Supplements for Migraines

Written by Sandy Cho, MD and reviewed by Julie A. Cerrato, PhD

These 5 supplements have shown to benefit migraine sufferers.


Riboflavin (Vitamin B2) is a water-soluble vitamin, which means it is not stored in the body. Therefore, it needs to be replenished in the body every day. Riboflavin is important for body growth and red blood cell production. It is also required for energy metabolism, such as the metabolism of carbohydrates.

Studies show a deficit of mitochondrial energy metabolism may play a role in migraine pathogenesis. Therefore, riboflavin has been investigated as a treatment and/or prevention for migraine.

Studies have found significant reductions in headache frequency with daily pharmacologic doses (400 mg) of riboflavin.  Furthermore, riboflavin was demonstrated to be a safe and well-tolerated alternative in migraine prevention and treatment. It even reduced the number of abortive anti-migraine tablets (ie. Ergotamines, triptans) used in migraine sufferers.


Magnesium is another important mineral to add to your treatment plan. Magnesium deficiency is a major contributing factor to the development of migraine headaches and many of us are deficient in magnesium.The recommended amount of magnesium is 600-800 mg a day, in divided doses throughout the day. Taking it in this manner maximizes its absorption.While there are many different oral forms of Magnesium, one form that be extremely beneficial for migraine sufferers is Magnesium Threonate. This is because it is able to penetrate the brain unlike other forms of Magnesium.

Ginkgolide B

Ginkgolide B is an herbal extract derived from Ginkgo biloba. It is used not only for the acute attack of migraine headaches but is also extremely beneficial for the prevention of migraine headaches.In one study, patients with a history of migraine with auras when given  the combination of Gingkolide B, Coenzyme Q 10 and Vitamin B2 (riboflavin) demonstrated not only a decrease in the frequency of migraines with aura but also their duration.

Coenzyme Q10

Supplementation with Coq10(Ubiquinone) has demonstrated to decrease the frequency of migraines headaches.Because ubiquinone can have a blood pressure-lowering effect, it is recommended to begin at low doses. Begin at 50 mg twice a day and increase slowly over the next few weeks.

Omega 3 Fish Oil

Adding Omega 3 fish oil can help  in the prevention of migraines, especially in adolescents and young adults. In one study, Omega 3 supplementation decreased the recurrence of migraines in adolescents.Begin at a dose of 1000-2000 mg a day. This can  be slowly increased to 3-4 grams a day. As Omega 3 fish oil can thin the blood, talk with your healthcare practitioner if you are taking blood-thinning medications such as Coumadin.

Seek the advice of a health professional to see if these treatments are right for you.

Agosti R, Duke RK, Chrubasik JE, Chrubasik S. Effectiveness of Petasites hybridus preparations in the prophylaxis of migraine: a systematic review. Phytomedicine 2006;13(9-10):743-6.
Dall’Acqua S, Viola G, Giorgetti M, Loi MC, Innocenti G. Two new sesquiterpene lactones from the leaves of Laurus nobilis. Chemical & pharmaceutical bulletin 2006;54 (8): 1187–1189.
Gilmore B, et al. Treatment of acute migraine headache. American Family Physician. 2011;83:271-280.
Hildreth C, Lynm C, Glass R. Migraine Headache. Journal of the American Medical Association. 2009;301(24):2608.
NINDS Migraine information page. National Institute of Neurological Disorders and Stroke
Schoenen J, Jacquy J, Lenaerts M. Effectiveness of high-dose riboflavin in migraine prophylaxis. A randomized controlled trial. Neurology. 1998 Feb;50(2):466-70.
Vaughan T. The role of food in the pathogenesis ofmigraine headache. Clin Rev Allergy. 1994;12:167-180.


Supplements for Fibromyalgia that Boost Energy

Written by Dr. Rich Snyder and reviewed by Julie A. Cerrato, PhD, AP, CYT, CAP

Two supplements have shown promise in increasing the energy in a person with fibromyalgia.


There are studies concerning fibromyalgia that tout the energy boost of D-ribose. D-ribose increases the energy to all of the cells of the body, especially the muscle cells. Supplementing with D-ribose can provide your heart with the energy boost that it needs.

