As if you needed more proof, the National Institutes of Health has decided that some of the most popular complementary health approaches (including yoga, tai chi, and acupuncture) work. Unfortunately, their research doesn't go far enough.
First, let's look at the good news. A group of scientists from the National Center for Complementary and Integrative Health (NCCIH) at the National Institutes of Health conducted a study to see if these therapies actually relieve pain.
The researchers looked at 105 randomized, controlled trials from the past 50 years. All of the studies looked at one of the aforementioned complementary therapies, plus four others. The first thing the researchers noticed was that none of the clinical trials reported any significant side effects. Not one! But that wasn't the best part.
The researchers' review focused on trial results of seven different ways to treat back pain, osteoarthritis, neck pain, fibromyalgia, and severe headaches and migraine. They found that acupuncture and yoga worked best for back pain. Acupuncture and tai chi were most effective for osteoarthritis of the knee. Massage therapy was effective for neck pain with adequate doses and for short-term benefit. And relaxation techniques helped severe headaches and migraine.
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The researchers also found that massage therapy, spinal manipulation, and osteopathic manipulation can provide some help for back pain, though the evidence was weaker. And they even found that relaxation approaches and tai chi might help people with fibromyalgia. But again, the evidence wasn't as strong.
It's obvious this study looked at therapies provided by medical professionals. So you have to go to someone's office to receive these treatments. Hopefully, this will encourage more doctors to open up to more complementary treatments, but it's doubtful they'll start teaching them in medical schools. But little by little, maybe they'll become more accepting of these therapies.
While you can do relaxation techniques at home, this study could have gone much further to help people reduce their pain at home. It was more focused on getting doctors to become more open to these techniques, which is great. But I want to help you reduce your pain without going to a specialist whenever possible.
I've told you in the past about many different at-home treatments for pain. I've told you about FlexPulse, mineral supplements, natural antibiotics, and a host of other nutrients. But one of my favorites is a formula called Ultimate Knee Relief. While it's formulated specifically for knee pain, it can help most types of pain throughout the body. It can help relieve many types of pain without the help of a medical professional. And coupled with some of the other therapies listed above, it can be an integral part of treating severe pain.
Your insider for better health,
Steve Kroening, ND
Nahin RL, Boineau R, Khalsa PS, Stussman BJ, Weber WJ. Evidence-based evaluation of complementary health approaches for pain management in the United States. Mayo Clinic Proceedings, 2016;91(9):1292-1306 DOI: 10.1016/j.mayocp.2016.06.007.