Arthritis – you really don't need to suffer so much |

There are many theories as to what causes arthritis such as an inherited predisposition, getting older (even though children can have arthritis), obesity or a previous trauma or injury. The various kinds of arthritis have some degree of auto-immune involvement and the mechanism for maintaining healthy joints is compromised. Like most conditions there is an element of both psychological and emotional involvement. It has been known for years to alternative practitioners that in cases of arthritis there is some degree of liver involvement. So treatments will probably involve prescribing herbs that are good for the liver (if the case study reveals there is a need). At The Haven Team have been working with pain and painful conditions for over 20 years with success. Alternative practitioners look at various aspects of arthritis – a) digestive function b) a close look at food consumption c) toxic build-up d) circulation e) pain management f) nutritional deficiencies g) emotional state Inflammation, toxic build-up and food intolerances need to be addressed. Due to people’s diets and lifestyles these days, inflammation is playing an even bigger role in degenerative diseases.

A compromised intestinal lining allows larger than normal molecules to escape into the blood stream, these are viewed as foreign invaders by the immune system. This sequence of events along with other factors creates an abundance of Circulating Immune Complexes known as CICs. Under normal circumstances the immune system seeks them out and renders them harmless. In arthritis and other chronic conditions the body gets overburden, they accumulate and overwhelm the system. So too many CICs end up circulating around your body. The organs of elimination such as the kidneys and liver get overworked. These CICs can end up for instance in the joints and connective tissue where they can cause damage to the joint or in other part of the body. Inflammation plays a huge role in most chronic diseases (like arthritis), degeneration, accelerated aging, pain and suffering. So, anti-inflammatory strategies play a vital role such as taking anti-inflammatory foods, drinks and supplements. Anti-oxidants also play a large role and huge amounts are needed on a daily basis from food and supplements but sadly most people eat a diet low in anti-oxidants.

To make things worse people eat foods that encourage even more free-radical damage which in turn means the body’s requirement for anti-oxidants is even higher. So these higher levels of CICs floating around encourage the immune system to form antibodies that seek out and destroy however, in the process normal tissue can be compromised especially without enough antioxidants and other nutrients with the resulting consequence of pain, inflammation and stiffness. These symptoms are often accompanied by tiredness and fatigue. Nature has provided a world of natural products that are effective anti-inflammatory substances, reducing the systemic inflammation in your body without any negative side-effects. You do however, need to change your food habits and get rid of the junk in your life, today. Most junk/processed foods cause inflammation, more often than not are high in free-radicals and low in essential nutrients like anti-oxidants.

Herbs that help arthritis – Milk Thistle, Dandelion, Burdock and Artichoke (science has verified these herbs as being excellent for the liver. Anti-oxidants that help arthritis – vitamin C, vitamin E, and numerous plant compounds. Foods that help arthritis – lots and lots of fresh fruits and vegetables – rich in anti-oxidants and plant compounds 2 days a week – just fruits and vegetables, for a few weeks. Dry Skin Brushing – help the skin and lymphatic system to do a better job of elimination Light exercise – get the circulation working better. Constipation – herbal combinations for colon cleanse. Hydrate – most people are dehydrated due to their food and drink choices and lifestyles. Spices that help arthritis – cinnamon and ginger both encourage the circulation (cinnamon especially to the joints) and have anti-inflammatory properties. Sulphur – containing supplements such as MSM, SAMe, glucosamine and amino acids like cysteine, methionine, glutathione and taurine. Sulphur helps joint repair. Omega 3 – is a good anti-inflammatory however, do not take this supplement if you are taking a pharmaceutical blood thinner.

If you are suffering from joint and muscle problems due to an auto-immune problem such as rheumatoid arthritis, lupus and fibromyalgia you probably have what is known as a “leaky gut”. It doesn’t mean what you might think, it does mean however, your gut is allowing molecules that are usually too large to pass through the gastrointestinal lining and enter the bloodstream, which encourages the formation of “circulating immune complexes”(CIC), implicated in the production of an inflammatory response resulting in joint and muscle pain. Compromised gastrointestinal lining. How could you end up with a compromised gastrointestinal lining? Well, more than the occasional use of anti-biotics, the contraceptive pill, poor food choices, nutritional deficiencies and non-steroidal anti-inflammatory agents (NSAIDS). NSAIDS of course are often used for arthritic type conditions, but they can further decrease intestinal integrity, which leads to a worsening of the overall disease process in the long run.

