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Finding Relief from Rheumatoid Arthritis: A Holistic Approach with Naturopathic Medicine

Written by Portland Clinic of Natural Health on April 24, 2023

Rheumatoid arthritis (RA) is a chronic autoimmune disease that affects approximately 1% of the population worldwide. It is characterized by inflammation in the joints, which can lead to pain, stiffness, and loss of mobility.

Naturopathic doctors take a holistic approach to treating RA, focusing on addressing the underlying causes of inflammation in the body. This involves supporting the body's innate healing mechanisms, reducing inflammation, and promoting overall health and well-being. (1)

One of the first steps in treating RA from a naturopathic perspective is identifying and removing any triggers that may be causing inflammation in the body. This can include food sensitivities, environmental toxins, and chronic stress. A naturopathic doctor may recommend an elimination diet or other testing to identify food sensitivities and make dietary recommendations based on individual needs.

Another important component of managing RA from a naturopathic perspective is supporting the body's immune system. This can involve incorporating immune-modulating supplements, such as vitamin D, probiotics, and omega-3 fatty acids, into the diet. These supplements can help to reduce inflammation and support immune function.

In addition to dietary changes and supplements, naturopathic doctors may also recommend other therapies to manage RA symptoms. These may include acupuncture, massage therapy, and herbal medicine. Acupuncture and massage therapy can help to reduce pain and improve mobility, while herbal medicine can be used to reduce inflammation and support overall health. (2)

Stress reduction techniques, such as meditation and yoga, can also be helpful in managing RA symptoms. Chronic stress can contribute to inflammation in the body, and learning how to manage stress can help to reduce RA symptoms. (3)

It's important to note that while naturopathic treatments can be effective in managing RA, they should not be used as a replacement for medical treatment. It's important to work with a healthcare professional to develop a comprehensive treatment plan.

In conclusion, a naturopathic approach to managing RA involves identifying and addressing the underlying causes of inflammation in the body. This includes dietary changes, immune-modulating supplements, and other therapies to support overall health and well-being. By taking a holistic approach, individuals with RA can manage their symptoms and improve their quality of life.

Resources:

  1. Sharma D, Chaubey P, Suvarna V. Role of natural products in alleviation of rheumatoid arthritis-A review. J Food Biochem. 2021 Apr;45(4):e13673. doi: 10.1111/jfbc.13673. Epub 2021 Feb 24. PMID: 33624882.
  2. Venkatesha SH, Rajaiah R, Berman BM, Moudgil KD. Immunomodulation of Autoimmune Arthritis by Herbal CAM. Evid Based Complement Alternat Med. 2011;2011:986797. doi: 10.1155/2011/986797. Epub 2010 Dec 22. PMID: 21234398; PMCID: PMC3014691.
  3. Polinski KJ, Bemis EA, Feser M, Seifert J, Demoruelle MK, Striebich CC, Brake S, O'Dell JR, Mikuls TR, Weisman MH, Gregersen PK, Keating RM, Buckner J, Nicassio P, Holers VM, Deane KD, Norris JM. Perceived Stress and Inflammatory Arthritis: A Prospective Investigation in the Studies of the Etiologies of Rheumatoid Arthritis Cohort. Arthritis Care Res (Hoboken). 2020 Dec;72(12):1766-1771. doi: 10.1002/acr.24085. Epub 2020 Nov 6. PMID: 31600025; PMCID: PMC7145743.

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