How to relieve and manage all types of pain, anxiety and stress, anytime, anywhere.
Providing solutions, practices, exercises and support that helps the whole person.
Being the Greatest Versions of Ourselves
We have come a long way from the days of “grin and bear it,” or “no pain, no gain.” Pain begets pain, so it’s important to stop it early.
By implementing small changes and new practices, we can break the vicious pain cycle, addictions and old habits. Our brain and spinal cord form the central nervous system (CNS), the body’s information storage system and decision maker. The nervous system adapts very quickly to its environment, making it possible to re-train it. Studies show us it takes between 30 to 90 days to teach our nervous system new ways to operate.
My own experiences have taught me, this is one of the main keys to healing ourselves. It took me 45 days or 6 weeks to successfully re-train my nervous system. This was the key (45 days) that made it possible for me to reduce and eventually eliminate all medications. I found doing this work by myself was challenging at times. I do recommend having a support system in place, particularly in times of relapse and flareups.
Here is the list of practices and exercises I have used and tested over 10 years, I still use many of them today. I have found these to be effective in relieving and managing all types of pain, anxiety and stress, most of them can easily be learned at home.
These are the very tools that helped me recover from a broken lumbar spine, chronic pain, back pain, nerve pain, multiple spine surgeries and eliminate all medications.
Below you will find a brief explanation of how to do these practices and exercises, some of them I have added other resources to help you get started. See our services for personalized pain management, self healing and self development sessions and support.
Habit stacking, One of the best ways to build a new habit and re-train the nervous system is to identify a current habit you already do each day and then stack your new practice or exercise on top. Use this technique with any of these practices or exercises to begin forming a new program or habit, its that easy.
Neuroplasticity is the brain’s ability to change itself constantly by creating new neural pathways and losing those which are no longer used. For the brain to rewire itself it requires sustained practice of a new behavior which will sufficiently challenge the brain to think in a new way. In order to rewire your brain for the long term, it is best to practice for at least six weeks for just five to 10 minutes a day. If you’re busy during the day, try doing the practice before going to bed or first thing in the morning.
Mind-body connection, These techniques, which include meditation, mindfulness, and breathing exercises (among many others from this list), help you restore a sense of control over your body and turn down the “fight or flight” response of the nervous system, with practice you can easily reduce chronic muscle tension, all types of pain, stress and anxiety.
Reset your nervous system. A deep sigh is your body’s natural way to release tension and reset your nervous system. Simply breathe in fully, then breathe out fully, longer on the exhale. Studies have shown that a deep sigh returns the autonomic nervous system from a stressed over-activated sympathetic state to a more relaxed and balanced parasympathetic state.
Instant state change, Move and stretch your body, go for a short walk its so simple and a very effective technique. When you change your physical posture and change your breathing pattern, this changes your neurology, chemistry and emotional state. Use this practice when you are feeling frustrated, stressed, anxious and in pain.
Square breathing, This is a valuable breathing exercise, calming the body’s response to pain by reducing the stress hormones. Breathe fully in to the count of 3 seconds, then hold for 3 seconds, breathe fully out to the count of 3 seconds and hold for 3 seconds, breath fully in for the count of 3 seconds and hold for 3 seconds and repeat the cycle 3, 6 or 9 times.
Burst breathing, An effective emergency pain management technique. Breathe short quick breaths in and out, imagine with every inhale you are syphoning or sucking little bits of your pain out, then imagine spitting your pain out on each exhale. This exercise allows you to move while in pain or having a flare up. This is the very technique I used to control the pain when I broke my lumbar spine, it is similar to a breathing practice used in childbirth.
Belly breathing, Breathe deeply into your abdomen, place your hands on top of each other over your navel. Focus your awareness in your hands as they rise and fall with every belly breath. Control each inhale and exhale, breath in deeply and slowly then exhale slowly. This practice is simple and very effective in centering and calming yourself, useful in times of stress, anxiety and pain.
Hot shower or bath, This is a common practice for muscle relaxation before going to sleep. Hot showers activate the parasympathetic nervous system which is responsible for the body’s rest and digestion response. Other health benefits include, providing relief from respiratory symptoms, sore muscles, muscle tension and knots. The hot water also helps to increase blood circulation in the body that can considerably ease pain, stimulate healing and reduce inflammation.