There are specific nutrients which coat and soothe the intestinal lining, thus allowing the gastrointestinal lining to heal. They are known as demulcents also known as mucilaginous, soothing herbs such as marshmallow root, psyllium, slippery elm and okra. Plus L-glutamine, an amino that helps regenerate the lining of the gastrointestinal tract and improves the health of the villi which are tiny finger like protrusions. These tiny villi dramatically increase the surface area for better absorption of nutrients. Gingko biloba is well known for its effects on brain function, acts to increase circulation to the small capillaries within the GI tract. There is much research done on this herb and it also acts as an anti-oxidant, which can help to strengthen the intestinal lining. Other research shows Gingko bilbo significantly inhibited histamine release, which is part of the picture due to the leaky gut syndrome. Vitamin C also has anti-histamine properties. Dysbiosis. This the growth of “unfriendly” microorganisms in the intestines, including bacteria, yeast, fungi and parasites, is not widely recognized by conventional medicine as a contributory facture in chronic disease and even arthritis. The wrong bowel flora also doesn’t help matters. A variety of herbs act to disarm the growth of pathogenic organisms, while building and supporting the immune system. It is very important to establish the correct bowel flora, the ‘friendly’ bacteria, by taking pro-biotics.

A healthy bowel flora promotes a healthy immune function, and protects against the overgrowth of pathogenic microorganism, as well as providing an anti-allergenic barrier. L. acidophilus generates lactic acid, acetic acid, and hydrogen peroxide, which can interfere with the proliferation of disease causing organisms. Barberry root contains berberine, this compound helps the liver filter out bacteria, and can inhibit the growth of streptococci and other microorganisms, helps to kill parasites and is a tonix to the intestinal tract. Research has shown that this compound berberine can also act as a natural Cox II inhibitor. Citrus Seed Extract contains proanthocyanadins (OPC’s), biologically active flavonoids which help to heal an inflamed irritated intestinal lining and has a very high level of activity against micro-organisms. Black Walnut Hulls have been used for centuries as “vermifuge” (anti-intestinal worms). It’s the extremely high levels of tannic acid which tonifies the digestive tract and helps rid the body of parasites. Oregano Leaf Oil has been found to be an effective broad spectrum anti-microbial agent, with no known negative effects. Poor circulation Is not good under any circumstances as it reduces oxygen and nutrients to cells, this can mean for example intracellular fluid in the joints is more likely to stagnate and toxins build up.

Stretching, sensible exercises, massage, lymphatic drainage can help. Capsiacin is a compound found in hot chilli peppers. Scientific studies have proven that Capsiacin decreases substance P which is a chemical that seems be in higher levels in the peripheral nerves of people with arthritis, fibromyalgia and other painful conditions. Capsiacin can be found in topical creams that are rubbed into the joints and besides reducing levels of substance P, capsaicin increases the circulation to the area. Boswellia comes from the bark of particular tree in India. Used for centuries in Ayurvedic medicine (a system of healing) to treat chronic pain and inflammation of arthritis. Research has revealed one of the anti-inflammatory properties of boswellia has the ability to inhibit leukotriene biosynthesis through blocking 5-lipoxgenase (5-LO). Pharmaceutical drugs as we all know are effective pain killers, of that there is no doubt. However, their long term use will do nothing for your long term health nor go anyway to helping solve the cause of your suffering. NSAIDs can actually make your health worse, by increasing the problem of your compromised gut lining and just as importantly by depleting the very nutrients necessary for joint repair. COX 2 inhibitors came out onto the market with a huge fanfare, these where classed as safer. Of course we now know they had serious side-effects, so serious one of them, Vioxx had to be withdrawn. Aspirin is something that arthritis suffers also take but again nature has provided the answer (well infact the pharmaceutical company based there product Aspirin on this plant). White Willow Bark (Salix alba) contains glycosides, which are converted in the body into active salicylates, similar to the chemicals found in Aspirin. The good news is the natural plant compound does not cause gastrointestinal bleeding, something Aspirin is well known for.

Acupuncture used for many centuries in Traditional Chinese Medicine, has proven over and over again to help arthritis suffers in so many ways. At The Haven Health Spa we have over 20 years experience with arthritis and other painful conditions, helping many people from around the world drastically improve their quality of life. The ultimate goal is to address the cause of the illness through investigation piecing all the pieces together like a puzzle by exploring diet, lifestyle, intolerances, toxic load, nutritional deficiencies, degree of hydration, gut integrity, presence of microorganisms and psychological factors. It is impossible to have great results unless changes are made that will positively affect your disease process that will lead to increased wellness and decreased pain. However, as the saying goes “Rome was not built in a day” it does take time.