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Everything You Need to Know About an Acupuncturist Salary

Acupuncture

Acupuncture is an ancient form of Chinese medicine that is still used today with many benefits for body and mind. An acupuncturist is someone qualified to perform the alternative treatment, and their salary can range quite a bit depending on how they practice and other aspects of their career.

There are many forms of treatment and medicine that we have learned from the Chinese and acupuncture is one that is still widely used today. Acupuncture uses fine needles that are inserted into the skin at various points around the body, believed to treat different mental and physical conditions.

Due to the sensitive nature of the skin and the accuracy in which these needles need to be inserted on the correct lines of the body, an acupuncturist is quite a respected career. There are in-depth training and education that take place in order to become qualified and people often wonder about the acupuncturist salary and how it compares to the work that is done.

If you’ve been thinking about becoming an acupuncturist but first want to know a little more about what the job involves and how much salary you can expect to make, this guide will walk you through it. As a growing form of complementary treatment, this is an area that will only continue to grow, and it makes a smart career choice for someone with a keen interest in alternative medicines.


What Does An Acupuncturist Do?


Acupuncture

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According to ancient Chinese teachings, qi is the energy which runs through all of our bodies. We each have meridians or pathways that run through our body and possess this energy, and it is the role of the acupuncturist to find these pathways and insert tiny needles in them in order to balance our energy.

Acupuncture can be used to treat all kinds of issues, whether they’re mental conditions like anxiety and depression, or physical pan such a neck and spine problems or digestive upset. The role of an acupuncturist is to speak with their patient and understand their issues and then find the correlating meridians and points to insert needles on in an effort to reduce or relieve their symptoms.

An acupuncturist may work alone or be involved as part of an overarching treatment plan. The salary that one earns will depend on how they work, whether they have their own practice, and how experienced they are. Usually, it’s up to the acupuncturist to charge the fee for their services so they have final say, but in order to stay competitive, they should be in line with others in the industry.


How Do You Qualify To Become An Acupuncturist?


People often assume that alternative treatments like this can be performed by anyone, but that’s not true at all. An acupuncturist needs to combine lengthy study with hands-on experience before they can become qualified, and even then they will need to build a reputation for themselves before they are taken seriously.

In order to become an acupuncturist, you must be sure of your own skills, as it requires a steady hand, solid concentration, and empathetic nature in order to treat others effectively. There are various schools available that teach the methods and you will need to choose which type you want to study, with some options including Japanese and traditional Chinese.

Most acupuncturist schools require you to have a bachelor’s degree before you can commence. The degree doesn’t have to be related to medical science but it is usually helpful. Once you have enrolled, you can expect to spend a few years studying in order to obtain the qualification, so you have to be prepared to commit.

Once you’ve graduated, you’ll need to become accredited with the National Certification Commission for Acupuncture and Oriental Medicine. This is done by passing an exam and proving that you are qualified to begin practice. From there, you will need to grow your career and get a solid reputation that will help you reach even more patients.


What Is the Acupuncturist Salary?


Acupuncture

Image via Pixabay

Although it shouldn’t be the sole reason that you get into acupuncture, the salary needs to be right for most people to commit to the study and training. Just like any other profession, especially a medical one, the more experience you have and the longer you’ve been practicing, the better your salary will be.

The acupuncturist salary can also differ depending on the state. Reports indicate that the average earnings for an acupuncturist are around $33 per hour but this can vary. In Maryland, the wage is an average of $60.15 per hour which is a lot higher, but somewhere like Nebraska you can expect to earn only $25 per hour. Again, this also depends on your experience and how you practice.

When compared to other forms of complementary medicine like chiropractor and art therapist, the acupuncturist salary is actually quite high. The average yearly salary is around $74,000 according to the US Bureau of Labor Statistics, which can be earned with just a few years of practice. Whether you have your own office or are part of a larger health team will also alter your earnings, so it’s important to consider how you want to practice.


