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3 Totally Natural Methods for Pain Relief That Aren’t Tylenol or Advil

Whether you’re a gal like me who deals with back pain or a fitness enthusiast who loves tough workouts, I think we can both agree that Advil is only a ‘meh’ solution for muscle pain. Lucky for you, I have tried just about every type of alternative pain relief method in the book, and today I’m going to share with you my absolute favorites!

For legal reasons, I am not a doctor or physical therapist. As always, you should consult a doctor before trying any new medicine or medicinal technique.

Cupping
Massage cups in a box with CBD lotion.
Original photo by Lauren Carey

This first one is the holy grail. Cupping is an ancient practice originating from Eastern medicine that involves attaching a suction cup to areas on your body experiencing musculoskeletal pain. According to Dr. Robert Schmerling at Harvard Health Publishing, the suction from the cups draws fluid into the affected area, which is thought to promote better blood flow and a quicker healing process. 

The best part about cupping is that you don’t need a professional! You can try cupping at home either by yourself (a bit tricky depending on the body part) or with someone you trust. Amazon sells great sets for beginners — I’d recommend starting with a silicone set or a plastic one. Once you’ve got your cups, you’re going to want to apply some lotion first then attach the cups to the affected area(s) for around 5-10 minutes. For lotions, you are going to want to use one that lathers well and doesn’t dry up too fast. If you wanna be fancy, try some full-spectrum CBD lotion!

Tiger Balm

I’m a sucker for a nice CBD lotion, but I always love to have Tiger Balm in my medicine cabinet too. Tiger Balm is a topical analgesic that makes your skin tingle and relieves muscle pain naturally. Think IcyHot, but ancient Chinese medicine. Filled with all the good stuff (active ingredients of menthol and camphor. and inactive ones such as cassia oil, paraffin petrolatum and a few more), Tiger Balm is great to put on affected areas after a shower, before bed, after a massage, or any regular time you feel you need it. As someone who has tried nearly all topical medicines for pain relief, I find this to be the most effective!

Massage
Image

This tip probably seems a bit obvious, but the way you go about massaging for pain relief makes a big difference in how much it helps. It’s all about the combination of the right tools, lotion, and techniques. First things first, you’re going to want to find a friend, significant other, etc. who is willing to take the time to learn how they can actually help you — giving a good massage takes practice! Once you’ve found your masseuse, you’re going to want to ask yourself whether or not you want to add any fun tools to your routine. This could be cups, muscle rollers, or even a Gua Sha massage tool. Of course, just using your hands is great too!

Now, you’re going to want to decide on a lotion. CBD lotions are always a great place to start, but for the massage portion, all you really need is something that lathers well. Finally, the technique is key! Don’t be afraid to go on YouTube and look up tips for at-home massages. After all, it’s quarantine and if you haven’t already taken a course with YouTube University, it’s probably time. To finish up a massage, I like to put a little bit of Tiger Balm in the areas I feel most sore so that the pain relief can keep coming even after finishing up.

Happy pain relieving!

Lauren Carey

U Mass Amherst '22

Lauren is a senior biochemistry major who recently started writing for Her Campus. She enjoys spending her free time decorating cakes, hanging with animals, and binge-watching series from her never-ending list of shows she NEEDS to watch.
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