Rheumatoid arthritis(RA) is an autoimmune disease that attacks joint lining tissues and causes joint swelling and pain. It particularly affects hands and feet.  Although there is no known cure, many people find relief with alternative therapies. A particular rheumatoid arthritis holistic treatment would probably not be effective for every person afflicted with this condition, but there are several natural approaches that have relieved the symptoms of many patients. So you may want to try any or some of the natural approaches described below.

Conventional medicine doctors routinely prescribe steroids and other drugs that suppress the immune system. Alternative medicine doctors believe most of these drugs are toxic if patients depend on them for a long term. Furthermore, they believe the long term dependency on these powerful drugs may prevent the body from responding to natural treatments.

Causes

Although experts agree that genetics play an important role in the severity or perhaps the development of RA, there are many other factors that contribute to the disease, such as infections caused by bacteria or viruses. A predisposed individual may also be affected by environmental factors, which then trigger the abnormal immune system to attack its own body tissue, which in turn causes the inflammation and pain.

Symptoms

  • Loss of movement in affected joints.
  • Difficulty in performing simple tasks, such as turning door knobs and opening jars.
  • Tender, red, painful and swollen joints.
  • Fatigue and low fever.
  • Decreased weakness in affected joints muscles.
  • Joint stiffness and pain, even after sleeping or resting.
  • Joint deformity and nodules under the skin of affected area (in advance stages).
  • Lack of energy.
  • In its advance stages, rheumatoid arthritis affects internal organs and can cause other serious conditions and deseases.

While most conventional doctors do not believe there is evidence that a particular diet or natural approach can help RA sufferers, many individuals claim they have experienced from mild to dramatic pain improvement after using a given holistic or natural treatment or a combined set of therapies. Let’s look at the following  life style changes and alternative therapies:

Changing Your Diet

Most doctors who practice alternative or holistic medicine encourage their rheumatoid arthritis patients to avoid certain foods, such as milk and dairy products, known to irritate the immune system and worsen this condition. It is recommended to eliminate the following foods from your diet:

  • All dairy products and any foods containing milk or dairy.
  • Hydrogenated and polyunsaturated oils, vegetable shortening, margarine and any products containing any of these oils.
  • Red meat, sugar and saturated fat.
  • Citrus fruits.
  • Coffee and tobacco.
  • Corn, soy and wheat.

There have been some stories about RA sufferers who have stopped consuming milk and dairy products and have experienced significant pain improvement, however this is not to say that every single RA patient will experience the same result by giving up dairy, but it is worth trying a diet change.

 

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Charlotte Stuart treating an acupuncture patient i…—Wonderlane (Flickr.com)

Acupuncture As Rheumatoid Arthritis Holistic Treatment

Acupuncture is known to stimulate the nervous system causing it to release brain chemicals called endorphins, which are our bodies own natural pain blockers. Based on positive results demonstrated by several studies and patients testimony, this is an effective treatment for RA. Conventional Chinese acupuncture, as all holistic therapies, take into account all potential factors that may contribute to a patients disease. In other words, acupuncturists try to get to the cause of the problem by treating the whole person rather than the disease or the symptoms. Various US studies demonstrate acupuncture can produce pain relief from chronic pain associated with certain diseases, including RA.

Homeopathy For Rheumatoid Arthritis

Some people afflicted with RA have reported pain relief with the use of homeopathy. This therapy is specially effective for those people who have not yet experienced deformities. Homeopathy may not reverse advance stages of the disease, but may delay the progress of it and control the pain. Generally, homeopathic remedies don’t interfere with other drugs or produce any side effects, however it is important to let the health practitioner know what medications are being used, including vitamin supplements.

A homeopathic practitioner will find out the patient’s unique physical symptoms and emotional condition as well as other personal information, so he can prescribe the appropriate remedy. Unlike conventional doctors, a homeopath focuses on activating the body’s healing system by treating each patient as a unique individual and prescribing a homeopathic medicine exclusively for that patient’s unique disease manifestation. Self treatment with homeopathic medicines is not recommended for RA patients as only a well trained and experience practitioner can determine what medication is appropriate for a particular patient afflicted with a chronic condition.

Quite Often the rheumatoid arthritis  treatment is usually combined with other therapies such as therapeutic massage and hypnosis. Want to find a registered homeopath?

Apitherapy

Apitherapy, also called bee sting  therapy is the therapeutic use of the bee venom and other bee hive products for healing certain diseases such as gout, multiple sclerosis, pain and several forms of arthritis. This therapy is performed under the supervision of a highly trained therapist by either an injection or a direct bee sting.  It is believed bee venom has some powerful compounds that reduce inflammation and  pain, however it may cause an allergic reaction in people who are sensitive to bee stings.

Traditional Chinese Medicine

This healing system originated in China more than 2,000 years ago and includes many different therapies, such as acupuncture, herbal remedies, qigong and acupressure among others. According to traditional Chinese medicine, our good or bad health depends on how freely and unobstructed your qi (“chee”) or life energy flows throughout your body.