to carry, store, transmit,
and receive energies in and around us, impacting one’s
physical, emotional, and spiritual states. A depletion of
energy is a wake-up call: notifying us to pay attention and
change our patterns before diseases manifest.
- Bach Flowers: The
Bach Flowers restore emotional balance in every day life by
allowing the body’s own healing mechanisms to create overall
wellness. The Bach Flowers are made up of thirty-eight
different plants and flowers that, used together or alone in
specific formulas, bring clarity and stability to the body.
Each remedy is personally designed to help each person. A
questionnaire guides one to the right formula by determining
the severity of my mood, mentality, health, and stress
levels. It is easy to follow (two daily drops of the formula
on the tongue.
Biofeedback is a helpful tool in reconnecting the mind with
the body. By applying electrical sensors on different parts
of the body, a person can monitor and graph muscle activity
and muscle tension. Biofeedback allows one to become more
aware of his or her body, by teaching how to control
- Breath Work: The
mind-body connection is necessary in healing disease in the
body. Eastern philosophies use the term disease while
discussing illnesses because of the belief that a disease is
just disease stored in the body. By controlling the rhythm
of each breath, a person can begin to control the body and
- Chakra Alignment:
Chakras are energy centers that exist within and outside the
physical body at the etheric level. There are seven main
chakras (root, naval, solar plexus, heart, throat,
third-eye, and crown), which are aligned up the spine to the
crown of the head. Each chakra relates both to the physical
and emotional health of our body. Our thoughts and attitudes
are the most common reason for blocked chakras, or an
inadequate flow of energy in a specific area. Without
releasing the emotional aspects, our body’s energy becomes
unbalanced and disease becomes inevitable. When the chakras
are open and balanced, our body functions at its best.
- Chiropractic Work: A
chiropractor’s main objective is to realign the spine and
neck to improve circulation, calm off-firing nerves, and
increase overall function. Chiropractors believe the spine
ultimately causes pain and a decrease in mobility.
- Colonics: Colon
hydrotherapy involves inserting a small tube up the rectum,
which carries distilled water into the colon and toxic waste
out. The goal of colon therapy is to improve overall health
by depleting the body of harmful, toxic waste, causing a
decrease in tension headaches, instilling proper bowel
movement, and creating a balanced state of well-being.
- Color Therapy: Color
therapy affects the electromagnetic field that surrounds us,
allowing colors to impact every aspect of our being. The way
we respond to the different shades changes our mood,
attitude and health. Through the vibrations of energy in
each color, we are either pushed or pulled closer to harmony
- Craniosacral Massage:
This type of massage mainly focuses on the spine, in hopes
of balancing any blockages that may exist between the head,
neck, and spine.
- Crystal Therapy: For
thousands of years, crystals have been used to heal and
protect, by transmitting and receiving energies. Crystals
magnetically attract or repel unwanted energy. By resonating
at certain frequencies, crystals impart their innate
energies to us through a subtle electromagnetic field. Each
type of crystal has distinct properties and energies—meaning
that it might take more than one stone to fully heal
emotionally and physically. These precious stones pass their
healing powers on to others through the etheric energy field
that surrounds the body. Crystals have the ability to cure
all ailments and bring peace and tranquility into one’s
- Dance Therapy: Dance
therapy uses movement and dance to help emotional, cognitive
and physical conditions. Founded on the basis that movement
and emotion are related, the purpose of such therapy is to
find balance, joy and sense of wellness.
- Dietary Changes:
Nutrition can become an important factor in easing pain.
Since each of us is different, it is crucial to look at all
aspects of food and how certain ingredients may affect pain.
- Exercise: Exercise
therapy uses specific movements to improve the way the body
functions. It focuses on moving the body and its different
parts to relieve symptoms and improve mobility.
- Energy (Body) Work:
Energy healing has the power to make one stronger,
healthier, and wiser by removing old blockages in ones’
energy field. It is believed to work through resonance: the
energy of another vibrates in unison with yours. By learning
to direct, control, and increase this life-energy, the body
begins to heal itself naturally.
o Aligning chakras,
crystal use, and prayer can be used to heighten the energy,
leading to a very
successful session. This form of bodywork, involving the
mind-body-spirit connection, has proven
to be helpful tool for many with pain.
Feldenkrais stresses the importance of “knowing and
understanding” the inner-workings of the body. The
Feldenkrais method, Awareness Through Movement, specifically
focuses on becoming acutely aware of the way the body moves
and interacts with the outside world.
- Feng Shui: The belief
surrounding this ancient technique, deals with our own power
to influence and change our Universe by establishing
positive chi (energy) to exist in our space. The way I feel
and act has a lot to do with the energy field I am
submitting to the world. By rearranging small things, one
essentially changes the chi, creating a new environment that
is filled with health, happiness, and wealth.
- Guided Imagery:
Guided imagery entails directing thoughts and suggestions to
guide your imagination toward a relaxed, focused state. It
is based on the belief that the body and mind are connected.
- Healing Touch:
Healing Touch is the laying of hands above the seven main
energy centers in order to balance and heal disease. As
energy flows through my body, a sense of tranquility and
peace calm the mind and body, allowing true healing to
occur. Healing touch can be accomplished through prayer,
meditation, and energy transfer.
- Herb and Mineral Use:
Herbs are nature’s own healing remedy. Herbalists understand
the benefits of curing ailments with pure and natural
substances found in the earth. While taking prescription
drugs, there is a high probability that poisons and unwanted
toxins will also be released in the body, causing serious
side-effects and future problems.