The Career Choices Are For Acupuncturists


Learning acupuncture doesn’t just mean you can only do one job, as people commonly think. With an acupuncture degree and certification under your belt, there are actually many ways that you can put it good use. Here are a few places you can work when you are an acupuncturist:

  • Hospitals
  • Health centers
  • Private practice
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    National and state agencies
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    Health spas
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    Universities and colleges
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    Physical therapist officesment
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    Chiropractor offices
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    Rehab facilities

The demand for acupuncturists is high at the moment, which signals that it’ a great time to jump into this career. According to recent figures, this career can expect a growth of 9 – 13 per cent in coming years, so it’s definitely not showing signs of slowing down.

As many of the places that are hiring this profession work at all hours, the flexibility that you have will be beneficial to landing a job. Most will require shift work or for someone to work late hours, and if you are able to commit to this then you will easily build your skills and career. Again, if you are flexible to move to other locations it could also open up more doors for you, as there is more demand in places like Maryland, Georgia, and Alabama.


Ways to Advance Your Career In Acupuncture


Being an acupuncturist alone can be a very rewarding career, especially for those who are self-employed and run their own business. However, there are other things you can do to advance your career and use your knowledge and skills in acupuncture to grow yourself even more professionally.

The most important thing for an acupuncturist to do is to continue studying and training in the area, as there are always new developments and findings in this form of medicine. Keeping up to date with these advancements is essential to being the best practitioner possible, and will show your patients an ongoing commitment to the best treatment.

Those who have found a lot of joy in alternative treatments may like to study something further, like naturopathy or massage. This means that they can perform more than just one type of treatment from their practice, and will have a greater understanding of these natural types of medicines.

A junior acupuncturist salary will obviously be a lot less than someone more qualified, but if you’re able to add even more skills to your profile then this has the potential to earn you more as well. Without taking anything away from your focus and dedication to acupuncture, there is a chance to make a good living from this complementary form of treatment.


An Alternative Treatment In High Demand


According to the World Health Organization, acupuncture has been effective in treating a number of issues including high blood pressure, chemo-induced nausea, and gastric conditions. With real evidence that this complementary form of treatment works, we will no doubt see more need for acupuncturists in the future.

Many people assume that with alternative treatments like this or ancient Chinese medicine practice that there’s no real study or training behind it. However, to become an acupuncturist takes a lot of hard work, training, and study in order to become accredited, and from there you then need to spend years building your practice.

The salary of an acupuncturist is what you would expect in the world of alternative treatments, but the true joy of the job comes from helping others. If you have a desire to treat people without the need for invasive surgery or harmful drugs, becoming an acupuncturist could be an excellent move to make.

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Biofeedback Therapy – A Complete Overview of the Process

Biofeedback Therapy

Biofeedback therapy is a technique that allows you to control your body’s functions through your mind, including heart rate and breathing. This is done by using sensors attached to your body to receive feedback about it, allowing you to adjust as needed. This process is a way to heal and relax your body using the power of your thoughts, and it can be quite beneficial for a number of conditions.

Mind over matter is a technique used in many alternative forms of treatment, but biofeedback therapy is a form that really takes the mantra on board. Although it might sound space age and futuristic, biofeedback uses sensors that attach to your body in order to get readings and information about yourself that can then be used to treat problems.

There are many different types of this therapy but all with the overarching goal that your mind can be used to fix a variety of mental and physical conditions. Everyone from anxiety and depression sufferers to those with gastrointestinal problems will be able to find relief with biofeedback, and because it’s non-invasive that makes it even more attractive.

As with an alternative method of treatment like this, there is a lot we need to understand in order to grasp how it works. Numerous studies have proven that biofeedback is indeed beneficial, so it’s not simply a form of holistic therapy that people can easily disregard.


What Is Biofeedback Therapy?


The term biofeedback encompasses two things – ‘bio’ meaning your body and ‘feedback’ being the information that the sensors pick up about your physical state. The information can be gathered using a number of different methods that we’ll explore later, but it’s what we do with this information that makes this form of therapy so beneficial.

Once the sensors have collected the information, they will be able to direct you to the areas of the body and techniques that can be used. For example, you may be directed to slow your breathing or focus on relaxing one group of muscles, and in turn, this will reduce the pain or relieve discomfort.

The purpose of biofeedback therapy is using your own mind to treat these problems so that there’s no need for medication or surgery. You will see instant results on the screen so that you can see how well the treatment is working, so for something like lowering blood pressure, this will give immediate improvement.

