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Alternative Ways to take Pain Away

by AXA PPP healthcare(more info)

listed in integrated medicine, originally published in issue 254 - May 2019


What’s the Alternative?

If you’re fed up with taking pills or want to try something different, there are plenty of alternatives to consider. Many can be used alongside traditional painkilling options. Modern Western medicine is offering ever more sophisticated tests and treatments. But it isn’t always as successful as simpler therapies for dealing with long-term chronic conditions such as backache, headaches and arthritis.


Header Image re Pain


  1. Reflexology. Reflexology is a non-evidenced based complementary therapy treatment based on the idea that there are specific reflex areas on the feet, lower legs, hands, face or ear that correspond to different parts of the body. By working on these points using gentle pressure, both symptoms and causes can be helped. Dr Carol Samuel, a trained reflexologist and researcher from the University of Portsmouth, says, “Reflexology works by causing the brain to release chemicals that lessen pain signals. It may be used to complement conventional drug therapy in conditions associated with pain, such as osteoarthritis and backache”;
  2. Acupuncture. Traditional acupuncture is based on the idea that “pain and illness are signs that the body is out of balance and that qi – or vital energy – can’t flow freely,” say the British Acupuncture Council. Tailored individual treatment involves ultra-thin needles inserted into specific acupuncture points to get qi to flow again and trigger a natural healing response. “Acupuncture can be a very effective way to reduce pain levels,” comments Dr Wright. “For those who do respond to treatment, the effect can be strong, but repeat visits may be required.”
  3. Relaxation techniques. It’s also worth bearing in mind that feeling anxious can heighten pain, but being calm can reduce it. Mindfulness meditation can help you develop a calmer state of mind, or you could try practising yoga or Pilates to help both your body and mind;
  4. T’ai chi. According to Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM), of which T’ai chi is a part, the system helps to rebalance the flow of the body’s ‘life energy’ or ‘chi’, which circulates around the body in invisible channels or ‘meridians’. T’ai chi can ease stress disorders, improve balance, aid hearing and heart problems, promote wellbeing and slow the ageing process. Consultant cardiologist Professor Kevin Channer, of Sheffield’s Royal Hallamshire Hospital, offers T’ai chi to patients recovering from heart attacks as part of their rehabilitation. He says: “T’ai chi is absolutely complementary. As orthodox doctors we are very good at treating physical problems, but have nothing that helps the psyche. A third of patients who have heart attacks get depressed but conventional cardiac rehabilitation does nothing to address that. I recommend all my patients to try it at least.”
  5. Walking. Exercise works your heart and makes it stronger over time. Brisk walking builds strength in many muscles including the lower limbs. You may even find your core muscles become strengthened through brisk walking. Brisk walking for 30 minutes a day, 5 days a week will help give you a stronger heart which can lower the risk of some heart diseases and conditions such as type 2 diabetes;
  6. Swimming. It is the perfect physical activity for people of all ages and fitness levels. It’s an excellent way to improve your cardiovascular health. It’s ideal for people with physical issues or injuries because it allows them to get the benefits of exercise in a supported environment.

Not all injuries, aches and pains are the same, or respond to treatment in the same way. So if you’re in any doubt about the correct treatment approach for you, always seek the opinion of a medical professional.


AXA 254 Beneficial Foods


Feel Good Foods

  1. Blueberries – the ultimate immune-boosting food, blueberries are rich in antioxidants;
  2. Broccoli – guards against cancer and is rich in a wide range of antioxidants, vitamins C and E, folate and iron;
  3. Melons – such as cantaloupe, honeydew and watermelon. 90% of their weight is water, so they help fight fatigue by keeping you hydrated;
  4. Carrots – are high in carotenes, known to help maintain the immune system;
  5. Lettuce and salad greens – bitter varieties such as chicory and endive stimulate the liver, making them great detoxifiers. Most lettuces contain valuable amounts of vitamins, minerals and antioxidants;
  6. Beetroot – bursting with minerals, beetroot has anti-cancer, anti-inflammatory, antioxidant and detoxifying properties;
  7. Brazil nuts – you only need to eat two or three a day to benefit from their great combination of nutrients: vitamins E, B and selenium;
  8. Grapefruit – has immune-boosting, antiseptic, wound healing and anti-bacterial properties;
  9. Garlic – strengthens the heart and blood and has anti-bacterial, anti-fungal and anti-viral properties. It’s also thought to help lower blood pressure;
  10. Honey – a great natural source of carbohydrates, which provides strength and energy to our bodies. It can also help boost your immune and digestive systems;
  11. Cranberries – best known for helping to prevent and treat urinary tract infections, especially cystitis in women, cranberries have both anti-fungal and antiviral properties;
  12. Ginger – stimulates the immune system and circulation.

Eating a variety of brightly coloured plant foods ensures that plenty of important antioxidant vitamins are included in your diet.

Want more alternatives to traditional medicine? Please visit AXA PPP healthcare.


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About AXA PPP healthcare

AXA PPP healthcare – one of the largest and most experienced health insurance providers in the UK – has been helping people to access healthcare services since 1940. Today it forms the UK healthcare arm of AXA and provides cover for medical and dental care for individuals and employers, and employee wellbeing, counselling, occupational health and rehabilitation services through its Health Services division. AXA PPP healthcare has been named Best Healthcare Provider at the Corporate Adviser Awards 2017, Moneyfacts 2016 Best Healthcare Service and Health Insurance Provider of the Year, the European Large Contact Centre of the Year (at the European Contact Centre & Customer Service Awards, 2015) and Best Customer Experience (in the Large Contact Centre category of the UK Customer Experience Awards 2015).

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