Extinguish Rheumatoid Arthritis Flare Ups Naturally

Extinguish Rheumatoid Arthritis Flare-Ups Naturally

If you have been diagnosed with Rheumatoid Arthritis (RA) or live with symptoms of RA, there are many natural remedies you can take to decrease the extensive pain. Rheumatoid Arthritis is a chronic disease in which the lining of the joints becomes inflamed to such an extent that pain and inability to function are the results. Because the cells of the immune system play an important role in this chronic inflammatory process, Rheumatoid Arthritis is typically classified as an autoimmune disease.

Below are several natural tips to keep those debilitating Rheumatoid Arthritis symptoms at bay:

✒ Rest and Relaxation

Try to get at least eight hours of sleep a night. However, keep in mind that many people with RA need more than that. Try taking a two-hour nap during the afternoon if you don't get enough sleep at night. If you're feeling overly stressed, guided imagery, deep breathing exercises, and muscle relaxation exercises can help you relax. Hypnosis, meditation, and massage may also help ease tension. Also, soak in an Epson salt bath at night to draw out excess inflammation.

✒  Exercise

Regular exercise is a great way to fight fatigue, strengthen muscles, and increase the range of motion. Gentle stretching, walking, swimming, and water aerobics are usually good choices and you can even try working with a physical therapist to learn the proper way to exercise on your own.

✒ Apply heat and cold to arthritis pain

Applying heat to a painful joint can provide significant relief. For heat sources, you can use electric blankets and mitts, heating pads, or hot packs. Simply taking a hot bath or shower can also be soothing. Cold treatments may work equally well when joints are inflamed. Wrap an ice cube in a towel or washcloth, and press it to the sore joint.

✒ Try Eating these food items:

Celery: Recommend eating cooked or raw celery daily for one to two months. Celery is a diuretic, and the loss of excess fluid can reduce the inflammation associated with arthritis.
Cherries: To alleviate pain from arthritis, eat six to eight cherries a day (canned, frozen, or fresh). Cherries are good sources of minerals like magnesium (a natural painkiller) and potassium, which acts as a diuretic, reducing inflammation by ridding tissue of excess fluid.
Garlic: It has the ability to reduce inflammation, garlic helps ward off the pain and discomfort felt by those with arthritis.
Ginger: Eating ginger helps to alleviate arthritis pain. Because of its ability to increase blood circulation, ginger carries away inflammatory substances from the affected joint.

✒ Try Soothing and Natural Essential Oils:

Birch: Use in massage
Cypress: Soothing and Relaxing
Juniper Berry: Cleansing and Detoxifying
Grapefruit:  Cleansing, Motivating, Uplifting
Frankincense: Mood Balancing, Oil Powerhouse
Peppermint: Refreshing, Energy Boosting

Ouch! Exercising with Knee Pain

Ouch! Exercising with Knee Pain

What activities tend to be hardest on the knees?

Exercises or movements that involve excessive flexing, especially with weights, such as a full squat or leg press or lots of pounding tend to be worst. Any type of exercise that involves great agility--sudden stops, starts, and pivots, or potentially awkward jumps and landings - such as basketball, tennis, soccer, racquetball, football, rugby or volleyball. Jumping exercises called plyometrics, which focus on increasing muscle power, jumping rope, trampoline, can also be tough on the knee joint. Jumping places a force of two to three times your body weight across your knees, which naturally increases the potential for injury, and people with knee problems would do best to avoid jumps that require a very deep knee bend or could torque the knee on the landing.

What causes knee pain?

Severe knee pain is generally not from overuse, but from a sudden injury - often sustained during quick weight shifts and direction changes, or upon landing from a jump. A frequent victim in these cases is the anterior cruciate ligament (ACL), one of the fibrous bands that connect the thighbone to the shinbone. ACL tears are serious and may require surgical repair.

Injuries definitely develop over time, as well, such as from repetitive stress that damages cartilage and other soft tissue in the knee joint. The most common injury is patellofemoral stress syndrome (runner's knee), in which the cartilage of the patella (kneecap) becomes irritated, resulting in pain and inflammation. Iliotibial band syndrome (ITBS) is another source of pain for athletes. The IT band is a stretch of fibrous tissue that runs down the outer thigh and knee; running and other activities cause the band to repeatedly rub against the outside of the knee joint, which may lead to inflammation and pain at the outside of the knee. ITBS is usually seen in long-distance runners and cyclists but can occur in soccer players, skiers and weightlifters. Reducing activities can help ease the pain of any overuse injury, while some may require physical therapy or other medical treatment.

