If you struggle with chronic pain or have received an injury that seems intent on lingering, you needn’t always turn to prescription medication or common pain relief medications. In fact, there are natural remedies for pain relief that are effective, easy to use, and even enjoyable.

Heat and Ice

The most common natural remedy for pain relief, which is applying heat and ice to wounds, shouldn’t be underestimated—it’s a matter of ensuring you use the two correctly. Apply ice when you need to soothe inflammation and swelling from injuries, such as strained muscles or tendons. The cold can also reduce chronic headaches.

Heat, however, better reduces stiffness from injuries like sprains and cramps by loosening up the muscles you apply the heat to. Those suffering from arthritis will also find relief by applying heat to the afflicted joint.

CBD Products

As of 2018, the cultivation and extraction of hemp have been completely legalized, meaning CBD has become more commonplace. It is quickly rising in popularity as a way to relieve stress, anxiety, and (most importantly) pain. CBD comes in many forms, making it a highly versatile form of pain relief. These forms include topicals, which can be applied directly to the skin or—most enjoyably—as a CBD edible when baked into your favorite foods. Because edibles are among the most popular ways to take CBD, make sure you take into consideration the dosage of your CBD edibles.

Release Your Endorphins

Your body has its own natural form of pain relief called endorphins. They work to bind with opioid receptors to lessen or entirely block your perception of pain. To get these endorphins to work, however, you need to find ways to increase your body’s natural production of endorphins. The most common way to do this is by increasing your blood flow with simple cardio exercises, like taking a walk or going for a jog. However, if you get into a more serious workout routine, you’ll see long-term benefits. You will both increase the number of endorphins being released into your system and gradually improve your body by eliminating tension in the muscles and loosening your joints.

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Regular exercise is important to maintaining both mental and physical health. But sometimes, that daily trip to the gym can get a little bit boring. Why not try some physical activity in the sun instead? This summer, take a trip to the outdoors and enjoy the benefits of getting active outside.

Gives You the Exercise You Need

When you switch from exercising indoors to exercising outdoors, your body is introduced to a whole new environment and terrain. Outdoor terrain is more versatile and unpredictable than an indoor environment, meaning your body must work harder to stay stabilized as you run, bike, or walk. Even just walking outdoors can help you get in physical shape and burn calories. To see more of the outdoors and get a more challenging workout, try planning a backpacking trip or a similar activity.

Improves Mental Health

Research shows that outdoor exercise can also relieve stress and improve a person’s mental health. Exercise on its own can reduce depression, anxiety, and stress, as it releases endorphins and other chemicals that cause you to feel good. But exercising outdoors in nature and under the sun helps release serotonin and heighten this effect even more, leaving you in a better mood than before you exercised.

Heightens Focus

Have you ever noticed that when you take a short break from work to walk around the block, you come back feeling more focused? That’s because exercising and spending time outside in nature improves your ability to focus. Studies have shown that spending time in nature can even help people with ADHD improve their concentration.

Get a Dose of Vitamin D

In addition to helping you physically get in shape, another benefit of getting active outside is that it allows you to get your daily dose of vitamin D. Vitamin D helps to regulate calcium and phosphorus in your body and is key to preventing osteoporosis, some forms of cancer, and other diseases. Going out into the sun for about 15 minutes a few times a week can help you to get the amount of the vitamin D you need to stay healthy.

 

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While honey is known for its sweet taste on biscuits and treats, this syrup is also a highly effective and natural remedy to treat irritation, inflammation, other common conditions. Using honey to heal your wounds and illnesses at home is safe, simple, and incredibly soothing. If you are interested in learning ways to use this common pantry item to heal your body naturally, continue reading our blog on how to use honey for home remedies.

Treat Burns

Bad burns can cause extreme pain and quickly become dangerous if you don’t treat them. Raw honey works as a highly effective topical treatment to soothe burnt skin and keep wounds clean. Honey has natural antibacterial properties and a low pH, which allows it to kill off possible infections while covering vulnerable skin to keep it safe from outside bacteria.

The moist texture of honey also promotes faster healing for skin burns and wounds because it stabilizes dry and damaged skin during the recovery process. While honey can help to soothe painful burning and prevent infection, be sure to see a medical professional if you experience severe burns or pain.

Soothe Coughs

You may have heard of using honey as a home remedy when you are sick with the common cold. A little honey goes a long way toward soothing even the most brutal of sore throats and coughs. The antibacterial properties in honey combine with its thick texture and consistency to coat irritated and inflamed throats while killing off bacterial infections. Adding a small teaspoon of honey to tea or a warm glass of water can also alleviate throat pain to calm persistent coughing. For the best healing results, considering mixing honey with a calming tea like chamomile to encourage restful sleep for faster recovery.