Cold & heat, These two tried-and-true methods are still the cornerstone of relieving pain for certain kinds of injuries. If a homemade hot or cold pack doesn’t do the trick, try using a balm or muscle rub such as Deep heat or tiger balm, these can penetrate deeper into the muscle and tissue.
Cold water therapy or having a cold shower, activates the body’s natural healing powers that can relieve the symptoms of many medical conditions and promote a sense of health and well-being. And when practiced on a regular basis, cold water therapy can even provide long-lasting changes to your body’s immune, lymphatic, circulatory and digestive systems that enhance the overall quality of your life.
Exercise, Physical activity plays a crucial role in interrupting the “vicious cycle” of pain and reduced mobility found in some chronic conditions such as arthritis and fibromyalgia. Try gentle aerobic activities such as walking, swimming, or cycling. Yep so I get it, at one point I had to use a Zimmer frame and then upgraded to a walking stick, I know its hard when you are in pain, however it is really really important to move your body.
Ground yourself, go outside and walk or stand on the grass with bare feet. The Earth’s surface contains free electrons that can be transferred to the human body via direct contact. These electrons act as antioxidants that help neutralize free radicals in our bodies to reduce inflammation and prevent disease. Grounding or earthing does show solid evidence of increasing your overall health and wellbeing, So get outside, go for a walk, swim in a river or go to the beach, spend some time sitting under a tree or gardening, the health benefits of this practice is very powerful and often over looked.
Water is very important, dehydration puts the body under stress, the human body is approximately 70% water so its important we get our daily requirement’s to function at our best. Water regulates our body temperature, moistens tissues in the eyes, nose and mouth, protects body organs and tissues, carries nutrients and oxygen to cells, lubricates joints, lessens burden the on kidneys and liver by flushing out waste products, helps dissolve minerals and nutrients to make them accessible to your body. Your body also uses water to sweat, urinate, and have bowel movements.
Live Food, We have all heard it before, eat your greens or veg’s. Here’s why eating fresh fruit and vegetables is very important, the enzymes in fresh live foods such as fruit and vegetables helps our digestive system process the food we eat. Without these live enzymes our body uses up valuable stored energy replicating these enzymes to digest the “non live” and processed foods we consume. This is why we sometimes experience a drop in our energy levels and feel tired after a meal.
Meditation is a mental exercise that affects the body’s neurological and biochemical processes, it is effective both in reducing stress and in helping to relax your body and mind made tense by anxiety and worry. when you meditate you quiet your nervous system, relaxing muscle contractions, this reduces physical and emotional pain. With practice it is possible to become constantly meditative while doing your work and daily duties. Here is a guided meditation from Mooji.
Visualization is the practice of Visualizing an imagine, creating a mind movie or to paint a picture of something or an outcome in your mind of what you are wanting to achieve. Visualization is an important practice to use in healing ourselves. If you want to start adding the practice of visualization into your life, here are the steps that you can follow.
- Find a quiet place to sit. Make sure this is a place where you will not be disturbed.
- Close your eyes and take several deep breaths to help yourself relax.
- Begin to think about the outcome, object, or situation that you want in your life. Think about it as clearly as possible with every detail that you can imagine, add into your visualization your feelings and emotions related to what you are visualizing.
- Practice doing this at least once a day or throughout the day.
- After visualizing, you may feel inspired and ready to take action towards your goals.
Self–observation is an awareness practice where you turn your attention inward, and nonjudgmentally watch what you think, feel, and do. That internal part of you that always lives in the present moment and watches what happens inside of you, known as your “Inner observer” or “true self”. Using this practice you can catch yourself when you are unconsciously thinking about pain and change your thinking patterns, using state change and distraction techniques.
Distraction technique or pattern interrupting. Mental distractions actually block pain signals from the body before they ever reach the brain. Human brains have a limited capacity for attention. If you have a demanding enough task, you’ll have less attention to give to your pain. Find yourself a new creative hobby, the possibilities are unlimited.
