At the core of natural medicine is one fundamental belief — our bodies are powerful, and if given the proper support they usually know how to heal themselves.
Your body is so wise, in fact, that at the first indication that anything is wrong it calls in the cavalry! The warrior that keeps you safe is your immune system – which sends in white blood cells and antibodies to correct any imbalance that may be occurring.
But sometimes the body’s natural protective response creates inflammation and swelling that can push on your nerves… This can cause pain — which nobody wants.
Fortunately, there are a number of safe and natural ways to eliminate this discomfort while your body continues to do its vital work!
Here are 3 rituals that you can easily implement into your everyday life to alleviate inflammation and pain:
Ritual #1 – The Body Scan Meditation
Meditation has been all the rage in recent news– not just with yogis, but with businessmen, athletes and entrepreneurs alike.
In 1999, doctors declared pain to be the 5th vital sign, along with: temperature, blood pressure, pulse and breath rate.
This embodiment ritual will help you gain awareness of the location and intensity of pain throughout your body.
Here’s how to do it:
Start by laying flat on the ground or sitting in a cross legged position. Again, the goal of this practice is to quiet your mind and focus on the sensations of the body. You may find it helpful to grab pillows to support your tailbone, lower back or head.
Once you are situated in your desired position, take at least 5 deep breaths and begin to focus on your body.
Allow the trunk and branches of your body to grow heavy.
Relax any immediately noticeable tension.
Now, start by noticing your face and head. Are you clenching? Do your eyes hurt from staring at your phone all day? Is there aching anywhere? Throbbing?
If any of those things (or any other sensations) present themselves, take deep breaths and focus on understanding the specific discomfort in that area. Sometimes simply acknowledging a feeling that we’re experiencing can dissolve it.
Once you feel like that area is relaxed, move on to your neck. Then to your shoulders and arms. To your torso. To your legs. And finally to your feet and toes.
I find it helpful to practice this ritual right before bed, and before I start work in the morning. Starting and ending with bodily awareness helps you stay in tune with yourself throughout the day.
Ritual #2 – Epsom Salt Bath Soak
Self care is another term that has been trendy lately, but for good reason! Living in modern times means constant exposure to news, heightened expectations due to the comparative nature of social media, and a greater number of diagnosed cases of an array of mental illnesses. To counter this, we as a people are prioritizing balance.
The pinnacle of self-care is an epsom salt bath soak.
Long practiced by the sports industry, an epsom bath relaxes your muscles, calms inflammation and helps you sleep more readily—which gives your body more time to recover.
If you incorporate herbal remedies, like essential oils or dried petals, you also gain those healing properties through the pores of the skin.
How to Draw a Self Care Bath:
- Run hot water into a plugged bathtub.
- Choose your bath soak blend: usually this is 1 cup of salts and any desired herbs. I suggest the following herbs for maximum analgesic and relaxing actions: lavender, chamomile, clove.
- Pour mixture into the tub and shut off the water when it’s full.
- Wait 5 minutes: allow the salts to dissolve and herbs to release their medicine.
- Jump in and relax!
Ritual #3 – Anti-inflammatory Foods
Food is medicine.
When you’re in acute or chronic pain, it might be time to make bigger changes and focus on eating nutrient dense and anti-inflammatory foods.
Inflammation is the body’s way of trying to repair itself. When something hurts, your immune system releases white blood cells to begin repair. As I mentioned above, the extra blood traffic to any particular area pushes against nerve endings which is what causes the pain.
Sticking to a mindful, anti-inflammatory diet is your number one defense here and can be the best medicine.
Try to plan your meals to include:
- leafy greens
- snacks like berries and nuts
- olive oil, instead of butter
- onions, garlic and ginger (all natural antibiotics)
Incorporating even one of the 3 rituals above can ease aches and pains with immediate results. Remember, our bodies are what keep us going every day – and we owe it to ourselves to take care of them!
Host of Remedy: Ancient Medicine for Modern Illness
& Founder of The Sacred Science