Revitalize Dry Skin

Although honey may taste sweet, it contains far more than just simple sugars. In fact, honey is incredibly nutrient-rich with vitamins and minerals, including calcium, copper, iron, magnesium, potassium, and zinc. Adding honey to your daily diet can supplement these nutrients to help keep your body balanced and healthy. If you suffer from persistent dry and itchy skin, honey can also soothe skin irritation and replenish moisture to your epidermis with these beneficial nutrients.

Although many people throw away their honey when it begins to crystalize, crystallized honey is perfectly normal and still a powerful remedy to use for dry skin. Mixing crystallized honey with olive oil and brown sugar can create a strong exfoliant to remove dead skin cells and replenish moisture.

Although honey is not a cure to any condition, its natural vitamins and minerals promote healing to make recoveries less painful. The next time you suffer from a common condition and need a simple home remedy, consider grabbing a jar of honey from your pantry to make your medicine sweeter.

 

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When your neck hurts, it affects your sleep and work schedule. Chronic neck pain can radiate and become increasingly uncomfortable and frustrating. The most effective way to fight chronic neck pain is to build stronger core muscles.

Muscles in your back and abdomen support your neck and evenly distribute weight in your body. Having weaker core muscles could cause your neck to strain and overwork itself until an injury occurs. To prevent neck pain and build better support muscles in your core, we’ve compiled the best exercises to help neck pain.

Single-Leg Raises

This exercise targets lower abdominal muscles and regulates posture. First, sit in a chair with your back straight and your legs resting flat on the floor. Keep your hands in your lap while you lift one leg and hold it in the air for three seconds before letting it rest again. Remember to exhale while lifting your leg and inhale between each leg lift. Repeat this exercise ten times with both legs.

Heel Raises

Heel raises are among the best exercises to help with neck pain. This exercise will build strength in your back and glute muscles. First, stand behind a chair and plant your feet hip-width apart. Next, hold onto the back of the chair and lift yourself onto the balls of your feet.

For the best performance, focus on keeping your abs tight while you roll back and forth from your heel to the balls of your feet. As your heels lift, you should feel muscles in your back and glutes extend and stretch. Learning different stretching exercises, such as heel raises, can help alleviate muscle pain and improve overall flexibility. Repeat this exercise ten times for the best results.

Table Planks

If you want a more challenging exercise to alleviate neck pain, table planks are a simple and effective way to build supportive muscle. To begin, find a secure table; then, stand in front of it with your feet planted together. Next, lean your forearms against the table and straighten your back so that your entire upper body is slanted and planked against the table’s edge.

Next, hold your hands together and position your shoulders directly above your elbows to distribute your weight evenly. Lift your heels and hold yourself up on the balls of your feet for an interval of 15 to 30 seconds. Continue this exercise daily, and add longer intervals each time you practice.

Repeating these short exercises in small intervals every day will build stronger abdomen and back muscles to support your neck and alleviate pain. Your sleep and work schedule should not permanently suffer due to neck pain. Practice these simple exercises to get one step closer to reducing debilitating neck pain.

 

Authored by Inspire Your Journey

Are you getting enough fresh air, vitamin D, and physical activity in your daily routine? For many people, the answer is no. Work, errands, families, and other responsibilities create a busy schedule, which means you’re not always able to take care of yourself. Fortunately, there’s an easy way to gain these and many other benefits: spend more time outside. How do you fit more outdoor time into your daily routine? Whether you’re exercising, having fun, or simply taking the time to step outside and smell the roses, time outside can benefit your mood, energy levels, and immune system. Here are just a few fun ideas for how to spend more time outside this spring.

Move Your Morning Routine

What do your mornings look like? You might sit down for a quick but healthy breakfast or make yourself a cup of tea or coffee. Perhaps you take a few minutes for some morning stretches to wake yourself up. No matter what your morning routine consists of, there’s a good chance you can move part of it outside. Eat breakfast or drink your coffee in front of the sunrise. Go through your morning stretches while enjoying the fresh air and birdsong. Stepping outside creates a peaceful start to the day and helps you get ready for anything.

Explore the Neighborhood

Not everyone has time for a daily workout routine. Besides, after a long day, sometimes you just want to unwind. Fortunately, one of the best ways to spend more time outside this spring lets you accomplish both at the same time. A quick walk is a great way to get in some light exercise and take a little bit of time for yourself. You can make a lap around the neighborhood in the morning or when you get home from work. Make good use of your breaks throughout the day by taking a stroll outside. This is also a great time to reflect on the events of the day or listen to music. If you’re feeling social, you can bring a friend and catch up while spending time outside together. Walks are also an easy activity to do while social distancing.

Take up Gardening

There are plenty of outdoor hobbies to try, but gardening is one of the most rewarding options. The benefits of starting your own garden are endless. In addition to spending more time outside, you can get in touch with the natural world and cultivate something wonderful. If you choose to grow herbs or vegetables, you’ll also have access to nutritious homegrown foods. Gardening allows you to give back to the environment, especially if you create a bee-friendly garden to welcome local pollinators. You’ll be able to express yourself any way you want through the things you grow and the time you spend in your garden.