The end goal of biofeedback therapy is to teach you how to control these things on your own, using your mind to alleviate the symptoms or reduce pain. Once you’ve established the best ways to control them yourself, you’ll no longer need to use the special biofeedback therapy sensors that your health professional has.

The Different Types of Biofeedback Therapy

Biofeedback works by getting information or feedback from our bodies and then using this information to make subtle changes. There are a few different ways that they might gather this information, depending on the body functions that they’re monitoring.

Electromyogram (EMG)

The most common form of biotherapy used to monitor tension and activity in the muscles. An EMG machine is used for headaches, back pain, anxiety disorders, incontinence, and to retrain muscles after an injury.

Electroencephalography (EEG)

An EEG measures brain waves so is used for conditions like epilepsy, attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD), and other disorders that cause seizers. The machine measures brain waves and is sometimes referred to as a neurofeedback device.

Thermal

By measuring skin temperate these devices are able to treat conditions like Raynaud’s disease and headaches.

Electrodermal activity (EDA)

Sensors that measure the amount of sweating the patient does. This can help pinpoint issues with anxiety disorders and anything that is causing pain.

Heart rate variability (HRV)

This type of feedback measures your heart rate and is used for a number of conditions including anxiety, irregular heartbeat, asthma, and chronic obstructive pulmonary disease.


Biofeedback Devices


There are now more places than ever that perform biofeedback therapy, including hospitals, physical therapy clinics, and medical centers. Some home-use machines are available, however, their accuracy and authenticity are sometimes brought into question. When being treated by a professional, there are usually two different types of devices they’ll use.

An interactive computer or mobile program is most common, and these include the sensors which attach to your body and a device. They can measure the physiological changes as they are happening and give current feedback on what’s happening in your body. The sensors may be attached to your skin, ears, head, fingers, or as a headband, and the information they retrieve can be stored for later use if needed.

Another type used for biofeedback is a wearable device that allows you to track the information and changes as you go about your day. These might be worn around the waist and connected to an app on your smartphone or small computer that can point out when you’re feeling tense or stressed in certain areas, so you can keep a check on your body throughout the day.

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The Purpose of Biofeedback


With a keen focus on conditions that are caused by stress, biofeedback encourages the user to work their mind in order to fix their body. By changing your involuntary bodily functions like breathing and muscle tension, you will effectively reduce the pain, discomfort, or other symptoms that are linked to your condition. These are some of the common conditions that work best with biofeedback therapy:

  • Stress or anxiety
  • Headaches
  • Eating disorders
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    Blood pressure problems
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    Learning disorders
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    Constipation
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    Incontinence
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    Irritable bowel syndrome
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    Raynaud’s disease

What to Expect At A Session


When you arrive at a biofeedback therapy session, the therapist will begin by attaching sensors to certain parts of your body. The machines will work by picking up on things like brain waves and perspiration, showing you accurate and up to date data about what’s going on in your body.

The technician will show you the findings and teach you the things that you can do to help reduce pain or improve your condition. A typical session will last 60 to 90 minutes, however, there may be variations depending on the types of devices using and what is being treated. The end goal is that you will be able to use these techniques for yourself and help to relieve pain and discomfort without the machine.

You should always check that the biofeedback technician is qualified before you book the session. There are different state laws in place regarding biofeedback therapy and what constitutes as qualification, so it pays to do your research. For the best results, ask your doctor to recommend a technician to you so that you can be sure of their reputation and credentials.


The Benefits of Bio


When looking at alternative methods of treatment like this, understanding what makes is such a great alternative is important. According to the US National Institute of Health, their research has shown that biofeedback can improve a number of conditions, so we know for sure that it works. Here are some of the reasons why people choose bio and how it can make such a huge difference:

It’s noninvasive and all done with the power of your mind and thoughts.

There’s no need to take harmful medications or alter your conscious or body in any way with drugs. It can be a great alternative for those who have tried medication and found that it wasn’t effective.

Bio can reduce or eliminate the need for surgery or other painful treatments that require recovery.

Once you have learned how to respond to your physiological changes, you can use the training you have at any time without returning for another session.

