Everyone has their own views on the use of medicine and even their own interpretation of what medicine is. The dictionary definition of medicine varies from “the science or practice of the diagnosis, treatment, and prevention of disease“ to “the art or science of restoring or preserving health due to a physical condition” which causes some confusion for anyone who isn’t a doctor or scientist but I think we can all agree that a medicine is something that helps a medical condition, whether it be a headache or a flash wound.
Obviously there is only so much you can do with relaxation as it is more of a mind over matter battle with different types of pain. It may not be able to cure a broken finger but it can help you to cure the pain of it through recognized techniques and without the use of painkillers.
Scientists at the University of Gothenburg created a study in which 90 people who suffer from tension headaches found that training with relaxation techniques resulted in more improved sleep, they also discovered that this was profoundly better than the use of acupuncture needles. So science has already started to show us that relaxation can help with certain ailments to do with the brain, but what else can relaxation do?
Tension in your muscles causes pain for most and can be dealt with directly through the power of relaxation. Most relaxation techniques are based around your breathing and getting as much oxygen into your body as you can, as the oxygen helps to relax your muscles.
You can also use stretching exercises as you would in the calm past time that is yoga to help keep your muscles in check and to keep a steady blood flow around the body. Relaxation in a way is a science and is a medicine in the sense that it uses natural chemicals within the air and your body to help battle illness.
A study by an CWRU nurse suggested that relaxing music, with and without painkillers, significantly reduced the pain in abdominal surgery patients. This is not new to the world of medicine either, music and relaxation methods have been used in hospitals for mothers to be in maternity wards worldwide with seriously profound effects.
Most Common Types of Relaxation Techniques
There are lots of different types of relaxation techniques, here is a short list of the more commonly used types:
- Massages – Massages help to relax your muscles and are also good for bonding with a partner. It is quite a personal action but that helps you to not only to relax physically, but emotionally.
- Listening to music – This doesn’t have to be the sound of whales or the sea crashing against rocks, it is music that helps you specifically to relax and be in your own little world and distracts you from pain you may be experiencing.
- Yoga – Very good for exercise but also very good for relaxation as you slowly become more limber and become able to relax without even thinking about it. It’s also something you can enjoy with friends or family which keeps the vibes very positive.
- Hypnotism – This does not work for everyone but for more severe feelings of pain you can avoid going down the herbal medicine and acupuncture route by training your brain to stop sending messages of pain. Hypnotism can help to block or fuzz out those internal signals to relieve pain.
- Meditation – A large part of the Buddhist religion, meditation is the ability to induce your own mode of consciousness. It is a practice that has been used for centuries by monks and in English meditation the word itself derives from the Latin word “Meditatio” which means to think, contemplate, devise and ponder.
Relaxation and meditation are considered to be Mind-Body Therapies or MBT’s, the belief that your physical, mental and spiritual health all effect one another. The main benefit to this type of relaxation treatment is the feeling that you are totally and utterly in control and help yourself only using the power of your own mind. The mind is a funny thing and there is a lot of stigma around the use of relaxation as a way to decrease or even halt pain, but if you tell yourself enough times that an apple is a banana, sooner or later you will genuinely start to believe it. So telling yourself that you are not in pain and that you are calm enough times will have the same effect over a period of time.
It doesn’t come naturally to everyone however, some people need long periods of time with helping to become more relaxed and open and this is where you need to seek more professional advice. Talking to a doctor can only get you so far as they are trained to deal with physical ailments, so doctors will refer you to a friendly psychologist or suggest you see a local counselor who can help you to break down those oppressive barriers and help you to be in charge of your own body and mind. Relaxation, as a medicine, has various benefits as you can use your methods at any given moment, it is also completely free and is the most natural way to relieve your pain.