Happy, Healthy Pain-free Living! This week is all about addressing and managing the aches and pains of life, from strains and sunburns to toothaches to migraines, arthritis, carpal tunnel syndrome, psoriasis, shingles, neuropathy, and fibromyalgia even. You don’t have to pop (conventional) pills or tough it out. Medical doctors are increasingly turning to natural pain relief alternatives and pain is now among the most common reasons Americans turn to complementary medicine in the first place. There is a time and a place for allopathic medicine, when emergencies like major injuries and infections are best treated with conventional pharmaceuticals or surgery. But drugs may not be your only path to pain relief, especially for minor acute and chronic pain. You can build up a natural, herbal and nutraceutical “medicine cabinet” at home, here are our top 10 important tips for Pain Management: 1. Picture yourself somewhere topical. Use homeopathic arnica gel (which comes from a European flower) as an adjunct to ice, herbs, or conventional pain meds to reduce swelling. Rub arnica ointment on bruises or strained areas. (We all know “RICE” is used as the first treatment for many muscle strains, ligament sprains, or other bruises and injuries. RICE is used immediately after an injury happens and for the first 24 to 48 hours. Rest, ice, compression, and elevation can help you heal faster. Cold compresses can be a bag of frozen peas, a bag of ice, or a cold pack. Hot compresses can be a towel soaked in very warm water, a heat pack, or a heating pad.) Capsaicin is another option. Derived from hot chile peppers, topical capsaicin may be useful for some people in relieving pain. It works by depleting substance P, a compound that conveys the pain sensation from the peripheral to the central nervous system, which takes a couple of days. For a headache you can use cayenne pepper: dilute a ½ teaspoon of cayenne powder in 4 ounces of warm water. Soak a cotton swab in the solution and stir it around to make sure it’s covered-the powder can sometimes sink to the bottom. Apply the moist swab gently to the inside of each nostril until you can feel the heat. It may be a bit unpleasant at first, but take the burning sensation as a sign that it’s working. 2. Apply aloe vera aloe over. Aloe vera is used in traditional medicine as a multipurpose skin treatment. In Ayurvedic medicine it is called kathalai, as are extracts from agave. It is used in many consumer products for its rejuvenating, healing, or soothing properties. It is used in Shaklee’s Joint & Muscle Pain Cream that provides temporary relief in minutes. Deeply pentrating to target arthritis pain, backaches, sore muscle, sports injuries and more. This non-greasy, menthol formula enables fast absorption and provides prolonged release action to affected areas. So effective and convenient to use – keep one for the medicine cabinet, purse, and gym bag. And is a main ingredient in Shaklee’s Calming Complex, a hypoallergenic formula that gives you the protective and soothing benefits of beta glucan, for a quick recovery from environmental stress. It’s the perfect “after” product – after sunburn, after skiing, after airplane travel, after hot/cold shifts – after anything that makes your skin irritated and craving for comfort. 3. Bee, wasp, and hornet stings can be treated at home. If a stinger is left embedded in the body, then remove it as soon as possible. Use whatever tools are immediately available to dig it out. You could use a knife, credit card, pliers, tweezers, or a needle. Sterilize the tool if possible, but do not waste time. For maximum absorption, clean the area with soap and water before applying remedies, otherwise the oils on the skin will repel them. Wasp and hornet venom are powerful alkalines. Use an acid such as vinegar to neutralize them. It can be applied via a piece of cloth or bandaging. Make sure to keep the stings soaked for at least 15 minutes. Some vinegar will absorb through the skin, and it should greatly help eliminate the discomfort. In the case of bee stings, baking soda will help to neutralize the acidic venom. Make a paste by combining baking soda with water. Leave this paste on the sting site for at least 15 minutes. Some of the dissolved baking soda will leach through the skin to neutralize the venom. (If there is difficulty breathing, extreme dizziness, or nausea after a sting, then there is a high probability that it triggered a dangerous allergic reaction. Immediately get to the nearest hospital.) A note about splinters: soak a clean cotton pad with hydrogen peroxide and apply it on the area where the splinter is. Wait for a few minutes and the splinter will hopefully effortlessly come out. Or another family method is making an iodine and sugar poultice that you apply and cover with a bandage overnight. Once it comes to the surface, remove with tweezers. 4. Do your herbal research. Some to investigate: feverfew, willow bark, holy basil, butterbur, rose hips, and ginseng. Or aquamin (red seaweed). And boswellia is more than the incense, Frankincense. Boswellia has long been used in Ayurvedic medicine. Recently, the boswellic acids that are a component of the resin it produces have shown some promise as a treatment for asthma and various inflammatory conditions. You can find it in a quality herbal supplement like Shaklee’s Pain Relief Complex, which features a patented blend of clinically tested boswellia along with safflower extract, which provides help for overworked joints. This is ideal for those whose work puts stress on joints and who don’t work out regularly. Key ingredients help relieve discomfort from overexertion and promote flexibility and comfortable movement. And don’t forget about glucosamine, a natural compound used in the formation and repair of cartilage, according to the Mayo Clinic. Shaklee’s Advanced Joint Health Complex contains a patent-pending, fast-acting form of boswellia extract shown to improve joint comfort in as few as 5 days and concentrated forms of glucosamine that promote mobility, enhance flexibility, improve joint function. The formula also includes zinc, copper, manganese, and vitamin C—each playing a unique and critical role in building healthy connective collagen and cartilage. 