Three Alternative Therapies for Pain Relief

For people seeking alternatives to traditional medicine or medication for pain will be happy to know that studies on a variety of alternative methods are showing promising results. Presenters at the recent EFIC Congress “Pain in Europe VII” stated that acupuncture, acupressure and aromatherapy can be efficient in reducing pain, according to a recent report from

At the EFIC Congress, Professor Edzard Ernst from Exeter, UK, said some studies regarding acupuncture, acupressure, and aromatherapy have been shown to reduce pain, and presenter, Dr. Winfried Meissner of Jena, Germany, said acupuncture used after surgery can provide a moderate reduction in pain.

“Our own studies show that acupuncture…produces similar effects in the brain as pain relievers. There is a clear indication of a specific analgesic effect through acupuncture,” the report stated.

Also, Dr. Konrad Streitberger of Bern, Switzerland said: “Studies using functional magnetic resonance imaging (fMRI) showed that real acupuncture not only causes stronger activation or deactivation response patterns than placebo treatment in pain associated areas of the brain, but also that this effect can be modulated by a positive expectation.”

The report also noted a study on aromatherapy in the Journal of Alternative and Complementary Medicine, where researchers tested whether lavender oil aromatherapy could reduce the pain of needle insertion in 30 volunteers. One group received oxygen using a face mask coated with lavender oil for 5 minutes, and the other did not, and those with the face mask “had significantly reduced pain and stress associated with needle insertion compared with controls,” the report stated.

Another study in the same journal tested aromatherapy in combination with acupressure, used on stroke patients with hemiplegic shoulder pain. “One group received aromatherapy (lavender, rosemary, and peppermint) and acupressure treatments twice daily for two weeks, while a second group received the same amount of treatments, but with acupressure only. Although patients in both groups reported a marked reduction in pain after treatment, patients in the aromatherapy plus acupressure group fared better,” the report stated.