Thursday, December 10, 2015

Bottom of the Jar

"Stretch your food dollars by stretching the bits left at the bottom of the jar"

A "bottom of the jar" recipe is just that, a recipe using the little bit at the bottom of the jar or other food container and making it into something you can use. Usually the recipe consists of adding more ingredients into the jar and then closing the lid and giving it a good shake to use all the item.  Add all ingredients directly into the jar. Shake jar vigorously to combine all the ingredients thoroughly.
Apricot Fruit Spread Glaze
Take an almost empty jar of apricot preserves, or any jam, jelly or preserves that are a step away from being tossed, and fill it 3/4 with orange juice. Place the top on and give it a good shake. Sautee pork loin chops, or chicken or salmon, in a little bit of olive oil with some salt and pepper. Pour in half of the orange juice/apricot mixture and brush the meat, chicken or fish. Glaze will slightly thicken as it cooks.

Asian Dipping Sauce
Take the "Apricot Fruit Spread Glaze" jar (see above) with the remaining orange juice/apricot mixture and add a few slices of ginger root, a jalapeno pepper (remove seeds and ribs if you don't like it too spicy), and add some soy sauce. Place the top back on and give it a good shake. Use as an Asian dipping sauce for items such as sesame chicken strips.

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Layered 'Gift Jar' Recipes

Layering the ingredients of a recipe in a wide-mouth mason jar, or any glass container that has a sealed lid, makes an inexpensive and tasty gift. Whether you are including the ingredients for a soup, a pie, a cake, cookies, hot chocolate, etc., following a few basic steps will help to make sure that the layers of your jar are attractive and easy to use.

Once all your ingredients are in place put the flat metal lid on the top of the jar and screw on the circular metal ring to seal the jar.

Optional: Cut out a 6-inch square of fabric. Trim the edges with pinking shears for a decorative touch. Place the fabric on top of the jar lid and screw the circular metal ring in place.

Write the recipe on a 3-by-5 card. Punch a hole in the corner of the recipe card, and attach it to the jar with twine or ribbon.

~ Sample Recipe ~

Gourmet Butterscotch Brownie Mix 'Gift Jar' Recipe

1). Pour into a bowl 2 cups of flour, 1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder and 1/4 teaspoon salt. Mix together with a spoon and pour into your jar.
2). Pour remaining ingredients into jar in this order: 1/2 cup flaked coconut, 3/4 cup chopped pecans and 2 cups brown sugar.
3). Seal the top of the jar with the lid. Write out the recipe card. Gourmet Butterscotch Brownies: "Preheat oven to 375 degrees Fahrenheit. Grease a 9x13 baking pan. Empty jar of brownie mix into a large mixing bowl; stir to break up lumps. Add 3/4 cup softened butter, 2 beaten eggs, and 2 teaspoons of vanilla extract; mix until well blended. Spread batter evenly in the prepared pan. Bake for 20-25 minutes. Allow to cool in the pan before cutting into squares.

For layering instructions and more Layered 'Gift Jar' Recipes please visit us at:

Thursday, April 2, 2015

Yujacha Tea (Korean Tea)

Image Credit: Korean tea – Yujacha.  Source:   Author: FotoosVanRobin  License: Creative Commons Attribution-Share Alike 2.0 Generic
Korean tea, also called Yujacha, Yuzu tea, citron tea, honey citron tea, Citron Medus Tēja, Citron Miere Ceai, Limun Med Čaj, Honey Citron Tea, Citron Miód Herbata, Sitron Honey Tea, Citron Mel Té, Citron Miel Thé, and other names) is a marmalade-like tea.

Yuja (citron or yuzu) is a citrus fruit that is yellowish green, similar to the lemon, but with a very acidic and dry pulp. Citron fruit is very high in vitamin C.  Popular in the winter and also as a Korean cold and flu remedy, it is very easy to make at home.

