Drawbacks: “If your joints are red, hot or swollen, you may need to back off exercise,” says Krucoff. Also what movements you do may depend on where you have pain. For instance, if you have hand arthritis, certain movement like a pincer grip, or holding your thumb and forefinger together, may not be a good idea,” she says. Ask your physical therapist and rheumatologist which movements to avoid.
How to find a practitioner: The Yoga Alliance Organization has a registry of teachers with a minimum 200 hours of training. The International Association of Yoga Therapists offers instructors who specialize in working with people with health challenges. “Ask the teacher if she has experience with people with OA and RA, and specialized training,” says Krucoff. Duke Integrative Medicine, for instance, offers Therapeutic Yoga for Seniors Teacher Training, which teaches instructors how to work with people with arthritis. “Also, classes taught at hospital-based Wellness Centers often have well-trained instructors familiar with health challenges.”
Acupuncture evolved from ancient Chinese medicine, and involves the placement of tiny needles in various parts of the body in order to release blocked energy, or chi (pronounced chee). True Chinese acupuncture is paired with the use of medicinal herbs, says acupuncturist Kyo Mitchell, associate professor of Bastyr University in Kenmore, Washington.
Benefits: “A mixture of herbs and acupuncture can decrease inflammation, help remove waste products, help provide nutrients to the tissues, decrease pain, and increase mobility.”
Drawbacks: Although acupuncture can help slow disease progression, it can’t reverse tissue damage, says Mitchell: “And it’s not fast-acting like anti-inflammatories. Usually, you see results within a half dozen treatments.” If someone’s blood pressure is high, Mitchell doesn’t recommend acupuncture or herbs.
How to find a practitioner: The National Certification Commission for Acupuncture lists certified practitioners by location. “Look for a licensed practitioner who uses herbs along with acupuncture,” says Mitchell. “The combined treatment is more effective.” Mitchell also recommends getting referrals from friends who have had successful treatments. “Talk to the practitioner about what he can or can’t do. And look for a practitioner experienced with arthritis.”
Meditation is an ancient practice of concentrated focus that involves deep breathing and mantras, or repeated words or phrases that can relieve stress, and increase relaxation and awareness.
Benefits: “Meditation can help stop the chronic pain cycle by intervening in the mental and emotional aspects of pain,” says Dr. David Dillard-Wright, assistant professor of philosophy at the University of South Carolina-Aiken, and author of Meditation for Multi-Taskers. “The Sanskrit word mantra means taking away the mind. And unlike medications, meditation has no side effects or risk of dependency.”
Drawbacks: Meditation doesn’t provide quick results,” says Dillard-Wright: “It takes a little bit of time and practice.” Dillard-Wright recommends starting with twenty minutes of practice twice a day: “Begin with deep breathing , allowing thoughts to fall away. If you have trouble concentrating, repeat a word like peace or joy.”
How to find a practitioner: Dillard-Wright recommends working with someone from a reputable organization, checking community bulletin boards, or the Web. Many yoga studios have classes as well.
Brought to you by: Spry Living
Originally posted on News Star