Biofeedback may be useful for those who are pregnant and/or breastfeeding who have limited other treatments available at the time being.


A Non-Invasive and Healing Treatment


Biofeedback therapy is a truly innovative and unique way to heal your body, and it’s all possible with the power of your mind. Ensuring that you see a trained professional is the best way to achieve success with this treatment, and it will also mean that you can use the training learned later on in life.

There is a lot to be said for the power of the mind and this treatment proves that. Without relying on harmful drugs or invasive surgeries, biofeedback therapy can cure or treat mental and physical problems just by using the power of your own thoughts.

As we look for more natural ways to treat our everyday health conditions, studies into the effectiveness of biofeedback will no doubt continue. What we’ve learned so far though is a good testament to just how powerful our minds can be when we put our focus in the right place.

Sound Therapy: The Guide to Treatments, Used Sounds and Music

sound therapy

Music is used for everything from relaxation to education, but sound therapy is a unique form of treatment that can be used to heal as well. Sound therapy uses a variety of sounds and music to treat mental and physical conditions, and its history dates back as far as Ancient Greece. Today, it is used to treat everything from tinnitus to anxiety, so we’re here to look at just how it achieves this.

Music is the universal language that everyone can speak, and it’s something that’s inherently within all of us no matter our backgrounds, age, or cultural identity. Music is so powerful in fact that it’s been proven to have therapeutic and medicinal benefits, and this form of treatment is called sound therapy.

Sound therapy is not a new form of treatment but it is something that we have seen more in recent times. The benefits to both physical and mental health can’t be denied, and it’s easily one of the most calming and natural ways to heal ourselves from various conditions.

For those new to the concept of sound therapy, it can sound quite out there, but it has been proven to work for everything from tinnitus to depression. There are different methods used in this form of alternative treatment and it’s a great non-invasive way to heal your body and mind. If you’re interested in using music and sound to treat your health concerns, then sound therapy will be a great choice for you.


What Is Sound Therapy?


Sound therapy is fairly self-explanatory when you hear the name, as it refers to the use of sounds and music to help treat and heal various conditions. When you really think about it, it should come as no surprise that music does, in fact, have healing powers, as we know how powerful a sad song can be when we’re feeling down or how we can pep ourselves up with a motivating tune.

Sound therapy takes this healing power of music and uses it to treat specific conditions, both mental and physical. A sound healer is a practitioner who uses some or all aspects of music to improve your health, and this might be in the form of emotional, psychological, or physical healing.

There are a number of ways that you can be treated with sound therapy that include singing along to it, listening to the music, meditating to music, chanting, playing musical instruments, and listening to specially crafted sounds that can alter the brainwaves.


The History of Sound Therapy


Sound therapy might seem like new age magic to some, but its origins date farther back than you might think. Music has been used in all countries around the globe as long as has been recorded, including Ancient Greece, Ancient Egypt, and Native American cultures.

During the 1940s, when American soldiers were recuperating from injuries sustained in World War II, music was played to them as a form of therapy. It was this use of music that is sometimes considered the dawn of musical therapy in the modern world, and from there it has only progressed further.

Today, sound therapy is used mainly for spiritual growth and mental wellbeing, but more and more studies are proving just how effective it can be for physical needs as well. The basis for sound therapy is in psychology and neurology which we know can have a huge impact on our physical wellbeing as well as mental.


The Science Behind Sound Healing


To understand what makes sound therapy so effective we should first broaden our knowledge of sound in general. Most things that we experience on earth is done with a perception of waves. These waves are transmitted to our ears and through our auditory nerves, into the auditory cortex which is responsible for processing sound.

Once in this part of the brain, these waves have the ability to trigger different emotions and feelings within our bodies. They can release hormones and chemicals that make us feel a certain way or trigger impulses in our bodies like tapping our feet, singing along to the lyrics, or dancing.

There are a number of studies that prove how beneficial music can be, although scientists still don’t know completely how it can alter our moods. A sound healer’s role is to use this music to tap into your emotions, reduce stress, and improve your mental wellness, in turn making a healthier and happier you.


How Does Sound Heal Us?


