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Natural Therapies and Arthritis

Massage as a Natural Therapy for Arthritis

Arthritis is a chronic condition that can become worse with time.  Assorted variations of this ailment affect a wide range of people.  For example, some types are rooted in autoimmune diseases, like rheumatoid arthritis and lupus.  Some involve children, like juvenile idiopathic arthritis.  Some are secondary to other conditions, like Lyme disease and hepatitis.  And some result from wear and tear on the joints as we become older, like osteoarthritis.  Our primary focus today is osteoarthritis.  Common signs of this condition include achy joints, stiffness, soreness, and swelling.   Fortunately, there are treatments to help improve these symptoms.  Let’s look at a few of the more natural options.

  • Exercise. Research has repeatedly shown that exercise works wonders in helping to improve pain and mobility.  Some people may question how this is possible when moving around can be so uncomfortable.  Even so, regular, gentle movement like those found in walking, Yoga, swimming, etc., often reduce joint stress and help to strengthen muscles, improve flexibility, minimize discomfort, and enhance balance..  NOTE:  Do not begin an exercise program without the approval of your doctor.
  • Proper Nutrition. Choosing the right food is beneficial for a multitude of reasons, and arthritis is on the list.  Processed meats, fast food, sugary desserts, and salty snacks can inflict chaos in the body because they can add to inflammation.  Fresh fruits, fresh vegetables, low-fat meats with minimal processing, certain fish, walnuts, almonds, extra virgin olive oil, and whole grains, on the other hand, are good nutritional choices in the correct measure because they help control weight and decrease inflammation.
  • Supplements. Certain supplements have shown encouraging results in easing arthritis discomfort and helping to keep symptoms at bay.  Two common recommendations we often hear about are glucosamine and chondroitin sulfate.  Other supplements that also seem promising are omega-3 fatty acids, tumeric (contains curcumin), ginger, garlic, calcium, vitamin D, vitamin C, and vitamin E.
  • Acupuncture and Massage. Increasing blood flow to painful areas by gently manipulating soft tissue may have a soothing effect on achy, swollen joints.  Additionally, the application of thin needles in strategic body points can encourage the production of endorphins and cortisol, and these chemicals have been known to decrease inflammation and pain.  Nevertheless, it is important to look for licensed practitioners who have experience treating arthritis if you try these services.

Arthritis can be debilitating, so always solicit the expertise of your doctor.  Still, it is comforting to know there are different therapies available to potentially help this condition.

Yes, we may be getting older, but that does not mean we have to live our lives in pain.  A few natural steps could be just what we need to minimize discomfort and get ourselves moving freely again.