 

Authored by Inspire Your Journey

Essential oils can be used as an effective way to facilitate relaxation or a means to treat a variety of physical ailments. However, the only way to fully enjoy the many beneficial properties of essential oils is to use real essential oils. Despite what crafty advertisers may lead you to believe, not all glass vials with the words “essential oil” splayed out across the label actually contain real essential oils. In some cases, the contents of such containers are nothing more than scented carrier oils. To ensure you don’t have any imposters in your collection, follow these tips on how to tell if an essential oil is pure or fake.

Look at the Label

Pure essential oils are extracted directly from plants and contain their scent and overall essence. They should not, however, contain anything else. Unfortunately, many pseudo essential oil brands will dilute their products with carrier oils and other substances, which can significantly reduce their effectiveness.

A quick way to determine if a product marketed as an essential oil is fake is to look at its label. If the product contains any ingredients other than the specified essential oil—such as carrier oils, perfumes, fragrances, alcohol, and other synthetics—it is not a pure essential oil product.

Check Out the Container

Another effective tip on how to tell if an essential oil is pure or fake is to simply look at the container it is sold in. If the container is plastic, run in the other direction. When stored in a plastic container, essential oils will slowly eat through the bottle. In addition to forming a leak, essential oils stored in plastic will likely contain plastic particles that will reduce their purity. As such, a plastic container is a dead giveaway that an essential oil product is not pure. The next time you go shopping, opt for an essential oil that’s stored in a glass bottle—preferably one with an amber or blue tint to it to block out harmful ultraviolet radiation.

Is the Deal Too Good To Be True? (Hint: It Is)

If the price tag on an essential oil product is too good to be true, it probably is. As we previously mentioned, some sellers will significantly dilute their products with carrier oils or other substances to reduce production costs. As a result, they may sell their product at a lower cost to compete with other, more expensive essential oil brands. To avoid getting duped into purchasing an over-priced bottle of jojoba oil or coconut oil with a few drops of essential oil in it, consider an unusually low price tag as a red flag.

 

Authored by Inspire Your Journey

People often take the quality of their hearing for granted until they begin to lose it. Over time, several factors can cause one’s hearing to worsen. While some causes of hearing loss are unavoidable—such as genetics—others are entirely preventable. Don’t wait until it’s too late. Follow these practical tips for protecting your hearing.

Block Out Loud Noises

One of the most obvious ways to protect your hearing is by blocking out loud noises. Sounds louder than 120dB—for example, a siren—can cause immediate harm to your ears. If you work in a noisy environment or frequently attend concerts or other loud events, take measures to block out noises, such as wearing earplugs.

While significantly loud noises can cause immediate damage, milder noises can also harm your hearing. Over a prolonged period, noises above 70dB—such as a washing machine or dishwasher—can cause hearing damage. As such, making an effort to soundproof your home as much as possible by upgrading insulation or installing acoustic panels can reduce constant exposure to loud pipes or outside traffic noises.

Let Your Ears Rest

If you encounter a situation where prolonged exposure to loud noises is unavoidable, take some time to let your ears rest afterward. Doing so will allow your ears to recover from any damage they sustained. Even just five minutes of rest between exposure to loud sounds can minimize any potential damage.

The louder the noise, the more the hair cells in your ears will bend, and the more time they will need to recover. Over time, the cells will typically start to straighten out again unless the noise was so loud that it caused the cell to die.

Exercise Regularly

Regular exercise is necessary to facilitate full-body health—including that of your ears. Cardio exercises, such as running or cycling, improves circulation and increases oxygen-rich blood flow to one’s ears. In doing so, exercise can contribute to better neural functioning in the auditory portion of the ear, such as the sensory outer hair cells.

Avoid Using Cotton Swabs

Many people have gotten in the habit of using cotton swabs to scoop wax out of their ears. However, doing so can damage one’s hearing in several ways. For one, you could accidentally puncture your sensitive inner ear by poking it with the swab, or you could accidentally pushing ear wax farther inside the ear cavity.

Additionally, getting rid of all the ear wax can cause damage in itself. Ear wax serves the purpose of cleaning the ear and preventing harmful particles from entering the canal. By completely clearing out ear wax in your ear canal, you eliminate its natural protective layer and expose it to potential damage.

 

Authored by Inspire Your Journey

During a recent visit to Whole Foods, I spotted a large sign in the bakery stating, “We use whole grains & unbleached & unbromated flours in all our baked goods.” Let’s review the benefits of using whole-grain, unbleached, and unbromated flour vs the alternatives commonly found in mass produced baked goods.     