How to Make Yujacha Tea
Servings: approx. 20

5 each yuja or citron fruits (available in many Asian markets. If you cannot find yuja or citron fruit, you may substitute 5 lemons.)
1/4 cup water
1/2 cup honey (local if you can get it)

1. Wash the fruit well in "cold" water.
2. Leaving the peel on the fruit (if preferred, you may remove the peel and discard), cut the fruit in half and then slice the fruit as thinly as possible (be sure to remove all seeds).
3. Dissolve the honey in very warm water, making a thick syrup.
4. Add the fruit slices to the honey syrup mixture, mixing to combine it.
5. Keep mixture in a closed container at room temperature for 24 hours (one day). You will then have what is called Yuja chung (Yuja marmalade)

To make tea, dissolve one spoonful of the Yuja chung into one cup of water. Drink 1 cup 1-3 times a day.  Note: *When you drink the tea, you also eat the bits and pieces of the fruit and rind.

Store tea mixture in the refrigerator where it will keep for about two months.

All Natural Citrus Peel Vinegar Cleaning Spray

Image: Citrus. Image is in the Public Domain. Source:
Do you hate the smell of chemical-based household cleaners? Are you worried about the toxic residue they leave behind on the surfaces? The effectiveness of good old white vinegar as a natural cleaning agent and disinfectant can't be beat!  I use this all natural cleaner for all my kitchen and bathroom surfaces and am quite pleased with the results!

Oh, and for "non-scratch" cleaning you can't go wrong with some baking soda (a natural scouring powder) and a little water to clean and polish all of your appliances!

All Natural Citrus Peel and Vinegar Cleaning Spray

You will need:

  • Any size jar with a tight-fitting lid (the bigger the jar the more cleaning mixture).
  • Citrus Peels.
  • White vinegar (I always keep a gallon on hand).

Place the peels inside of the jar (put in as many as the jar can hold) making sure to leave some "breathing" space at the top of the jar. Pour the white vinegar into the jar making sure the peels are covered. Put the lid on and close tightly. Store the mixture in a dark place (e.g. cupboard) for two weeks. This allows the vinegar and oils from the citrus peels to blend together. After two weeks, pour the mixture through a strainer into a spray bottle and use for all your kitchen and bathroom cleaning purposes.

Some choose to use this mixture full strength, however, I prefer to use a 50-50 mix (half mixture and half water). I make two batches, one with lemon peels and one with orange peels. I especially like the lemon peel mixture for kitchen cleaning!

This cleaning mixture is recommended for use on hard, non-porous surfaces only. If you should find that it works well on other surfaces be sure to let me know :)

Caution! I do not recommend the use vinegar and/or citrus-type cleaners on Granite because the acid it contains can etch the surface. Also, some manufacturers say to use a 50-50 mix of vinegar and water to clean hardwood floors, well, I won't recommend this either, but if you do try it be sure to test it out on a small, inconspicuous area of your floor first before proceeding to do the whole floor.

Vitamin A Factsheet

What is vitamin A and what does it do?
Vitamin A is a fat-soluble vitamin that is naturally present in many foods. Vitamin A is important for normal vision, the immune system, and reproduction. Vitamin A also helps the heart, lungs, kidneys, and other organs work properly. There are two different types of vitamin A. The first type, preformed vitamin A, is found in meat, poultry, fish, and dairy products. The second type, provitamin A, is found in fruits, vegetables, and other plant-based products. The most common type of provitamin A in foods and dietary supplements is beta-carotene.

How much vitamin A do I need?
The amount of vitamin A you need depends on your age and reproductive status. Recommended intakes for vitamin A for people aged 14 years and older range between 700 and 900 micrograms (mcg) of retinol activity equivalents (RAE) per day. Recommended intakes for women who are nursing range between 1,200 and 1,300 RAE. Lower values are recommended for infants and children younger than 14.

However, the vitamin A content of foods and dietary supplements is given on product labels in international units (IU), not mcg RAE. Converting between IU and mcg RAE is not easy. A varied diet with 900 mcg RAE of vitamin A, for example, provides between 3,000 and 36,000 IU of vitamin A depending on the foods consumed.

For adults and children aged 4 years and older, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration has established a vitamin A Daily Value (DV) of 5,000 IU from a varied diet of both plant and animal foods. DVs are not recommended intakes; they don't vary by age and sex, for example. But trying to reach 100% of the DV each day, on average, is useful to help you get enough vitamin A.

