First Do No Harm

Pain Relief Alternatives 

Before we begin our discussion of pain relief without side effects, let us take a look at a very common drug prescribed for pain. In the cancer support chat rooms this drug comes up all the time.

It is Prednisone. Prednisone can cause euphoria, insomnia, mood changes, personality changes, psychotic behavior, or severe depression. It can worsen any existing emotional instability. At a high dosage, Prednisone can cause fluid retention and high blood pressure. With prolonged Prednisone treatment, eye problems can develop (e.g., a viral or fungal eye infection, cataracts, or glaucoma). If you take Prednisone over the long term, the buildup of adrenal hormones in your body can cause a condition called Cushing's syndrome, marked by weight gain, a "moon-faced" appearance, thin, fragile skin, muscle weakness, brittle bones, and purplish stripe marks on the skin. Women are more vulnerable to this problem than men. Alternate-day therapy might help prevent its development. Other potential side effects from Prednisone include: Bone fractures, bruising, bulging eyes, congestive heart failure, convulsions, distended abdomen, face redness, glaucoma, headache, hives and other allergic-type reactions, increased pressure inside eyes or skull, inflamed esophagus or pancreas, irregular menstrual periods, muscle weakness or disease, osteoporosis, peptic ulcer, poor healing of wounds, stunted growth (in children), sweating, thin, fragile skin, and vertigo.

Compared to over-the-counter pain relievers (OTC) whose side effects (esp. during long term use) include Gastrointestinal ulcerations and bleeding, perforated ulcers, kidney failure, high blood pressure (because they interfere with prostaglandins that regulate blood pressure), free radical stress on the body, especially the liver, hemorrhagic strokes (blood vessels in your head that explode) and if you employ large doses of acetaminophen (Tylenol®) it not only stresses the liver but can cause complete liver failure and death.

So, let's take a look at a few things that can relieve your pain without causing more problems than anyone really needs.

General Pain Relief (or for chronic pain)

Aloe Vera. Aloe  has salicylates which have both anti-inflammatory and painkilling characteristics, it has magnesium lactate which inhibits histamine response, and has shown to have anti-bacterial and anti-fungal properties , appears to be active against a broad spectrum of microbes, has also with the extract of aloe called carrisyn exhibited anti-viral activity, inhibiting herpes, measles, and HIV virus in vitro and appears to stimulate the body to produce more immune-protective substances and more T-lymphocyte helper cells promotes or speeds healing in skin conditions such as radiation dermatitis, chronic leg ulcers, surgical wounds, burns, ,sores, and frostbite. A few people have hypersensitivity reactions in the form of skin rashes.

Dong Quai aka Angelica. Many pharmacologically active substances have been isolated that include some that are anti-inflammatory, analgesic, antiseptic, bactericidal, fungicidal, anti-allergic, anti-spasmodic, vasodilative, and immune enhancing; used in Chinese medicine for thousands of years for menstrual disturbances. Other benefits attributed are: laxative action for chronic constipation of the aged or debilitated and useful in the treatment of headaches, abdominal pain, and arthritis. This is a relatively safe herb.

Capsicum/Hot Pepper aka Capsicum frutescenscan, or Cayenne Pepper. Cayenne helps dangerous blood clots, can "cool" a number of inflammatory responses including burns, some nerve ending disorders and even possibly arthritis. Has definite fibrinolytic activity (can break down blood clots through enzymatic mechanism to some degree), also may be helpful in the pain of rheumatoid arthritis and a number of bowel diseases. Topical capsicum cream cools pain of several nerve ending disorders such as shingles and post-therapeutic neuralgia, a drop or two to the gum around an aching tooth works wonders. The cream can be helpful for pain due to diabetic neuropathy, and the pain which occurs after an amputation or mastectomy, as well as other peripheral neuropathies such as those that occur in AIDS patients. If you are taking anticoagulants or have a bleeding problem (slow clotting time) do not take capsicum without your doctor's approval. If the pepper you have eaten is too hot and starts burning you up, eating a banana will quickly cool you down.

