ARTHRITIS: AN EXPERIMENTAL PROGRAM
Those who suffer from arthritis have their good days and their bad days. Pain and stiffness ebb and flow on a seeming unknown tide. Never knowing when the tide of symptoms will flood over them, life becomes a shuddering waiting game. But this very "good day, bad day" characteristic may hold a key to a natural course of treatment.
On the next few pages, you will find a program of lifestyle changes which have been known to have an influence on arthritis sufferers. The old quip "It must have been something I ate" may have some real credence for arthritis sufferers.
A person employing this program should record their daily pain level, degree of stiffness, and general sense of well-being, before, during and after each aspect of the program as outlined below.
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Maintain erect posture at all times. Do stretching of all muscles morning and evening; sitting, turning partly sideways, alternately right and left, flex one elbow and touch the opposite knee then alternate with the opposite elbow and knee. Then extend arms straight out in front; then arms straight out to side, then as far back as possible; legs straight out in front. Lying, full body stretch, arms overhead, feet extended, stretch! Then stretch knees toward the chest. Then do a straight leg raising stretch. Forced deep breathing, in and out through the nose for a full minute, once an hour.
B. TRIGGER POINTS
Trigger point therapy is employed for intense pain. Press any painful point in a muscle firmly for about one minute.
C. DIETARY MATTERS
Food allergy or intolerance is at least a factor in the cause of rheumatoid arthritis.
- Try the "Grape Cure." Start with a two-day fast, taking in nothing but water. Then take three meals of grapes daily, using various kinds, including fresh, dried and juice. After a few days of nothing but grapes, begin introducing a new food every second day. If pain or joint swelling occurs within 2 to 48 hours, the last food introduced is suspect and should be withdrawn. Use no animal products, sugars, citrus products, salt, spices, preservatives, alcohol, tea or coffee.
- One cup of chopped or blenderized celery should be taken each day. Of course if you are doing the "grape cure," the celery would be added after the grape fast.
- Chew all food to a cream. This is most important!
- Use a gluten free diet; no wheat, barley, rye, or oats.
- For flare-ups, go on an all raw food diet.
- Use a visible-fat-free diet; no margarine, mayonnaise, cooking fats, salad oils, or peanut butter. Read labels.
- Avoid carrageenan, guar gum and other gum thickeners.
- Avoid all free or refined sugars.
- Devise a low tryptophane diet. Foods high in tryptophane are: wheat, most nuts, all animal products. Corn, popcorn and fruits are lowest.
- Use the following daily when not on a special diet: twelve raw pecans, six apricot halves, cherries (1/4 to 1/2 cup), 1 t. blackstrap molasses.
- Fasting up to five days or more has an anti-inflammatory effect.
- Do an elimination and challenge diet. (Most important. The nightshades are often a problem. See the TOP 10 food groups most likely to cause trouble at the end of this article.)
D. HERBAL REMEDIES
- ALLERGY HERBS: Generally one should mix together no more than about 7 or 8 different herbs, using one cup four times daily, well after meals and at bedtime. Some beneficial herbs are: echinacea, golden seal, flaxseed ground to a powder (2-4 tablespoons a day on food), animu, feverfew, evening primrose oil (Efamol brand, 6-8 capsules daily in two equal doses), CoQ-10, nettles, herbs high in plant sterols (alfalfa, red raspberry, red clover, etc.), bromelain (two capsules three times a day), yucca, slippery elm, alfalfa, black cohosh, catnip, valerian root, sarsaparilla (increases circulation to joints), horsetail.
- ANTI-INFLAMMATORIES: White willow bark, licorice, boron (three mg. a day, or use a combination of boron, magnesium, and garlic), and hydrangea. Charcoal taken internally is cleansing; take one tablespoon mixed in water four times daily. You can substitute Bentonite clay, two teaspoons twice daily. Use capsaicin, topically, on all affected joints, 4-6 times daily until pain diminishes, then twice a day thereafter. A good tincture can be made by putting two heaping tablespoons of cayenne pepper in a small jar, then pouring in rubbing alcohol until it covers the pepper by one inch. Swirl daily for three weeks then pour up the alcohol and discard the pepper. This tincture may be rubbed on painful joints. DO NOT TAKE INTERNALLY. Comfrey, garlic, charcoal, castor oil or mud poultices are also useful in reducing inflammation. Sulphur baths using flowers of sulphur in the water may also bring relief although the smell may be offensive.
At least 95% of people with arthritis participating in an exercise program find real benefit. Learn to breathe deeply while exercising; most people hold their breath. Push exercise for all non-inflamed joints, increasing to 60 minutes daily.
Apply heat (sunbathing, sauna, bathtub, whirlpool, compresses, heating compresses, hot pads, hot water bottles, or heat lamps). Cold is more effective for pain relief and inflammation than heat in most cases, but not so pleasant to apply. Administer by ice massage, compresses, gel-filled refreezable cold packs or plastic bags filled with ice or mixed ice and water. Put a thin cloth between the cold pack and the skin. Limit to 20 minutes three times a day. Continue for two months. Good hydration is also a key requiring at least ten glasses of water or clear herbal tea every day.
G. WAX HEAT
Wax heat is unsurpassed for the hands. Dip them several times into molten paraffin at 126-130° in a crock pot. Allow to harden. Cover with plastic bags and heated towels for 20 minutes. Peel off wax and return it to the pot.
H. Wear stretch gloves each night on painful or stiff hands.
I. Use an electric blanket each night.
J. Weight loss, if you need it, is beneficial. Even a five pound loss can have benefit.
K. Spend time outdoors. This gives a general feeling of well-being as well as having other physiological benefits.
L. Sleep must be on schedule and from 6-8 hours.
M. Dress for warmth and comfort with the added dimension in mind of how easy the clothing will be to put on and take off.
N. Zinc is generally low in arthritics as are vitamins C, B6, and E so supplementation should be tried.
O. Avoid steroids.
P. Insure a daily bowel movement. Taking two tablespoons full of ground flax seed or bran is of benefit here. Also, two glasses of warm water upon rising and some mild exercise is very stimulatory of bowel action.
Q. Trust in God with all your heart.
R. James 5:16. Confess your faults one to another and be healed. This activates the beta-endorphins, which are usually depressed in patients with rheumatoid arthritis.
The majority of this content is taken from Dr. Agatha Thrash of Uchee Pines Institute, printed with permission by Wildwood Inn Health Retreat.