  • D-ribose commonly comes in capsule or powdered form. The powdered form is preferred as you can add it to your morning drink.
  • Even though ribose is a “sugar” it will not raise blood glucose levels.
  • The recommended starting dose is 2500 mg. Increase by 2500 mg every few weeks to reach a maximum dose of 10,000 mg.
  • Higher doses than 10,000 mg can cause diarrheal symptoms in some people.

Coenzyme Q10 (Ubiquinone)

Replacement of this antioxidant can help improve fibromyalgia symptoms. It has been reported that those with fibromyalgia, as well as other chronic illnesses, can have lower than normal levels of ubiquinone in the body.

  • Begin with low doses at 50-100 mg daily and increase to twice a day after several weeks. Smaller doses taken during the day maximizes its absorption.
  • As ubiquinone can lower blood pressure, you need to closely monitor your blood pressure
  • If you have diabetes, monitor your blood glucose levels as ubiquinone can lower blood glucose levels as well.
  • Armstrong DJ, Meenagh GK et al. “Vitamin D deficiency is associated with anxiety and depression in fibromyalgia.” Clinical Rheumatology. 2007 Apr;26(4):551-4.
  • Bramwell B, Ferguson S et al. “The use of ascorbigen in the treatment of fibromyalgia patients: a preliminary trial.” Alternative Medicine Reviews. 2000 Oct;5(5):455-62.
  • Bent S, Padula et al. “Valerian for sleep: a systematic review and meta-analysis.” American Journal of Medicine. 2006 Dec;119(12):1005-12.
  • Cordero MD, Cotain D et al. “Oral coenzyme Q10 supplementation improves clinical symptoms and recovers pathologic alterations in blood mononuclear cells in a fibromyalgia patient.”  Nutrition. 2012 Nov-Dec;28(11-12):1200-3.
  • Geenen R, Jacobs W et al. “Evaluation and management of endocrine dysfunction in fibromyalgia.” Rheumatic Diseases Clinics of North America. 2002 May;28(2):389-404.
  • Ki Cha B, Man Jung S et al. “The effect of a multispecies probiotic mixture on the symptoms and fecal microbiota in diarrhea-dominant irritable bowel syndrome: a randomized, double-blind, placebo-controlled trial.” Journal of Clinical Gastroenterology. 2012 Mar;46(3):220-7.
  • Lucas HJ, Brauch CM et al. “Fibromyalgia–new concepts of pathogenesis and treatment.” International Journal of Immunopathology and Pharmacology. 2006 Jan-Mar;19(1):5-10.
  • Teitelbaum J, Johnson C et al. “The use of D-ribose in chronic fatigue syndrome and fibromyalgia: a pilot study.” Journal of Alternative and Complementary Medicine. 2006 Nov;12(9):857-62.
  • Wikner J, Hirsch U et al. “Fibromyalgia–a syndrome associated with decreased nocturnal melatonin secretion.” Clinical Endocrinology. 1998 Aug;49(2):179-83.
  • Wilhelmsen M, Amirian I et al. “Analgesic effects of melatonin: a review of current evidence from experimental and clinical studies.” Journal of pineal Research. 2011 Oct;51(3):270-7.
  • Younger J, Noor N et al. “Low-dose naltrexone for the treatment of fibromyalgia: findings of a small, randomized, double-blind, placebo-controlled, counterbalanced, crossover trial assessing daily pain levels.” Arthritis and Rheumatism. 2013 Feb;65(2):529-38.


Herbs for Migraines

Written by Sandy Cho, MD and reviewed by Julie A. Cerrato, PhD

Herbs are commonly used to provide relief from migraines. Feverfew and butterbur are remedies for a migraine in either preventing them or reducing their severity. Seek the advice of a health professional to see if these treatments are right for you.


Feverfew is an herb with anti-inflammatory properties. A study shows that feverfew extract of 6.25 mg three times a day decreased migraine attacks by nearly half.

The primary active ingredient in feverfew can be found in some other plants such as artichoke, sunflower, lettuce, spinach, and ginkgo biloba.

Feverfew action appears to affect a wide variety of physiologic pathways. Some of these mechanisms include inhibition of prostaglandin synthesis, decrease of vascular smooth muscle spasm, and blockage of platelet granule secretion.

