Surprising New Pain Relief Methods

If you are one of the more than 100 million Americans suffering with chronic pain, you know how desperate you can get searching for relief. For constant or chronic pain, sometimes knowing that you can only get temporary relief from medications sits at the back of your brain and sets up pain anticipation.

Shouldn’t there be a better way, an approach or approaches that don’t rely on pharmaceutical drugs to combat pain? According to new research, there are some new pain relief methods that look very promising to do just that.

Treatment from Strangers Mat Provide Unexpected Pain Relief

It may seem counter-intuitive, yet a study conducted by researchers from the University of Wuerzburg, Amsterdam and Zurich found that participants treated for pain by strangers (medical professionals from a different social group) experienced stronger pain relief than when they received pain treatment by someone from their own social group. Participants rated their pain “less intense” after being treated by strangers, and the reactions were reductions in both subjective and pain-related activation areas of the brain corresponding to the pain. Researchers call this “prediction error learning,” otherwise known as the analgesic effect of surprise. Patients didn’t expect to experience pain relief from strangers, and the less they expected to receive pain relief, the greater their surprise and the more pronounced their actual pain relief afterward.

Higher Mindfulness May Lessen Pain

Long suspected to play a role in providing pain relief, mindfulness now gets a thumbs-up in a study just published in the journal Pain. In the study, supported by the National Center for Complementary and Integrative Health (NCCIH), researchers from Wake Forest University and some other collaborating institutions looked at how participants with no prior experience with meditation fared after completing the Freiburg Mindfulness Inventory and then two testing sessions with a magnetic resonance imaging scanner (MRI) and thermal probe and the delivery of minor lower-leg heat stimuli (sometimes uncomfortable). Results showed that those with higher innate mindfulness reported feeling less pain. Their responses to the pain stimuli (heat) showed up in areas of the brain (the precuneus/posterior cingulate cortex) involved in attention and subjective emotional responses to sensations. In other words, this brain area is thought to have a role in how you react to experiences. Researchers point to the study’s usefulness moving forward with nonpharmacological approaches to pain management that, in addition to mindfulness, may include biofeedback and behavioral therapies targeting increasing mindfulness and reductions in this brain region.

A meta-analysis of mindfulness meditation’s effectiveness in reducing migraine pain found that it may reduce the intensity of pain from migraine and shows promise as a viable, complementary treatment option for patients with primary headache. The 2018 study was published in the Chinese Medical Journal.

Promising Dual-Target Pain Reliever without Opioid Side Effects

First, the bad news: it’s not available yet. Second, the good news: scientists are working to develop a dual-targeting painkiller that is an effective analgesic without any opioid painkiller side effects. Opioids have long been known for their effective pain relief and work by activating the mu opioid peptide (MOP) receptor. Yet, MOP side effects can be severe: dependence, tolerance, respiratory depression, hyperalgesia, and even lead to addiction. Researchers have developed a bifunctional nociceptin and mu opioid receptor agonist called AT-121 that reportedly provides potent pain relief in primates without causing dependence, hyperalgesia or respiratory depression. The hope is that AT-121 may prove to be a safe and effective prescription pain reliever to treat humans suffering chronic pain.

Home-Based Video Game Exercises for Chronic Low-Back Pain

It turns out there’s another target group who can benefit from playing video games: older adults with chronic low-back pain. That’s according to 2018 research from the University of Sydney published in Physical Therapy. This is a first-of-its-kind study looking at how effective home-based video game exercises benefit pain reduction in people over the age of 55 using a Nintendo Wii-Fit-U. Results showed participants had 27 percent reduction in chronic low back pain and the exercises gave them 23 percent increase in function. The 8-week self-managed program consisted of 60-minute exercise sessions of aerobic, strengthening and flexibility three days a week. The results were comparable to exercise completed in a physiotherapist-monitored exercise program. The video game exercise program offers older adults with chronic low back pain a cost-effective solution that doesn’t require them to travel outside the home — and helps them to self-manage their pain and continue daily life activities despite having pain.

Other Pain Relief Stand-Bys that Work

While research continues on novel methods to effectively treat pain, including some that may be years off in reaching the marketplace, there are some therapies that have loyal adherents and are backed by research to provide non-opioid relief from pain. They may not work for everyone in every instance of chronic pain, but the fact that they do work for a significant number of individuals seeking pain relief at least offers pain sufferers viable alternatives to taking potentially-addicting painkillers.

Mindfulness-Based Stress Reduction and Cognitive-Behavioral Therapy

Results of a study funded by the National Center for Complementary and Integrative Health (NCCIH), part of the National Institutes of Health found that the combination of mindfulness based stress reduction (MBSR) and cognitive-behavioral therapy (CBT) may prove “more effective than usual treatment in alleviate chronic low back pain.” MBSR combines elements of mindfulness meditation and yoga. CBT, on the other hand, trains individuals to modify specific beliefs and thoughts relative to pain. Researchers studied participants who used MBSR and CBT or usual treatment for one year. At 26 and 52 weeks, participants using both mind-body approaches experienced better functioning and less back pain than the usual care group. Both groups (mind-body and usual care) received relief in terms of pain intensity and some mental health measurements, those using CBT didn’t see continuing improvement after 26 weeks. The MBSR group, however, did continue to see improvement. Researchers suggested that MBSR may be an “effective” form of treatment for people suffering chronic low back pain.  

A form of psychotherapy, cognitive-behavioral therapy (CBT) has proven helpful to individuals struggling with chronic pain. By utilizing several methods, CBT helps pain sufferers to cope more effectively with chronic pain, better manage it, change their pain response behaviors, and boost their self-confidence that they can be an active participant in reducing their pain – and do so successfully. CBT is considered the psychological gold standard of treatment for a wide variety of pain. Systematic reviews and meta-analyses have shown the efficacy of CBT in reducing pain distress, pain interference with daily activities, distress, and disability.

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Source: spa

What Is Polyamory?

Teen Vogue

“Polyamory focuses on the relationship aspect, whereas open relationships often focus more on having different sexual partners,” Glover said. “But obviously people can redefine these differently to mean different things. And I think there’s a lot of misunderstandings. A lot of people interpret polyamory as an open relationship. But polyamory might mean someone doesn’t want to have a romantic relationship at all, they just want to date.”

Source: ncsf

​​You Can Help Your Teen Cope with Social Anxiety in Public Places

Author image​​Social anxiety is finally becoming a more understood disorder. In the past, it was treated with less than stellar seriousness in both the professional and non-professional world. Often mistaken for shyness or even antisocial qualities, we now see that this is a very real phobia that can have a painful impact on the sufferer’s life.

Teenagers and Social Pressure

Teenagers are one group that is especially prone to social anxiety. The myriad of social stigmas associated with adolescence and growing to adulthood are hard enough. But then you add in the need to perform well in school, the competitiveness of modern academics and college applications, the dynamics of their peer groups, changing bodies, still forming minds, problems at home and a host of other factors. Is it any wonder depression and anxiety are such a serious problem for teenagers?

Genetics may be a contributing element at play, as well. A study by the Institute of Human Genetics at the University of Bonn found that a serotonin transporter called SLC6A4 could have a significant impact on the chances a person will suffer from social anxiety. If you have social anxiety, there is a chance your kid could end up with it as well.

Then there is technology. The world moves a mile a minute, and every second of every day seems to be recorded for posterity. Every young person is under a constant microscope. We all remember the days when we did stupid, reckless things in our youth. But we were fortunate enough not to have it go viral to be forever documented online.

Pressure to stay connected and on social media at all times, added to the threat of negative response, cyberbullying and perception of reality caused by social media may be ramping up that anxiety that teens feel.

Teaching Teens to Cope with Social Anxiety

Social anxiety causes stress. When that stress is mild, it can be a positive force, pushing someone to perform better, act with more care and operate outside of their comfort zone. But when social phobia is present, that stress will reach higher levels, eventually becoming toxic.

So, how do we help teach our teens to cope with that toxic stress level? By attacking it from two angles: for the phobia and for the stress itself.

