Several years ago, an article was published saying that a pain cream can be used to save a person’s life suffering from a heart attack.
In September 2009, Keith Jones, PhD, a researcher in the department of pharmacology and cell biophysics, and scientists in his lab from the University of Cincinnati published an article in the Journal Circulation indicating that a common, over-the-counter pain cream rubbed on the skin during a heart attack could prevent or reduce damage to the heart.
This opinion was formulated after applying capsaicin to specific skin locations in mice and found that sensory nerves in the skin triggered signals in the nervous system that activated cellular "pro-survival" pathways in the heart which protect the muscle.
For those who love chili peppers when they eat their food easily recognize the hot effect, capsaicin is the main component of these temperature rising herbs that is also an active ingredient in several topical medications used for temporary pain relief.
Dr. Jones teamed up with Neal Weintraub, MD, a UC Health cardiologist and director of UC's cardiovascular diseases division, and other clinicians to develop a plan to test capsaicin in humans.
"Topical capsaicin has no known serious adverse effects and could be easily applied in an ambulance or emergency room setting well in advance of coronary tissue death," Jones says. "If proven effective in humans, this therapy has the potential to reduce injury and/or death in the event of a coronary blockage, thereby reducing the extent and consequences of heart attack."
It was their belief that the skin, the largest organ and main sensor on a body, has learned powers of protection that responds to preserve and protect the heart. He said the hot pain cream acts like acupuncture treatment but without the needles.
Both warn against using this treatment of rubbing pain creams with capsaicin on a chest or belly during a heart attack as their studies have not undergone FDA approved clinical trials; but then, if a true emergency does occur, calling 911, taking aspirin and maybe some pain cream on the chest could mean the difference between life and death.
I am not a doctor nor do I have a medical background, but as a lay person, this article makes sense. As a modern society, we have developed methods to treat the sick, ill and injured using findings and techniques based upon Western science, analysis, and opinions. These techniques unfortunately provided treatment plans that entail prescription drug therapy, body manipulation, and surgery. As stated by many doctors, their job is not to heal, but help the body heal itself. Utilizing the tried and true methods that have legal implications (can you say law suit?) doctors are forced to stay within an approved protocol to treat.
Suggesting the use of hot sauce rubbed on a person’s chest to treat a heart attack is farfetched, but the great Louis Pasteur, late French chemist and microbiologist was considered a laughing stock for suggesting doctors wash their hands and instruments before treating their patients. By today’s standards it would be horrible to think a surgeon work on a patient with rusty instruments and soiled hands.
Ideas, as creative as they sound, could possibly find cures to such dreaded diseases as tuberculosis, HIV and malaria. It is this type thinking that could turn the tide and save many lives.
Traditional Chinese Medicine have for years practiced acupuncture, cupping therapy, massage, qigong, herbs, meditation and strict diet with tremendous results. For instance qigong, the practice of “energy cultivation” is exercised by a lone individual. Some practitioners or grandmasters have developed their skills powerful enough to channel their energies to others as part of their healing techniques.
With that said, placebo effect or not, if after reading this article you feel motivated keep an extra tube of pain cream with your aspirin in the medicine cabinet for such emergencies, be sure to check the expiration dates as these products do have a shelf life.
If you’re going to put a hot pain cream on a person’s chest, you may as well make sure it’s got the kick to do the job.