Why Put Bleach In Flour

The reason we began bleaching flour is a simple one. It is the same reason why we use bleach for our clothes: to get the product whiter. Don’t worry – the bleach used for laundry is not the same as the bleach used for white flour although it is still a chemical. White flour came into being due to its advantages over whole-grain flour: it lasted longer on the shelf and produced a lighter texture loaf. 

What is the Purpose of Bromate 

Potassium bromate is added to flour to improve the rise and elasticity of bread dough. Bromate is allowed as a food additive in the United States, but in many countries it is banned. The FDA encourages bakers not to use bromate, but has had limited success. In animal studies, bromate has been linked to some cancers.     

Whole vs Refined Grains

Whole grains contain the entire grain kernel ― the bran, germ, and endosperm. White flour or refined grains have been milled, a process that removes the bran and germ. This is done to give grains a finer texture and improve shelf life, but it also removes dietary fiber, iron, and many B vitamins. Products made from whole grains provide richer sources of nutrients and fiber. 

Where We Are Today 

With modern technology, it is possible to produce a very white flour with no chemical bleaching. However, bleaching flour is still a common practice. Bromating is less common, but it is still being used in industrial food applications. There are companies that offer unbleached and unbromated flour such as Bob’s Red Mill and King Arthur   The author, Susan Kapatoes MHA, is the founder of Inspire Your Journey, a health and wellness company offering a BEMER Rental Program, Wearable Health Technology, and a full line of nutrition products from Amare Global, the Mental Wellness Company. She lives in Massachusetts.    

Headaches are annoying and painful, especially for those who experience them frequently. If you want to narrow down the reasons you may be suffering from these headaches, continue reading the material below. Here we provide information on the common causes of headaches so that you can identify which one applies to you and maybe even find some relief.

Poor Diet

While it differs from person to person, certain foods can lead to headaches or migraines. One specific food might be the trigger, or one ingredient in numerous recipes could be the source of your pain. If you suffer from chronic headaches, it might be beneficial to start a food journal so that you can identify any common foods or ingredients that may trigger the pain.

Keep in mind that you might also get a headache from hunger. If you have not eaten and need to, a headache might be your body’s way of reminding you that you need to eat.

Stress

Stress has a direct link to tension headaches. When you’re feeling stressed, the muscles in your shoulders and neck can become tight. This tension in your muscles can then cause headaches. Don’t let the stress get to you! Find ways of relaxing throughout your day, such as using meditation, yoga, exercise, or any other technique to help you unwind.

Dehydration

Dehydration is a real and common cause of headaches. If you are not adequately hydrating your body, that can result in a dehydration migraine. Believe it or not, the brain can temporarily shrink or contract from fluid loss. When that happens, the brain pulls away from the skull, resulting in pain. Nobody wants to deal with this pain—or any of the other negative ways dehydration affects the body—so make sure you’re drinking water when you’re thirsty and limiting the amount of caffeine you consume each day.

All three of these common causes of headaches are entirely avoidable! If you do your best to eat the right foods, keep away from stress, and drink lots of water, you might just get rid of those painful, unbearable headaches.

 

Authored by Inspire Your Journey

There’s no denying the fact that most of us tend to have more stuff than we actually need. How often do you find something in a closet and ask yourself, “Why do I still have this?” If this sounds like you, you might be surprised to learn that letting go of all that excess stuff can be beneficial to you. In this article, we’ll go over why letting go of clutter is good for you so you can find the motivation to start cleaning.

It Frees Up Headspace

A cluttered home leads to a cluttered mind. One of the biggest reasons why letting go of clutter is so good for you is because it gives your brain less to focus on, meaning you have more focus for the stuff that matters. Clutter has the nasty habit of occupying our thoughts the more often we see it. Give yourself a break and get rid of what you can; your brain will thank you.

It Reduces Stress

How much stress must you have built-up worrying about cleaning up your place every day? If you’re like a lot of people, you probably have a lot. There are plenty of things we can stress about on a daily basis; don’t give yourself another one just because you don’t enjoy cleaning. Allow your home to return to a place of relaxation rather than stress by getting rid of excess clutter.

It Can Help Other People

Things that you consider clutter might just be exactly what someone else needs or is looking for. When you’re decluttering, consider not throwing everything right in the garbage. Not only does this create a lot of unnecessary waste, but some of that stuff could make great donations. The next time you clean out your closet, donate your old clothes to an organization like the Purple Heart Pickup rather than trashing them.

It’s Good for Your Physical Health

If you find that your pack rat tendencies are bad, you might be putting your health in more danger than you realize. Having clutter sit out everywhere is just adding more surfaces and places where dust and allergens can build up. Even if you don’t have allergies, an extremely cluttered room can actually contribute to you developing them. For the sake of your health, cleaning up clutter is a very good thing.

 

Authored by Inspire Your Journey