Today is the start of Rhematoid Arthritis Awareness Week run by the National Rheumatoid Arthritis Society.
Rheumatoid Arthritis is an auto immune condition, where the body attacks the lining of the joints. This causes inflammation, pain and stiffness.If left untreated, the joint can lose its shape and alignment and lead to permanent disability.
- Rheumatoid arthritis can affect people of any age. Around three quarters of people with rheumatoid arthritis are first diagnosed when of working age and women are three times as likely as men to have the disease.
- Rheumatoid arthritis is an often misunderstood disease, confused with osteoarthritis which is commonly a wear and tear disease generally affecting the older population.
- More than 400,000 people in the UK (around 1%) have rheumatoid arthritis costing the NHS approximately £560 million per year. The National Audit Office estimate that the total cost of RA to the UK economy is £4.8 billion per year
The conventional medical approaches to treating RA include medication and sometimes surgery. To complement this, there are also holistic treatments and natural health products which can help to ease inflammation and pain.
Holistic Treatments for Rheumatoid Arthritis
In terms of the treatments I offer, the most useful is Aromatherapy massage
With aromatherapy massage, there are a number of beneficial effects for sufferers of RA:
1) pain relief and decreased stiffness, increased mobility in the joints from the massage
2) reduction of inflammation due to the use of essential oils in the massage oil. Essential oils are absorbed into the bloodstream during an aromatherapy massage and so continue to work after your treatment has ended.
3) improvement in mood levels due to the release of the "happy" hormones during massage
Please note, during an acute flare up where the joints are very painful, massage would not be advisable. In such cases, I would advise Reiki as this doesn't involve any massage or manipulation of the body, is deeply relaxing, can bring pain relief and can also help to improve mood levels. Reiki can also be carried out in a comfortable chair for those who find it painful to lie down on a massage couch.
Products for Rheumatoid Arthritis
I also create customsied organic Aromatherapy massage oils for clients and these are available in 100ml and 250ml sizes. Following a consultation, I bascially choose a blend of essential oils which are suitable for your condition. This massage oil can then be used preferably after bathing on a daily basis or as and when needed.
Neal's Yard, who I work with as an indpendent consultant, also sell a range of useful ready made products which could help with RA. Those include:
Bath Products: Seaweed and Arnica, Aromatic Bathing Oil
Massage Oil: Ginger and Juinper (sometimes only available during autumn/winter) or Aromatic body oils
Body Butters: Aromatic Body Butter
Joint Supplement - which promotes healthy joints and muscles. *If you are taking other medication, please refer to your GP before taking any supplements.
DIY Make Your Own Products
If you are interested in making your own organic aromatherapy products, Neal's Yard who sell a range of unscented base products and organic essential oils.
- Create Organic Face and Body Lotion
- Create Organic Ointment - which is a cream texture
- Create Organic Bath Oil
- Create Organic Hair and Body Wash - please bear in mind that if you use essential oils in a product that you apply and wash off soon after, the essential oils will not have chance to absorb into your bloodstream.
In terms of unscented oils to use for facial or body oils, there is Almond, Grapeseed, Argan or Rosehip. You can also use the Omega 3.6.9 and Beauty Oils which are actually an internal supplement but perfectly safe to use on the skin. If you live local to me I can also order the Create Unscented Massage oil for you as this isn't available on my personalised website.
Essential oils are highly versatile, working both on the physical body and on our psychological and emotional natures. This makes aromatherapy one of the best treatments for holistic health in it has positive effects on all aspects of our being.
Depending on the method used to intake the oils; they are either absorbed into our system via the Skin (massage) or our Lungs and Nasal passages (inhalation). Note, if you use essential oils in a wash off product e.g shower gel, facial wash, soap they are not on the skin long enough to absorb fully. You will have minimal absorption through inhalation only but not through the skin
Some of the most useful essential oils for Rheumatoid Arthritis include:
Inflammation: Lavender, Chamomile
Pain & Stiffness Relief: Lavender, Chamomile, Sweet Marjoram, *Black Pepper, *Ginger - *these are warming, stimulating oils so may not be suitable during acute inflammation flare ups and more suited to ease stiffness.
Mood Uplifters: Orange, Bergamot, Ylang Ylang, Blends of essential oils: optimism, calming.
Your essential oil will come with an information leaflet which contains the correct dilutions. If you are local to me (Stockport SK1) I also run a Level 1 Workshop in using Essential oils safely. Neal's Yard also sell a book called Essential Oils which is a useful reference guide.
Well that's all folks, I hope you have found this post useful and do remember to check out the Rheumatoid Arthritis Society website as well. There is lots of useful tips and helpful information for people who have this painful and debilitating condition.
Until next time