LiveSmart: Holistic Approaches Offer Pathway to Managing Pain

[This piece was written by Alicia Recore, Ph.D., MBA, director of the Holistic Integrative Therapy Program at St. Peter’s Hospital.]

The experience of pain is unique, influenced by our physical states, thoughts, feelings, and cultural background. Because pain includes emotional and psychological components, it tends to erode our self-confidence, wear us down, aggravate existing health conditions, and negatively affect relationships at home and at work. Pain can keep us from realizing our best selves.

Countless studies have revealed our physical health is impacted by a variety of factors. The way we eat, exercise, express our feelings, nurture relationships, and view our life’s work and purpose all have an influence. Knowing this gives us a toolbox for managing our health, an opportunity to be a leading partner in our own care.

Educating ourselves on the role diet, inflammatory response, emotional state, spiritual purpose, environmental toxicity, stress management, and exercise play in achieving and maintaining good health is critical. By adopting healthy lifestyle choices, you have the opportunity to possibly divert pain before it has the chance to emerge. In other words, don’t wait for something to happen before you take charge. Prevention can be the best medicine.

Choosing to replenish our physical, emotional and mental energies is key. Holistic, non-pharmacological therapies support this choice by recharging, rebalancing, and restoring our energies.

Long-standing clinical research shows pain is often averted and relieved through such modalities as:

  • Massage
  • Acupuncture
  • Chiropractic
  • Yoga
  • Muscle relaxation
  • Imagery
  • Music
  • Therapeutic touch
  • Reiki
  • Mind-body interventions
  • Prayer
  • Humor

Self-relaxation methods such as focused breathing and imagery are no-cost, take-anywhere techniques which provide physical comfort and a sense of personal control. In addition, many apps available on smartphones offer user-friendly meditative and calming practices.

As we become our own “first responders,” these approaches support the goal of pain-free wellness. Encouraged by habitual relaxation practices, chronic pain cycles are naturally interrupted and endorphins stimulated. Frequent, consistent and ongoing deposits made in our physical and emotional “banks” make energy for healing and well-being readily available.

Most holistic methods can be integrated into conventional medical treatments to strengthen immunity, reduce pain or anxiety, and facilitate surgical recovery. St. Peter’s Hospital’s Holistic Integrative Therapy Program offers these types of interventions for people of all ages who are receiving hospital care. Education on holistic therapies is also available to outpatients and to the community at large.

Interested? For information, call 518-525-1174.

Print Friendly, PDF & Email