This form of healing uses essential oils derived from plant extracts and resins to promote both health and beauty. Oils used in aromatherapy are categorized according to their effects on mind, body, and specific diseases. Practitioners believe these oils can help treat various conditions including chronic pain, when inhaled or massaged into the skin.
Medical experts acknowledge that therapeutic massage done along with aromatherapy may help reduce pain and muscle stiffness, and promote relaxation. But, more study is needed to determine whether the essential oils provide any health benefit.
The goal of biofeedback is to help the patient enter a relaxed state in which he or she can cope with pain better. Biofeedback techniques are often taught in physical therapy or behavioral medicine departments of medical centers and hospitals.
This practice uses technology to teach the patient how to reduce pain by controlling certain body responses. During a biofeedback session, a trained therapist applies electrodes and other sensors to various parts of the body. The electrodes are attached to devices that monitor and give feedback on bodily functions, including muscle tension, brain-wave activity, heart rate, blood pressure, and temperature.
The therapist uses relaxation techniques to calm the patient, reducing muscle tension, slowing the heart rate and breathing. The patient learns how to produce these changes to cope with pain better.
Source: Prairie Spine and Pain Institute, Dr. Richard A. Kube II, MD.