Rheumatoid Arthritis: Complementary and Alternative Therapies



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Rheumatoid arthritis is a condition where your immune system begins attacking your own joints, causing them to become painful, stiff and swollen while also damaging cartilage and bone. In this blog post, we examine the treatment options that are available for this type of arthritis, such as complementary and alternative therapies.

Complementary therapies

Complementary therapy works best alongside conventional medical treatment, enhancing their results while offering their own benefits. For example, massage therapy and acupuncture can provide substantial relief for a patient who suffers from arthritis. This helps to maintain a strong level of joint flexibility and eases stiffness by promoting blood flow.

Acupuncture in particular helps stimulate endorphins in the body to limit pain while also releasing cortisol into the body – this is a hormone which reduces inflammation. Visualisation, mindfulness, hypnotherapy, and other mental relaxation techniques can also lower your stress, which goes a long way towards helping arthritis flare-ups.

Alternative therapies

In contrast, alternative therapies substitute conventional medicine with their own treatments. For rheumatoid arthritis, this could include several complementary therapies, such as acupuncture. Some people benefit from using herbs to lessen the pain they feel – boswellia, turmeric, and cat’s claw are among the most popular for helping to manage arthritis.

Cryotherapy began as a type of rheumatoid arthritis treatment that cools the body down to reduce its swelling and inflammation, putting the body into repair mode in the process. On the other end of the spectrum, IR heat therapy uses infrared heat to relieve pain and improve the circulatory system.

Effectiveness of these treatments

Complementary and alternative medicine (CAM) can be controversial – though evidence suggests that many of these treatments are effective for managing rheumatoid arthritis. For example, studies over the past fifty years show that acupuncture, especially with other treatments, improves joint function and a patient’s quality of life.

Not all CAM techniques work for everybody; the effectiveness of the treatment can often depend on a number of factors which are specific to each approach. You may prefer to use them alongside conventional medicine to enhance the likelihood of their success – some therapies can offer adequate relief without this.

There are many avenues of treatment after a rheumatoid arthritis diagnosis, including those outside traditional medical approaches. Make sure you explore every option available to you in order to guarantee the best recovery. If you would like to learn more about CAM treatments, get in touch or visit our London clinic.