What foods provide vitamin A?
Vitamin A is found naturally in many foods and is added to some foods, such as milk and cereal. You can get recommended amounts of vitamin A by eating a variety of foods, including the following:
  • Beef liver and other organ meats (but these foods are also high in cholesterol, so limit the amount you eat).
  • Some types of fish, such as salmon.
  • Green leafy vegetables and other green, orange, and yellow vegetables, such as broccoli, carrots, and squash.
  • Fruits, including cantaloupe, apricots, and mangos.
  • Dairy products, which are among the major sources of vitamin A for Americans.
  • Fortified breakfast cereals.

What kinds of vitamin A dietary supplements are available?
Vitamin A is available in dietary supplements, usually in the form of retinyl acetate or retinyl palmitate (preformed vitamin A), beta-carotene (provitamin A), or a combination of preformed and provitamin A. Most multivitamin-mineral supplements contain vitamin A. Dietary supplements that contain only vitamin A are also available.

Am I getting enough vitamin A?
Most people in the United States get enough vitamin A from the foods they eat, and vitamin A deficiency is rare. However, certain groups of people are more likely than others to have trouble getting enough vitamin A:
  • Premature infants, who often have low levels of vitamin A in their first year.
  • Infants, young children, pregnant women, and breastfeeding women in developing countries.
  • People with cystic fibrosis.

What happens if I don't get enough vitamin A?
Vitamin A deficiency is rare in the United States, although it is common in many developing countries. The most common symptom of vitamin A deficiency in young children and pregnant women is an eye condition called xerophthalmia. Xerophthalmia is the inability to see in low light, and it can lead to blindness if it isn't treated.

What are some effects of vitamin A on health?
Scientists are studying vitamin A to understand how it affects health. Here are some examples of what this research has shown.

People who eat a lot of foods containing beta-carotene might have a lower risk of certain kinds of cancer, such as lung cancer or prostate cancer. But studies to date have not shown that vitamin A or beta-carotene supplements can help prevent cancer or lower the chances of dying from this disease. In fact, studies show that smokers who take high doses of beta-carotene supplements have an increased risk of lung cancer.

Age-Related Macular Degeneration
Age-related macular degeneration (AMD), or the loss of central vision as people age, is one of the most common causes of vision loss in older people. Among people with AMD, a supplement containing antioxidants, zinc, and copper with or without beta-carotene has shown promise for slowing down the rate of vision loss.

When children with vitamin A deficiency (which is rare in North America) get measles, the disease tends to be more severe. In these children, taking supplements with high doses of vitamin A can shorten the fever and diarrhea caused by measles. These supplements can also lower the risk of death in children with measles who live in developing countries where vitamin A deficiency is common.

Can vitamin A be harmful?
Yes, high intakes of some forms of vitamin A can be harmful.
Getting too much preformed vitamin A (usually from supplements or certain medicines) can cause dizziness, nausea, headaches, coma, and even death. High intakes of preformed vitamin A in pregnant women can also cause birth defects in their babies. Women who might be pregnant should not take high doses of vitamin A supplements.

Consuming high amounts of beta-carotene or other forms of provitamin A can turn the skin yellow-orange, but this condition is harmless. High intakes of beta-carotene do not cause birth defects or the other more serious effects caused by getting too much preformed vitamin A.

The upper limits for preformed vitamin A in IU are listed below. These levels do not apply to people who are taking vitamin A for medical reasons under the care of a doctor. Upper limits for beta-carotene and other forms of provitamin A have not been established.

Life Stage and Upper Limit
Birth to 12 months 2,000 IU
Children 1–3 years 2,000 IU
Children 4–8 years 3,000 IU
Children 9–13 years 5,667 IU
Teens 14–18 years 9,333 IU
Adults 19 years and older 10,000 IU

Are there any interactions with vitamin A that I should know about?
Yes, vitamin A supplements can interact or interfere with medicines you take. Here are several examples:
  • Orlistat (Alli®, Xenical®), a weight-loss drug, can decrease the absorption of vitamin A, causing low blood levels in some people.
  • Several synthetic forms of vitamin A are used in prescription medicines. Examples are the psoriasis treatment acitretin (Soriatane®) and bexarotene (Targretin®), used to treat the skin effects of T-cell lymphoma. Taking these medicines in combination with a vitamin A supplement can cause dangerously high levels of vitamin A in the blood.
  • Tell your doctor, pharmacist, and other health care providers about any dietary supplements and medicines you take. They can tell you if those dietary supplements might interact or interfere with your prescription or over-the-counter medicines or if the medicines might interfere with how your body absorbs, uses, or breaks down nutrients.

