The Ancient History of Pain Management

Research information: Pain by Dr. David Bresler

Many of the techniques that our doctors most frequently use were developed by ancient civilizations, not modern man, and they have remained fundamentally unchanged over thousands of years.

Aristotle suggested that pain was an emotion, as pervasive as anger, joy and terror. Pain is also a motivation. It moves you to take action that will reduce or prevent further damage. Pain provides the incentive that makes you remedy a dangerous situation.

Morphine, modern medicine’s effective painkiller, is derived from Opium, which was widely used as an analgesic forty centuries ago by the Egyptians. The ancient Romans relied on combination of Opium and wine. Primitive tribes of India and South Africa employed Willow leaves that are rich in Salicylic Acid (an ingredient of Aspirin) to ease joint discomfort and for the pain of child birth.

The Incas chewed on the leaves of the Coca plant centuries before Cocaine was isolated by German scientist in 1860. Plato and Aristotle had written about the numbing effects of the electric fish to treat Gout and Headaches.

Acupuncture, herbs and various physical therapies have been an integral part of Chinese medicine for at least five thousand years. Acupuncture needles carved from stone have been found in China, and can be been dated back to the Stone Age.

Guided Imagery is the oldest form of natural healing on the earth. We have always thought, or used pictures in our mind. There is an old saying that our mind can make a Heaven out of Hell or a Hell out of Heaven. When we plan something we play it over in our mind. Much like an Architect plans before the structure is built. We plan our wellness in our mind and the body follows.


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