  • Expose Them More, Not Less – Your teen’s natural inclination is going to be to withdraw. But you should be encouraging them to interact more with their peers. That could be done in a safe place, or during an activity they enjoy. It is just important that they don’t shy away from social situations.
  • Teach Them Breathing Techniques – When they are interacting, they might find themselves panicking at first. Remember that social anxiety is a real condition and it often has a physical impact. Teach your child to breathe through the belly, taking deep breaths through the nose so their stomach rounds, holding it for three seconds, then releasing it slowly.
  • Let Them Take a Break – If they are overwhelmed, and mindful breathing is having no effect, let them step away. Sometimes they will need a break to collect themselves and quiet their anxiety. You also might try setting a time goal for social situations, such as one hour at an event, then letting them go home.
  • Listen and Assure – Your teen might not feel like you understand them and their feelings. Encourage them to open up about how they feel. Be supportive and build trust. Really hear what they have to say.     
  • Seek Professional Help – Sometimes coping strategies just aren’t enough. If your child seems to be getting worse or they are seeing serious negative consequences, seek professional help. Therapy and medication may be necessary to overcome their social anxiety.

By doing these things, you can give your children the tools to manage their social anxiety and go into adulthood strong and confident.


Medina, Joanna, PhD, ‘Social Anxiety Disorder Symptoms’, PsychCentral,

Forstner, Andreas J. et. al. ‘Further evidence for genetic variation at the serotonin transporter gene SLC6A4contributing toward anxiety,’ Psychiatric Genetics,

Rowe, Jasmina, ‘How Kids Experience Stress’, KidsMatter,

Wood, Janice, ‘Pressure For Social Media 24/7 Linked to Teen Anxiety and Depression’, PsychCentral,

Liahona Academy, ‘Standing Up For Teen Anxiety’,

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A Therapist’s Advice on How to Save Money on Therapy

The saying “You get what you pay for” is true when it comes to mental health services. Older more experienced therapists are usually the best and so they simply charge more. Therapists who provide sliding scale are typically newer and trying to build up their practice. Clinics are cheap but usually have newer clinicians or those who can’t sustain a private practice for whatever reason.

So, if you want someone good, it will cost you more up front but less long term. Some one good means someone who can help you reach your goals sooner and more effectively.

Fewer sessions means fewer dollars.

First, choose your therapist with care. You can waste a lot of first sessions and money by picking the wrong person to work with. Choosing a therapist is a bit like a blind date, however there are some things that will help narrow your search.

Read their website and bio. Do they have experience successfully treating your issue? Speak with them over the phone before scheduling. Therapist who let you schedule online are willing to see anybody. Therefore, they may not have a specialty, or they may work with each client in the exact same way. Call them and briefly share what’s going on and what you want to get out of seeing them. Then ask them how they would approach helping you.

Be consistent–Reason one

Now that you found your therapist — you need to commit! Those who pop in now and then may feel better short term but they will not experience lasting change. The more consistent you are in the short term, the fewer sessions it actually takes in the long term. Again, fewer sessions equals fewer dollars.

Here is an example of what I mean. Pretend you are learning a foreign language. If you immerse yourself, then you learn faster and retain more of what you learned. If you take one class now and then you are going to get far weaker results and ultimately pay for are greater number of classes. The same is true for therapy sessions.

Be consistent–Reason two

Your consistency helps our memory. A secret we don’t like to tell clients is that we just don’t remember your sessions as well as you do. A therapy session is a rare encounter for you. For us it’s our day-to-day work. If you don’t come consistently then it is very hard for us to recall all the important information needed to serve you best, notes or not.

Be consistent–Reason three

Therapist typically create a treatment plan for each client. We can’t plan in advance how to sequence your therapy if you just pop in from time to time. Pop-in clients get to vent, but we don’t get to prepare.

Never lie to us.

Clients maybe embarrassed about a secret behavior, but if you keep secrets from us your therapy may not be on target. An example would be when a client doesn’t share how much they really drink. Alcohol contributes to anxiety and depression and keeps medication from working. We need to know the truth. We are here to help, not to judge.

Do your homework.

Almost all therapists give clients homework. If yours does not then ask for some. This is typically an article or journal exercise or a book recommendation. If you take advantage then you will get results more quickly and need fewer sessions. When clients complain about cost but don’t make the extra effort to do their homework, it can be very frustrating for us.

DNA and Medication

If you need medication, a very new way to save money is to pay up front for an online DNA test. There are now test that will actually help you choose the right medication the first time. It cost about the same as a psychiatrist visit but is far more accurate. You will be much less likely to need to adjust your dosage, deal with side effects, or try a new one altogether. You pay the website once instead of paying for several psychiatric visits.

Get a discount.

Now a sensitive topic… When clients try to bargain with us to lower our fees, it can feel very disrespectful. If you want to approach your therapist about a lower fee rate here is my suggestion: After your first or second session, express clearly your goals and commitment to reaching them. Then ask if a package of 8-12 sessions could possibly be available at a discount. (This package will have an expiration date). Packages actually make scheduling and taxes easier for us so there is a mutual incentive to offer you a package deal.

Save money without sacrificing your wellness.

How to save money on therapy comes down to needing fewer sessions to get good results. You need fewer sessions when you have a quality therapist, and are a committed consistent client who does their homework. You may even be a committed consistent client who scores a package rate. Save money, but don’t sacrifice quality when it comes to your wellness.

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Source: spa

How Kink Made These People’s Sex Lives Healthier


Where do you think kink has the most positive effect?
I think body confidence. I like the way I look in the negligee. I like the feeling of the silk on my skin. I like the way my partner looks at me. All of it is cohesive in bringing together a healthy and comfortable approach to my body. So many women struggle with their own body image because we live in a society that is constantly making us feel bad about how we look. Every day it’s like—‘what does society tell us we should look like today?’, ’what does society tell us we should wear?’, ’who is claiming purchase over our bodies today?’ As women we live day to day trying to find a way to own our bodies that doesn’t rely on someone else’s validation. Owning my pleasure through kink is really helping me embrace my body. Rather than being detached to the jiggly wiggly parts of my body, I feel attached to it because it’s my body in its entirety that gives me pleasure.

Source: ncsf

Would a BDSM Sex Robot Violate Asimov's First Law of Robotics?


The foundations of healthy, happy, satisfying, and pleasurable sexual experiences are trust, effective communication, and of course, consent between people. The role of consent for the human in any situation is physical and psychological safety. At the same time, human sexuality includes many behaviors that rely on someone’s interior life and what uniquely excites them, and for some people that includes role playing and other creative interactions that sometimes involve testing and teasing physical and emotional limits of the body with their trusted partner(s), or practicing things that society may consider taboo. However, in this case we are discussing scenarios between a (let’s say non-sentient) robot and human(s), so the idea of consent should be human-centered, as in the Laws.


Source: ncsf

NCSF Incident Reporting & Response – 3rd Quarter 2018 report

By Susan Wright

Director of IRR

NCSF’s Incident Reporting & Response received 62 reports & requests for assistance from individuals, groups and businesses in July, August & September 2018. That is down from 76 in the 2nd Quarter, and 87 in the 1st Quarter 2018, but still a 50% higher report rate than the last two quarters of 2017.

NCSF maintains the confidentiality of those who come to us for help. However, we balance that need with the need to report the services we are providing and to provide the community with a record of where the need is the greatest.

Here is a breakdown of the cases we dealt with in the 3rd Quarter of 2018:


There were 22 requests for resources and information involving criminal legal matters – 20% less than in the 2nd Quarter: 

  • 11 of those requests came from people who reported an assault, sexual assault, stalking, harassment, or were requests by prosecutors who needed education about consensual BDSM practices.
  • 11 people requested resources and referrals for attorneys to assist in defending themselves against accusations of assault, sexual assault, stalking, harassment and threats of outing.


19 groups needed assistance compared to 27 groups in the 2nd Quarter of 2018:

  • 7 groups needed help dealing with consent incidents or were inquiring about presenters/organizers
  • 5 people were protesting being banned by a group
  • 2 groups asked for assistance in dealing with police – 1 was falsely reported to be involved in sex trafficking and 1 was misrepresented to the police
  • 2 groups asked for assistance in doing outreach to local civic and community organizations
  • 1 group needed assistance in creating a consent policy
  • 1 group was reported for outing
  • 1 group was dealing with incorporation

Child Custody

There were 11 requests for resources and referrals for family court attorneys, up from 8 in the 2nd Quarter of 2018:

  • 7 involved BDSM (3 with FetLife photos and 1 with photos on the cloud)
  • 2 involved both BDSM and polyamorous relationships
  • 1 involved sex work
  • 1 involved CPS


8 requests, compared to 3 requests in the 2nd Quarter of 2018:

  • 2 people needed help after being outed
  • 2 people needed help with civic and community organizations
  • 2 people were banned by businesses – one by PayPal and the other by AirBnB
  • 1 employment discrimination because of BDSM and poly against a Federal employee
  • 1 person needed help with photos that were posted without permission


2 people needed professional referrals – for a therapist and an attorney.

Source: ncsf

On Positive Motivation and Accountability

“Positive” motivation arises from the need to seek out what can be experienced, in contrast to “negative” motivation that is born out of the need to avoid something. In many ways, negative motivation is like being pushed from the behind (the past) while positive motivation is like being pulled by the future.

Accessing meaningful motivation — not simply the kind of motivation that gets us to work each morning (which, believe me, is still incredibly important!) — is a lifelong challenge, commitment, and practice.

A self-responsible person is motivated to be fully alive and to be aware of his or her decisions as opposed to living life by default. A self-responsible person is ready, able, and willing to turn negative motivation into positive motivation. This is done by clearing what is negative or toxic from one’s life and turning towards what is desired instead. In other words, negative motivation enables us to determine who and what we are not, while positive motivation allows us to decide who and what we are and will be.

Two ways that can help discipline yourself into staying motivated are internal accountability and external accountability.

1. External Accountability

Accountability that arises from the nature of a relationship with somebody (such as a family member or friend) or from the nature of an agreement with somebody (such as a business partner) tends to be motivating for most people. However, these relationships are also charged with issues of trustworthiness and integrity, which are linked to one’s sense of self-respect.

If you are struggling with this type of accountability, it might be worth exploring the Positive Use of Tattling. Psychotherapist Thom Rutledge describes it as follows:

“To stoke the motivational fires when you decide to make a change, you simply tell on yourself. Tell at least one other person who you know cares about you, someone who doesn’t feel the need to control your efforts to change and who won’t support you in making excuses if you drop the ball. Most of us can use the experience of not being harshly judged for falling short of our goals. Eventually, we can even learn to stop condemning ourselves for our human imperfection, learn from the mistake, and give it another shot.”

2. Internal Accountability

Ironically, it usually takes some measure of internal accountability in order to create external accountability. While I believe that external accountability is a simple yet powerful tool to remain connected and committed to others and our goals that we should use throughout our lives, I also know that it is critical for us to be able to strengthen a sense of internal accountability in order to not become dependent upon others’ presence in order to stay motivated. This type of accountability is accountability between self and self — accountability to oneself.

In the words of Thom Rutledge:

“When you hold yourself accountable for living up to your own expectations, which are congruent with you personal value system, you earn your own respect.

If you want to start making proactive, responsible decisions in your life to act in ways that give you a stronger self-image, you will need to stay motivated.”

To explore your internal accountability further, I invite you to journal about your inner dialogue surrounding a personal struggle. You can frame it as a conversation between your Default Setter and your Decision Maker (or whatever two “voices” are at play in the situation).

  • What decisions have you made in your life about who and what you are and are not?
  • What decisions have you made in your life about who and what you will be?
  • What current thoughts and behaviors in your life influence your answers to the above two questions?
  • What is one action you are committed to making today that would move you forward from a place of positive motivation?
  • What is one thing you might benefit from “tattling on yourself” about? Who is one person you might go to in order to “tell on yourself”?

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Source: spa

The Complete Guide to Rough Sex


Check in after you’re finished having sexy time. Compare what each of you enjoyed about the experience. If there were any changes you’d like to make, say so. The most important thing about any sexual play is that both people enjoy themselves and walk away feeling good about themselves.



Source: ncsf

San Francisco’s Folsom Street Fair reinforces consent

Golden Gate Press

“It’s everything. The BDSM community was into consent a long time before the mainstream community ever talked about it,” said Jim Dunyak, who was operating the National Coalition for Sexual Freedom booth. “It was sort of codified in this ‘safe, sane and consensual.’ I think that was approximately 30 years ago, but it’s been a pretty strong concept, I would say since the beginning.”

Source: ncsf