If you’ve ever listened to music before then you’ll know instantly that this fact is true – music has the ability to completely change your mood. A song might make you jump out of your chair and want to dance, or it can bring you back to a painful time in life and flood you with sad emotions. It’s clear that music has the power to heal, it’s just a matter of finding the right sounds.

We know that music has the ability to change our minds, so it can be assumed that it can change our bodies as well. This is a fact that has been proven during studies, with a 2006 study in the Journal of Advanced Nursing finding that those who listen to music regularly actually feel less pain and are less likely to be stressed and anxious.

As humans, we emit our own sound waves and in turn hear things at different frequencies. Sound healing works by matching sounds with these frequencies so that every patient is working with something that is conducive to their healing needs.

Most of this practice is focused on the internal and spiritual healing that needs to take place and it can also aid in relaxation and restfulness. However, there are many physical conditions that can be treated with sound therapy and different types of this treatment that works better for certain areas than others.


Forms of Sound Therapy


There are many different types of sound healing and sound therapy available. Some of these methods focus more on the spiritual side of things and others the physical, so it depends on the patient and what suits them best.

Bonny method

A mix of sound with guided imagery where music is used with pictures to help psychological problems.

Dalcroze method

This technique is taught to children in order to show them the power of sound therapy with a huge focus on rhythm.

Guided meditation

Mantras and guided meditation can be a form of sound therapy that you can perform on your own.

Root frequency entertainment

A more spiritual form of sound therapy that focuses on the notion that our souls each have their own frequencies.

Neurologic music therapy

Used for both cognitive and motor functions, this is a neurological form of sound therapy that uses music as a way to change the patient’s mood and thoughts.

Singing bowl therapy

Founded in Asia, this form of sound therapy uses metallic bowls to create peaceful and calming sounds that can ease pain, strengthen the immune system, and improve mood.

Nordoff-Robbins technique

This sound therapy is aimed at children who may have learning difficulties or disabilities including autism or emotional trauma.

Tuning fork

A tuning fork is applied to specific parts of the body in this form of sound therapy as they can apply vibrations to release tension.

Vibroacoustic therapy

The patient lays or sits somewhere and speakers are placed on their body with the vibrations offering relief from pain, cancer, and strokes.


What Can You Use Sound to Treat?


woman listening to music

Image source: Unsplash

Sound therapy has been proven to treat both mental and physical conditions, and there’s really no limit to what it can help you with. These are some common conditions that have reported success with the use of sound therapy.

  • Post-traumatic stress disorder
  • Anxiety and depression
  • Mood swings and negative emotions
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    Autism and learning disabilities

In addition to being able to heal these conditions, the use of music and sound can be therapeutic for the body and mind. It has been said to bring clarity of mind, relaxation, aid with sleep, improve creativity, and a stronger awareness of the self.


Music For Your Ears and Health


woman wearing a headset and listening music

Image via: pixabay

Music is so powerful that it can be used in so many areas of our life, and not just for entertainment. This amazing source has the ability to get us up and dancing or crying some therapeutic tears, so it’s no wonder that it can heal our bodies and minds as well.

Sound therapy has been used for centuries and as we learn more about its benefits, we will likely see it used it so many other areas of healthcare. For a completely noninvasive and effective form of healing, sound therapy can be a great alternative for those looking for something gentle.

Herbal Medicine: A Comprehensive Guide

herbal medicine

Herbal medicine is the use of plant-derived medicines that treat a range of illnesses and conditions. This alternative form of treatment has many benefits to the user and the obvious advantage of being all natural, but just how useful is it? We explore the traditional use of herbal medicine and how it has progressed to today.

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The power of plants is no doubt phenomenal, as they can be used for everything from eating for dinner to cleaning our homes. The most powerful use of plants, however, is with herbal medicine, where a part or whole of the plant is used to treat various medical conditions and improve health.

Herbal medicine is by no means a new phenomenon with thousands of years of history behind it. In this day and age as we look for more natural solutions to our health and wellness problems, it’s certainly been picking up in popularity.

There are many different forms of herbal medicines including capsules, teas, and powders, each designed to heal a number of conditions. Both mental and physical health can be treated with herbal medicine, but there are risks involved that mean you should never attempt to treat yourself without some background knowledge and expert advice.


