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How to Reduce Inflammation Without OTC Drugs or Medication

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A growing number of medical literatures are finding links between inflammation and disease. Of course, disease is hardly ever attributed to a sole cause, but a growing body of research1 is revealing a link between chronic inflammation and common ailments. In past posts, we have discussed the best anti-inflammatory foods and herbs that naturally and safely reduce inflammation. This time, we’ll discuss some non-food remedies for a drug-free solution.

A chart about what you'll learn in this article

1. Reduce Stress

We all get stressed from time to time; it’s an inevitable byproduct of life. However, as the popular proverb goes:

“You can’t stop the wave, but you can learn to surf.”

That means you are always in control over how you choose to respond to stressful situations. Stress has been linked to a weakened immune system, and recent studies2 are starting to link it to inflammation.

LEARN MORE: Here Are Some Great Anti-Inflammatory Recipes

If you want to know how to reduce inflammation in the body, you need to know how to destress. Whether that’s taking an extended bubble bath or getting into your mental safe space, just find a way to keep stress at bay before the feelings turn into anxiety. Luckily, some of the other methods we outline below are just as effective for ridding you of stress as they are for reducing inflammation.

2. Get More Sleep

The ramifications of restless sleep go beyond a groggy next morning. We have talked at lengths about the consequences of sleep disorders like insomnia and sleep apnea. For men, it results in lower testosterone and decreased sex drive. Studies3 are also starting to show that temporary sleep loss adversely affects inflammatory homeostasis. This equally affects both genders.

For many adults, we know time is a luxury they feel they have less and less of. However, you must make sleep a priority because your health depends on it. To know how to get rid of inflammation, strive for at least eight hours of shuteye every day. We know that seems like a lot; it is, after all, a third of your day. However, it will vastly improve the quality of the remaining 16 hours.

3. Walk More

Is it really that hard to take the stairs instead of the escalator? Is it too burdensome to walk instead of drive to the post office when it’s just down the block? Many people don’t consider walking an exercise when it’s in fact one of the most beneficial physical activities of all.

According to one study, subjects who walked on a treadmill for 20 minutes had a 5 percent lower tumor necrosis factor (TNF) in their blood post-exercise. TNF is a protein linked to inflammatory responses.

Walking is one of our personal favorite exercises. While it won’t give you the ripped physique of a world-class sprinter, it will boost your health in so many ways. It’s also low impact with very little risk of injury. Plus, it doesn’t require a whole lot of mental fortitude. Anyone can easily get into a daily walking regimen. On the other hand, it takes far more motivation to regularly engage in intense sweat-inducing exercises like HIIT training or low-volume weightlifting.

An image of a person pouring pills into their hand

4. Avoid NSAIDs

Why do we always rag on non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs)? We have talked about the dangers of NSAIDs in previous inflammation and arthritis posts. While it’s fine to take an aspirin or Ibuprofen for an occasional headache, long-term use comes with dangerous side effects. Studies linked prolonged use to increased risk of heart failure and stroke. More recent studies have also linked it to inflammation.

It’s ironic that a drug designed to reduce inflammation may also cause it. In one study, cyclists who consumed NSAIDs pre-workout actually had higher levels of inflammation and gut leakage. It should be noted that both of these do occur naturally during endurance training. However, subjects exhibited higher levels on the days they took the NSAIDS vs non-NSAID training days.

READ MORE: Getting Rid of Joint Pain When Everything Else Has Failed

Knowing how to reduce inflammation is not just about taking certain actions; it’s also about avoiding certain foods, activities, and in this case, synthetic drugs.

5. Strengthen the Mind-Body Connection

In a previous post, we listed meditation as a natural remedy for arthritis. Since arthritis is caused in part by inflammation, it makes sense that meditation may also reduce inflammation. Can 20 minutes of mindfulness really improve health? According to a study from the University of Wisconsin-Madison, the answer is a promising yes.

In the study, subjects underwent the Trier Social Stress Test (TSST), a number of tests designed to induce psychological stress. Subjects were also given a topical ointment that induced inflammation. Compared to a control group, students who practiced mindfulness exhibited less stress in response to the TSST and also less inflammatory response to the topical ointment.

You don’t have to sit lotus style and meditate for hours on end; regular folks don’t have the time nor patience for that. Mindfulness means being aware of your surroundings, feelings and bodily sensations at any given moment without judgement; you’re just observing. A non-judgmental mind is surprisingly effective at reducing inflammation in the body.

An image of two women jumping in the air outside

6. Spend More Time Outdoors

We talked many times about the benefits of spending more time outside and why direct sunshine exposure is good for you. For one, it elevates the body’s capacity for natural vitamin D production. New evidence also suggests it might reduce inflammation. Studies hint that sunlight may increase anti-inflammatory gene expression while inhibiting pro-inflammatory genes.

You don’t have to get out of your way to go to the beach or a secluded forest. Basking in the sun in your yard is good enough. We suggest at least 30-minutes a day, though more is even better. If you want to know how to reduce inflammation in the body fast, a deceptively simple outdoor time does the trick.

Reduce Inflammation, Increase Life Quality

Reducing inflammation will offset most diseases that naturally arise with age. Most of the methods we outlined are activities you should be doing more often anyway for general well-being. We also recommend supplements to reduce inflammation in the body. A product like Total Relief naturally brings down inflammatory responses. Use the supplement in conjunction with one or more of the outlined remedies.

Citations and Sources

Hunter P. The inflammation theory of disease: The growing realization that chronic inflammation is crucial in many diseases opens new avenues for treatment. EMBO Rep. 2012;13(11):968-970. [PMC]
Liu Y, Wang Y, Jiang C. Inflammation: The Common Pathway of Stress-Related Diseases. Front Hum Neurosci. 2017;11:316. [PMC]
Mullington J, Simpson N, Meier-Ewert H, Haack M. Sleep Loss and Inflammation. Best Pract Res Clin Endocrinol Metab. 2010;24(5):775-784. [PMC]

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Christopher Walker

Christopher Walker is a co-founder of UMZU and creator of the Thermo Diet. He is the first person to get a Duke Neuroscience degree in 3 years. After naturally solving his own health complications with a brain tumor as a teenager, he has devoted his life to creating all-natural products and education to help men, women, children and pets to improve their own health naturally using science-backed research.
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