Vitamin A and healthful eating
People should get most of their nutrients from food, advises the federal government's Dietary Guidelines for Americans []. Foods contain vitamins, minerals, dietary fiber and other substances that benefit health. Dietary supplements might help in some situations to increase the intake of a specific vitamin or mineral. For more information on building a healthy diet, refer to the Dietary Guidelines for Americansexternal link icon and the U.S. Department of Agriculture's food guidance system, ChooseMyPlate [].

Vitamin A Factsheet Source:

Office of Dietary Supplements Disclaimer: This fact sheet from the Office of Dietary Supplements provides information that should not take the place of medical advice. We encourage you to talk to your healthcare providers (doctor, registered dietitian, pharmacist, etc.) about your interest in, questions about, or use of dietary supplements and what may be best for your overall health. Any mention in this publication of a specific brand name is not an endorsement of the product. 

Holistic Lifestyle Disclaimer -  No statements on this Website or Blog have been approved by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA). This information is not intended to diagnose, treat, cure or prevent any disease. This information is provided for educational uses only. It is not the intention of Holistic Lifestyle to provide specific medical advice to users of its Website or Blog, but rather to provide users with information to help them to better understand their life, environment, health, and the current range of approaches related to various therapies and/or treatments, prevention methods, supportive care, etc. Holistic Lifestyle urges users to consult with a licensed physician for diagnosis and for answers to their personal medical and/or health care questions.

Wednesday, March 25, 2015

Crystals and Gemstones for Healing and Spiritual Growth

Image: Tumbled Gemstones. Image is in the Public Domain.
The use of crystals and gemstones for healing and spiritual growth is an alternative medicine energy therapy technique that employs semi-precious stones and crystals. Adherents of the technique claim that these stones have inherent powers to help the body restore itself to an optimum state of health and well-being.

One method is where the practitioner places crystals on different parts of the body, often corresponding to the chakra-nadi system []; or else the practitioner places crystals around the body (laying-on-of-stones) in an attempt to construct an "energy grid", which is purported to surround the client with healing energy.

Practitioners select the colours of stones and place them on parts of the body. Stones are placed at the feet or held in the hands. Practitioners sometimes use crystal wands, which are placed near the receiver's body. Colour selection and placement of stones are done according to concepts of grounding, chakras or energy grids.

Different cultures have developed traditions of crystal healing over time, including the Hopi Native Americans of Arizona and Hawaiian islanders, some of whom continued to use it. The Chinese have traditionally attributed healing powers to microcrystalline jade.

Read more about >>> "Crystals and Gemstones: The Metaphysical Healing Properties of Crystals and Gemstones" on the Holistic Lifestyle Website! []

