February 14, 2011

Pain Relief

What can a simple massage therapist say when a client asks about pain relief?

Obviously, I’m very biased. I’d rather do and use massage techniques to deal with pain and restore circulation.

But what about the chemical type of pain relief? What can I say?

Recommending a product or a drug or nostrum isn’t really what I want to do. I think getting into those areas can present a conflict of interest for therapists – especially when they may also be selling those products.

I can say what I do when I am hurting – that I LOVE topical creams and oils for pain relief.

There are more than a few good things to say about topicals – They go right where the pain is. Topicals don’t take along by-the-by route through your organs and liver on the way to where the problems are. I would like to think that by skipping all those stops on the way that topicals are less toxic and have fewer side effects.

That said, my favorites are arnica, MSM, capsaicin, and Epsom salt lotion. These topicals are generally easy to find in over-the-counter formulas at drugstores and health-food stores, and I’ve used them myself to very good effect.

The formulas I look for have fewest ingredients and I tend toward the most natural – arnica or capsaicin, for instance, in vegetable oil. I’m also partial to formulas that feature one active ingredient as opposed to kitchen-sink collections of things that might relieve pain.

So there they are, my favorite topical formulas that can help with everyday aches and pains. I’m sure other massage therapists have their own favorites – would you like to share?

No comments: