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Natural treatments for psoriatic arthritis

Psoriatic arthritis is a chronic disease marked by inflammation in the joints and skin. This disease is progressive, worsening over time. If left untreated, psoriatic arthritis can lead to joint damage.
Psoriatic arthritis (PsA) is a form of arthritis that mainly affects people who have psoriasis or those with a family history of psoriasis. Often, those with PsA have joint pain and inflammation combined with the inflamed, itchy, red patches of skin covered with silvery scales that are typical of psoriasis itself.
The progression of PsA may be slowed with traditional therapies and the symptoms may ease. Alternative remedies may complement these therapies and may help people with PsA feel more in control of the disease.

Natural remedies.
Apple cider vinegar, when applied to psoriasis on the scalp, may help to treat PsA.
There are many natural remedies to try for PsA. Most of these do not have much scientific research supporting their use. The use of these remedies is backed mainly by anecdotal evidence.

Natural remedies for psoriatic arthritis include the following:

Apple cider vinegar. Apple cider vinegar has a lot of buzz for, supposedly, being a miracle cure-all. For treating PsA, people may find it useful if applied to patches of psoriasis on the scalp. However, this should be avoided if the areas are cracked and bleeding.
• Tea tree oil. This essential oil may ease skin inflammation caused by PsA. However, science is cautious to recommend this as a treatment because it may aggravate more sensitive skin.
• Oats. Adding oats to a bath or using oats in a paste can help relieve itchy patches of psoriasis. While there’s little scientific evidence supporting oats as a treatment for psoriasis, oats are highly regarded in folk medicine as one of nature’s best skin soothers.
• Turmeric. Turmeric is highly regarded for its anti-inflammatory properties. Studies have shownturmeric may be able to alter gene expression, easing PsA symptoms. People with PsA can either add the spice liberally to their food or take turmeric capsules.
• Capsaicin. Capsaicin is what makes chili peppers hot and may be useful by blocking pain receptors. Some research has also found that when used in over-the-counter creams, capsaicin may reduce psoriasis symptoms as well.
Aloe vera. This soothing balm from an aloe plant may provide cooling comfort for irritated patches of psoriatic skin. However, aloe vera should only be used topically and never ingested. Taking it orally may be dangerous.
• Epsom salts. A warm bath with Epsom salts may help reduce joint pain and inflammation. Epsom salts contain magnesium, a mineral that boosts bone health and may soothe itchy skin. Warm water also helps loosen joints and relieve pain. People with diabetes should be wary when using soaks of Epsom salts as they can stimulate the release of insulin.
• Oregon grape. Some studies suggest that applying creams with Oregon grape (Mahonia aquifolium) can ease psoriasis skin irritation. Like aloe vera, Oregon grape should only be used topically.
• Fish oil. Joint pain may be reduced by fish oil. Omega-3 fatty acids found in fish oil help block inflammation and ease painful swelling.
• Ginger. A root of ginger is well-known in folk medicine for having many anti-inflammatory properties. Some studies have shown that taking ginger three times a day can reduce knee pain caused by osteoarthritis.
When trying these natural remedies, people with PsA should remember that these remedies are not a substitute for prescribed treatments.

Alternative therapies

Massage therapy may help to alleviate joint pain and provide relief from arthritis-related discomfort.
There are a number of alternative therapies available to complement PsA treatment. These therapies should not replace the traditional treatments for PsA but can provide some additional relief and quality of life benefits.

Alternative therapies include the following:
Massage therapy. A massage therapist trained in dealing with PsA can help relieve joint discomfort and release tight muscles and joints. A massage can provide significant relief from arthritis-related discomfort.
Acupuncture. This technique involves sticking needles into various pressure points to relieve chronic pain. No studies show its usefulness for PsA but some patients with chronic pain do find acupuncture helpful.
• Acupressure. Acupressure involves putting pressure onto different points of the body to reduce pain and pressure, stimulate the immune system, and release tension.

 

Diet
Eating more healthily will not cure PsA but eating well does promote good health and well-being. People with PsA should strive to maintain a healthy weight and stay mindful of their diet.

 

Following these healthy eating tips may help:
• eating plenty of fruits and vegetables
• getting protein through lean meat, beans, and legumes
• choosing low-fat and fat-free dairy products
• avoiding refined sugar and bad carbohydrates such as processed white breads and pasta
• choosing whole grains when possible
• drinking plenty of water
Anyone with PsA may benefit from keeping a food journal and planning healthful meals.
Lifestyle tips
The symptoms of PsA often flare up during periods of stress or fatigue. It may help people with PsA to change their lifestyle to reduce stress since stress is associated with increased inflammation. Doing so also helps people to get adequate sleep so that the body can heal itself.
The following tips and suggestions may help:
Relaxing. Using aromatherapy, breathing techniques, and keeping a journal may help manage stress and promote relaxation.

