ZEN AND THE CITY

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How to handle stress

I’m interested in the relationship between mind and body. Today I realized, again, how the mind is linked to the physical body in ways that I don’t fully understand. I’m looking to get more knowledge about this, and I’ve been doing some research to understand this complex relationship.

There’s a part of my upper back on the left side between my shoulder blade and my neck that always flares up. Today I was stressed out, and it was bothering me. Then I had a fight with someone and all of a sudden, the pain wasn’t just bothersome, it was unbearable. It was so immediate that I knew, clearly, it had to be related to the emotional strain I had just experienced.

The relationship between stress and back pain (and stress and eczema, or stress and headaches, or stress and a myriad of other symptoms) is well documented. And I’m really not into pills, painkillers, or medication of any kind to alleviate the pain. I hardly ever take Tylenol and I even gave birth without drugs! What I’m interested in is addressing the root causes of the pain, so that the pain subsides on its own.

Here are some of my “finds” to address pain in the most natural ways:

  1. Turmeric. This spice is well known as an anti-inflammatory and it works wonders!!! I initially found it when I was still nursing. My doctor wanted to prescribe anti-inflammatory drugs and I told him I didn’t want to take them because I was afraid they would get into my breast milk. He’s the one who suggested turmeric pills (herbal supplements), but I was even too chicken to take those. So I went to my local health store and stocked up on turmeric tea. I drank buckets of it, morning, noon and night – plain and without sugar. The taste initially took some getting used to. But you can get used to anything, and now I love it. It worked so well! Within a few days the inflammation was all gone. I literally felt the turmeric soothe my body every time I drank a cup of that amazing tea.
  2. Massage. Find a therapist you like and trust. There are great massage therapists out there… and not so great ones! Picking the right person makes a world of difference. It doesn’t matter how much the massage costs or if it’s in a fancy place. What matters is the skill of the therapist. You’ll know the minute they lay their hands on you if you found the right person or not.
  3. Bath salts. I hear Epsom salts are magnesium based, and that magnesium deficiency is a really common problem. I pour a cup-full of Epsom salt into a hot bath and let the salt soak into my skin. The heat from the water and the magnesium from the salt form a powerful combination that soothe tense muscles. You can also take magnesium supplements if you don’t have time for a bath, but the skin is a wonderful organ to absorb minerals and I like having a relaxing moment by myself (if I can steal a few minutes away from the kids).
  4. Acupuncture. Same as for massage – make sure you find the right person. Once you do, you’ll find that acupuncture is a fantastic way to move energy around your body – and remove pain!

What are your favorite ways to deal with stress-related pain and injuries?

 

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