Get full access to Outside Learn, our online education hub featuring in-depth yoga, fitness, & nutrition courses, when you sign up for Outside+.
Tap into aromatherapy
“Certain essential oils, such as bergamot, lavender, and linalool, have properties similar to opioid pain medications,” says researcher Shaheen Lahkan, MD, PhD, the chief of pain management at Carillion Clinic in Roanoke, Virginia. “These aromatherapy chemicals can modulate neurotransmitters in your brain to produce a state of reduced pain perception.” Talk to your physician or a certified aromatherapist for advice on what scents and uses would be best for your ailments.
See also Mood-Boosting Essential Oils
Get a massage
Time on a massage table might do some good on a cellular level. A single session may boost immunity by increasing your white blood cells, according to a 2010 study in the Journal of Alternative and Complementary Medicine.
See also 7 Ways to Upgrade Your Next Massage
Spend time outdoors
A 15-minute walk is all it takes to boost concentration and reduce fatigue, according to a 2017 study in the Journal of Occupational Health Psychology. Other research has found that spending time in nature reduces rumination and improves well-being.
Closing your eyes for 5-10 minutes and taking an imaginary vacation is “the fastest way I know to reduce anxiety,” says Martin Rossman, MD, author of Guided Imagery for Self-Healing. Take a couple of abdominal breaths, then imagine yourself in a beautiful place and notice what you see, hear, smell, feel, and taste, he says. Imagery reduces cortisol and blood pressure, and athletes use it to strengthen the mind-body connection. “When you imagine something in your body, it has a tendency to happen,” Rossman says.
Spend time in the sauna
Spending 30 minutes in the sauna may reduce blood pressure and boost heart health, according to a 2017 study in the Journal of Human Hypertension. “Sauna bathing is like exercise for arteries,” says author Jari Antero Laukkanen, MD, PhD. “It increases body temperature and improves blood flow and blood-vessel function, which all contribute to lower blood pressure.”