Getting gentle exercise. Exercise is recommended for people with PsA. They may find yoga and tai chi particularly useful for helping to loosen stiff joints and release stress.
Meditating. Meditation may result in a deeper level of relaxation that may help alleviate stress, so helping prevent or manage symptoms of PsA.
Getting enough sleep. Sleep is crucial to allowing inflammation to heal and to promoting good health.
Taking a warm bath. Spa therapy, including hydrotherapy like a warm bath, can loosen joints and ease pain and inflammation associated with PsA. These therapies can also promote relaxation and decrease stress.
Practicing mindfulness. Being mindful involves checking in with the body and taking stock of how its feeling. It also involves being aware of any situations that may cause unnecessary stress.
An increased sense of physical awareness can help people to catch a flare of symptoms early so that they deal with it before it worsens. Doing so may prevent a worse flare from occurring.
When combining lifestyle remedies with other forms of treatment for PsA, people may find an increased quality of life and more relief. However, lifestyle remedies and natural therapies are not a substitute for a doctor’s care and traditional treatments.

 

When to see a doctor
Anyone who thinks they are experiencing symptoms of PsA should see a doctor for diagnosis and to begin treatment. As the disease is progressive, beginning treatment early is crucial.
Anyone with psoriasis or a family history of psoriasis should be screened regularly for PsA by a doctor.
People with PsA should also see a doctor regularly and should speak to one before starting or changing treatments. This includes any natural or alternative remedies.
Some natural remedies may interact with prescribed medication or may not be recommended for pregnant or breast-feeding women.

 

 

 

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Manual Lymphatic Drainage and how it may help you.

Manual Lymph Drainage (MLD) is an advanced therapy in which a specifically trained therapist applies gentle, light, but precise hand movements to the skin, exerting different intensities of pressure to increase the activity of normal lymphatic vessels.

This encourages lymphatic fluid away from congested areas by bypassing ineffective or injured lymph vessels.

The treatment is very gentle and a typical session involves drainage of the neck, trunk, and the affected extremity (in that order), lasting approximately 40 to 60 minutes. The technique was pioneered by Doctor Emil Vodder in the 1930s for the treatment of chronic sinusitis and other immune disorders.

MLD benefits conditions such as:
Lymphoedema (Primary and Secondary)
Lipoedema
Injuries, including Sport Injuries
Toxins in the body and associated inflammatory conditions e.g sinusitis, eczema, digestive issues.
Pregnancy-related Swelling
Pre- and post-surgery
Hormonal Imbalance
Infertility
Lymphoedema
Lymphoedema (also Lymphedema) is a long-term (chronic) condition that causes swelling (oedema) in the body’s tissues. It can affect any part of the body but usually develops in the arms or legs. It develops when the lymphatic system cannot function normally. This may be as a result of damage to or removal of lymph nodes during treatment for cancer (Secondary Lymphoedema), or it may be
hereditary (Primary Lymphoedema).

If you are affected by this condition or are at risk of developing it due to recent cancer treatment, it is vital to keep yourself informed of potential triggers. It is recommended that you see an appropriately trained therapist as soon as possible.

Lipoedema
Lipoedema is a long-term (chronic) condition typically involving an abnormal build-up of enlarged fat cells in the legs, thighs and buttocks. It can be recognised by the extreme sensitivity of the skin and the presence of small lumps and bumps under the skin. The condition is more common in women but can affect men.

Treatment of Injuries
MLD works directly on the lymphatic system and is an effective, fast-working and pain-free technique, which assists the body in removing oedema (swelling) from an injury site.

Applying ice to an injury can prevent oedema. However, when the oedema is already present the waiting game begins and this can slow down the healing process and delay any necessary physiotherapy or physical therapy.

MLD speeds up the healing of fractures, torn ligaments and sprains and other sports injuries reducing the associated pain and getting you back to the sports field more quickly.

Detox
The lymphatic system is essentially the engine of the immune system and when that engine becomes blocked or sluggish it can have a negative impact on the entire body, from digestive issues, to congested sinuses, skin problems and poor energy levels.

MLD enhances the flow of fluid throughout the lymphatic system and improves the body’s ability to cleanse from the inside out, which is why it is a popular treatment for those interested in maintaining good health.

