by Steven Horne, RH(AHG)

All acute pain (and most chronic pain) is the result of inflammation. In fact, pain is one of the four classic symptoms of inflammation, which are: heat, swelling redness and pain. So anytime you injure yourself, the pain you’re experiencing is the result of inflammation. So is the pain from sore throats, earaches, indigestion and most headaches.

When most people reach for a pain reliever, the reach for an analgesic. An analgesic is a remedy that numbs the nerves to deaden the sensation of pain. Sure that lessens the experience of pain, but it doesn’t do anything to heal the inflammation that’s causing it.

The justification people use for this is that natural remedies are “slow-acting” or undependable. I disagree.

When you understand inflammation, you can relieve pain very rapidly using safe, natural remedies. I’ve posted a very extensive article on the subject on my personal website.

This article explains what happens when tissue becomes inflamed and how to relieve the pain of minor injuries (and reverse the damage) using pressure, massage and rapid, light stroking. What makes these techniques even more useful is to combine them with the use of topical analgesics, remedies that help to ease pain when rubbed into an injured part of the body. (See sidebar, “Tei Fu: My Favorite Topical Analgesic”)

Using massage and topical analgesics, it’s not only possible to ease acute pain, it’s also possible to promote healing in many chronic conditions, as well. I wrote about my own experience in helping my injured knee in another article I’ve posted: Chronic Pain Relief: A Tribute to Dr. C. Samuel West

This article tells about how my kneecap was broken when I was 23 and how I managed to help it heal using the same techniques described in my article on Applied Lymphology. I’d be lying if I said that my knee never bothers me, because it acts up from time to time, but I simply use the techniques again and get it feeling good again.

So, for 31 years I’ve been able to keep my knee working well without drugs or surgery, using these simple techniques. It may eventually give me problems, but considering the severity of the injury, I’ve done very well.

Teaching people how to relieve pain by reversing inflammation is one of my passions. It’s the primary focus of my Dr. Mom-Dr. Dad course and I’m expanding on this knowledge by doing two webinars on herbal remedies for pain with K.P. Khalsa, who co-authored our Chinese herb module. You can learn more about our Pain Relief Without Medication Class at

The plant kingdom contains some pretty powerful pain relievers that actually work better than many modern drugs. They are fast acting, effective and safer than drugs. Herbs aren’t “magic bullets” for pain because they aren’t isolated chemicals. They’re complex mixtures of substances that act on the body in multiple ways. You just have to know how to pick the right remedy for the kind of pain you’re dealing with.