Music or sound therapy, Studies have shown that music and particular frequencies and vibrations can help relieve pain during and after surgery and childbirth. It is also a type of distraction technique. Classical music, chanting and nature sounds have proven to work especially well, try your favorite uplifting music to distract you from pain or discomfort.
Bio-feedback, This technique involves learning relaxation and breathing exercises with the help of a biofeedback app on your phone, which turns data on physiological functions (such as heart rate and blood pressure) into visual cues such as a graph, a blinking light, or even an animation. Watching and modifying the visualizations gives you a degree of control over your body’s response to pain.
Spine health exercises, Our spine is essentially the very structural foundation on which our whole body relies upon on, So having a healthy spine is very important. Below are some simple spine exercises I use in my daily routine, they are easy to do even if you have a titanium spine like me. Here are the names of these exercises and a playlist of demonstrations from You Tube add them to your daily routine.
- Spinal cord breathing.
- Knocking on the door of life.
- Zen swing.
- Spinal twist.
- Pelvic stretch.
- Practice sitting crossed legged on the floor, this opens up the sacrum and releases pressure on the nerves.
- Sitting half crossed legged on chair, this also releases the pressure on the sacrum and nerves.
Acupressure is easy to learn, it uses pressure points on the body to stimulate the central nervous system. This releases chemicals into the muscles, spinal cord, and brain. These biochemical changes stimulate the body’s natural healing abilities and promote physical and emotional well-being. Below is a list of effective Acupressure points, a video demonstration of 10 important points from You Tube and a link to download free acupressure points charts there are many option available to help you learn the locations of these points,
- Fatigue, use points – CV6, KD3
- Headache, use points – GB14, GB20, LI4
- Anxiety, use points – HT7 , ST6, PC6
- Stress, use points- HT7, LV3
- Head & neck pain, use points – LI4, UB2, UB60, GB20
- Shoulder pain, use points- LI10, GB20, LU1
- Elbow pain, use points – LI10, LI11
- Wrist & hand pain, use points – PC6, SJ5, SJ6
- Lower back pain, use points – KD3, UB40, GB30, GV26
- Knee pain, use points – ST36, ST37
- Foot & ankle pain, use points – LV3, SP6 ,KD3
Emotional freedom technique, (EFT) is easy to learn and can be an effective treatment for physical pain and emotional distress. It’s also referred to as tapping or psychological acupressure. EFT involved tapping on specific points on the face and hands which can change the neurological signals associated with emotional responses, using this technique can create a balance in your energy system and treat pain. The basic EFT script starts with “Even though ( you fill this part in with what’s troubling you) I deeply and completely accept myself” you then tap through the EFT points repeating the script, then repeating the cycle with a positive script. Below are the eight points of the EFT sequence and a video demonstration from The Tapping Solution.
- Side of eye
- Under eye
- Under nose
- Under arm
- Top of head
Qi Gong & Tai Chi, These two exercise practices incorporate breath control, meditation, and gentle movements to stretch and strengthen muscles. Qi gong and Tai Chi practices are also used to generate Qi energy and are associated with martial arts practices. Many studies have shown that they can help people manage pain caused by a host of conditions, from headaches to arthritis to lingering injuries. Here is a playlist of daily routines from You Tube.
Yoga synchronizes breath and movement to produce an internal heat designed to purify the body. By practicing yoga, energy continuously flows inside us, creating healing and vitality in our bodies. Join your local yoga class or practice at home with this routine for beginners from YouTube.
Advanced Self-observation, This is an advanced self observation technique, it is the constant attention to the thoughts and words we use that are associated with pain, diagnosis, conditions and the labels we and others place upon ourselves. By refraining from using “these pain words ” with the words I, I am, My or I have in all sentences, either written or spoken, including our internal dialog, we can create some “distance” between ourselves and pain. For example you are experiencing pain, acknowledge it, use a practice or exercise to manage it and refrain from speaking or thinking about it. I know it is difficult to start with, however with constant practice the distance you create between you and pain becomes greater and greater. This is a technique I have used and it is incredibly effective in helping us re-train the nervous systems responses associated with the “labels” and limitations we place upon ourselves.