Feverfew supplements are available fresh, freeze-dried, or dried and can be purchased in capsule, tablet, or liquid extract forms.

Feverfew supplements with clinical studies contain a standardized dose of parthenolide. Feverfew supplements should be standardized to contain at least 0.2% parthenolide. Parthenolide is central to the biological effects of feverfew.


Butter (a.k.a. Petasites hybridus root) is an ancient plant which has been used for medical and edible purposes.

50-75 mg twice a day have demonstrated significant reduction in migraine frequency. The mechanism by which butterbur may reduce migraine includes inhibiting the inflammatory effect of chemicals like leukotrienes and prostaglandin E2 in the pain pathway.

Another mechanism of butterbur may be its ability to function as a natural beta blocker whose action results in the normal flow of blood to the brain. This helps control blood pressure and spasmodic capillary action, which can also contribute to the onset of migraine headaches.

When purchasing butterbur products, be sure to choose a brand labeled PA-Free. This means the product was processed to remove potentially harmful, toxic chemicals found in the butterbur plant known as pyrrolizidine alkaloids (PA). The special butterbur extract is prepared by having all liver-toxic alkaloids removed.

Agosti R, Duke RK, Chrubasik JE, Chrubasik S. Effectiveness of Petasites hybridus preparations in the prophylaxis of migraine: a systematic review. Phytomedicine 2006;13(9-10):743-6.
Dall’Acqua S, Viola G, Giorgetti M, Loi MC, Innocenti G. Two new sesquiterpene lactones from the leaves of Laurus nobilis. Chemical & pharmaceutical bulletin 2006;54 (8): 1187–1189.
Gilmore B, et al. Treatment of acute migraine headache. American Family Physician. 2011;83:271-280.
Hildreth C, Lynm C, Glass R. Migraine Headache. Journal of the American Medical Association. 2009;301(24):2608.
NINDS Migraine information page. National Institute of Neurological Disorders and Stroke
Schoenen J, Jacquy J, Lenaerts M. Effectiveness of high-dose riboflavin in migraine prophylaxis. A randomized controlled trial. Neurology. 1998 Feb;50(2):466-70.
Vaughan T. The role of food in the pathogenesis ofmigraine headache. Clin Rev Allergy. 1994;12:167-180.


Vitamins C, D and K2 for Osteoarthritis

Reviewed by Dr Jeffrey Lederman, DO

Osteoarthritis, the most common form of arthritis, is the breakdown of the cartilage tissue that cushions the ends of the bones between the joints to prevent the bones from rubbing against each other. When the cartilage breaks down, bone ends make direct contact, which can result in bone spurs, abnormal bone hardening, inflammation and pain. Bones can become more brittle and fracture more easily.

Osteoarthritis is often called “wear and tear” arthritis because its onset is usually gradual, over the course of many years, and often due to an unhealthy aging process, such as a poor, high-inflammatory diet, obesity and intensive, repetitive motions from manual labor or certain athletic activities. Osteoarthritis also can occur as a result of trauma or injury.

Vitamins C, D and K2 could help prevent osteoarthritis or mitigate its effects.

Vitamin C helps develop, protect and repair the body tissue, and as a result, may help prevent or reduce the severity of osteoarthritis.

Vitamin C helps the body make collagen, which is part of the cartilage tissue that cushions the ends of the bones between the joints. Without enough Vitamin C, the body cannot properly repair and maintain the collagen tissue, which may lead to the breakdown of cartilage in osteoarthritis.

Vitamin C also is an antioxidant that helps protect the body’s cells from free radicals, which are highly reactive, destructive molecules that cause inflammation and that can damage body tissues including cartilage. Protecting the body’s cells from free radicals may also defend it against osteoarthritis.

Foods high in Vitamin C include oranges, lemons, chili peppers, dark leafy green vegetables like kale and spinach, and herbs like parsley and thyme.

Vitamin D and Vitamin K2 work together to maintain bone health, which is important in warding off osteoarthritis. Vitamin D promotes bone strength because it helps the body absorb calcium. Vitamin K2 helps direct the calcium to the bones and helps prevent calcium loss from the bones. Vitamin K2 helps direct calcium to where the body needs it – the skeleton – and helps prevent the calcium from being deposited where the body doesn’t want it, such as into the blood and arteries.