What is Herbal Medicine?


Herbal medicine is a broad spectrum of medicine that involves hundreds of different plants and species. According to the World Health Organization’s list of essential medicines, 11 per cent are exclusively plant derived. It is the hope of those who research herbal medicine that much more will be added to the list as well.

A general description of herbal medicine is the study of the therapeutical and medicinal use of plants. This can encompass everything from a cup of green tea to a herbal leaf extract designed to target gastrointestinal problems. It is believed that over a quarter of the drugs prescribed around the world are actually derived from plants, so it may be more popular than you think.

These naturally occurring substances are derived from plants and over thousands of years have been used to treat medical problems, aid mental wellbeing, and perform cultural healing processes. Although herbal medicine has a strong historical use, it is a popular alternative method today for those who wish to stay away from harmful drugs and medicines that are often over-prescribed.


The History Behind Herbal Medicine


When you look back into the history of almost every culture on earth, you’re likely to see some form of herbal medicine at work. Herbalism is closely tied with the rest of medicine’s history as well as the history of food, and it has played a significant role in both areas.

Plant-derived medicines and treatments have been used for over 5,000 years, with pathological reports stating that records of humans using medicinal plants dates back as far as 60,000 years. Ancient Egypt, India, China, Greece, and Rome are just a few of the civilizations that have a long history using herbal medicine, and it’s one that continues in the western world today as well.


Common Forms of Herbal Medicine


One of the biggest benefits to herbal medicine is that there are so many methods you can try to reap the benefits. If you have a particular aversion to drinking a tea or taking a capsule, there’s usually an alternative you can try. Here are some of the most reliable and safe forms of herbalism.

Herbal Teas

There are two types of herbal teas including a decoction which includes the boiling of tougher parts of a plant and infusions that are made with leaves flowers and stems. Popular types of herbal teas include mint, green, and chamomile.

Herbal Tinctures

Alcohol is used to soak parts of the plant which creates a potent tincture. The alcohol helps to remove the herb’s medicinal ingredients and preserve them.

Fluid extracts

These are similar to herbal tinctures but usually stronger. A fluid extract is also made with alcohol and sometimes glycerine, and can include licorice and Hawthorne.

Capsules and tablets

Dried plants and herbs are used to make capsules and tablets. These are ideal for taking regular doses of medicine and can make it easier to ingest without the powerful smell or taste.

Herbal ointments

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Another word for salve, herbal ointments are made to be applied topically and usually used for sores or other skin conditions. They might be thick like a paste or more greasy, and are mixed with olive oil, beeswax, or vegetable oil as their base.

Juices

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This form of herbal medicine is intended to be consumed, usually with a more potent taste and smell than other forms. Although they can be potent, they are a great way of getting the medicine directly and having it work more effectively.


Herbal poultices

This refers to a bunch of herbs and plants that have been crushed together to form a pulpy mass. They are best used for skin conditions and applied directly to the affected area.

Essential oils

Plant-based oils including lavender, tea tree, and bergamot are all popular scents used in aromatherapy and massage. Each oil has its own special purpose and can be used to treat both mental and physical conditions.


What Can Be Treated With Herbal Medicine?


One thing that makes herbal medicine so astounding is its ability to usually treat more than just one ailment. When compared to drugs and other harsh medicines, the natural remedies usually work for a number of conditions which makes them even more appealing. These are the common areas that herbal medicine works with.

Cardiovascular

Herbs like garlic are great for heart disease, as is kelp and alfalfa.

Mental health

A number of herbal medicines are helpful with mental health and wellness, and can reduce anxiety, depression, and stress.

Respiratory problems

Issues with breathing can be helped using herbal teas, aromatherapy, and capsules.

Skin issues

When applied directly to the skin or ingested, herbs are used for conditions like eczema and hydration.

Digestive problems

Any upsets in the stomach, indigestion, irritable bowel syndrome and more can be treated with herbal medicine.

Generally speaking, if you have a health issue or ailment you can find a herbal remedy that might be able to help out. People these days tend to prefer the herbal solution first without reaching for prescription medicines or invasive surgeries, and there’s usually an effective option available.