5. MSM (methylsulfonyl-methane) is derived from sulfur and may prevent joint and cartilage degeneration. It is a powerful anti-inflammatory due to its ability to allow metabolic wastes to be removed from the cells. Excess weight on the body is actually inflammation. The cells of the body are chronically inflamed and retaining the byproducts of metabolic processes. Sulfur needs to be present in order for these toxins and wastes to be removed from the body. When these byproducts can be removed from the system, then the cells can also dispose of excess fluids that were being stored as a buffer. It also accelerates healing. Lactic acid and other byproducts cause pain and soreness in the body. Since MSM increases the ability of the body to eliminate waste products at the cellular level, this speeds recovery and frees up more energy for rebuilding. (Not to be confused with DMSO: dimethyl sulfoxide or DMSO was originally used as an industrial cleaning compound. Before long, however, it was discovered that it contains several benefits for the body. Although controversial and not yet endorsed by the FDA, it is still widely regarded as an alternative medicine. DMSO reportedly alleviates pain by numbing nerve endings. The impulses of pain are then slowed, or not reported, back to the brain.) 6. Get spicy with turmeric. This spice found as an ingredient in curry, and its chemical component called curcumin, has been used widely for its anti-inflammatory properties. Take 2 teaspoons of turmeric and 1 teaspoon of grated ginger with a little black pepper to help absorption per day as a natural alternative to ibuprofen. And on the topic of ginger…Shaklee’s Stomach Soothing Complex contains a unique four-herb formulation including peppermint, ginger, fennel, and anise traditionally used to provide relief for unsettled stomachs. It’s great for travelers who get queasy stomachs in a car, boat, or airplane. Clinical studies show that supplementing the diet with ginger may help maintain a calm stomach. 7. The tarter the cherry, the better the benefit. Research done at Michigan State University that appeared in the Journal of Natural Products published by the American Chemical Society revealed the anthocyanins that make cherries red may also help relieve pain more effectively than aspirin. This study found that anthocyanins were potent antioxidants that could prevent oxidative damage and also inhibited enzymes called cyclooxygenase-1 and -2 (Cox 1 and 2), which is similar in the way anti- inflammatory drugs seek to reduce pain. Cherries (especially tart cherries) are also rich in antioxidants, quercitrin, ellagic acid and perillyl alcohol (POH) all which help fight cancer and disease. 8. What a pain in the heart! Acid reflux occurs when stomach acid leaks back up into the esophagus — the pipeline between your mouth and stomach. If you suffer from reflux, you may experience heartburn, indigestion and regurgitation. Papaya enzymes help break down food proteins into simpler, easier to digest amino acids, leading to improved digestion and decreased stomach acid production. It is theorized that the digestive enzymes abundant in papain can lead to decreased acid reflux symptoms by lessening the body’s digestive workload. Papain, the key enzyme responsible for papaya’s positive digestive effects, is extracted from the plant’s unripe fruit. Papaya enzymes are commercially available in powder, pill and tablet forms. (As for those others pains of the heart, like heartbreak…take time for yourself and feed your soul with nurturing company—be it in the form of family, friends, or books or films; these are the first steps toward healing your heart center.) 9. Acupuncture is more mainstream now for a reason. When pricked with tiny, essentially painless needles, your body releases endogenous opioids (its natural painkillers) but for reasons scientists are still figuring out, the benefits last longer than the chemicals’ analgesic effect. For acute pain, try 5-8 treatments; experts say you’ll need 8-15 sessions for chronic pain. It improves functioning of the nervous system and musculoskeletal system, which is often the cause of pain. 10. T-R-Y C-B-T (cognitive behavioral therapy). The “talking cure” can change the way you think about your aches, and can also reduce stress, which worsens many kinds of pain. If you learn how to stop negative thoughts when they happen, you may be more able to care for yourself and handle life’s challenges. You will feel better. And you may be more able to avoid or cope with stress, anxiety, and depression. CBT is a therapy that is often used to help people think in a healthy way. It focuses on thought (cognitive) and action (behavioral). CBT can help you notice the discouraging thoughts that make you feel bad. These thoughts are sometimes called irrational or automatic thoughts. Using CBT, you can learn to stop these thoughts and replace them with helpful thoughts. The goal is to live on a scale of 1 to 10 of joy instead of based on pain. Next week will be Week 11 of our new Team RLEI Reset Program to Live Amazing and we’re going to breakdown how wise supplementation can take your life (and your game) to the next level.