Quoted from The Hundred Year Lie:

What we miss by fixating on pharmaceutical drugs is an entire arsenal of pain fighters that are naturally occurring and have no toxic side effects. White willow bark and bromelain are two natural substances with demonstrated pain-relief potential that work quickly and without the side effects seen in prescription or over-the-counter synthetics.

Ethnobotanist Mark J. Plotkin identifies a range of natural drugs that are now in the pipeline for development as painkillers. These range from cone snails, snake venom, and frog skin poison to a host of marine organisms and even soil fungi with high antibiotic properties. “There are certain things that Western medicine cannot do well, and relieving pain naturally is one of them,” says Plotkin.

At the University of California at Davis counselors in the pain management center teach patients how to relieve pain symptoms using guided imagery, deep breathing, yoga, meditation, hypnotherapy, acupuncture, and other natural distraction techniques. “Learning to relieve fear, anxiety, and depression related to pain actually helps bring relief, probably by activating the body’s own pain-killing chemicals,” Scott Fishman, chief of pain medicine at UC Davis, told a Time magazine interviewer.


An estimated five thousand surgical procedures using hypnosis as a pain reliever have been carried out at Liege Hospital in Belgium. The primary benefit of this non-drug approach—other than fewer side effects—has been less bleeding during surgery. Anesthetic drugs inhibit the natural ability of blood vessels to constrict when incisions are made into the body, while hypnosis enables the vessels to constrict and reduce blood loss.

At the University of Florida, medical researchers taught women self-hypnosis techniques to use before giving birth. These women required significantly less medication, had fewer complications during delivery, and generally delivered healthier babies than women who used prescription drugs. No one is sure yet just how or why hypnosis works in relieving or eliminating pain, but somehow signals are blocked in those areas of the brain that perceive pain.

Fitzgerald, Randall (2006-06-22). The Hundred-Year Lie: How to Protect Yourself from the Chemicals That Are Destroying Your Health (p. 188-89). Plume. Kindle Edition.