The Benefits of Herbal Medicine


Botanical medicine has a number of benefits for the user, provided you are follow a professionally instructed health plan and sticking to the recommended doses. Here are just a few reasons why people might prefer the herbal approach when it comes to their medicine.

Affordable

Plant-based medicines are usually affordable when compared to prescription drugs and can be used in a number of ways.

Easier to access

Compared to needing prescriptions or drug stores, using herbal medicines can be a lot easier for the average person to get.

Fewer side effects

Although there are some possible side effects with any type of medicine, the risk of side effects when using the right herbal medicines is lower.

Choice in how to use them

There are teas, tablets, tinctures, and aromatherapy options for your herbal medicines so you can choose which method suits best.


The Risks of Herbal Medicine


herbal medicine

Image from Pixabay

People often assume that because herbal medicine is natural that it’s always going to be safe, but the reality is very different. There are plants and herbs out there with the potential to be harmful and even fatal, so it’s essential to consult a professional when you’re using this type of treatment.

Recent studies by professors at Baylor College have even called the herbal medicine trend a “global health hazard” as people are using their own judgement to treat themselves with these potentially powerful medicines. Therefore, it’s crucial to follow the guidance of an expert and never try to concoct your own herbal remedies without doing some serious research.


A Natural Approach to Your Health Problems


Herbal medicine has been around for thousands of years and it’s a natural remedy that only continues to be proven more effective as time goes on. If you’re suffering from any health condition whether it’s physical or mental, there’s usually a natural and less harmful way of treating it with herbal medicine.

As with any type of medicine, you should never take anything without speaking to a health professional first. Just because herbal medicines are natural it doesn’t mean there aren’t potential side effects, so don’t assume that it will all be safe to take.

With a quarter of all medicines prescribed these days being plant-derived, it’s clear to see that herbal medicines are the way of the future. They’re healthier, more affordable, and easier to use, so there’s no reason why its popularity won’t continue to grow in coming years.

Shingles Pain Relief: Prevention and Treatments

shingles pain relief

Can you remember having chicken pox as a child, or at least getting vaccinated for it? Most of us have had this condition and it caused nothing more than some mild irritation and itchy sores, and then we never thought about it again.

For those unlucky enough to have the virus return, this is commonly known as shingles. Shingles is a viral infection that occurs in the nerve roots. Caused by the varicella-zoster virus, the same one that causes chicken pox, it affects more people each year than you might realize.

Although the shingles themselves are uncomfortable and sometimes painful, the worst thing about this virus is that the pain can linger on. Some people might find that long after their blisters are healed, they are still experiencing severe pain that lasts for more than a few months and doesn’t seem to be improving.

If you’ve suffered from shingles and are still having ongoing pain, there are some options for relief that might be able to help you out. Depending on your health background and current status, there have been great advancements in treatment for shingles and the pain it causes.

What Is Shingles?

As most of us have had chickenpox by the time we turn 40, there’s a good chance that the virus which causes it stays dormant in your nerve cells. When this virus becomes active again, for whatever reason, this then turns into shingles. Even those who haven’t had chicken pox are still able to catch it from someone with the condition or someone with shingles, simply by touching the fluid found inside of the blisters.

There are some factors that can make people more prone to developing shingles, but generally, there is no known trigger for it. These are some things that may make you more susceptible to getting it:

  • Over 60 years of age;
  • Recent bone marrow  or organ transplant recipient;
  • Have either AIDS or HIV;
  • Have any condition that weakens or compromises your immune system;
  • Experience a lot of stress;
  • Have had recent treatment like chemotherapy which can weaken the immune system.

Around one in three people will develop shingles in their lifetime, and at any given time there are 1 million Americans suffering from it. The percentage of those sufferers who continue to have long-lasting pain is around 12 – 15%, according to recent findings. Among older patients, the likelihood of developing this is around 50%.

Symptoms of Shingles

girl having a headache

The most obvious sign that people look for with shingles are the blisters. These are small red spots that will develop into pus-filled blisters on the body. They usually contain themselves to just one part or side of the body like the back or chest. However, before this rash occurs you’ll usually experience a number of other symptoms:

  • Stabbing sensation;
  • Fever;
  • A headache;
  • Numb feeling in some parts of the body;
  • Burning and tingling;

The shingles can last for a few weeks and you will be better once the sores are all fully healed. However, in some people, the pain may continue on long after the blisters have healed and in this case, you might need extra treatment.

