What do I know about Arthritis? I had a client say this to me once. I told her I understood her frustration. She had been to several doctors and therapists and nothing helped. I don’t know first hand the pains of arthritis. However, I have family members and many clients who suffer with it. I see it every day. I openly admit there are few who heal themselves of it, but it can be managed.
The Basic Facts
There are currently around 200 conditions that fall under the umbrella of arthritis. Add those variations with each individual’s body chemistry and you end up with very few direct answers as far as treatment. It requires patience, organization, and diligence to determine a treatment plan that works for a patient. Moreover, that treatment will change as the person ages.
There is no known direct cause of arthritis. Genetics, overuse of joints, and eating habits all play a role. This is true in both Eastern and Western Medicine. As it stands, neither side of Medicine can change genetics, but both have opinions on effective treatments for overuse and food.
At Ground Luminosity
As much as we try at Ground Luminosity to keep a person from taking modern medications through diet and exercise, sometimes it is inescapable. In the above case (severe rheumatoid) at 75 years old, she needed a biologic treatment such as Humira or Remicade. This poor woman had spent thousands of dollars on natural treatment, all the while suffering. She was told by these individuals that they could cure her.
While I don’t deny the possibility of being cured of arthritis (I have seen it with my own eyes), in this particular case, it wasn’t going to happen. We helped her face the reality of her situation. That being said, she couldn’t get in to see a doctor for 6 weeks. In that time, we helped her adjust her diet, gave her gentle exercises she did every day and she got massages that helped bring the pain from a 10 to a 5. I’ll take that kind of improvement all day long. Because of our honesty and our ability to help her, she is still a patient 8 years later. With the biologic and a massage once a month her pain is down around a 2-3. She is enjoying her last year’s watching her great grand-kids grow up. It makes me smile just to think about it.
So what did we do with her in those 6 weeks?
Massage Tip #1 Move. I know it hurts. Slow minuscule movements 2-5 times a day does make a difference. Below are small movements for the whole body. You can do all of these or some of them. The trick is to do them each day. Sit comfortably. Wiggle your toes. Roll your ankles to move your feet is circles. Tuck your feet up close to the chair, bring your heels up rolling the knees in circles both directions, which will also roll the hips and lower back. Put your feet flat on the ground and tighten your quads (thigh muscle), relax them. Do this 10-30 times. Tighten your belly muscle as you inhale the breath. Relax on the exhale. Wiggle your fingers. Roll your wrists, elbows and shoulders. Be sure to go both directions. Look left and right, up and down, and bend the head ear to shoulder both sides. Inhale on the motion and exhale as you move the head back to center. Only move the head to the point of comfort.
Massage Tip #2 Diet has been shown to affect arthritis. In Eastern Medicine, diet is a cause. When the diet is too extreme (too much salt and sugar over time), the intestines weaken. Therefore allowing for malabsorption and what Western Medicine calls a leaky gut. There is no leaky gut in Eastern Medicine. Eastern Medicine describes weakness in the gut, stagnation in the gut, and heat in the gut. To improve the gut, fermented foods are suggested. If it is not possible to have something fermented each day, at least 3-4 times/week. Simple, easy to digest grains, beans, and lightly cooked veggies are the best to start bringing balance and energy back into the gut. Each person is different, so go slow and pay attention to how you feel with each change in the diet. It is important to not overeat.
Massage Tip #3 Get massages! If not with Ground Luminosity, then with whoever helps you. Relaxing and softening the tissue will improve flexibility, circulation, and the overall health of your body. All of our arthritis patients say that they couldn’t live if it weren’t for their regular massage. A therapist is able to get into some of those hard to reach areas, like the back of the shoulder and knee and deep into the hip.
I understand that massages are not cheap and not covered by insurance, but they work. It needs to be put into perspective. You can go out out to dinner or you can get a massage. Both are enjoyable, but a massage will help you have more pain free days. I’ll cook in, every time.