A Touch of Health - Massage Therapy in Mississauga: Polarity therapy, reflexology, relaxation, detoxification, and healing by a registered massage therapist.
Virginia Hanspiker, Registered Massage Therapist A Touch of Health - Massage Therapy in Mississauga: Reiki, reflexology, relaxation, detoxification, and healing by a registered massage therapist.
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Alternative Medicine for Arthritis

It has been quoted throughout time that ‘knowledge is power’ and this holds true today perhaps more than ever. Much has been written on the subject of arthritis because it’s such a widespread condition. There are many therapies and treatments, from natural to conventional drugs. Which to choose is largely dependent on the stage of your arthritis, its severity, and your personal preferences. Before moving to drug therapy, I believe it’s worth trying alternative treatments, mainly because there’s nowhere left to turn if you begin with the stronger, albeit faster-acting, conventional drug therapy. In addition, alternative therapies focus on strengthening your body’s inner healing system, rather than just aiming to dull the pain caused by dysfunction in a specific area.

Natural therapies aim to increase the body’s natural defence system which has started to attack itself, as with all autoimmune dysfunction, from allergies to arthritis or AIDS. The complementary therapeutic treatments (or ‘alternative therapy’) often includes specific supplements like the now widely-accepted GLS (glucosamine sulfate) with chondroitin, which is part of the ground substance in our body’s connective tissue. It’s important to know that GLS is related to polysaccharides, which are a form of sugar and can result in glucose increases for those who are diabetic. Anyone allergic to shellfish should also ask their pharmacist or naturopath first as to the source of a GLS supplement because most capsules on the market today are from shellfish sources. Additional supplements might include MSN and herbs like Devil’s Claw, Cat’s Claw or Pau d’arco, to name a few. Some of these, like GLS, enhance the body’s connective tissue while others like Devil’s Claw and pau d’arco are immune system enhancers.

A healthy nutritional program is also emphasized along with appropriate exercise. This is to nourish the weaker areas under attack as well as the nervous system, which is challenged with the limitations and discomfort arthritis can place on body and mind. Nutrition provides a base for strengthening body functions and changing the internal environment.

Exercise encourages joint flexibility and a “flushing out” of toxins. It’s important to remember the synovial fluid around our joint capsules flows only with movement. Avoiding activity actually worsens your condition. Aquatic exercise is often recommended because joint movement is cushioned from impact. It’s especially good for conditions like gout. Cold water flushes are highly recommended for those with inflammatory arthritis, while warm water soaks benefit those with stiffness, as seen in osteoarthritis and ankylosing spondylitis. People having the stiffing forms of arthritis would benefit from having a “spa tub” at home where they can have frequent soaks in warm water with the extra benefit of water movement for increased circulation.

How can massage therapy help? The softening of muscle tissue means less tension in all areas, from the body to the mind. Reduced muscle tension means less pull on bones and less aching. Softening muscle tissue permits better blood flow, providing nutrition for the body to heal those areas under stress. It also improves lymphatic drainage, our body’s waste removal system. Some forms of arthritis call for gentle manipulations, as with many battling rheumatoid arthritis; some forms require deeper tissue work for relief, such as with osteoarthritis. Part of the training of a registered massage therapist is Nutrition, Exercise, Rehabilitation and Hydrotherapy. All of these components can be addressed to give you a complete program from a natural perspective.

“Providing natural therapies to relieve stress or pain, and promote overall wellness.”

© Virginia Hanspiker, 2002-2006