Amino Acid L-Phenylalanine L-Phenylalanine is an essential, non-nutrient amino acid that has been shown to inhibit the breakdown of opiate-like substances called enkephalins in the brain and help alleviate chronic pain, among many other properties such as promote mental alertness, dispel depression, suppress appetite, control addictive behavior/cravings, and sexually stimulating. It can dangerously raise blood pressure, is dangerous when combined with some anti-depression drugs (containing oxidase inhibitors), may promote growth of pigmented malignant melanoma, and contraindicated in persons with PKU. Up to 1.5 grams/daily for pain, in take for optimal health is unknown [Herbal Analgesic Ointments and Oils]. Four herbal products are commonly used in many ointments and liniments that appear to have analgesic (pain-killing) properties for some soft tissue problems, such as tendonitis, fibrositis, bursitis, and neuralgia.

Cajuput oil, camphor, menthol, and clove oil. This is a popular analgesic ointment from China contains all four. Clove oil is a common domestic remedy for toothaches. 

DL Phenylalanine. This is an amino acid. It is not too expensive and can take a few days to kick in, but after that we've heard of remarkable pain relief. It also elevates mood. So for chronic pain, you might want to check this out.

Chiropractic. For many pains, a trip to the chiropractor is not a bad idea. The only thing any two chiropractors have in common is a license and a degree, after that, it's up to you to find out. I have attended bone crunchers and I have attended chiropractors that worked miracles.

Ultrasound. A trained technician can heat up an area using a very high sound frequency (that you cannot hear) and many people report pain relief. Used for sore muscles and muscle damage following an accident.

T.E.N.S. Simple acronym for transcutaneous electronic nerve stimulation. The T.E.N.S. unit focuses on accomplishing two very separate tasks. First, it provides a form of "microtrauma" to the affected muscles by applying direct, electrical nerve stimulation. This induces more muscle activity to speed up the natural healing process that comes with every full circulation of your bloodstream. Secondly, it encourages the brain to produce natural pain-killing chemicals such as dopamine. [Dr David Cohen, N.D., Ph.D., M.H., C.N.C.]

Infratonic machine.   Sometimes called the Chi Machine. According to Dr David Cohen, "This particularly effective natural pain relief device infuses the area of pain or injury with very low frequency (7.83 - 13.5 Hz) chaotic sound waves which literally break up the pain and open neural pathways to the brain for enhanced mind-body communication. This releases the body's vital resources for accelerated healing. It is safe enough to use at home without an attendant." The Infratonic is sold at www.soundvitality.com.  There are studies as well as anecdotal reports that this machine has helped chronic pain for everything from rheumatoid arthritis to fibromyalgia.

Magnets. This subject is so big (and controversial) we've created it's very own web page, so click here: Magnetic Therapy.

Emu Oil. Used for thousands of years by the aboriginals of Australia, this oil quickly passes through your skin and offers significant pain reduction for arthritis and chronic pain. You can check out the site: www.emumagic.com 

Headache

White Willow Bark. Called nature’s aspirin, willow has been used to treat pain in Europe for more than 2400 years and was part of Native American medicine throughout North and South America. The bark of the willow contains salicin, a natural predecessor to aspirin. It is non toxic in large amounts, and is best taken in a tea (with Willard Water or Crystal Energy added). In a tea form, it goes to work immediately. Additionally, if your doctor is telling you to take an aspirin a day, you can substitute this without increasing your chances of hemorrhagic strokes (as aspirin would). Or order a copy of our latest publication, Bypassing Bypass.)

Chamomile tea has also been used to relieve a headache.

Cayenne Pepper. This is something that I found that only the fearless among us will ever try. For a cluster headache, wet the tip of your finger, dip it into some cayenne pepper, and coat the inside of your nostrils with it. Please, if anyone tries this, will you please report back to us on the results. Contact us.

Other herbals used commonly used for headaches are feverfew, hawthorn, skullcap, ginger, goldenseal, valerian, hops, kava, and passionflower. Please read the warning labels on all of these. Some are not to be used for a long period of time. See below under Migraine Headaches for feverfew. Valerian is actually a sedative, but relaxing can soothe a headache.

Essential Oils. The essential oils lavender, rosemary, or peppermint are known to relieve a headache. Place a drop or two in your palms, rub your hands together and breathe in the aroma. You can massage a mixture of lavender oil (or rosemary or peppermint) and sunflower oil on your temples, sides of eyes, behind ears, and on the neck.

Interestingly enough, there's an Appalachian headache remedy very close to the above essential oil remedy: Take mint, rub it in your hands, cup your hands over your nose and breathe in deeply.