- Hot Mineral Springs:
For hundreds of years, soaking in hot mineral springs has
proven effective in relieving chronic pain. The springs are
actually bubbling, hot water found in the earth’s core,
containing high quantities of minerals, including magnesium.
- Hypnosis: By entering
an altered, relaxed state of mind, each of us has the
ability to silence the mind’s thoughts, and focus on
becoming more aware of emotions and feelings that otherwise
would be difficult to achieve. The purpose of this therapy
is to increase brain communication to certain nerves in the
body. This allows an increase in the release of
neuropeptides and polypeptides—neuropeptides counteract
norepinephrine while polypeptides decrease the production of
Substance P—directly aiding in the decrease of pain.
- Magnets: For many
years, magnets have been used to treat pain with mixed
results from physicians over the accuracy of their healing
- Massage Therapy: One
of the oldest healing arts known to mankind is massage.
Massage therapy has been proven beneficial for many chronic
- Meditation and Relaxation
Techniques: Meditation quiets the nervous system and
lowers stress, which decreases muscle tension, and can lead
to lower pain levels.
- “Messages from the Body”
Work: Developed by Dr. Narayan-Singh, Messages From The
Body, deals with the philosophy that illnesses are really
dis-ease trapped in the body. By listening to our
inner-guides and releasing old (or harmful) beliefs, we free
ourselves of pain and anguish. Everything that happens in
our lives is happening for a reason—to inform us of the
imbalances that may lie within.
- Music Therapy: Music
Therapy is using music to address physical, emotional,
cognitive, and social needs of an individual. Treatment
includes creating, singing, moving to, and/or listening to
music. For more information, please visit the
American Music Therapy Association.
- Physical and Occupational
Therapy: The main difference between PT and OT is that
occupational therapy focuses primarily on the upper limbs
(hands) and improving fine motor nerves. Treatments for
physical therapy include hot and cold therapy, stretching,
strengthening exercises, water therapy, fluido-therapy,
ultra sound, etc. Treatments for occupational therapy
include stretching hand, massaging tendons, weight-bearing
exercises, de-sensitization, splinting, coloring/drawing,
writing, etc. The work accomplished by these two therapies
carries over into a person’s every day life; one can apply
these techniques to his or her lifestyle. For more
information, please visit one of our preferred pain
Ivy Rehab Physical Therapy.
- Psychotherapy: The
objective of this therapy is to see how one copes with pain,
making sure each person has found a way to acknowledge
fears, stress, or emotional turmoil in a healthy way.
- Reflexology: This
powerful healing technique has the ability to relax our
state of mind, allowing the body to heal itself naturally by
balancing glands, calming muscles, detoxifying the body, and
producing endorphins to ease pain. Reflexology can be
performed on either hands or feet.
- Reiki: Reiki is based
on the idea that an unseen "life force energy" flows through
each of us. If one's "life force energy" is low, then we are
more likely to get sick or feel stress. Reiki is a Japanese
technique for stress reduction that also promotes healing
the body, mind and spirit.
- Spiritual Response
Therapy: Spiritual Response Therapy is a
transformational system that can help you achieve
breakthrough results. Your subconscious mind is like a
computer that stores and runs negative life programs that
may interfere with your ability to live your life to its
highest potential. These programs may express themselves as
health problems, addictions, relationship conflicts, or an
infinite variety of problems. SRT works directly with the
subconscious mind and soul records to find and remove these
negative programs, freeing you from blocks to health,
prosperity, and happiness. For more information, please
- Steam Room: Sweating
is the easiest way to rid the body of toxins and poisons.
When body heat rises, sweat glands begin to excrete wastes
and toxins on the cellular level, initiating a fever-like
response, which stimulates the immune system. Due to the
fact that 30% of all bodily waste is eliminated through
perspiration, entering a steam room is extremely beneficial
in ridding harmful toxins from the body. This therapy also
helps relax muscles, increase blood circulation, and
improves respiratory problems.
- St. John’s Neuromuscular
Massage Therapy: This type of massage deals with
specific trigger points in the body. The goal is to release
the excess pain and tension stored in the exasperated
- T’ai Chi Chih: T’ai
Chi Chih is a simpler form of ancient T’ai chi based on
twenty postures. It is referred to as a “moving meditation.”
The main intention is to increase circulation while
balancing the body’s own vital energy. Moving chi (energy)
through the body’s meridians (main energy points) centers
and calms the spirit. These slow, gentle movements create a
soft, flowing, continual motion aligning the body, mind, and
soul. T’ai Chi Chih has the power to heal. Good health,
better flexibility, mental clarity, weight control, the
balance of mind-body connection is all possible while
practicing T’ai Chi Chih.
- Visualization Therapy:
Visualization therapy deals with the belief that before one
can accomplish anything, one must imagine it first.
Therefore, to obtain overall health, a person must not only
imagine healing, but also visualize being healed. The
philosophy behind imagery is that chemicals in the nervous
system drastically change when picturing a mental image.
Studies show the same amount of brain stimulation whether
one is actually participating in an activity or imagining
that same action. The use of energy and visualization can
heal all problems.
- Yoga: The ultimate
goal of yoga is to reach the state of absolute peace and
tranquility existing between mind and body. By practicing
slow poses that require proper breathing, flexibility will
increase along with a new sense of serenity.
Articles on the benefit of
adults turn to CAM for chronic pain relief” by Charles C.