Rheumatoid arthritis is a debilitating disorder characterized by stiffness, throbbing and swelling of the joints and muscles. It can also set the stage for a host of other symptoms including depression, fatigue and irritability.
And while many sufferers resort to toxic and harmful medications such as Enbrel and Remicade to ease their pain, researchers at UCLA are in the midst of investigating the effects of a much more natural, less abrasive treatment known as tai chi, a Chinese martial art that combines relaxation and mild physical exercise that gets patients moving in a gentle way.
Tai Chi Studies
Recent research has indicated that tai chi can preserve range of motion in patients, which could reduce disability. Moreover, a 2003 UCLA study demonstrated that a modified form of tai chi--known as tai chi chih--boosts the immune system's response to a common virus and prevents outbreaks of shingles, a skin condition that strikes the elderly.
This same modified form of tai chi--a standardized series of 20 movements that combine meditation, relaxation and components of aerobic exercise--is being tested in two ongoing UCLA studies to see if the martial art is more effective than current behavioral techniques in helping sufferers deal with their condition:
One of the studies will involve over 200 volunteers who will attend classes for 12 weeks in tai chi chih, health education or cognitive behavioral therapy, which teaches coping skills to manage RA symptoms.
The second study, which will involve 60 subjects who will attend classes for 16 weeks, will compare whether tai chi chih or relaxation training is better at helping patients cope and examine how well each method eases the severity of the condition.
The participants' progress will be evaluated based on their feedback and objective measures of their functioning. Researchers believe the exercises may not only improve physical strength and flexibility, but also boost mood and relieve stress.
Los Angeles Times July 18, 2005
Rheumatoid arthritis is an example of an autoimmune disease in which your body starts destroying itself. It can be a devastating disease and can destroy your health.
The U.S. "health" care system has evolved to one that focuses on using drugs and surgery as its primary treatment tool. This works exceptionally well for some diseases like acute trauma but for other diseases, especially autoimmune diseases like rheumatoid arthritis and multiple sclerosis, they are abysmal failures.
Over the last 15 years I have probably treated over 3,000 patients with rheumatoid arthritis, so I am speaking from a considerable level of experience when it comes to practical treatment of rheumatoid arthritis. If you are interested in my extensive comments on how I treat this disease you can review my RA Protocol.
Most specialties in medicine have some value from a natural medical perspective. ER medicine when used for the treatment of acute trauma is one that natural medicine would likely change very little if at all. However, the specialty of rheumatology, from my perspective, has absolutely no reason to exist.
Nearly every rheumatologist is absolutely clueless about the cause of the disease they are treating and they rely on toxic medications that do absolutely nothing to treat the underlying cause. Instead, they devastate a person's immune system.
While I am not a big prescription writer, I do advise their occasional use. However, there are some drugs that should ALWAYS be avoided. One such group of drugs is the interferons.
I have never seen any condition where they were indicated and did not cause more harm than good. ALL interferon drugs should be avoided as they are loaded with severe side effects.
They call them interferon because they interfere with your immune system. While they are touted as "natural" products, they are given in doses that are completely out of tune with your body's delicate feedback loop and as a result devastate your immune system.
Most people do not understand the immune system so drug companies can get away with this deception. But if you consider a similar situation, you will immediately understand how foolish using interferons are.
Using high-dose interferon therapy is like giving an insulin-dependent diabetic thousands of units of insulin because his pancreas didn't produce it in sufficient quantities. While it is true that the diabetic needs insulin, when it is given in massive doses it will kill the person due to hypoglycemia. What we do in type 1 diabetes is seek to measure the blood sugar and provide the insulin in doses the body needs.
Nothing similar is done with interferon therapy. This is largely as a result of no simple inexpensive test to use. But just because the test does not exist is no reason to use this treatment. While patients given interferon don't die acutely like diabetics given large doses of insulin, they die slower deaths due to the uncontrolled abuse of their immune system.
Other natural products like tumor necrosis factor that suppress your immune system should also be avoided because they also devastate your immune system.
Getting back to the above article, I am a firm believer in exercise, but for those with seriously impaired joints, gentler exercise like Tai Chi make perfect sense. One needs to be very careful, as when your joints are inflamed exercises like running can cause permanent joint damage due to the excessive amount of inflammation present. A simple key to follow is that if you have pain two hours after exercise that specific exercise was likely too aggressive for your joints in their current state of inflammation.
Gary Craig's Comment:
The Emotional Freedom Technique (EFT) has also had many successes in helping with rheumatoid arthritis. Usually, this is done by addressing unresolved emotional contributors to the disease.
Raul Vergini, MD, for example, writes up a rheumatoid arthritis case on the EFT Website wherein he states about his client's progress ... "A pain in the jaw that she had everyday for months after the jaw operation (diagnosed as neuralgia) disappeared. She walked much better, and for the first time her legs moved "correctly" during walking without the usual robot-like motion. She was much less stiff than usual and she was able to quickly raise from the seat without using the hands as support."
Note: Those without an EFT background can receive an orientation by getting the free EFT Get Started Package, including a free download of the 79-page EFT Manual (it includes all the basics). Those wishing to save time and dive right in can get our very affordable training videos.
Gary Craig is a pioneering developer of EFT, a profoundly effective emotional/mental healing approach. Dr. Mercola attributes much of the incredible and permanent patient successes at his clinic, The Optimal Wellness Center, to the fact that EFT is used with every patient to address all three levels of healing: mind, body and spirit. Of the thousands of natural treatments Dr. Mercola has studied and used in his 20 years of practicing medicine, he feels that EFT is the greatest healing technique that exists.