Pregnancy-related swelling
Self-care is important at this special time.

Mum’s-to-be can benefit greatly from regular sessions of MLD as it is a very relaxing therapy, helping to keep stress-levels in check and it relieves fluid congestion: e.g. swollen ankles, tired puffy eyes and swollen legs.

Post-Surgery
Recommended by many surgeons, MLD effectively and painlessly reduces bruising and oedema, accelerating the healing process and reducing the risk of infection and other complications.

Fertility
The lymphatic system is essentially the engine of the immune system and works hand in hand with the endocrine system (the body’s system of glands and hormones). Thus MLD, alongside other natural therapies and attention to diet and lifestyle, may assist the body to achieve balanced hormone levels, including luteinising hormone, which is responsible for ovulation.

Achieving and maintaining balance in the body can be a catalyst for conception as a lowered or impaired immune system causes the body to become prone to inflammation and disease.

The emotional impact of infertility also plays an important role. MLD gently stimulates the parasympathetic nervous system, which in turn calms the sympathetic nervous system, helping to reduce stress levels.

For more information you can contact Aideen directly on 0851528969.

Written by Aideen Schweppe

Lymphoedema and MLD

A cancer diagnosis is a difficult journey, and it’s only natural that you want to put it behind you as soon as your treatment is successfully completed, and you want to put it out of your mind until your follow-up appointment with your oncology team.

However, there is another important part of the journey and it is essential (if somewhat difficult, emotionally) to be informed about this so that you can take control of the situation.

Surgery, Radiation and Chemotherapy all take their toll on the body and it’s more important than ever to invest in self-care activities to help your mind and your body to recover.

In many cases lymph nodes may be removed or damaged during life-saving cancer treatment and the result is a change in the lymphatic system, which can become a big problem if it’s not dealt with.

Lymphatic fluid that normally flows through, and is filtered by, these missing lymph nodes suddenly runs out of road and, not having a clear path to follow, gathers in the spaces between the tissues, causing a swelling or oedema over time.

The result is a condition called Lymphoedema (also Lymphedema), which essentially means ‘lymph-swelling’.

Like any other condition, early diagnosis and management is key and this is why it is essential that patients at risk of developing the condition are informed of the condition, how to recognise it as early as possible and the do’s and don’ts to help prevent the onset of Lymphoedema for as long as possible.

Registering with an MLD (Manual Lymph Drainage) Therapist as soon as possible is the first step, but is often overlooked due to the emotional impact that cancer treatment has on the individual. It’s a difficult time, and it’s one more ‘bad-news’ story that you might prefer to avoid. However, the prognosis for those who receive Lymphoedema education and therapy as early as possible is far better than for those with severe oedema that has been untreated for a prolonged period of time.

Aideen offers consultations in a relaxed, welcoming environment and is here to help you educate yourself about Lymphoedema and MLD. Knowledge is power. When you are ready, we are here for you.

If you would like to discuss your treatment options and talk to Aideen just give her a call on 0851528969

Words written by Aideen

Kinesio-taping – why you need this in your life!

So you may be wondering, ‘what is this Kinesio-taping thing all about’?

 

Well, put in simple terms, Kinesio-taping is the application of a specific form of tape/sports tape in order to facilitate the body’s natural healing process, providing support and stability to muscles and joints without restricting the body’s range of motion.

 

The tape is applied to the skin by a specifically trained therapist, usually in conjunction with another therapy, massage for example.

The beauty of Kinesio-tape is it’s versatility. It is safe for all ages and can be left on the skin for several days.

It can be applied to enhance your Lymphatic Drainage treatment, whether you are having MLD (Manual Lymph Drainage) for treatment of Lymphedema, sports injuries or swollen ankles during pregnancy.

It’s also very beneficial for treating repetitive strain injuries, in conjunction with deep tissue massage.

And for pain management it can provide instant relief in many cases, a wonderful alternative to pain killers and anti-inflammatories (where appropriate).

 

As a therapist with many years experience in massage, MLD, yoga and nutrition, I am always learning and adding to my skill-set in order to provide the very best care for my clients. So it is my pleasure to be able to add this very effective technique to the list. On a case-by-case basis I can asses which combination of the above therapies is most suitable for your injury/ongoing issue.

 

All too often we ignore our aches and pains because we can’t quite put our finger on the cause, or indeed the most suitable solution. Ignoring the problem won’t make it go away!

 

Come and see me so we can talk about your treatment options. Call reception on 01 8310888

Aideen Schweppe (BA, Dip ITEC, MLD Vodder)

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