The Total Self: Healers

By Kente’ E. Bates

September 17, 2020

NOTE: This article is NOT a substitute for sound medical advice. Please consult your Primary Care Provider for all things health/wellness related

Millions today are in pain- if you’re one of them, you can know that you don’t have to reach for over-the -counter pain killers, or even the heavy pharmaceutical hitters prescribed by your doctor- there are literally hundreds of natural pain killers waiting for you in the abundance of nature. Plants and herbs can alleviate everything from arthritis pain, to headaches, to burns – read on to find out more.

Among the many pharmaceutical pain medications, while effective and useful at times, can be a case of “the cure being worse than the disease”, given the myriad of side effects, there is another solution to your pain problem. After all, people from time immemorial have found the healing power of herbs and spices. Literally, if you have meds that work great, chances are you will be able to find a plant-based/herbal counterpart to it.

It is well-known that meds don’t always cure, curb or blunt pain. This is an ongoing problem that the medical community wishes it could have solved. The modern Western diet, being comprised of highly refined foods, sugars, and refined carbohydrates, while devoid of fruits, vegetables, whole grains, etc., is going to block the ability of other non-pharmaceutical remedies to halt pain. Before you do anything else though, you’re going to have to quit eating the junk food that will trigger the body’s pain system.

Once you’ve done that, you can turn to the many herbs that truly deliver. There are also over 60 different essential oils for pain that have analgesic properties. Analgesic means that a substance has shown to relieve or reduce pain. So many plants have pain-relieving properties.

This short list has some outstanding choices:

1., 2., and 3. Ginger, Turmeric, & Holy Basil – This set of herbs forms a sort of trinity in Ayurvedic medicine. All of them have anti-inflammatory properties. Turmeric (a curry ingredient) contains curcumins which ease inflammatory conditions like rheumatoid arthritis and psoriasis, according to the Methodist Research Institute in Indianapolis. “Each herb has its own scientific database of evidence,” says James Dillard, MD, author of The Chronic Pain Solution.

4. Devil’s Claw (Harpagophytum procumbens) – This ominous sounding herb is a godsend for treating numerous health conditions, among them are liver problems and heart burn. It also has anti-inflammatory effects and can reduce pain from arthritis, headaches, and low back discomfort. The University of Maryland Medical Center has published several studies that had great success treating Osteoarthritis with Devil’s Claw.

5. Birch Leaf (Betula Lenta) – The leaves from the Birch tree act much like cortisone, a prescription drug used to treat endocrine disorders, arthritis, lupus, skin disease, autoimmune disorders, and more. A main chemical compound found in Birch leaves is methyl salicylate, similar to salicylic acid used in aspirin. It is anti-spasmodic, analgesic, astringent, antifungal, diuretic, detoxifying, reduces oxidative damage to skin (stopping wrinkles), and enhances circulation. It also promotes enzymatic secretions in the body. It is truly one of the first powerful pain-relievers ever used.

6. Wintergreen Essential Oil – Also among natural pain relievers, Wintergreen Essential Oil contains 85-99% of methyl salicylate, the same component of aspirin.

7. White Willow Bark (Salix alba) –  The active ingredient in white willow is salicin, which the body converts into salicylic acid. This tree’s covering lowers the body’s levels of prostaglandins, hormone-like compounds that can cause aches, pain, and inflammation. What’s more, white willow bark doesn’t upset the stomach or cause internal bleeding like many over-the-counter aspirins. Turn to this herb for relief from menstrual cramps, muscle pains, arthritis, or after knee or hip surgery as it promotes blood flow and reduces swelling.

8. Capsaicin (Capsicum) – Found in hot chile peppers, this natural remedy does wonders for pain. Capsaicin, the active pain-reducing ingredient, temporarily desensitizes nerve receptors called C-fibers which cause the pain response. Capsaicin also diminishes soreness for 3 to 5 weeks while the C-fibers regain sensation. A single 60-min application in patients with neuropathic pain produced effective pain relief for up to 12 weeks. Patients at the New England Center for Headache decreased their migraine and cluster headache intensity by applying capsaicin cream to their nasal passages.

9. Gamma-Linolenic Acid (GLA) – GLA can be found in numerous seed oils. According to University of Maryland, people who consume these essential fatty acids are able to reduce nerve pain associated with diabetic conditions.

