Arthritis was actually what brought my mom to try Acupuncture for the first time. She didn't know it was arthritis at the time, it was so debilitating and intense her medical doctors actually thought she had Multiple Sclerosis (remember that we didn't quite have the sophistication in the early 80's that we do now for clarifying that diagnosis). She ended up seeking Acupuncture from Dr. Yat Ki Lai who helped decrease her pain and become functional again, it seemed truly miraculous, and for most of my life my mother religiously made weekly treks into SF China Town to seek Dr. Lai's treatments. Only later did we realize that her debilitating pain was due to a combination of severe stress and severe arthritis.
While Dr. Lai was the most active form of treatment she sought, she pursued the combination of interventions below and I firmly believe that each played an important role in her recovery. This list is based on outside sources, but I can certainly say from practical experience that it works!
For those with arthritis, exercise, no matter how little you do, is one of the best natural treatments. For those with severe arthritis, even the smallest amount of walking can make a difference. Swimming is one of the best forms of exercise for those with arthritis because it puts the least amount of impact on the joints. Strengthening exercises are also recommended to keep muscles and joints strong.
One of the most common reasons people seek out acupuncture is for arthritis relief. Acupuncture can help relieve pain from arthritis and increase blood flow and circulation, reducing inflammation. Through the specific placement of needles on acupuncture points on the body, acupuncture realigns the body back to balance.
Made from the chemical that gives chili peppers their heat, Capsaicin cream has been known to relieve arthritis pain. The cream works by decreasing the body’s pain receptors and as a result, lessening the overall pain caused by arthritis. The cream can be bought without a prescription at your local drug store.
Fish oil is beneficial for numerous reasons, one of them being its anti-inflammatory properties. Because it is rich in omega-3 fatty acids, trials have found that the oil can reduce morning stiffness and the need for pain medication for those with arthritis. Fish oil is a supplement that is safe and recommended to take every day for the most beneficial effects.
Mind-body techniques like meditation, relaxation and tai chi have been seen to improve overall quality of life for those with arthritis. Tai Chi is a martial art that involves slow, easy movements along with deep breathing. This exercise can improve the body’s motion and physical fitness without being too demanding on the joints and muscles. Although meditation and relaxation do not necessarily reduce pain, they have been found to improve mood and health in arthritis patients dealing with chronic pain.
Studies have shown that some patients benefit from changes in their diet by eliminating food that may contribute to their arthritis pain. By removing allergens from the diet, overall inflammation can be reduced. Common diets that have been seen to be beneficial include a mediterranean diet rich in nuts, fish, vegetables, fruit and olive oil. Foods that are not recommended include red meat and dairy as those can cause inflammatory reactions.
So, if you have Arthritis, please consider engaging in as many of these interventions as you can! The combination can be truly magical - and I can say that from practical experience!
If you want to know more please don't hesitate to contact me or book online anytime. Yours in Health - Rebecca
Rebecca M H Kitzerow is a Licensed Acupuncturist practicing in La Center, Washington. With over a decade of experience she has won 10 Nattie consumer choice awards from Natural Awakenings Magazine since 2014.