ARTHRITIS PAIN RELIEF TIPS AND TRICKS
First, what is arthritis? (Source: Arthritis Foundation)
Simply put it is painful inflammation of the joints. There are over 100 different types of arthritis... Symptoms are joint pain, swelling, stiffness, a loss of range of motion, plus pain can be moderate to severe, coming and going, etc. Diagnosing arthritis is complex, but we are not focusing on diagnosis. That is for you and your doctor to do together.
What can you do about arthritis pain?
Here are a few GENERAL actions you can take to relieve the pain of arthritis.
Regular non-impact physical activity (water exercise is excellent)
Maintaining a healthy weight (diet is #1, eating fresh healthy food)
Strengthening the muscles around the joint for added support
Balancing activity with rest (a good night’s sleep is priceless)
Using hot and cold therapies (ice packs, warm water soaks, sauna)
Qigong can be used for relief from arthritic discomfort as well
What is Qigong?
Life is energy. Qi (pronounced “chee”) is the word for that life-force energy. Qi is everywhere, it’s in the earth, the galaxy, and your body. Qigong is meditation with movement; a conscious form of very gentle exercise. Qigong enhances the body’s natural healing abilities, it helps you to cultivate Qi through slow movements, smooth breathing, and focused thoughts.
The Chinese physician believes Qi imbalance is the cause of many illnesses. An emphasis is put on rebuilding the overall health and strength of spirit of the person, restoring a proper supply of Qi and blood to the body’s cells.
Aquatic Qigong called Ai Chi is taught in the warm saltwater pool at Paradise.
Theory: There are 3 levels of relaxation. The first level is postural relaxation. The second is relaxation of the muscles & tendons. The third is deep relaxation reaching into the internal organs, allowing you to sense their state. In the case of Qigong treatment for arthritis, when you have reached the third level of relaxation you can lead the qi deeply into the joint where it will repair the damage. And so the Qigong treatment must begin with relaxed and gentle movements to smoothly increase Qi circulation. The first stage of treatment is to learn how to relax and avoid muscle/tendon tension and stress, which can increase pressure on the joint and continue to damage it. (This is why water is wonderful, the buoyancy takes all the stress off the joints.) You must also place your mind on the tender joints. The more you bring your mind deeply into the joint and relax it, the more Qi will circulate smoothly and freely to repair the damage. The best time to practice Qigong is in the morning, it gets your energy flowing after being still all night.
Practical: XU HONGTAO MEDICAL QIGONG SELF MASSAGE
Sitting comfortably with relaxed muscles, take 9 slow deep breaths, women L (left) hand over R(right), Men R hand over L, placed on the low belly. Your mind is calm focusing on what is going on inside your body. Visualize energy in your body moving, taking away stagnant or stale Qi.
- Warm your hands by rubbing them together 9 or 18 times
- Make 3 slow circles around your eyes, feel the warmth from your hands
- Brush your hands over & around your ears 3 times, combing your hair back
- Make 3 sweeping strokes down the back of your neck and shoulders
- Make 3 sweeping strokes downward on the chest
- Make 3 sweeping strokes downward on the front of your hips
- Make 3 strokes down reaching as high as you can on the kidney region (low back)
- Make 3 inward circles around kneecaps, 3 outward circles around kneecaps
- Make 3 long sweeping strokes down the outside of the legs
- Make 3 long sweeping strokes UP the inside of the legs
- Make 3 circle strokes around the elbow joint, women L then R, men R then L
- Make 3 long strokes down each arm, women L then R, men R then L
REPEAT 3, 6 or 9 times, ending as you started, sitting comfortably… etc.
Some more tips for success:
- Do not do heavy exercises when inflamed, gently massage the joint & do light Qigong.
- When you have less pain & stiffness, take advantage & practice a little more.
- Don’t overdo it. If you have significant pain 2 hours after, you overdid it.
- Practice a comfortable length of time and gradually increase the repetitions.
- Focus your mind on the body part, imagine breathing in and out of the joint.
- Practice in nature for maximum benefits.
- Bundle up if cold increases your arthritis pain.
- As always, your doctor is the one to talk to before beginning a new exercise routine.
- This Qigong self massage is a tiny sampling of the EXPANSIVE knowledge in traditional Chinese Medicine.
I hope this helps you get relief.
Starr Nixdorf, ATRIC