Relaxation Techniques: Meditation, Hypnosis, Biofeedback, and Yoga. Some people get relief by reaching a state of near hypnosis using meditation or what some people call self-hypnosis. Biofeedback can be learned in a few easy sessions. Practitioners of Yoga know a few positions that can relieve a variety of headaches.

Ayurvedic Medicine. Consciousness is healing. For most people, when we get a headache, we try NOT to think about it. In Ayurvedic medicine, they do the exact opposite. They focus on the pain. They "feel" the pain. Consciousness is healing.

Homeopathy. You will need to visit a homeopath. Each remedy is prescribed only after a thorough interview and some testing. Remedies can include belladonna (throbbing headache), bryonia (splitting headache), kali bichromicum (sinus headache), and nux vomica (tension headache with nausea and vomiting).

Massage. Firm massage of the forehead, neck, and scalp has been reported to help relieve a headache.

Osteopathy. Headache is treated with neuromuscular manipulation and massage of head, neck, and upper back.

Reflexology. Headache is treated using the solar plexus, ear, eye, and head points.

Supplements. Amino acids L-tyrosine and L-carnitine. Phosphatidylcholine, vitamins B2, B6 and B12, magnesium, zinc, and niacin. Flaxseed oil and blue green algae have also been known to help.

Home remedy. Simultaneous ice pack/warm foot soak; drink three cold glasses of water; inhale pure oxygen. Used for migraines and cluster headaches.

Chiropractic. Spinal or cervical manipulation to realign posture for tension headaches.

Oriental Medicine. We could write a book on Oriental Medicine and pain relief, mainly because the remedy chosen is based upon a diagnostic technique that Western medicine neither understands nor cares to understand. However, two very potent herbs from Oriental Pharmacology are Corydalis (yan hu suo) and pueraria root (ge gen). Corydalis is one of the strongest herbs available to relieve pain and reduce inflammation. Studies have shown it to work directly on the central nervous system, and has been compared to morphine and codeine. Pueraria root is remarkably effective in relieving headache pain. [Pharmacology and Applications of Chinese Herbs 1983; 447. & Zhu XZ. Development of natural products as drugs acting on central nervous system. Memorias do Instituto Oswaldo Cruz 86 (2):173-5, 191, & Bensky D, et al. Chinese Herbal Medicine Materia Medica. Eastland Press 1993. & Yeung HC. Handbook of Chinese Herbs. Institute of Chinese Medicine, 1983]

Sinus Headache

The latest thing for sinuses is a little Neti Pot that you fill with warm water and Celtic Sea Salt (non iodized salt) and clean out your nasal passages by running this warm solution from one nostril and out the other. Adding a drop or two of Grapefruit Seed Extract (a wonderful bactericide) can help (but be careful, the stuff can burn!). You might also add a drop of Eucalyptus Essential Oil to the solution. There is a special Neti Pot supplement that is sold also. Instructions that came with my Neti Pot state: "The nasal passages are lined with a thin layer of mucus that is one of our body's first lines of defense against disease. A nasal wash keeps this layer of mucus moist, clean, and healthy, and compared to other nasal wash techniques is much easier, simpler and quicker to do."

Boiling some water with two or three drops of Eucalyptus Essential oil, then breathing in the fumes under a towel has been used for hundreds of years to clear up a sinus headache. Eucalyptus is also a bactericide.

Essential Oil Massage. Like above, for a sinus headache, you can massage a mixture of eucalyptus and sunflower oil on your temples, sides of eyes, behind ears, and on the neck. If you don’t have sunflower oil, any good massage oil will do.

Acupressure. Press pointer fingers beneath cheekbones and parallel to pupils (Stomach 3) for one minute. Squeeze fleshy area between thumb and pointer finger (Large Intestine 4) for one minute.

Finally, and this is something that I've recently tested, I am MOST happy to report, miraculous results. First off, most of you should know that nasal sprays contain drugs. Yes, they work, but they can also have unwanted side effects. The worst side effect is addiction. You will wind up needing the spray just to breathe normally. I purchased a bottle of 4 WAY® Moisturizing Mist. There are two types, one that is just a saline solution, the other has some menthol and eucalyptus. I added a two drops of Eucalyptus Essential Oil, and then squeezed out the air and let the bottle suck up a tablespoon of Colloidal Silver. Colloidal Silver is a safe alternative to antibiotics. The only side effect to using Colloidal Silver is that you could turn grey IF you abuse it and start drinking it like soda pop.

