Give your body the best Whether you are a tri-athlete or just trying to fit in several normal workouts a week, you are working to give your body the best. I know with hard physical work comes sore muscles. There are a lot of synthetic, chemical filled sports creams, these are not a natural way to relieve aches and pains. They might bring short term relief, but there are much better options that actually help decrease inflammation – your body’s response to injury. The natural result of decreased inflammation is less pain.
Change is good I realize I may be making some of you uncomfortable talking about products you might be using. My long term goal, however, is to equip you to make the best choices in your personal care and body products. There are a lot of people doing great things with diet and exercise, and personal care is another component of wellness that can’t be ignored. Chemicals are absorbed into your skin and can accumulate over time.
Make the right choices The great news is there are truly natural options in pain relief that will support what you are already doing. Anyone with aging parents, friends or colleagues knows that the a great deal of our population is overmedicated. You can lessen exposure to more toxins by making educated choices for pain relief. The last I checked, Amazon.com had 5,870 pain relief products available. How do you begin choosing products for pain relief? Start by reading the labels of what you are already using and know what you are applying to your body or ingesting. Many products not only have synthetic ingredients and artificial colors that could cause a reaction, any with artificial fragrance could be disrupting your thyroid and hormones.
1. Essential Oils There are many Therapeutic Grade essential oils that can replace chemical filled creams and pills. Essential oils can be applied topically or to the Vita-Flex points on the feet for direct relief. While essential oils cannot repair serious injuries like a torn rotator cuff or the need for knee replacement, they can decrease inflammation, speed healing and lessen the time you have to take potent narcotics for post-surgical pain.
Essential oils also work on physical and psychological aspects of pain. Here are some of the best choices for pain in the muscles, joints and backs. In addition to pain relief, essential oils have many uses, so when you apply an oil to your muscles or joints, you will be supporting your whole body’s health. Essential oils stop your body’s response to injury, so the sooner you can apply them after over-exertion or injury the quicker they will relieve the discomfort and the less you’ll have to use them.
- Idaho balsam fir- anti-inflammatory, grounding and relaxing to the body. Effective against respiratory infections, fatigue and sciatica.
- Lavender – calming, relaxant physically and emotionally. Supports skin health, speeds wound healing in cuts, scrapes and 1st degree burns.
- Wintergreen – naturally warming, muscle relaxant, highly anti-inflammatory and anti-spasmodic.
- Basil – anti-inflammatory, anti-spasmodic, also anti-bacterial and anti-viral.
- Copaiba - powerful anti-inflammatory oil, antiseptic with almost imperceptible odor.
- Marjoram – relieves muscle spasms, anti-bacterial, anti-fungal, promotes intestinal peristalsis, mucolytic, expectorant.
- Peppermint – cooling, anti-inflammatory, stimulating (don’t use before bed!) Synergistic and increases penetration when applied after other oils.
- PanAway - an essential oil blend of helichrysum (heals tissue & nerve damage, anti-inflammatory), wintergreen, peppermint and clove
- Deep Relief Roll-On is a convenient oil blend in an applicator bottle that you can roll on directly to sore muscles.
2. Arnica Oil - Arnica is a homeopathic compound that alleviates pain from bumps, bruises and sore muscles. We’ve used this on our kids for growing pains. Don’t combine it with anything containing peppermint. Strong mint and even coffee will negate the effects of homeopathic remedies.
3. Salt Bath – Epsom salts, Magnesium Salts, baking soda and Sea salt are all great options for a soothing soak in the tub after a hard workout. All of these options will help decrease inflammation and increase circulation to your muscles. The most effective way to take a salt bath is when you can rest quietly for an hour afterwards. Soaking before bed is also helpful to ease you into a restful night of sleep after a hard day of work.
4. Joint Pain – is often caused by systemic issues. Essential oils can bring some temporary relief, but an honest assessment should also be taken of environment, diet and lifestyle. MSM can be helpful in decreasing systemic inflammation, as well as looking at your diet. Ningxia Red is a powerful anti-oxidant that works to give your body added nutrition with whole foods rather than synthetic vitamins. Consult an Essential Oil Desk Reference, Prescription for Nutritional Healing and your holistic practitioner for management of chronic joint pain and autoimmune disorders.
For serious back injuries, essential oils can help bring relief until medical intervention is needed. Many individuals have prolonged or even avoided the need for surgery when they used essential oils with integrated care by a chiropractor, physical therapist and gentle exercise like yoga with an experienced instructor. The Raindrop Technique contains many anti-inflammatory and anti-spasmodic essential oils that are helpful for chronic back pain and even for individuals with scoliosis.
Name That Product: Here’s a challenge for you, a product labeled with “Natural Herbal Ingredients” but also contains plenty of questionable chemicals. One of my biggest concerns is the use of menthol (made as a synthetic or watered down peppermint ), camphor (inexpensive filler that “smells strong”, may be derived from terpentine, used as insect or moth repellant and in embalming) and lavender “oil” (not even listed as essential oil, this is probably hormone disrupting synthetic oil) and artificial colors, and chemicals that release formaldehyde (also used in embalming):
menthol 5%, camphor 3%, water, aloe vera gel, isopropyl alcohol, lavender oil, triethanolamine, carbomer, ginseng extract, angelica extract, polysorbate 60, DMDM hydantion, imidazolidinyl urea, blue 1, yellow 5
These statements have not been evaluated by the FDA and are not intended to diagnose, treat or cure any disease.