Shingles Pain and PHN

Shingles

The term for this long-lasting pain that occurs months after shingles have gone is PHN or Postherpetic neuralgia. When shingles disappear, most people will notice that the pain disappers as well, but if it’s still hanging around after three months then you’ll likely be diagnosed with PHN. This means that you are experiencing long term nerve damage caused by the virus.

Medical professionals are still unsure about why this pain sticks around longer in some more than others, but it is known that older patients are more likely to experience PHN. If your PHN has lasted over a year, there’s a good chance that it will continue to last longer as well.

There are some risk factors that may cause a person with shingles to develop PHN as well. Although this isn’t a definite, these are some factors to consider:

  • Female;
  • Older than 60;
  • Those who experience symptoms before the rash;
  • Extreme pain during shingles;
  • Worse rash than others;

Treating Long Term Shingles Pain

Those who experience PHN will understand just how painful and debilitating it can be. However, because the damage has already been done the best approach is to use a painkiller because you won’t be able to reverse the damage. As it hopefully won’t be a lifelong thing, you won’t need to rely on them forever.

Numerous studies have been done into the most effective treatments are to reduce the pain, with varying results depending on the individual. These are some things your doctor will recommend once you’ve been diagnosed with PHN.

PHN treatments

  • Female;
  • Older than 60;
  • Those who experience symptoms before the rash;
  • Extreme pain during shingles;
  • Worse rash than others;

Seeing a doctor will guarantee you get the right diagnosis and will also take into account other factors that should be considered. As some of these can’t be taken with other medications or for those with pre-existing conditions, it’s always best to get advice from a health professional.

Prevention for Shingles Pain

patient talking to a doctor

As always with modern medicine, the best cure is often prevention. Some people have found that to reduce their chances of developing PHN and suffering from the pain for longer, you should have your shingles treated within the first three days.

There are some things you can try, and it’s always best to speak to a doctor about what would work best for you. Most doctors will refer you to an antiviral medication which will be useful if used within the first few days of the rash coming up on your skin.

For the initial pain, you can take things like paracetamol or use anti-inflammatories, as long as they are steroid free. If you think that these over the counter remedies aren’t strong enough, explain to your doctor the pain you’re experiencing and they may be able to assist with something stronger that would be safe to take, like anticonvulsants or opioids.

Even by treating your shingles early on, there’s no guarantee that it will stop PHN from developing but it’s always best to do. As the pain of PHN comes from nerve damage, this is something that we can never determine the outcome of and it’s hard to say who might be the unlucky patient that ends up developing it.

When to See A Doctor

Although shingles and PHN rarely develop into anything more serious, there are some things to be aware of if you develop the condition. For the best results, you should see a doctor if you’re experiencing any of the symptoms of shingles as this might help you reduce its severity and possibly lessen the chance of any further complications.

If you’re pregnant, have problems with your immune system, take medication that can affect your immune system, or any other troubling concerns to do with your health, seeing a doctor is definitely recommended. Those who are experiencing the standard symptoms of shingles as well as these things should see a health professional immediately:

  • Memory loss or confusion;
  • Eye pain or loss of vision;
  • Severe headaches;
  • Fever that doesn’t come down;

Everybody reacts different to the shingles virus so there’s no indication how each person will experience the symptoms and pain. However, the best approach is seeking treatment in the early stages to reduce your chances of PHN or other complications.

Finding A Permanent Cure for Your Pain

Post herpetic neuralgia is a condition that’s still a mystery to health professionals. Although we know that it’s caused by nerve damage, there’s no indication about why certain people might experience PHN and others don’t.

What we do know is that there are proven ways to treat the pain, and it’s simply a matter of working with your doctor to figure out what’s best for you. All things need to be considered like current medications, previous conditions, and your health status before you can come up with an appropriate treatment.

Shingles can be painful enough for people and last for weeks on end and for those who then follow it up with PHN it can be unimaginable. Prevention is always a good measure of protection but unfortunately with this condition, there’s no telling who is going to develop it and why.