This solution has worked very well for me and for a friend. Personally, I've been suffering sinus headaches for years and have never gotten to the root cause of them. This is the first time I've actually found something that works (for me, at least), is not a drug, is safe, and simple. I'm very happy with this solution. I might even try a drop of Grapefruit Seed Extract in the future. Keep in mind that since you're using oils in a water solution that you MUST shake well before using.

Migraines

Pressure. A headband tied tightly around the head can relieve migraines. I've also seen people slice a potato or a lemon in half and put under the headband on the temples (flat side against the temples).

Oriental Medicine. The herbals Corydalis (yan hu suo) and pueraria root (ge gen). Corydalis is one of the strongest herbs available to relieve pain and reduce inflammation. Studies have shown it to work directly on the central nervous system, and has been compared to morphine and codeine. Pueraria root is remarkably effective in relieving headache pain. [Pharmacology and Applications of Chinese Herbs 1983; 447. & Zhu XZ. Development of natural products as drugs acting on central nervous system. Memorias do Instituto Oswaldo Cruz 86 (2):173-5, 191, & Bensky D, et al. Chinese Herbal Medicine Materia Medica. Eastland Press 1993. & Yeung HC. Handbook of Chinese Herbs. Institute of Chinese Medicine, 1983]

Feverfew: Often prescribed by Naturopathic doctors for migraine headaches, it can take a few weeks of daily usage (300mg of the whole herb) for it to become effective. Feverfew's side effects are low incidence (rare) but possible: dermatitis, mouth ulcers, stomach problems, and has been known to trigger allergies. Do not use if you are taking blood thinners/anti-coagulants (like coumadin). Keep feverfew refrigerated and do not use it with over the counter NSAIDs (aspirin, Advil and Motrin, etc) including Tylenol.

Prevention is best for migraines, so if you get them commonly, you'll want to take feverfew daily. This should be done only if you are under the care of a professional so that your progress can be monitored and tests and be used to adjust your dosage.

Supplements. As above, you will want to make sure you get the following: the amino acids L-tyrosine and L-carnitine. Phosphatidylcholine, vitamins B2, B6 and B12, magnesium, zinc, and niacin. Flaxseed oil and blue green algae have also been known to help.

You will also want to exercise regularly. Walking is considered one of the best exercises. Avoid chocolate, cheeses, citrus, red wine, and foods containing sodium nitrates or MSG.

We found a homeopathic remedy (with Chinese Herbals too) that came to us highly recommended for Migraine sufferers: Migraine Relief, by Ridgecrest Herbals. Here is what they had to say about it:

Migraine Relief works quickly and effectively, and contains safe, effective homeopathic plant extracts. The science of homeopathy is hundreds of years old and is widely used in Europe and Asia. It has recently gained popularity in the United States.

Migraine Relief also contains a proprietary Chinese herbal formula. Ridgecrest research shows that combining herbs and homeopathics into one formula creates a synergistic effect that significantly enhances the effectiveness of the formula.

Homeopathic Ingredients and effect: Cyclamen 8x headache remedy; Belladonna 10x for congestive pain; Bryonia Alba 10x pain remedy; Spigelia Anthelmia 8x for left ophthalmic migraines; Sanguinaria Canadensis 8x for right ophthalmic migraines with hot flashes; Gelsemium Sempervirens for headaches and migraines. 

Chinese Herbal Ingredients and effect: Corydalis invigorates blood circulation; Haliotis supports optic nerve function; Angelica for pain; Gastrodia controls pain; Gypsum for fever, toothache, and migraine; Ligusticum for migraine and abdominal pain; Fang-feng for migraine; Heal-all for ocular swelling and pain; Scute has an analgesic effect on central nervous system; Gambir calms nerves; Red Magnolia relieves abdominal pain; Vitex for migraine and ocular pain; Mint for migraine and toothache pain; Poria (Fu-ling) soothes nerves; Dong-quai for migraine, chest and abdominal pain; Licorice has anti-inflammatory effect; Ginger for abdominal pain; Costus for stomach pain; Tangerine peel for chest pain.