Agate: The Strength Stone, Courage and strength for both boy and mind. Facilitates perceptiveness and precision. Is grounding and energetic. Balances the yin yang energies.
Amazonite - Aligns and balances mental and etheric bodies. Calms nerves, aids creative expression and cutes through illusion. Brings joy, clarity and an understanding of universal love.
Amethyst - The Peace Stone. Ideal for meditation and enhancing psychic abilities. A greatly calming influence, very protective and inspirational. Radiates divine love.
Aquamarine: Provides emotional and intellectual stability and clarity of mind. Aids self-expression, calms nerves, dispels intolerance and helps banish fears and phobias.
Aventurine - Balance the yin yang energies. Motivates and refines positive attitudes and feelings of independence. Relieves anxiety and fear.
Azurite - Cleanses the mind and soul. Awakens psychic abilities and initiates transformation. Enhances creativity, self-confidence and inspiration.
Bloodstone - A powerful healing stone renewal. Revitalizes and enhances both body and mind. Instills wisdom and sensitivity for inner guidance.
Calcite - Facilitates an awareness and understanding of nature. Aids in the remembering of astral travel experience. Alleviates fear, clears and balances.
Carnelian - Aids concentration and memory. Stimulates inquisitiveness and dispels apathy. Enhances attunement with the inner self.
Chrysoprase - Instills a sense of grace. Helps clarify personal problems and brings out hidden talents. Balance attitudes and actions.
Citrine - The abundance Stone. Joyous, warm and energising. Raises self esteem, stimulates mental focus and aids in the alignment with the higher self. Attracts and maintains abundance.
Clear Quartz - The Energy Stone. Excellent for meditation. Amplifies energy and thought. Dispels negativity. Receives, stores, and transmits energy. Aids communication with every dimension.
Flourite - Balances and advances the mind and increases concentration. A stabilizing influence on all levels. A stone of discernment and higher understanding.
Garnet - A stone of love and compassion. It strengthens and purifies, balances the body’s energy field and enhances the imagination.
Hematite -  The Stress Stone. Enhances mental capabilities and reduces stress. Strengthens and energizes both physical and etheric bodies. Dispels negativity.
Howlite - Reduces stress and pain and encourages patience, discernment and refinement. Aids communication and expression.
Jade - Balances the emotions and encourages wisdom. Aids in remembering and solving dreams. Peaceful, nurturing and stress relieving.
Jasper - Protective and grounding, a balancer on all levels. A sustaining stone working mainly on the physical body.
Lapis Lazuli - Expands awareness and intellect an enhances psychic abilities. Helps overcome depression, aids creativeness and protects.
Malachite - Aids intuitiveness and transformation. Balances, clarifies the emotions, clears subconscious blocks and reduces stress.
Sunstone - Dissolves negativity and grounds the root chakra. Brings happiness and sunshine and shines light into the shadow self.
Moonstone - Stimulates confidence and balances emotions. Encourages intuitiveness and perception. Enhances the feminine nature.
Obsidian - Grounds, protects and shields against negativity. Aids in the understanding and clearing of subconscious blocks.
Onyx - Balances the yin yang energies. Reduces stress and encourages self control. Encourages happiness, good fortune and higher inspiration.
Opal - Encourages intuitiveness, inspiration and imagination. Aids in memory improvement and the release of inhibitions.
Peridot - Inspires happiness, strengthens and regenerates. Protects and purifies, reduces anger and jealousy.
Pyrite - Protects against negativity on all levels. Encourages a positive outlook and greater understanding.
        Aids memory and intellect.
Rhodonite - Aids self esteem and confidence. Reduces anxiety, balances and inspires greater understanding and discernment. Assists in maximizing ones potential.
Rose Quartz - The Love Stone. Balances, heals and rejuvenates the emotions. Cools hot tempers, clears stored anger, guilt and jealousy. Encourages compassion and harmony.
Rutilated Quartz - Enhances insight and understanding of problems. Assists in communication with higher self and guides. Wards against negativity and interference.
Smokey Quartz - Dispels negativity and releases emotional blocks. Balances grounds and protects. Enhances channeling powers.
Snowflake Obsidian - Brings purity and balance on all levels. Encourages understanding and realignment of though patterns.
Sodalite - Rationalizes and aids clear thinking bringing clarity and truth. Enhances communication and creative expression.
Selenite - A very intense and highly attuned crystal. Helps one connect to their higher self and into higher frequencies.
Tigereye - Brings cheerfulness and optimism. Enhances clarity of thought, balances the yin yang energies and helps soften stubbornness.
Tourmaline - The Protection Stone. Wards off fear and negativity and protects on all levels. Enhances inspiration and encourages self confidence and understanding.
Turquoise - Brings peace of mind, wisdom and understanding. Enhances psychic abilities and communication. Protects and balances.
Unakite - Balances the emotional body and gives an awareness and understanding of subconscious blocks. Can facilitate the rebirthing process.

Carroll, Robert Todd. "Crystal Power". The Skeptic's Dictionary. Retrieved January 14, 2012.
Chase, Pamela; Pawlik, Jonathan (2001). Healing with Crystals. Career Press. ISBN 9781564145352.
Malotki, Ekkehart (2006). "Introduction". Hopi Stories of Witchcraft, Shamanism and Magic. University of Nebraska Press. p. xxvii. ISBN 9780803283183.
John Kaimikaua, talk at Molokai, HI: 1997, as cited in Gardner, Joy (2006). Vibrational Healing Through the Chakras with Light, Color, Sound, Crystals and Aromatherapy. Berkeley, CA: The Crossing Press.
MacKenzie, Donald A. (2005) [1924]. Myths Of China And Japan. Kessinger Publishing's rare reprints. Kessinger Publishing. p. 249. ISBN 9781417964291. Rhinoceros horn had, like jade, healing properties.
Campion, E.W. (1993). "Why unconventional medicine?". The New England Journal of Medicine 328 (4): 282–3. doi:10.1056/NEJM199301283280413. PMID 8418412.
"Warning about animal 'therapies'". BBC News. 2008-02-12.