Sources of Vitamin D include sunlight, mushrooms, salmon, tuna, mackerel and fish liver oils. Vitamin K2 is found in sauerkraut, fermented cheeses, dairy foods like grass fed butter and organ meats.

Written by Jessica Braun
Jessica is a writer and an editor at WholesomeOne. She can be reached at jessica.braun[at]wholesomeone[dot]com.


  • Alternative Medicine, the Definitive Guide
  • Holistic Anatomy
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Simple Lavender Oil Treatments for Eczema

If you suffer from eczema and are sick of taking medication that only provides short-lived relief, lavender oil may be a new option for you. As an alternative to conventional treatments that merely suppress symptoms, lavender oil can be used as an all-around restorative agent.

The oil’s antiseptic, antibacterial, and anti-fungal properties benefit mild cases of eczema (atopic dermatitis), as well as create a sense of stability for balanced skin. Lavender oil has been valued for hundreds of years as a natural remedy for skin conditions, as it brings circulation to skin cells that suffer from irritants and stress. It is especially rich in aromatic molecules called esters, which are antispasmodic, tonic, and pacifying. Its cicatrizant properties, which assist restoration through formation of scar tissue, help heal all kinds of wounds and burns. It is a powerful anti-inflammatory for the skin and was even used as an antibacterial in hospitals during World War I.

Lavender oil is effective at soothing eczema and the variety of symptoms that accompany it. While the most common sign of eczema is an itchy rash, eczema sufferers also exhibit bumps, blisters, redness, scaling, and abnormal pigmentation. Doctors usually treat these symptoms with prescription creams that contain steroids and antibiotics. They also recommend antihistamines, immunosuppressants, hydrocortisone, immunomodulators, prescription-strength moisturizers, corticocosteroids, and ultraviolet light therapy to patients who need more support.

While pharmaceutical treatments are helpful, they only suppress symptoms and do not heal the root of the problem. As a result, patients tend to rely on medication for symptom alleviation.

Lavender oil can provide a broader spectrum of relief to eczema sufferers. Unlike the common antibiotic and steroid creams that can be addictive for people with eczema, lavender oil addresses the skin from the inside out. Lavender oil gently eases irritation, works to promote a healthy balance of nutrients on the skin, and acts as an effective stress-reducer. This powerful healing property of lavender oil is due to the aromatic compounds that enter into the bloodstream and travel to the limbic system, the part of the brain that is often called “the emotional brain.” Lavender oil’s treatment of stress is especially vital as stress is one of the primary causes of eczema skin flare-ups.

For a simple eczema treatment, make a homemade spray following three simple steps.

  1. Add 10 drops of essential oil to one cup of water (distilled or tap water work fine).
  2. Pour the mixture into a spray bottle and close tightly.
  3. Shake well and spray on affected areas.

Or make lotion supplemented with lavender oil.

  1. Buy a fragrance free lotion containing Shea butter or vitamin E (Burt’s Bees Fragrance Free Shea Butter & Vitamin E Body Lotion works well).
  2. Add 10-15 drops of lavender oil to the container.
  3. Mix well with a spoon.
  4. Rub lotion into the skin gently.

In addition, you can also make a vegetable oil-based treatment.

  1. Purchase a nut or vegetable oil (coconut or sesame oil, for example) to use as a base.
  2. Add 15-20 drops of lavender oil to the container.
  3. Shake well and use the mixture topically on eczema when needed.

While you could also apply pure essential oil in ‘neat form’ directly to small affected areas without dilution, this may be too harsh for skin due to the oil’s strength and purity. Start with one of the techniques that combines lavender oil with a water or oil-based substance, and see how skin reacts from there.

Keep in mind, too, that lavender oil should be avoided for people who are pregnant, have epilepsy, or a fever. Some essential oils contain miniscule amounts of neurotoxins, which may have a convulsant effect. Because essential oils are potent and highly concentrated, they can have a significant impact on a system prone to sensitivity. As always, be sure to consult your physician before use.