10. Cherries – Due to the presence of compounds called anthocyanins—the same phytonutrients that give cherries their rich ruby hue – you can count on cherries to tamp down pain. Muraleedharan Nair, PhD, says, “They block inflammation and they inhibit pain enzymes, just like aspirin, naproxen, and other nonsteroidal anti-inflammatories.” Cherries are said to have the highest anti-inflammatory content of any food, making them great for remedying issues such as arthritis.

11. Aquamin – Derived from red seaweed, aquamin is a powerful pain reducer, too. In a study published in Nutrition Journal, of 70 volunteers, Aquamin users reduced arthritis pain by 20% in a month and had less stiffness than patients taking a placebo. Helping to diminish inflammation and helps to build bone, aquamin is rich in both calcium and magnesium, too.

12. Arnica – An excellent herbal rub to use after intense sports, an acute injury, or even post surgery, arnica is a well-known natural pain killer among athletes and yogis. It is derived from a European flower, and has anti-inflammatory properties, although the true nature of its healing action is still unknown.

13. Peppermint (Mentha piperita) – Peppermint is most often used as a natural remedy for toothaches, discomfort from bloating and gas, joint conditions, skin irritations, headaches and muscle pain.

14. Boswellia – This herb is sourced from the frankincense tree. Its resin is used to thwart chemical reactions that cause inflammation, and thus pain. Ayurvedic scientists have used Boswellia for centuries to treat arthritic conditions, as well as inflammatory bowel disease.

15. Bromelain – This natural pain-reducer comes from the enzymes present in pineapple stems. Research shows that it reduces levels of prostaglandins, which are hormones that induce inflammation. Bromelain may benefit people with arthritis and conditions marked by musculoskeletal tension (like TMJ syndrome), in addition to those suffering trauma-related inflammation. The enzyme also promotes healing in muscles and connective tissues.

16. Cranberry Juice – Ulceritis giving you the blues? Ulcers usually result from a pathogen called H. pylori which attacks the lining of the stomach and small intestines, but cranberry juice can kill it – reducing pain. Instead of turning to antibiotics, destroy the bacteria causing your ulcers and urinary tract infections with cranberries.

As stated before, there are hundreds more, but this short list is a good start.

In closing, it is good to always seek alternative means of help. In our day and age, a more holistic approach can work wonders. This is a great way to really find out what works with your body and what doesn’t. As usual, knowledge is one of the “master keys” in winning- not just in our personal fitness goals, but in life in general. Knowledge is one of the “must haves” to having success in life. Knowledge is one of the essential basics.



Dillard, James M.D. “The Chronic Pain Solution”. Penguin/Random House, 2003.

Life is Lived Out There 2

Last month, I had broadcast a short show talking about how “life is lived out there”. This is the written form of that.

REMINDER: This blog and the advice given on it is not a substitute for any diagnoses, advice recommendations by a licensed medical professional. Please consult your Primary Medical Provider for all things health/wellness related.

For all intents and purposes, in these times of shutdowns, riots and fear, people have every right to be afraid and to retract somewhat. I offer up a different treatise: GET BACK OUT THERE. LIFE IS LIVED OUT THERE. Will you allow a virus, some riots and fear to totally change the way you live? Why? Life is meant to be lived. You are not meant to be a spectator (which is what most people tend to do anyway) in your own life. Yes, it’s a bit shop-worn, hackneyed and stale. It’s worth repeating though… Life is lived out there. I encourage you not to give in to fear. I encourage you to get out there and live life- life doesn’t stop, time doesn’t stop. Fear truly is a mindkiller.

Lastly, make a commitment to do something everyday to make life a bit more memorable. Since I am talking to a mostly American audience, I will say this… You are where everyone else wants to be. People are literally risking their lives to get here. You are where they want to be, so try to enjoy what others are longing for. Whatever it is that makes you happy, whatever your passion, poison and/or position, religion all the way down to even tradition… do that. Do it “to death”.

Life is lived out there.


REMINDER: The Halcyon Fitness Group, its parent company Magna International LLC and any other entities connected with these endeavors assume no responsibility for any maleffects during and after following any advice given on this blog or any other social media platforms. Please consult your Primary Care Provider for any and all wellness concerns.