Holistic Lifestyle Disclaimer -  No statements on this Website or Blog have been approved by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA). This information is not intended to diagnose, treat, cure or prevent any disease. This information is provided for educational uses only. It is not the intention of Holistic Lifestyle to provide specific medical advice to users of its Website or Blog, but rather to provide users with information to help them to better understand their life, environment, health, and the current range of approaches related to various therapies and/or treatments, prevention methods, supportive care, etc. Holistic Lifestyle urges users to consult with a licensed physician for diagnosis and for answers to their personal medical and/or health care questions.

Chronic Pain and Complementary Health Approaches: What You Need To Know

More than 100 million U.S. adults have chronic pain conditions. This month, we provide information on complementary approaches for pain.

What’s the Bottom Line? Are complementary health approaches for chronic pain safe?
There’s no simple answer to this question. Although many of the complementary approaches studied for chronic pain have good safety records, that doesn’t mean that they’re risk-free for everyone. Your age, health, special circumstances (such as pregnancy), and medicines or supplements that you take may affect the safety of complementary approaches.

Are any complementary health approaches for chronic pain effective?
The currently available evidence is not strong enough to allow definite conclusions to be reached about whether complementary approaches are effective for chronic pain. However, a growing body of scientific evidence suggests that some of these approaches, such as massage, spinal manipulation, and yoga, may help to manage some painful conditions.

What Is Chronic Pain and Why Is It Important?
Chronic pain is pain that lasts a long time. It’s a very common problem. More than 100 million U.S. adults have chronic pain conditions.

Chronic pain becomes more common as people grow older, at least in part because health problems that can cause pain, such as osteoarthritis, become more common with advancing age. Not all people with chronic pain have a physician-diagnosed health problem, but among those who do, the most frequent conditions by far are low-back pain or osteoarthritis, according to a national survey. Other common diagnoses include rheumatoid arthritis, migraine, carpal tunnel syndrome, and fibromyalgia. The annual economic cost of chronic pain in the United States, including both treatment and lost productivity, has been estimated at nearly $635 billion.

Chronic pain may result from an underlying disease or health condition, an injury, medical treatment (such as surgery), inflammation, or a problem in the nervous system (in which case it is called “neuropathic pain”), or the cause may be unknown. Pain can affect quality of life and productivity, and it may be accompanied by difficulty in moving around, disturbed sleep, anxiety, depression, and other problems*

Although many of the complementary approaches studied for chronic pain have good safety records, that doesn’t mean that they’re risk-free for everyone. Your age, health, special circumstances (such as pregnancy), and other treatments (such as medication) may affect the safety of complementary approaches. If you are considering or using a complementary approach for pain, check with your health care providers to make sure that it is safe for you and compatible with your conventional treatment.

The scientific evidence suggests that some complementary health approaches may help people manage chronic pain. In most instances, though, the amount of evidence is too small to clearly show whether an approach is useful.

Guidelines for the Treatment of Chronic Pain Conditions
National health professional organizations have issued guidelines for treating several chronic pain conditions. Some mention ways in which certain complementary health approaches can be incorporated into treatment plans. Others discourage the use of certain complementary approaches.

For example, the guideline for treating back pain issued by the American College of Physicians [] and the American Pain Society [] states that nondrug approaches should be considered in patients who do not improve with self-care. Some of the suggested nondrug approaches, such as exercise therapy and cognitive-behavioral therapy, are conventional; others, including acupuncture, massage therapy, spinal manipulation, and progressive relaxation, are complementary. Another example is the guideline for treating osteoarthritis of the knee and hip issued by the American College of Rheumatology []. For osteoarthritis of the knee, the guidelines mention tai chi as one of several nondrug approaches that might be helpful. The same guidelines, however, discourage using the dietary supplements glucosamine and chondroitin for osteoarthritis of the hip or knee.

