Natural Remedies for Rheumatoid Arthritis

Natural remedies for rheumatoid arthritis are getting popular day by day, as they actually show good results. These treatments consist of several types, such as, moist heat, cold packs, magnets, natural supplements, massage with herbs and relaxation techniques. Though these treatments are seen to relieve pain considerably in RA patients, none of them have firm scientific background and have not been tested for side effects. Therefore, before using them, you must always consult your doctor.

Heat/Cold

Doctors often recommend heat and/or cold treatments to provide symptom relief in RA.

A cool compress or ice pack on the affected joint during the time of flares helps reduce joint swelling, pain and inflammation. Remember not to apply the cold pack for more than 15 minutes at a time and keep an interval of at least 30 minutes between two applications.

For taking heat therapy, you can use heat compresses, moist heating pad or even a warm, damp towel. You can also use microwavable hot packs. Warm showers can also be used so as to let the warm water jet hit the painful joint. Hot tubs too are useful to ease stiff muscles. Again you have to be cautious about not overheating, so as to protect your skin from burning. And also, those having high blood pressure or heart disease or are pregnant, should avoid hot tubs or spas.

Magnets

Magnets have been found to help relieve symptoms in osteoarthritis; but not much study is available with rheumatoid arthritis. They are available in various forms, such as, necklaces, bracelets, pads, inserts and disks. You must take your doctor’s advice if you want to use magnet therapy in rheumatoid arthritis.

Mind/Body Therapy

This is one of the important natural remedies for rheumatoid arthritis. It is helpful when taken in combination with conventional medications. It is mainly based on stress management and can improve sleep and sensation of pain. It can be adopted in various forms.

Deep breathing from stomach (not from chest) lessens the intensity of stress by decreasing stress hormones and slowing down heart beat.

Natural Remedies for Rheumatoid Arthritis

In progressive muscle relaxation, concentrating on different muscle groups, and contracting and relaxing them is involved. You should first start with head, neck and arms, then go to chest, back and abdomen and finish on pelvis, legs and feet. Combining this with deep breathing, like inhaling while contracting the muscles and exhaling while relaxing, gives better symptom relief.

Visualization includes closing your eyes, breathing deep and imagining that you are in a serene place. This technique can really be relaxing and refreshing during stressful moments.

Meditation too makes the patient relaxed and stress-free by decreasing heart-beat and pain perception.

Tai chi is another very relieving alternate therapy for RA, which brings about improvement in joint motion and strength, by gentle, graceful and mystical movements.

Acupuncture is also considered to be one of the best natural remedies for RA. With the help of stainless steel needles, major pathways or meridians, are stimulated in this technique. Traditional acupuncture practitioners claim that this cures the imbalance of energy, named ‘qi’, thus boosts immunity and brings about relief. While some doctors believe that with acupuncture, pain-blocking chemicals called endorphins are triggered and pain relief is brought about.

In biofeedback, electric sensors are placed on the body and information of body’s responses are sent to a monitor, and you should react to stimuli, like thoughts, sounds and pictures. The therapist will help you to identify feelings, such as, increased stress and teach you to calm down. Not much of evidence is available about how far this technique is useful in arthritis.

Supplements

There is not enough study available on the role of supplements in pain-relief in RA. You should also remember that even natural supplements react with other medicines, so be sure that your doctor is aware about all your medicines and supplements.

Borage seed oil is a proven useful supplement which reduces RA symptoms, when taken with anti-inflammatory pain-killers. This oil has shown good results within six weeks of administration. It is safe, but may cause diarrhea, bloating and soft stools. Other parts of the plant, such as seeds, leaves or flowers may contain some liver-damaging substances, but the seed oil does not contain those substances.

Fish oil contains omega-3 fatty acid and is proven to provide relief from morning stiffness and pain in RA. Plus it is helpful in reducing chances of heart disease which the RA patients are more prone to. It should be mercury-free and should be taken properly. If taken more than 3 gm per day, it increases the risk of bleeding.

Thunder god vine is also being extensively studied for pain-relief in RA and has proven to be safe, except in pregnant women. A few studies have proved that it improves pain and tender joints in RA patients.

Thus the natural remedies for rheumatoid arthritis will certainly help; however you should have them with your doctor’s advice.