Here at HFG, we pride ourselves on giving you all the freshest, the most valuable, the most relevant tips on how to stay healthy (mentally, physically and spiritually) and hopefully to have some fun with it (exercises, etc). Today we keep it rolling with my “Revolving Door” theory. Today, in the midst of lockdown, subsequent “returns to…”, people have been doing quite a bit of introspection. People have been trying to put some “burdens to rest”, reconnect with some people in their past, whatever. My advice to all of you is good, keep doing that. That may help you get somewhere in life and find some sort of peace. On the other hand, if you have had a turbulent time in this life or you’re looking to advance in some area- you’re going to have to learn to deal with letting things and people go in life. People who try to come back in your life for whatever reason, some things/circumstances that were not beneficial to you- be comfortable with cutting those things and people out of your life. I call it (on a personal level) the “Revolving Door” theory of life and relationships. Anyone is free to go- but that revolving door is one-way. Once you’re out, you’re out. I want you all out there, no matter what it may be, if you are looking to advance, get better, etc, use the technique. It’s less drama, less acrimony, less animus. Lay those burdens to rest, cut the toxicity out of your life and your consciousness today.

AWARENESS. Obviously one of the basics. To have good awareness is to be able to diagnose a problem you may have. Then act on it. Having a good sense of awareness is one of “the basics”. THE BASICS ALWAYS WIN.

SUICIDE HOTLINE : 800-273-8255

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REMINDER: The Halcyon Fitness Group and and its parent company Magna International assume no liability for any maleffects obtained via trying any products reviewed, advertised or talked about in this blog. As always, use your best judgement and consult your Primary Care Provider for all things health and wellness related.

This is a CBD oil buyers guide. Take it for what it’s worth.


  • This cache of exercises is from Dave Smith- he is literally leading a revolution in the online fitness game. Here is a cache from Dave and his OTF crew. Enjoy.



Over the years, we’ve given you some of the best, sensible and effective tips on dieting, lifting and even lifestyles. Today is no different. This post will start off a new series, The Basics. This periodic series is all about working out, foundational exercises, preparation and the mental state it takes to succeed.

One of the most integral components of building a good strength training workout routine is having a firm grasp over what type of exercises you should be doing to complete each workout that you do.

The exercise selection you choose to use is going to determine which muscles in the body get worked with each session you do, the type of strength gains that you experience, as well as the nature of your muscle growth and development.

Generally speaking, there are two main types of exercises that can be performed in a strength training workout routine based around weight resistance. These are free weights and weight machines.

Weight machines are where most beginners start off with their workout program plan. These are machines that will essentially guide you through the entire movement every step of the way, so you never have to worry about what you should be doing next or controlling the range of motion.

Because of this, if it is your first time performing weight training activities, this tends to be most comforting. You can sit in the machine and it will direct you the entire time.

This also means that you’ll be at a slightly decreased risk of injury as there’s a much lower chance that you’ll drop a weight on the body or move out of proper form, which can cause an injury to immediately occur.

By using weight machines, you can focus on the muscle contraction taking place, getting a good feel for the weight lifting form of activity overall.

Weight machines also tend to be a good option for those who are suffering from any form of back pain because for the most part, your back will be supported the entire time throughout the exercise.

You’ll be sitting against a back pad, which will give you all the support and cushioning that you need.

The drawback to weight machines however is that first, you must be at a gym to use them. Most people will not have the space or the financial means to bring weight machines into their home. Therefore weight machines will be used primarily by gym-goers.

The second drawback to weight machines is the fact that you will not get as much core activation when you use them.

Which now brings us to the option of free weight training. As just mentioned, free weights are great for calling the core muscles into play as they’re going to be working hard every step of the way as stabilization muscles to keep you balanced and upright.

Furthermore, free weights are also going to require muscle activation deep within the muscle cells as well in order to keep the movement more stabilized overall and you executing it properly and with ease.

This can create stronger more functional muscles overall, so can be of greater use of participate in any team sports or related activities.

Free weights also don’t lock you into a certain pattern of movement. With machine weights, if you’re very tall or very short, you may find that the machines aren’t entirely comfortable for you to use, and this can sometimes also increase your risk of injury.

With free weights, that won’t be a problem.

Finally, the last big benefit to free weights is the fact that they’re perfect for those who want to utilize a home gym. With a simple set of exchangeable dumbbells that span over a range of different weights, you can build a full body workout that can be done whenever it’s convenient for you.

For those who prefer the home workout over the gym environment, this is clearly ideal.

The best case scenario is typically to incorporate both forms of exercise into a workout routine, however you can definitely reach your goals by choosing to use just one or the other depending on your needs, preferences, and the availability of the equipment.

As always, KNOWLEDGE is crucial to success. Remember your limits. The basics always win.