If You Are Considering Complementary Health Approaches for Chronic Pain

  • Do not use an unproven product or practice to replace conventional care or to postpone seeing a health care provider about chronic pain or any other health problem.
  • Learn about the product or practice you are considering, especially the scientific evidence on its safety and whether it works.
  • Talk with the health care providers you see for chronic pain. Tell them about the product or practice you are considering and ask any questions you may have. They may be able to advise you on its safety, use, and likely effectiveness.
  • If you are considering a practitioner-provided complementary health practice such as spinal manipulation, massage, or acupuncture, ask a trusted source (such as your health care provider or a nearby hospital) to recommend a practitioner. Find out about the training and experience of any practitioner you are considering. Ask whether the practitioner has experience working with your pain condition.
  • If you are considering dietary supplements, keep in mind that they can cause health problems if not used correctly, and some may interact with prescription or nonprescription medications or other dietary supplements you take. Your health care provider can advise you. If you are pregnant or nursing a child, or if you are considering giving a child a dietary supplement, it is especially important to consult your (or your child’s) health care provider. To learn more, visit NCCAM’s Web page on dietary supplements.
  • Be sure to tell all your health care providers about any complementary health approaches you use. Give them a full picture of what you do to manage your health. This will help ensure coordinated and safe care.

*Certain chronic conditions, several of which cause pain, may occur together; some individuals have two or more of these problems. These conditions include chronic fatigue syndrome, endometriosis, fibromyalgia, interstitial cystitis (painful bladder syndrome), irritable bowel syndrome, temporomandibular joint dysfunction, and vulvodynia (chronic vulvar pain). It is not known whether these disorders share a common cause.

For more information about chronic pain, visit the National Institute of Neurological Disorders and Stroke


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Cherkin DC, Sherman KJ, Kahn J, et al. A comparison of the effects of 2 types of massage and usual care on chronic low back pain. A randomized, controlled trial. Annals of Internal Medicine. 2011;155:1–9.
Chou R, Huffman LH. Nonpharmacologic therapies for acute and chronic low back pain: a review of the evidence for an American Pain Society/American College of Physicians clinical practice guideline. Annals of Internal Medicine. 2007;147(7):492–504.
Furlan AD, Imamura M, Dryden T, et al. Massage for low-back pain. Cochrane Database of Systematic Reviews. 2008;(4): CD001929 [edited 2010]. Accessed at on February 18, 2013.
Furlan AD, Yazdi F, Tsertsvadze A, et al. A systematic review and meta-analysis of efficacy, cost-effectiveness, and safety of selected complementary and alternative medicine for neck and low-back pain. Evidence-Based Complementary and Alternative Medicine. 2012;2012:953139.
Gaylord SA, Palsson OS, Garland EL, et al. Mindfulness training reduces the severity of irritable bowel syndrome in women: results of a randomized controlled trial. American Journal of Gastroenterology. 2011;106(9):1678–1688.
Gross A, Miller J, D’Sylva J, et al. Manipulation or mobilisation for neck pain. Cochrane Database of Systematic Reviews. 2010;(1):CD004249. Accessed at on February 18, 2013.
Institute of Medicine. Relieving Pain in America: A Blueprint for Transforming Prevention, Care, Education, and Research. The National Academies Press Web site. Accessed at on July 16, 2012.
Kozasa EH, Tanaka LH, Monson C, et al. The effects of meditation-based interventions on the treatment of fibromyalgia. Current Pain and Headache Reports. June 21, 2012. Epub ahead of print.
Manheimer E, Cheng K, Wieland LS, et al. Acupuncture for treatment of irritable bowel syndrome. Cochrane Database of Systematic Reviews. 2012;(5):CD005111. Accessed at on February 18, 2013.
Miller KL, Clegg DO. Glucosamine and chondroitin sulfate. Rheumatic Diseases Clinics of North America. 2011;37(1):103–118.
Moayyedi P, Ford AC, Talley NJ, et al. The efficacy of probiotics in the treatment of irritable bowel syndrome: a systematic review. Gut. 2010;59(3):325–332.
Ritchie ML, Romanuk TN. A meta-analysis of probiotic efficacy for gastrointestinal diseases. PLoS One. 2012;7(4):e34938.
Vickers AJ, Cronin AM, Maschino AC, et al. Acupuncture for chronic pain: individual patient data meta-analysis. Archives of Internal Medicine. 2012;172(19):1444–1453.
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