Lavender oil’s multifaceted healing properties—whether antispasmodic, antibacterial, or anti-fungal—can be used to supplement existing eczema treatments. Lavender oil allows skin to restore, renew, and heal in a natural and gradual way.

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Written by Nicole Kagan

  • Lavender uses. (n.d.). Retrieved from
  • The Franklin Institute Resources for Science Learning (2004). The Human Brain-Stress.

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Yoga for Fibromyalgia

Fibromyalgia is a syndrome that involves widespread muscle pain that appears to be a result of the tightening and thickening of the myofascia, which is the thin tissue that holds the muscles together. Symptoms of fibromyalgia include fatigue, muscle and joint pain, trouble sleeping, and digestive problems. One way to holistically manage fibromyalgia is with yoga.

Yoga is one of the oldest known health practices in the world. It teaches mind and body unity through physical postures, breathing exercises and meditation to help reduce stress, lower blood pressure, regulate the heart rate and even slow the aging process.

A main symptom of fibromyalgia is chronic muscle pain and tightness. Yoga increases muscle endurance and flexibility through simple poses and focused breathing that gently stretch the muscles and create a condition of ease throughout the body.

While yoga may involve little movement, the mind is connected to every pose, which provides discipline, awareness and a relaxed openness, all of which help regulate functions like the heartbeat and the breath. Physical tensions in the body, such as the pain and tightness of fibromyalgia, then ease into a state of relaxation.

Fibromyalgia also can cause fatigue and trouble sleeping. As yoga’s gentle stretching and focused breathing help soothe the pain of tight muscles and create a sense of calm throughout the body, it becomes easier to sleep more soundly. This solid night’s sleep leads to more energy and less fatigue.

People who have fibromyalgia might experience feelings of anxiousness or depression and decreased energy. Yoga helps create a heightened sense of peace and awareness, which may help reduce stress and tension, both physically and emotionally. Yoga breathing practices help get rid of any choppiness in the breath and promote a smoothly flowing breath. The smooth breath results in the smooth flow of thoughts, which calm the restlessness of the mind and create clarity, improved focus and more energy.

Tension or migraine headaches are another symptom of fibromyalgia. Yoga helps ease headache pain because yoga promotes vascular and muscle relaxation. Simple yoga breathing practices such as slow, deep breathing for as little as five minutes can trigger a relaxation response in the muscles throughout the body.

Janet McKenzie, Naturopathic Doctor of Summit Natural Health Centre adds, “Yoga is a fantastic treatment for those with fibromyalgia because it addresses all the areas fibromyalgia impacts: body, mind and spirit.  Because yoga can easily be adapted to a person’s limitations, it is particularly well-suited for those whose pain or fatigue prevents them from engaging in more strenuous activities, while still allowing progress to more physically demanding routines over time.  If you could only use one natural treatment for your fibromyalgia, this would be the one to choose.”

A regular yoga practice can help people with fibromyalgia gain muscle flexibility, feel less pain and tightness, achieve greater focus, gain energy, sleep more soundly and more. The emotional, physical and psychological benefits of engaging in a regular yoga practice are worth exploring for fibromyalgia relief and beyond.


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Reviewed by Janet McKenzie, ND

Written by Jessica Braun
Jessica is a writer and an editor at WholesomeONE. She can be reached at jessica.braun[at]wholesomeone[dot]com.

  • Alternative Medicine, the Definitive Guide
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Meditation for Migraines

Migraines, the most cyclical headache that affects people. With excruciating pain, sensitivity to light, shattering nausea, migraines can stop a person literally in their tracks. The triggers of a migraine can vary from stress to music, even a wrong twist of the body can bring one on. There is no known cure for migraines, but there are ways to provide symptom management beyond heavy medications and narcotics. One approach is meditation.

Meditation in its simplest form is considered to be a conscious state of mind. Giving one the power to focus their thoughts on their pain, confronting it, and ultimately being able to control it is the basic principle behind meditation for migraines. Emotionally, “owning” the pain gives the sufferers more opportunity to better understand their symptoms which empowers them to treat it effectively. This empowerment gives those with the condition more control over it, which leads to a healthier emotional outlook. While meditation is a therapy that approaches pain management from a mental stand point, there are some physical benefits to meditation.