Osteoarthritis  (for the best site on arthritis, osteo or rheumatoid, go to www.arthritissupport.com)

Please keep in mind that if you are a heavy NSAID user for Arthritis Pain, in the long run you are doing yourself a disservice as these drugs actually make the problem worse by helping to disintegrate what's left of your cartilage.

Lyprinol. A unique configuration of Eicosatetraenoic Acids (ETAs) that are related to the omega-3 fatty acids found in flaxseed and fish that could easily be 200 to 300 times more powerful than most NSAIDs (non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drug) for relief of muscle and joint pain. To order call, 800-981-7157 or go to http://store.yahoo.com/a1-health/lyplyp.html where we found the best prices on the web. Your author used this regularly after getting a touch of arthritis from a horse kick to the elbow. This stuff works wonderfully. You seafood lovers will be glad to know that the Green Mussel (has all sorts of names, but Green is always in the name, and comes from New Zealand) from which this oil comes can be found in the frozen food section at your supermarket.

Omega-3 Essential Fatty Acids. These are sometimes called Essential Oils though they are really Essential Fatty Acids and are not related to the Aromatherapeutic Essential Oils. They are called essential because they are essential to your health and welfare. Your body NEEDS these oils. They have many sources: nuts, fish, certain meats. But the best source we've found for Flax Oil, is Integrity Direct's product, Omegasentials which you can read about here: Johanna Budwig Revisited, or if you already know about them, well you can call them at 612.396.9300 and tell them that the International Wellness Directory sent you, you can order a case of Omegasentials (or some Omegavores Energy Bars) and get a special 30% case discount off the suggested retail prices. My home NEVER runs out of this product. WARNING: If you are a female cancer patient and your cancer is Estrogen Receptive, AVOID FLAX PRODUCTS, as they contain phytoestrogens. You will want to use Hemp oil, or Emu Oil.

Emu Oil. Studies from Auburn University, USA, University of Sydney, Australia, Boston University Medical Center, USA, Iowa State University, USA, University of Adelaide, Australia, University of Texas Medical School, USA, Indiana University School of Medicine, USA, Texas Tech Health Sciences, Burn Unit, USA have shown Emu Oil to be very effective against joint pain. Emu oil is a great source of Omega 3, 6 & 9 essential fatty acids.www.emumagic.com

Cartilage. Arthritis attacks your cartilage. What better way to help rebuild your cartilage than by taking cartilage supplements. Even eating chicken cartilage helps. We found an old study from Harvard Medical school in which chicken cartilage was used. We all had a great laugh because by the end of the study, the gristle the experimental group ate was now referred to as "medicine." Simply eating cartilage helps. And there are many, many supplements with cartilage of all sorts. Shark Cartilage is also a low grade anti-inflammatory.

Systemic Enzymes. We have talked about Wobenzym here. Our latest book, Bypassing Bypass talks about it a lot too. Wobenzym is a wonderful anti-inflammatory. I have a friend who uses it regularly. It is rather expensive. I asked her one day, how she knew it was working. She said, "I don't. Until I run out and the pain returns." You can order Wobenzym from our friends at www.longevityplus.net.

Glucosamine and Chondroitin. Many people swear by these yet there are two very big problems. First, not everyone gets relief. Secondly, in the long run, again, like with NSAIDS, you are making the problem worse, but not for the same reasons as above. Glucosamine and Chondroitin are parts of healthy joints. In order to work, they need to borrow from the body some calcium here, some magnesium there, a little vitamin D from here and a bit of copper from there. Do you see what's happening? When we take an incomplete food substance, in order to work, it has to borrow from the body whatever else it needs to work. For this reason, we recommend Calcifood Wafers from Standard Process Labs. However, SPL does not sell to consumers; they sell to physicians and chiropractors. You can order Calcifood Wafers from Dr Bruce West, our friend and advisor from California who is one fine physician and teacher. His supplement company is Immune Systems, at 800.231.8063.

