Holistic Management for Chronic Pain

If you have spent any amount of time on the blog, you should probably know how I feel about masking symptoms. Symptoms are your body’s cry for help and the only way to answer that cry is by finding the cause of those symptoms. However, chronic pain is not an easy thing to live with and if one is going to soothe pains I would rather it be through the channel of natural and safe methods rather than through a prescription pill bottle. Here are some safer ways to manage your chronic pain while you search for the root cause.


Acupuncture is an ancient Chinese technique that has been in practice for thousands of years. It involves placing hair thin needles under the skin to manipulate the body’s meridian system. The meridian system is the channels by which Qi (pronounced chee) flows. When there are blockages within this system, the placement of a needle near the blockage site will unblock and allow the Qi to flow once more, alleviating stress.


Studies have shown a decrease in pain among people with rheumatoid arthritis, headaches, and cancer who use essential oils. Some notable oils include peppermint, lavender, chamomile, and rosemary. Just make sure you use them safely.


Biofeedback is a pain management technique that teaches the patient to consciously affect normally involuntary bodily functions, such as blood pressure and heart rate. The thought is that, by becoming aware of these functions, one can manipulate them in accordance with one’s pain.  It is inconclusive why biofeedback helps with pain, but one theory is that it simply allows one to relax, which in turn reduces symptoms that are typically worsened by stress. Electromyography, or EMG, measures muscle tension and is the type of biofeedback that has been shown to be most helpful in pain management.


Turmeric is a root often ground and use as a spice in Indian cooking. It has anti-inflammatory properties that make it perfect for pain management. A dose of about 240 to 500 milligrams of turmeric a couple times per day should help, but check with your doctor to be sure that is right for you. Don’t use turmeric if you are on blood thinners or are pregnant!

Heat Therapy

Heat and cold therapy are easy, inexpensive ways to target pain directly. Hot epsom baths relax the body and draw out toxins. Ice applied directly can reduce inflammation locally. The key is knowing when to use either. Use ice on red and swollen acute injuries. Using heat in these situations will increase blood flow and swelling. On muscle aches and spasms, use heat. Ice will tighten muscles and make spasms worse.


Researchers who assigned sufferers of chronic pain to either a meditation program or a wait list found that those who did the meditation reported less pain, as well as lower anxiety and depression and a better mental quality of life, than those who did not.

How to Fight the Flu Holistically

Credit: Anna Gutermuth

Flu season is officially beginning! I’m sure your local pharmacy is already plastered in signs advocating for the flu vaccine, and your kids might have been sent home from school with a notice to vaccinate. If you have spent any length of time browsing around this website you could probably guess that I am not a fan of the flu shot. To our family, it’s toxic soup and not on the menu…

Anyway, here are some tried and true techniques I use to help my non-vaccinated family make it through flu season. Even if you choose to get the shot, this advice will apply to you!


Allow yourself to be sick

If you feel yourself becoming sluggish and showing flu-like symptoms, don’t try to work through it. This can be a hard thing to do, especially for working moms, but admitting you’re sick is the first step, really! Pushing your body beyond its comfort level will just prolong the healing process and make you more miserable in the long run.


Eat well and drink LOTS of good water

This might not be as easy as you think it is. When you gets sick, it is very common to lose your appetite altogether. Getting enough fluids can be rough, too, especially if your body just wants to sleep all day. Even if you aren’t having your usual cravings for food and drinks, give your body what it needs to handle the flu. If it is low on fuel, it can’t run properly, and when you’re sick, your body is already on overdrive and needs the fuel more than ever. I don’t suggest you eat a steak because your body will not be digesting very well. It’s busy. But I do suggest eating easy to digest nourishing FOOD (not processed) that has been chewed until it is liquid. And if it’s broth, chew it too. Your saliva will seriously help your digestion when it is already at a weakened state.



Give your body a chance to heal. If that means going to sleep at 10am after getting your full eight hours the night before, then so be it! You’re feeling tired for a reason: your body needs to focus on bigger things than keeping you awake. Just remember the advice listed above and try to sneak in enough food and drink between naps.


Take Oscillococcinum

This is my favorite homeopathic flu remedy. It can minimize your flu symptoms and allow you to feel a little less awful while you heal. A little goes a long way–I use less than recommended on the bottle, and one lasts my family the whole flu season. Click here for more information about Oscillococcinum.

Get some sunshine

Even a little can help. It can help mood. It is the best source of vitamin D which has been shown to improve immune function. You don’t need to go tanning. On your arms and face will do, for about 10-20 minutes. Deeper skin tones may want to stay out a little longer than fairer skin toned people. I’m clear. So like 10 minutes and I’m good.


While you’re out getting your sun on, stick those bare feet in the grass! HERE is a great resource for grounding equipment if you’d like as well as a video. Do it. Even if it feels weird. I do it in purple polka dot pajamas at times. And that makes me smile.

Breathe Deeply

MANY times a day… put your tongue at the roof of your mouth right at your top teeth and close your mouth. Breathe in your nose for 4 seconds, hold for 7, and the blow out of your mouth for 8 seconds. This oxygenates the blood, brain and helps to release far more toxins than shallow breathing alone.


Experience love, humor, hope and friendship. It will remind you what you have to look forward to when you feel better. It also gives you endorphins that bless your immune system and take your body out of the scared mode it can get into when it gets sick.



I hope this helps! Stay in tune with your body and notice when you start slowing down. It can make the difference in how long you are down. Do you have any other tips for caring for a flu? Comment and let me know!