Natural Pain Relief

By Danielle Braff

Pharmaceutical painkillers may provide temporary relief, but these natural alternatives can work just as well—minus the side effects.

FEELING ACHY AND SICK? Try an herbal poultice, a body treatment formerly used on Thai soldiers coming back from war. Dried, organic herbs are wrapped in muslin, steamed, and then rubbed onto your body and face to boost lymphatic drainage, relax muscles, stimulate circulation, and detoxify and condition your skin. The treatment is available at most spas offering a traditional Thai massage.

GOT A HANGOVER? Detox naturally with Gua Sha. This treatment entails scraping oil over your body with a round instrument, which works to bring toxins from the cellular level to the surface, says Jin Ngan, an acupuncturist and Chinese healing specialist in Chicago. Look for Gua Sha at spas specializing in Chinese treatments and also at many acupuncture offices.

DEPRESSED? Soften emotional pain with Su Jok, a holistic Korean therapy similar to acupressure that uses points on the hands and feet. A therapist finds “pressure-pain” points on your extremities that correspond to emotional unrest and even physical pain in the body, and then helps restore balance and overall health by stimulating these points. You can find Su Jok therapy at most Korean acupuncture clinics.