“Arthritis is an umbrella term for a range of inflammatory conditions affecting the bones, muscles and joints. These conditions often result in pain, stiffness, swelling and redness in affected joints. They include osteoarthritis, rheumatoid arthritis, juvenile arthritis and gout.”
1 in 7 Australians have some form of arthritis
Approximately 3.6 million (15%) Australians suffer from the pains of arthritis, making it the most common condition and contributor to physical disability and illness among our older population.
People with arthritis have symptoms that include muscle and/or joint pain, swelling and inflammation. Other symptoms also include muscle/joint stiffness (especially in the morning), low-grade fever, loss of energy and even loss of appetite.
Osteoarthritis vs. Rheumatoid
The most common forms of arthritis are osteoarthritis and rheumatoid arthritis. Osteoarthritis is the most common, affecting an estimated 2.2 million adults in Australia. Osteoarthritis is a chronic condition that begins with the breakdown of joint cartilage, resulting in pain and stiffness in the fingers, knees, hips, and spine. Physical trauma, joint operations and repetitive strain injuries are contributors to the deterioration of osteoarthritis.
Rheumatoid arthritis is a systematic autoimmune disease where the body’s immune system attacks healthy tissue affecting not only joints, but in some cases, can affect the blood, lungs, and even the heart. The pain, stiffness and swelling of rheumatoid arthritis is caused by the inflammation response of the body which is why sufferers use terms like “flares” for active symptoms and “remissions” when the symptoms diminish for a time. The cyclic nature of this disease can last for many years.
3 in 4 Australians over 45 with arthritis have self-reported at least one other chronic condition
According to Chinese medical theory, arthritis is a result of blocked Qi (energy, life-force) in the body. Effective treatment includes yoga, acupuncture, gua sha, moxibustion and poultices as well as lifestyle and/or dietary recommendations.
Lifestyle and Dietary Recommendations
Lifestyle and diet have a big impact on the quality of life for people suffering from arthritis. A healthy diet can ease arthritis pain and help keep joints healthy and happy. Chinese medicine nutritional therapy includes avoiding “damp” foods such as dairy products, greasy or spicy foods.
Here are some foods to consider adding into your diet:
- Cherries are an excellent source of nutrients that may reduce arthritic joint pain and inflammation.
- Ginger Tea is one of the best natural anti-inflammatories you can buy over the counter (carefully following recommended doses) or make one yourself with half a teaspoon of grated ginger root in 1 cup of boiling water. Allow this to steep for 10 to 15 minutes and enjoy.
- Ginger Compressors help stimulate blood and body fluid circulation and dissipate stagnation in joints and muscles.
- An enzyme in fresh pineapple, Bromelain, is known to reduce inflammation.
- Cold-water fish including salmon and mackerel contain omega-3 fatty acids, which help reduce swelling and pain and maintain joint health.
- Turmeric is another natural anti-inflammatory that you can add to cooking or take as a supplement according to directions.
1 in 5 Australians with arthritis experienced high or very high levels of psychological distress
Practical Yoga Therapy
Remedial Yoga Therapy works with the natural balance of the body to restore and maintain health. It is also a valuable tool for the emotional and psychological issues that are often associated with long term pain issues.
To keep joints happy, we work with the Wood Element to restore the natural flow of Qi, blood and lymph in moving joints. Twisting movements and postures with emphasis on extension and traction to work deep into the muscles of the joints, moving the stagnation of fluids and waste and rejuvenating by increasing blood flow to the tendons and ligaments.
Self-massage techniques to stimulate joints and keep them moving. Rubbing fingers, hands, making fists and opening repeatedly to stimulate the heart meridian and blood flow.
See you on the mat!
 https://daoisttraditions.edu/healing-power-moxa/, http://nccam.nih.gov/news/2004/acu-osteo/pressrelease.htm