Meditation is considered to be one of the best forms of relaxation that is easily approachable and reliable. Forming a meditation routine can help bring relaxation to those that suffer from the pain and discomfort from migraines. Relaxation can help eliminate some of the triggers that bring the painful headaches on. It can allow for less tension in the neck and jaw, shoulders, and upper back – common tension triggers for migraines. It can also create an overall relaxation of muscles, which can also provide symptom relief.

Meditation is an art form that in its most advanced forms can take years to master. However, in its simplest form and with proper breathing, simple meditation can help to alleviate migraine symptoms both emotionally and physically.

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CranioSacral Therapy for Migraines

For many people, migraine headaches can be severely debilitating. One holistic alternative to consider in treating your migraine is to employ the use of a practitioner skilled in the art of CranioSacral therapy. This form of treatment which has its origins in osteopathy and osteopathic manipulation can be very effective in the treatment of migraine headaches. In one study, twenty people underwent CranioSacral therapy for approximately four weeks. At the end of the study period, the participants reported a decrease in the migraine symptoms compared to before the treatments began.

The objective of CranioSacral therapy is to allow the nervous system to work as efficiently as possible. Just as the rest of your skeletal system, including your bones and joints are subject to the daily stresses and strains that can cause your skeleton to go out of alignment, the same is also true for the structures that protect the brain and spinal cord. Alterations in the alignment of your “brain and spinal cord skeleton” can adversely affect the functioning of the nervous system. Our understanding of the cause of migraines focuses on migraines being a “brain disorder” and dysfunction of the CranioSacral System can contribute to the development of migraine headaches.

In essence, CranioSacral Therapy involves the gentle massage of the skull as well as the lower back (spine and sacrum) to free up areas of tension, promote the natural flow of the cerebrospinal fluid (CSF), and get your CranioSacral System into alignment. If you have any history of head or neck trauma, this may not be applicable to your own personal situation.

If you have migraine headaches that have been refractory to treatments, or if you are experiencing more frequent headaches, you should strongly consider working with a practitioner of CranioSacral Therapy.

By: Dr. Rich Snyder, DO

[themedy_accordion][themedy_toggle accordion=”1″ icon=”” font_awesome_att=”” heading=”References” onload=”closed”]

  • Amadottir TS, Sigurdadottir AK. “Is craniosacral therapy effective for migraine? Tested with HIT-6 Questionnaire.” Complementary Therapies in Clinical Practice. 2013 Feb; 19(1):11-4.
  • Harrison RE, Page RS. “Multipractitioner Upledger CranioSacral Therapy: descriptive outcome study 2007-2008.” Journal of Alternative and Complementary Medicine. 2011 Jan; 17(1):13-7.
  • Hoffmann J. “Recent advances in headache research.” Expert Review of Neurotherapeutics 2011 Oct;11(10):1379-81.
  • Hoffman, J, Magis D. “Scientific advances in headache research: an update on neurostimulation.” Expert Review of Neurotherapeutics. 2013 Jan;13(1):15-7.



Meditation for Fibromyalgia

Fibromyalgia has notable physical symptoms that attack the body: wide-spread pain, chronic fatigue, and notable tender spots in the upper body. Common treatments include physical therapy and medication to help treat the overall symptoms. New studies show that combining neuroscience and meditation may offer a new direction in treating Fibromyalgia.

The theory behind neuroscience and meditation combining to understand and treat Fibromyalgia treatments builds from an emotional and mental approach. According to research, Fibromyalgia sufferers have a neurological pathway that translates the way they feel pain differently than most. This pathway makes the chronic symptoms feel magnified and more centralized than the average person. Combined with an overall lower threshold for pain statistically, Fibromyalgia subjects feel their symptoms on a much higher level than the average person.

Meditation is the practice of focusing thought and energy on a specific thought – in this case, the symptoms of Fibromyalgia. Since studies show that those diagnosed with Fibromyalgia translate pain differently on a subconscious level, it would stand to reason that meditation could be used to effectively treat the symptoms. Building on the theory of neuroplasticity – the thought that nerve cells within the brain have the ability to change themselves – incorporating meditation should have the power to bring the mind to a level of consciousness that can alter how pain is perceived.

