Imagine waking up in the morning, giving a little stretch, sitting up and easily climbing out of bed. You didn't even notice how easy it was because those achy, stiff joints are a thing of the past. You head to a quiet, peaceful spot in the house for 10 minutes, and gently move each joint in your body to keep the blood easily flowing through them. Then you continue on with your day, which is so much easier now that you can move gracefully and without pain.
While it may seem like a fantasy, if you commit to these 3 practices, doing the first two every day for a few months (and then keep going!), your arthritis and joint pain can be a thing of the past.
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1. Diet and Herbs
Getting to the root of arthritis and joint pain involves reducing inflammation in your body. You can easily do this with diet and herbs. As much as possible, eat real, whole foods in their most natural state. All vegetables are very anti-inflammatory, and especially so are leafy greens and berries. Animal foods should be free range, antibiotic and rBGH free. The animals should be eating their natural diet. Avoid low or non-fat versions, and opt for small amounts of full fat animal products. There are foods that can exacerbate inflammation for some people, so if you are still struggling with pain, it is worth it to eliminate these foods for a few weeks and see if it improves your symptoms. These foods include dairy, wheat, and nightshade vegetables (tomatoes, potatoes, eggplants and peppers). Once you've gone a few weeks without them in your diet, try adding them back in, one at a time, for a few days to determine which is the culprit.
Tumeric is one of the best anti-imflammatory herbs out there, so use it liberally in your cooking as well as taking a supplement that includes black pepper to increase absorption. A good quality fish oil can help as well.
Exercise may be difficult for you, so be mindful and move your body moderately. These Qigong exercises should be done first thing in the morning, every morning (or at least most mornings) to get the full effect. Never move the joint to the point of causing pain. Slight discomfort may be felt at the beginning, as the stagnation is moved from your joints, so go slow. It is better to do these exercises for a few minutes every day than to jump in and do them for a long time, but then quickly get burnt out and not do them at all.
Acupuncture increases circulation, reduces inflammation, and breaks up the stagnation that causes pain in the joints. Your acupuncturist will treat your whole body, and address your individual root causes for the pain.
Acupuncture works in a series of treatments, so don't expect to fully heal years of chronic pain in one session. Your treatments will build upon one another, and the improvement will be gradual, but palpable. By sticking to a healthy diet, using herbs, and practicing qigong daily for 10 minutes, this will help your acupuncture treatments to be more effective.
Have you tried any of these suggestions? Did you find relief? Do you have anything else to add to the list? Let us know below.
Elizabeth Allen is an acupuncturist in Greenville, South Carolina, specializing in pain management, women’s health, and psycho-emotional issues. She’s passionate about helping people feel their best and sharing her wealth of knowledge with the community. Elizabeth is the owner of AcuMed Spa, on Wade Hampton Boulevard. Appointments can be made by calling 864-451-4313, or scheduled online here.