health tip 01 – THERAPY FOR ARTHRITIS


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THERAPY FOR ARTHRITIS
Health Tip 01
Therapists for patients of arthritis have a scientifically-approved formula which is very similar to the principles of yoga, an ancient thousand-year-old practice among Hindus in India.
Both this modern therapy and yoga rely on the principle of stretching muscles rather than the opposite of flexing them. Flexing is a form of exercise or muscle building. Stretching has a different purpose, that of healing or ‘calming’ the muscles, ligaments and joints. The natural reaction of the body is for muscles to contract if there is pain. Arthritic pain contracts muscles and stretching has a healing effect.
This therapy does not apply to osteo-arthritis where the linings at the joint have become thin from age. The only cure for osteo-arthrities is to re-thicken this lining, which is difficult if not almost impossible. Modern prescription recommends glucosamine as the active ingredient for thickening. However, this takes so long, tablets for six months to a year, and the effect is often minimal, that doctors say there is really no cure for this aging process.
This therapy then applies to muscle-ligament arthritis, rather than osteo- or bone arthritis. Therapy for latter is so simple. You do not need a therapist or therapy equipment. The goal is simply to stretch the muscles and ligaments where the arthritic pain is. It is best if you do this under a pool of hot-springs water. The effect is more profound. But for normal everyday therapy, doing it at home is good enough.
You can use the example below in healing shoulder arthritis to apply to other parts of the body. The shoulder muscles, ligaments and nerves extend to the back of the neck and to the arms all the way to the fingers. For shoulder joint arthritis, medical therapy employs three basic methods –
1
In a standing position, place the arm of the painful arthritic shoulder upward, no bending of the elbow, and stretch it as much as you can upward, count up to ten, then put it down very slowly. All un-stretching movements must be very slow. Do this three to five to ten times, or up to how much you can stand it. You can do this also in a reclining position. A better way is too lean move your arm upward, lean it against a wall, and push your weight against the wall. This way, you can apply more pressure with less effort since you use your weight against the wall.
2
In a standing position, move the arm to the opposite side horizontally across your chest (to the right for left shoulder), again, no bending of the elbow, no twisting of the torso, then hold it firm using your other arm towards your chest to stretch the back shoulder muscles, count to ten, then put it down very slowly. Do this three to five to ten times. A variation involves using a can or stick waist high in length. Place the stick in between your right toes to hold it in place. Swing the cain with your right hand to the left as far as you can, no bending of the elbow, no twisting of the torso.
3
Hold a thin light bamboo or wooden stick (you can use a walking cane) with the hand where the shoulder is arthritic. Hold the stick vertically at your back, take the upper end at the back with your other hand, and pull as much as you can to stretch shoulder muscles, count to ten, then put it down very slowly. Do this three to five times to ten times.
You can make your own variations to these methods once you know what muscles-ligaments-joints you are trying to stretch. The stretching can be painful but should gradually recede when you are getting healed. You can make your own techniques in stretching other arthritic parts of the body. For example, for the knee, there are two positions, stretching by straightening fully the leg and bending fully. A reclining position is recommended. For the hips, stretch by going to a fetal position and using your arms to hold the leg at the knee towards your torso. You can also simply spread your legs sideways, no bend at the knee. Use the same principle for arthritis of the fingers, wrist, elbow, toes, ankles, and neck. Stretching face muscles is a beauty treatment in yoga. You may look fidiculous with your funny faces but it relaxes your face muscles.
Breathing Therapy
Modern therapy and yoga are astoundingly similar, except yoga has a breathing technique. In yoga, you go to a stretching position slowly for eight seconds while breathing in, hold the position for another eight seconds while holding your breath, then un-stretching slowly for eight seconds while breathing out. You can use this breathing technique in your arthritic stretch.
Yoga also has a powerful breathing exercise prior to stretching position or meditation, which clears the mind and calms the spirit. A lady teacher employed this to her rowdy over-active kids with amazing effects. The kids became quieter, more attentive and focused, calmer, more open to listen and learn, and more friendly to each other. It becomes a pleasure to teach. This is also good before a conflict dialogue where parties are agitated or angry. It is also very effective preparation to meditation or prayer. More on this in another health tip.
The yoga breathing exercise, which can be employed as a preparation to arthritic stretching, is as follows –
1
In yoga, this is done in a lotus position. But for ordinary people, sitting on a chair is fine. Choose a place where there are no distractions or noise.
2
Remove all disturbing thoughts. Keep the mind blank. Calm your body and spirit. Close your eyes. Relax all your muscles, make them completely limp.
3
Keep your spine straight, no bending forward. Breathe in slowly for eight seconds. There are two stages in breathing in to put in as much air to your lungs as possible –
3a
Breath in slowly for four seconds while letting your belly swell (this brings the air in to the lowest portion below the diaphragm).
3b
Continue breathing in for four seconds to let your upper chest swell (this brings the air to the uppermost portion above the diaphragm).
4
Hold your breath for eight seconds, or as long as you can, without exaggeration.
5
Breath out slowly until all the air is completely out for eight seconds. This is done in the same way as breathing in, namely, empty the lower portion as the belly contracts first, then the upper portion as the chest contracts.
6
Rest for a few minutes before doing this again. Do it for three times.
7
You may feel a slight euphoria or ‘high’ from over-oxygenation, similar to hyper-ventilation. If so, you can stop as your breathing exercise is already sufficient, or you can go on if you can tolerate it.
Pass this on to your arthritic friends.
eastwind
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