Along with its tendency to incorporate relaxation techniques, meditation can retrain the brain to experience Fibromyalgia symptoms differently and bring relief for tension, fatigue, and depression often associated with the illness. Just in general practice, meditation has shown significant success in creating balance for anyone that wants to experience less stress and tension on a muscular and emotional level.

With the brains ability to mold itself and the research continually expanding, it is entirely possible that meditation could become a front-runner in the treatment of Fibromyalgia. The mental capabilities of a person far outshine most medications without the use of harsh narcotics or chemical supplement. This may be a new opportunity to not only treat Fibromyalgia, but to ultimately cure it with both meditation and neuroscience studies.

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Meditation for Osteoarthritis

Osteoarthritis has a long history of causing chronic pain, discomfort, and joint stiffness that can often be paralyzing and detrimental. This lack of fluidity in motion combined with chronic pain can also be mentally daunting. The physical and emotional effects of Osteoarthritis are what make it one of the most troubling diseases and most difficult to treat. While mainstream methods like medication and physical therapy are the primary care plan for Osteoarthritis, more alternative forms of medication are starting to take form. One alternative treatment that can help Osteoarthritis sufferers both physically and mentally is meditation.

Meditation is an ancient form of therapy that allows you to focus on your senses and use your thought processes to address whatever it is that needs addressing. In the case of Osteoarthritis, this can come in the form of addressing pain and symptom management of the disease. By using medication to treat Osteoarthritis, sufferers are given the opportunity to confront the pain and characterize it – sharp and shooting, dull and achy, where exactly it is located, and how it transpires.

Being able to hone in on the specifics of the pain, allow a person to focus or meditate intensely on the specifics of the symptoms. Under the principles of meditation, this extreme focus allows you to concentrate on the origin of the pain, confront it, and ultimately lessen the intensity of it with sheer mental will. The theory of pain management from meditation draws from the idea that pain is a brain response to injury or disease, that it physically only exists within our mental reaction.

Meditation takes time to master, but simple breathing techniques and localized meditation can provide – at minimum – a calming environment that may help with the emotional effects that osteoarthritis has on a person. With some patience, it may even help provide a coping measure for the physical pain associated with the disease.


Vinyasa Yoga

Vinyasa yoga in Sanskrit means breath synchronized movement. Each yoga pose taken will have one breath cycle of inspiration combined with expiration before flowing into the next posture. It’s considered a form of strength training yoga, and a class usually is about 60-90 minutes in duration.

How it Works

It works through the combination of breath with flow of physical movement to create internal heat in the body which will assist in the elimination of toxins through the skin as well as strengthen muscles. Depending upon the class there may be a meditation incorporated into the practice.


This type of yoga is beneficial in helping one to gain flexibility as well as increase physical endurance, while the breathing techniques will help to center and calm the mind.


As this form of yoga is very faced paced and combined with a lot of movement, you may want to consider an alternative yoga practice to achieve your health goals if you have any physical injuries or limitations. This type of yoga is considered a strength training form of yoga, and can be intensive.


This type of yoga is a fast paced flowing movement practice which will greatly increase physical endurance and strength. A regular practice will help you to become stronger and more centered. Check with your doctor first if you have any physical limitations or pain prior to starting this practice.





Structural Integration

Structural Integration focuses on improving physical functioning by releasing musculoskeletal tension, misalignment, and imbalances caused by the effects of gravity and habitual patterns.

How it Works

A practitioner uses her hands to deliver pressure and heat the layers of fascia. They use their palms, elbows and fingers to apply slow, deliberate strokes lasing 1 to 3 minutes or more. The fascial layer is softened which relieves tension and promotes healing.


Tension and chronic pain relief, improved body alignment and faster recovery from injury are the most common benefits. People might also experience improved balance, more fluid movement and better athletic performance.


Structural Integration is not appropriate for those suffering from osteoporosis, broken bones, cancer, rheumatoid arthritis, acute skin inflammation, chronic addiction, aneurysm, and tumors. Practitioners should avoid areas of the body with bruises, fractures, or wounds until they are healed.


The goal of Structural Integration is to reorganize the body into an integrated functioning whole unit that reacts to stress, such as gravity more efficiently.




Reviewed February 2019 by Minki Kim, Structural Integration Professional