We found a product that some people swear by, called Joint Advantage. Some of the ingredients are from Australia and have been used by the oldest culture in the world, the Aboriginals. It's ingredients are as follows: Bovine Cartilage, 100 mg; Lemon Myrtle Leaf (exclusive ingredient), 80 mg; Wild Rosella Calyx (exclusive ingredient), 100 mg; Aniseed Myrtle Leaf (exclusive ingredient), 60 mg, Mountain Pepper Leaf (exclusive ingredient), 20 mg; Devil's Claw Root Extract (4:1), 62 mg; Yucca Leaf Extract (4:1), 50 mg; White Willow Bark Extract (4:1), 50 mg; Feverfew Flower Extract (4:1), 30 mg; Celery Seed Extract (4:1), 16 mg; Boswellia Oleo-Gum-Resin Extract, 150 mg; Bromelain (from pineapple), 300 mg; Papain Extract (6:1) (from papaya), 8 mg.

Cetyl Myristoleate. We've already mentioned Essential Fatty Acids. This is a derivative of the essential fatty acids found in fish oils. Here are two studies on CM, as it is referred to. The first was a randomized clinical trial by Dr. H. Siemandi, MD.. et al. Primary research administrator at Hospital SM, Avenido Mazatlan, Rosarito Beach, Baja, California and Institut SM, Kamin Pamorski, Poland. This was a double-blind, randomized, placebo-controlled parallel trial of 432 patients. 106 were randomized to receive cetyl myristoleate; 84 to receive cetyl myristoleate + Glucosamine, and 226 received the placebo. Joint swelling scores improved in 47.2% in patients using cetyl myristoleate alone and 77.2% in patients using cetyl myristoleate plus Glucosamine. Patients experiencing worsening or no reaction totaled 1.0% both of the cetyl myristoleate groups, compared with improvement of 21.1% in placebo group.

The second study was done in San Diego. This was a study of 48 patients with mild to severe Arthritis. The study showed that only two subjects failed to show marked or complete relief of all symptoms of pain and limited mobility normally associated with arthritis. Both of these non-responding subjects had suffered prior liver problems: one from alcohol abuse resulting in cirrhosis of the liver; the other, a former professional athlete, presented with considerable liver damage from steroid abuse. (This has stimulated even more studies on the role of the liver and essential fatty acids, by the way.) Two other subjects showed less than a 75% return of articulator mobility. The balance of all subjects reported 80% to 100% return of articulator mobility as well as a 70% to 100% decrease of pain. Relief of inflammation frequently resulted in at least partial correction of some deformities.

Personally, if I needed arthritis help, instead of Cetyl Myristoleate and Glucosamine, I'd use my fish oils, Omegasentials, and Calcifood Wafers. These are the whole forms of the two derivatives.

MSM. Finally we have one of my favorites. This is what helped me beat a touch of arthritis in my left hand. I had approximately 50% movement in my ring finger. After six months of MSM daily (and qigong) I suddenly had 100% movement. MSM is nutritional sulfur. With the advent of chemical fertilizers, our foods no longer have the nutritional sulfur our bodies need. According to one of our readers who has done a lot of research into this subject, Patrick McGean, "If we were created with 4% sulfur by weight then 4000 mg of MSM per 100 lbs. is what a 'healthy' person needs." He recommends 6,000 to 10,000 mg per 100 pounds body weight for people with cancer or AIDS. He states that, "Sulfur is the mineral which enables the transfer of oxygen by keeping the cell membrane semipermeable. Gases do not transfer as well as liquids through the cell membrane when the membrane is no longer permeable, and anaerobic disease happens in the toxic carbon dioxide trapped in the cell. Otto Warburg proved this but he never asked why?"

Patrick's work has really stimulated me to investigate MSM even further. So, I'm sure you'll be seeing an article on it before this year is up.

For the best prices on MSM (you can pay a hundred dollars a pound at a health food store), go to www.bulkmsm.com.

General Back Pain

Though it is best to see a Chiropractor or Osteopathic Physician for chronic back pain, the T.E.N.S. unit, CGI machine, and Ultra Sound have some very good results here. However, if it is lower back pain, try doing a few sit-ups every day and build up your stomach muscles. It seems that many lower back problems are related to flabby tummy muscles and a tendon known as the tsois that travels thru that region. If that doesn't work (over a three week period) then see a professional. 


To view more videos and learn more about The Healthy Back Program
Click here: Healthy Back Program

Please feel free to contribute. There are hundreds and hundreds of methods to relieve pain that we've not yet uncovered. If you know of one that has worked for you, please contact us and tell us about it.   


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