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Alternative Therapies for Pain Relief

By: Corinna Underwood - Updated: 11 Dec 2012 | comments*Discuss
Pain Relief Alternative Therapies

What is Pain?

There are two basic types of pain; acute pain and chronic pain. Acute pain, most usually, is a result of disease, inflammation, or injury to tissues. It is immediate and usually of a short duration. Acute pain is a normal response to injury and may be accompanied by anxiety or emotional distress. The cause of acute pain can usually be diagnosed and treated.

Chronic pain is continuous pain that persists for more than 3 months, and beyond the time of normal healing. It ranges from mild to severe and can last weeks, months, or years to a lifetime. The cause of chronic pain is not always evident. Chronic pain can have a devastating impact on people's lives.

Hypnosis and Pain Management

Hypnosis has been around for centuries. The word "hypnosis" - is derived from the Greek word "hypnos" which means asleep. Early pioneers in the area of hypnosis used it to block the pain of amputations, before chemical anaesthetics were available. Hypnosis works to block, reduce, or eliminate pain in several ways. One is by reducing the strength of the pain signal that gets sent to the brain. Another way that hypnosis may work is that it redirects one's attention to something other than the pain. Still another way is by helping patients relax so that their pain is reduced. Patients under hypnosis may learn to, through suggestion, to put their hand to sleep. They can then transfer that numbness to a painful body part, thereby decreasing pain.


Many doctors and nurses throughout the UK recognize acupuncture as an effective complimentary practice, and it is one of the fastest growing alternative treatments. Acupuncture entails the complex art of healing by inserting very fine needles into the skin. According to acupuncture, there are meridians or acupoints upon the skin, which serve as a connection between its surface and the internal organs. In a healthy body the qi is balanced and flows evenly through the meridians, energizing and cleansing. In the unhealthy body the flow of energy becomes blocked. Acupuncture has been used with success in treating conditions such as fibromyalgia (a chronic pain condition affecting muscles and connective tissues), chronic headaches, neck pain from whiplash, knee and hip pain from arthritis, chronic abdominal pain, asthma, pain caused by sickle-cell anaemia and even shingles (a painful rash caused by a virus).


Biofeedback uses devices that measure such functions as heart rate, body temperature, and muscle tension. Patients can learn to regulate these functions (slow down their heart rate, for example), which may help them deal with chronic pain.


Acupressure is a non-invasive form of massage therapy that is related to acupuncture. A practitioner can do it, or in some cases you can perform it yourself. Acupressure points are specific locations on the body. Pressing or massaging them releases the energy that may influence pain. Reflexology is a type of acupressure.


Naturopathy is also centered on a belief that the body can heal itself. It takes a holistic approach, treating not just symptoms but the whole person. This method combines a range of nutrition, homeopathy, massage, fitness, and other techniques.


Homeopathy aims to get the body to heal itself and fight illness by extremely weak solutions of plants, minerals, and other substances.

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