Pacing, to avoid “boom and bust” is an activity management technique for managing a long-term health condition or disability, aiming to maximize what a person can do while reducing, or at least controlling, any symptoms that restrict activity. Pacing is commonly used to help manage conditions that cause chronic pain or chronic fatigue. Pacing aims to manage symptoms by avoiding the “boom and bust” cycle that is common among people exceeding their current, limited capacities. This often leads to being forced to stop their activities as a result of pain, fatigue or other symptoms, and then requiring a large amount of rest before being able to resume their activity, the cycle then repeats.
Relapse prevention, It all about awareness, relapse episodes are usually preceded by a series of observable warning signs. There are a number of basic principles and procedures that underlie relapse prevention.
- Self-regulation, The risk of relapse will decrease, as your capacity to self-regulate your thinking, feelings, judgement and actions increases.
- Integration, The risk of relapse will decrease, as the level of your conscious understanding and acceptance of situations, and events that have led to past relapses increases. For example understanding that taking a “boom and bust” approach to activity can lead to a setback and relapse.
- Understanding, The risk of relapse will decrease, as you recognise and understand the general factors that cause a relapse increases. For example, worsening sleep pattern, other illnesses, relationship tension, being away from home, stress.
- Self-knowledge, The risk of relapse will decrease, as your ability to recognise personal relapse warning signs increases.
- Awareness, The risk of relapse will decrease, as you start to use techniques designed to identify relapse warning signs increases. For example keep a diary, record medication use, use charts for exercise quotas, accept feedback from loved ones.
- Significant others, The risk of relapse will decrease, as you involve your significant others in your approach to pain management. For example accept feedback from loved ones if they have your permission to offer it, talk to your loved one or support person if you have a set back.
Anger management, It is important to talk about this, I understand when you are in constant pain and everything hurts you can easily be irritated. It is important to respond as calmly as possible and not react unconsciously. Here are a few basic principles that can be helpful with anger management.
- Steps to taming anger, Know what pushes your buttons, Know your body’s anger signs, Stop and think, decide what to do, Talk about it.
- Identify internal cues to feeling of anger, Stomach gets tight or upset, Heart is beating faster, Clenching fists, Feel yourself getting flushed, pressure on my temples. Sweaty palms. Clenched jaw.
- Stop blaming others and yourself, Blaming only keeps people up set, Blaming is a way of not respecting people or yourself. Blaming is not being responsible.
- Ways to keep cool, Get regular exercise, Eat right, Get enough sleep, Learn to relax, Know your feelings, Write about those feelings, Find a quiet place, Take time out, find fun distractions, Make good decisions about what you see and hear, Choose friends who make you feel good, Learn to forgive and forget.
- Basic Management, Calm down, Show mutual respect, Name the problem, Find solutions, Congratulate yourself, Review the solution and outcome.
Supplements, I am no expert but these are the supplements I use and found them incredibly helpful during my recovery. Here is a brief explanation of why they are important for physical recovery and optimized health.
- Vitamin C is an essential nutrient involved in the repair of tissue and the enzymatic production of certain neurotransmitters It is required for the functioning of several enzymes and is important for immune function.
- Magnesium is an essential element in biological systems. Magnesium occurs typically as the Mg2+ ion. It is an essential mineral for life and is present in every cell type in every organism. For example, ATP (adenosine triphosphate), the main source of energy in cells, must bind to a magnesium ion in order to be biologically active. What is called ATP is often actually Mg-ATP. As such, magnesium plays a role in the stability of all polyphosphate compounds in the cells, including those associated with the synthesis of DNA and RNA
- B vitamins play a vital role in maintaining good health and well-being. As the building blocks of a healthy body, B vitamins have a direct impact on your energy levels, brain function, and cell metabolism. Vitamin B complex helps prevent infections and helps support or promote: cell health.
- Vitamin B6, also known as pyridoxine, helps: the body to use and store energy from protein and carbohydrates in food. the body form hemoglobin, the substance in red blood cells that carries oxygen around the body.
- Vitamin E is Important for stamina and energy, Vitamin E is also good for good blood circulation. In addition to providing cell protection, vitamin E is vital to a functioning immune system. As a powerful antioxidant, it helps cells fight off infection. This vitamin also helps protect eyesight.
