Adults suffering from chronic pain can select from a wide range of treatments that meld traditional practices with modern science. While more research needs to be done, acupuncture, ROM Dance and yoga are just a few of the techniques that are helping patients deal with pain.
Here are some of today’s most popular pain management techniques and how they can help:
Used to treat a variety of medical concerns, acupuncture is an ancient Chinese healing art that uses fine needles for therapeutic purposes. These extremely thin needles are inserted through your skin to various depths at strategic points on your body. Acupuncture therapy may range from a single to a dozen treatments, depending on your degree of pain.
Deep breathing exercises
You don't have to head to a packed gym or busy clinic to practice deep breathing exercises. Sitting where you are, simply imagine a peaceful place and then focus on controlled breathing, relaxing your body, one part at a time. If practiced regularly, this important relaxation technique can lower blood pressure, and reduce muscle tension. Let stress expert Eli Bay lead you through an audio deep breathing exercise included in Inhale. Exhale. Breathe!
More than simply an indulgence, massage therapy involves the treatment of soft tissues and joints to prevent and relieve musculoskeletal-related pain. Types of massage therapy range from Swedish massage and manual lymphatic drainage to cranio-sacral therapy and deep tissue massage. If massage is too painful, read about therapeutic touch below.
Two nurses, Dolores Krieger and Dora Kunz, developed therapeutic touch in the early 1970s. Their work is based on the techniques of a healer, which they interpreted for the nursing profession. Therapeutic touch involves the channeling of energy, but the practitioner places their hands about two to six inches above your body while you’re either sitting or lying down. After seeking energy that is out of balance, the therapist will then direct their own energy to the place where it is needed. They then may use sweeping motions, for example, to rebalance or clear blocked energy. Therapeutic touch sessions typically last 10 to 20 minutes, with reports from patients of well-being and relaxation.
Range-of-Motion (ROM) Dance
ROM Dance is a gentle relaxation program designed especially for people suffering from chronic pain. By incorporating fluid movements with basic mind/body principles from tai chi and quiet music, ROM Dance can improve flexibility and mobility while encouraging a greater sense of relaxation. ROM Dance takes about seven minutes to complete and can be performed both sitting and standing.
Originally developed in China nearly 2,000 years ago as a form of self-defense, tai chi is an extremely low-impact form of exercise that can help reduce stress and relieve pain. These gentle movements, connecting the mind and body, can increase flexibility and improve muscle strength. The best thing about tai chi: anyone, regardless of age or physical ability, can practice this ancient technique.
Used for relaxation, stress reduction and a variety of conditions, yoga is an ancient system that combines a series of postures, controlled breathing exercises and meditation to keep the body fit and the mind focused. Whether you’re suffering from a respiratory illness, asthma, carpal tunnel syndrome, depression, low back pain, joint inflammation or stiffness, yoga has health benefits, especially when combined with a healthy diet, aerobic exercise and medication.
An important note
If you are experiencing pain, speak to your healthcare professional before starting or attempting any of these or other pain management techniques.
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