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If you try it: For the best effect, use headphones (or ear buds) to help block out noises, says the Ohio study co-author Sandra Siedlecki, PhD, RN, of the Cleveland Clinic Foundation.


Hypnotherapy for … everything?

Hypnosis is thought to induce deep relaxation, helping to distract you from pain signals or anything else. 
Researchers at Mount Sinai School of Medicine in New York analyzed 18 studies of hypnosis for pain relief and found “moderate to large” benefits—the kind Louanne Weston experienced. Hypnosis also seems to boost immune function and help treat asthma, eczema, and irritable bowel syndrome.


If you try it: The National Board for Certified Clinical Hypnotherapists ( or 800-449-8144) can help you find a qualified professional. You can even hypnotize yourself: Contact the Academy for Guided Imagery ( or 800-726-2070) to get a CD.


Chaste tree berry for tender breasts

Monks ate chaste tree berries in the Middle Ages to suppress sexual desire, but it’s since been proven to have no effect on libido. The fruit of the chaste tree (also known as Vitex), however, does seem to ease PMS-related breast pain, a common complaint. Turkish researchers compared chaste tree berry with the commonly prescribed drug Prozac, and the natural remedy worked better for physical symptoms of PMS-related breast pain. 


If you try it: It’s available as a pill or as a liquid at drug and natural-product stores. Follow label instructions.


Good fats for cramps

Omega-3 fatty acids from fish and fish oil are believed to ease inflammation. Researchers in Cincinnati gave 42 young women with severe cramps fish-oil pills or a placebo for 2 months. The fish oil markedly reduced their cramps. 

If you try it: Use the dose tested in the study: 1,800 milligrams per day.


Michael Castleman is the author of Nature’s Cures, a scientific investigation of 30 alternative therapies.

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