Finding the perfect gift for someone can be difficult, especially when that person suffers from chronic pain. Whether you are on the budget or can spare no expense, here are some ideas to make a chronic pain sufferer’s holiday special with the perfect gift.
The gift of healing touch is one of the best things you can give to a chronic pain patient. Massage does not have to focus on the areas of pain to be relaxing and effective. Foot massages that incorporate reflexology can be relaxing and therapeutic. A full-body massage can be overwhelming for someone suffering from a fibromyalgia flare-up, but with a gift certificate they can choose when to go and what areas to focus on.
Splurge: Find a local spa and put together a massage package that will last all day, or visit the Alternative Medicine Network to find a reflexologist, massage therapist, and acupuncturist all in one place.
Steal: Do a little research into reflexology and give a coupon for a hand and foot massage with reflexology. Light candles, put on relaxing music, and bring a lavender eye pillow as another gift (or make one that can be warmed or cooled!). Make a cup of tea, and let the relaxation and stress relief begin.
Manicure with paraffin bath
Just as with foot reflexology, a relaxing manicure can be just what the doctor ordered for stiff joints and strained tendons. Those with rheumatoid arthritis or other chronic pain conditions in the hands and wrists will especially enjoy the soothing warmth of paraffin wax treatments. Contrary to popular belief, this gift is unisex. Nail polish need not be applied, but everyone can benefit from some pampering.
Splurge: Visit a local nail salon and purchase a gift certificate for a spa mani/pedi that includes a hand massage and paraffin bath.
Steal: Design your own mani/pedi night. Make your own paraffin bath and assemble everything you need to give the full spa treatment.
Bath and shower treats
Some days a soothing hot bath can be the difference between a night spent restlessly twisting in the sheets or a peaceful slumber. Gifts of bath salts and scrubs are soothing and can be very therapeutic when combined with essential oils.
Splurge: Buy your loved one luscious soaps, scrubs, and bath salts that use only organic ingredients. Package their treats in a basket with an organic cotton bathrobe to give them the full luxury bath experience!
Steal: You can make your own exfoliating scrub by saving the grounds from your morning coffee. Collect a cup or two of grounds, then add enough of a carrier oil to make a thin paste. You can also use essential oils that go well with coffee and add an additional therapeutic element. Citrus oils blend nicely with coffee and are a mood booster. Place this blend in a wide-mouthed jar and write instructions for use on a decorative card. This mixture can be very messy in the shower, so if you prefer, you can substitute easily dissolved Epsom salts or turbinado sugar for the coffee. If you substitute either of those, you can also incorporate a wider variety of therapeutic essential oils.
A clean house
This may seem a very boring gift, but what you are really doing is giving the gift of time. When a chronic pain patient is hurting, the last thing on their mind is a clean house. When they feel good, the last thing they want to do is clean. When you give housecleaning, you give them a chance to do other things that matter, like spending time with family or working on a hobby or project.
Splurge: Hire a local cleaning company to come in and clean house every two weeks for a couple months (or a year!). The gift recipient can schedule each cleaning at their convenience and come home to a clean house twice a month.
Steal: Make a coupon book for cleaning the entire house or deep cleaning certain areas. This can be a year-long gift, or it can be seasonal. Include coupons for things like dusting blinds, washing walls, and cleaning baseboards. Don’t forget tile and grout scrubbing in the bathroom. As you clean, be mindful of chemical sensitivities. Most cleaning jobs can be done with vinegar, lemon, and baking soda, so if your gift recipient has environmental sensitivities, stick to only natural products. Make some of your own natural cleaning products and leave them behind for between-cleaning touch ups.
A person suffering from chronic pain still needs to be able to function in the world, even when they are having a flare. This often includes preparing meals for a family, and a healthy pain-friendly diet is key. Take some of that pressure off and prepare (or order) a month’s worth of meals.
Splurge: Use SendAMeal to have fresh gourmet meals delivered. This service caters to those with special diets, including people who have diabetes or are eliminating gluten or dairy to control inflammation that causes chronic pain.
Steal: Take one day and cook for an entire month of meals. This gift costs just the price of groceries and your time. You can cook 50 freezer meals in one day with just a little bit of preparation, or you can focus on breakfast or snacks for the freezer. Cooking for someone with diabetes or someone who suffers from chronic pain requires a little more planning, but this is truly a gift that gives beyond the holidays!
A truly thoughtful gift is something that the recipient wants but might not buy for themselves. How will you pamper the chronic pain patient in your life this holiday season?
Image by Ed Schipul via Flickr