Earl Grey, hot.

Yep, that’s a Star Trek reference and no, I’m not a Trekkie. It just happens that my parents watched a lot of Star Trek when I was a child and it seems to have affected my brain. As a kid, I’d always wondered what “Earl Grey, hot” actually was. A strange thing to fixate on, I know, but my parents mostly drank coffee. Growing up in the South, the only kind of tea I was familiar with was “sweet tea”, so I was curious about the drink Captain Picard was so very fond of. Once I actually tasted it, I was hooked; I’ve been exploring teas ever since.

My tea cabinet, no kidding.

My tea cabinet, no kidding.

Why am I telling you all of this? Simple: because I loved tea before anyone called it a “super food”. I am not one of those people who will go out and buy something just because it’s suddenly become popular and in reality, calling something a “super food” is probably the most effective way to make sure I’ll never try it. I know that tea (especially green tea) has been getting a lot of attention lately for its many seemingly miraculous qualities. “According to research”, it can help prevent cancer and other diseases, lift your mood, help with weight loss, and even make you immune to the Zombie Virus. Ok, I may have made up that last one, but the rest are said to be true.

However, I’m not here to report on what everyone else is saying. I’m only telling you what I have personally found, and in my experience, drinking a hot cup of tea is a great (and tasty!) way to alleviate some of symptoms of fibromyalgia.

I did not scour the web for information on which teas to drink and then try them. I simply enjoy drinking tea and love to try different varieties, purely for the pleasure of it. It just so happens that while exploring the many different possibilities, I discovered that there are real, tangible benefits to some of them. I truly wish that I could tell you I’ve found a miracle tea that makes all of the pain and random symptoms of fibro go away, but if it’s out there, I haven’t found it. What I have found is that certain teas seem to make some of the symptoms more bearable.

One of my favorite “go to” teas is the Sleepytime blend by Celestial Seasonings. Seriously, this stuff does wonders for me; it’s the only thing besides toilet paper that I make sure to never run out of. I buy another box when I get down to the last four tea bags in the old box. If the zombie apocalypse happens, this is what I’ll be hoarding.

Anyway…

It’s a caffeine free blend of chamomile and spearmint with a hint of lemongrass, which makes it great for anytime of day (or night).  I find it to be incredibly soothing, just inhaling the aroma while it brews knocks my stress level down a notch. Since stress and anxiety have an immense impact on my pain level, anything that helps me keep calm is wonderful. This tea is also perfect for bouts of insomnia; chamomile has been used for centuries to “soothe the nerves” and help people sleep. You can buy plain chamomile tea, I’m sure it would be just as effective, I just don’t care for the flavor.

I absolutely adore a good cup of Earl Grey but, it’s really just “regular” (black) tea infused with bergamot and sometimes other flavors. I’ve tried many different flavors/varieties of black tea over the years and while I haven’t found it to be particularly useful for fibro symptoms, it does help with headaches. Add a bit of sugar (real sugar or honey, no fake stuff!!), to a hot cup of black tea (not decaf) and suddenly you have a drug free headache buster. It even helps with migraines, although I’ve never had a cup of tea make a migraine completely disappear.

There is a ton of research out there concerning green tea, but since I haven’t really consumed enough of it to notice any benefits, I’m not going to make any claims about it. What I can tell you is that if brewed correctly, it’s very good and it does have a lower caffeine content than black tea. I am, however, planning to try a few different varieties of green tea very soon, so if I notice anything amazing, I’ll definitely report back.

In the mean time, I think I’ll go check on my Sleepytime stash. 🙂

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Sit back and listen.

I know this may come off sounding trite, but for me, relaxing really does help with the pain. Sometimes it just helps to find something to take my mind off of it, the pain doesn’t go away, but it is possible to set it aside for a little while. There are an infinite number of ways to relax, so rather than give you an insanely long list of suggestions, I’m just going to start with one that actually works for me.

One of the best ways I’ve found to relax is by listening to music, classical pieces seem to work best for me, so I’m going to share one of my favorites: Flugufrelsarinn (Sigur Ros) as played by the Kronos Quartet. I absolutely love this piece. Nearly every time I listen to it, I get lost in the beauty of it all. Seriously, turn it up, sit back, close your eyes and let the music just flow around you. Sadly, it’s only about 8 minutes long, but for me, it’s usually 8 minutes where I can ignore whatever pain I’m feeling and be free of it.

I’d love to hear what you think about this idea, and if it works for you, what are your favorite song choices?

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