- Spirulina is a super food made from a Blue green algae. Spirulina is naturally rich in many nutrients, including vitamins, minerals, antioxidants, essential fatty acids and chlorophyll. It is naturally high in iron and has a higher percentage of protein (60%) than any other food.
- Activated Charcoal works by trapping toxins and chemicals in the gut, preventing their absorption. The charcoal’s porous texture has a negative electrical charge, which causes it to attract positively charged molecules, such as toxins and gases. Activated Charcoal can improve digestive function and immunity by helping to remove heavy metals, viruses and parasites from the gut and encouraging the growth of good bacteria. Because activated charcoal is not absorbed by your body, it can carry the toxins bound to its surface and remove them from the body through natural processes.
- Probiotics are live bacteria and yeasts that are good for you, especially your digestive system. We usually think of these as germs that cause diseases. But your body is full of bacteria, both good and bad. Probiotics are often called good bacteria because they help keep your digestive system healthy. A healthy digestive system is the key to great health and wellbeing.
- Shilajit is a sticky substance found primarily in the rocks of the Himalayas. It develops over centuries from the slow decomposition of plants. Shilajit is commonly used in ayurvedic medicine. It’s an effective and safe supplement that can have a positive effect on your overall health and well-being. It has a calming effect on your body, this is due to the high levels of potassium and magnesium. These components relax your muscles, including those of your heart. This soothing effect can help in lowering the levels of stress.
Essential Oil secret formula, This my own essential oil pain relief formula, used externally it is very strong and works almost instantly, even on stubborn pain. Here is the recipe, In a 100ml glass bottle add,
- 10ml Peppermint oil
- 10ml Cinnamon oil
- 10ml Eucalyptus oil
- 10ml Cajaput oil
- 10ml Myrrh oil
- 10ml Almond oil
- 20ml Wintergreen oil
- 20ml Coconut
Mix together, then transfer 10ml of this formula into a 10ml glass roller bottle for application (convenient little bottles you can carry in your pocket and use throughout the day). Use only pure organic essential oils and glass bottles. Apply directly to the skin on painful or sore muscles, joints, bones, nerves and anywhere there’s pain, avoid sensitive areas, do not use on broken skin, discontinue if irritation occurs. This recipe will make enough to fill 10 small roller bottles, have one in you bag, car, office at home, carry one in your pocket.
back braces, For lower back support are absolutely helpful, they can help unload some of the weight normally placed on the lower back. Using a back brace can reduces pressure on the spine’s joints, discs, and muscles. By reducing spinal pressure, a back brace can lessen painful muscle tension that is a common protective reaction following an injury. I found using a back brace helpful when out walking, going out in general or doing any type of activity and driving. I preferred the soft braces with Velcro, they are not bulky, easy to put on and take off and you can easily adjust them when needed.
Tens Machine or a Tens unit is a small, battery-operated or rechargeable device that has leads connected to sticky pads called electrodes, they emit a controllable electrical current which stops the pain signals reaching the brain. An excellent drug-free solution to pain relief. Used for recovery from sports related injury, post surgery rehab, stroke & spinal injury’s. With this device you can control all types of pain anytime. I highly recommend having your own Tens unit. *You can buy them online at Trade Me or eBay.
Theracane. The Theracane is an amazing handheld self back massager that provides quick temporary relief from back pain, sciatic nerve pain, muscular tension, stiffness, tenderness, and soreness. The Theracane is a hook back massager that makes it easy to get to hard-to-reach spots, increasing circulation and soothing away stress and knots in your back. I highly recommend getting yourself a Theracane they are amazing tools that give instant pain relief. You can also use them on Acupressure points and trigger points, here is a demonstration from You Tube on how to use a one.
Energy healing, I found this amazing, giving me instant pain relief during my days of chronic pain, hence why I became a certified energy practitioner. Energy healing Is effective in relieving painful conditions by releasing stagnant or constricted energy within the body. Energy healing practices such as Reiki and Pranic healing can create relaxation in the body’s muscles, joints, the circulatory and nervous systems relieving pain, stress, anxiety, and balancing the bio-electric energies through out our body. For more information on energy healing see our energy healing page. It is recommended to see a certified Energy practitioner, see our services page.