What are exercises for people with knee pain?

Resistance bands

Extremely versatile, inexpensive and can be done anywhere, are these fun rubbery bands.  You can tie a big knot in it and wedge it under the door, or you can tie it around a pole.  Once you do one of these, you can then tie the other end around your foot and start doing different leg exercises like bringing your knee to your chest, leg extensions, leg curls, leg kickbacks, leg holds with the tube tight, raising your leg out to the side or bringing it across your body.


Swimming - Sport

Swimming is a great choice for those with bad knees because of the low impact environment it provides. The water acts as a brace for your body helping to lift and support you as you exercise. Swimming is a great exercise that works all of the muscles in your body, giving you a complete workout while not causing you any discomfort. Swimming also can hold water aerobics activities, which will increase the flexibility of your knees, as well as giving you much needed exercise. If you're interested in water aerobics, many classes are offered at gyms.


Walking is the most natural exercise for the human body and one of my favorite body movement suggestions to people It is a great exercise for people with bad knees because of how accessible and painless it's for people with bad knees. You can buy a pedometer and keep track of how many steps you're taking to create a better workout (or download an app on your mobile phone). Pedometers allow you to find your limit and stay away from any discomfort. Walking is not as high impact as running because the weight you put on your body is less while doing the actually walking and you don't have to come to a sudden jerky stop while walking. For a challenge, walk in soft sand.


Yoga is seen as an ideal exercise for people with bad knees because it has almost no impact and actually increases the flexibility and strength of your knees. Yoga is very accessible in just about any gym or school and can be done at home after you've learned some positions.

These are just three exercises that will help you with your bad knees, research for more low-impact exercises and there will surely be one that's right for you. Bad knees may be annoying, but they don't have to keep you from exercising, keep searching and you will find the exercise that's right for you.

Reclined Floor Exercises

Side-lying Leg Lifts: Wearing ankle weights above the knee, lie on your left side, legs straight and together, with your left arm supporting your head. Keeping your right foot flexed and your body straight, slowly lift your right leg to about shoulder height, then slowly lower. Repeat with your left leg.

Ab Crunches, Reverse Ab Crunches

Side Plank or Traditional Plank

crossfit side plank


Pilates focuses on building strength. Originally developed by Joseph Pilates in a World War II concentration camp, the program uses a series of movements that employ the body's weight as its resistance to train and strengthen muscles. Few movements require strain on the knees and the leg exercises can increase the strength of the quadriceps and hamstring muscles to better support the knee joints. The first movements of Pilates zero in on the "powerhouse" or core area to build muscle support for the spine. By having a strong midsection that can keep the upper body erect, you lessen the strain placed on the knees by poor posture. Pilates can correct and relieve many areas of stress for people with bad knees.


relax bicycle-bicyclist-bike-128202

Bicycling can be done outdoors or inside on a stationary bike. This low-impact exercise is fine for people with bad knees, because it uses the leg muscles without straining the joints and it increases cardiovascular health. 20 minutes per day is a good way to start with this type of exercise.

Upper-Body Ergometer or “Kranking”

This is that piece of equipment in the cardio area at your gym that looks like a bike for hands. Treat it like any other piece of cardio equipment—go for a long forty-five-minute stint or pound out a shorter and harder interval session. Special Note* though this may look easy, the Ergometer is actually very challenging. Adjust the resistance slowly and become familiar to the upper’s body use for cardio before going faster or adding resistance.

Elliptical Trainer

Elliptical trainers found in many gyms are the equivalent of riding a bike and walking or running without any pressure on the knee joints. These machines use the lower legs for primary motion. Some elliptical machines have handles that work the upper body for a total upper and lower body workout. These machines offer a low-impact workout that burns calories and leads to weight loss over time.

Rowing Machine

Most gyms have rowing machines and they’re often some of the most underutilized pieces of cardio equipment. Rowing is mostly upper-body work (great for toning up your arms and shoulders), but your legs provide low-impact support by pushing against the machine with each stroke. Always keep the movement fluid and controlled rather than jerking through each motion and push with your legs and avoid hunching forward to protect your back. To minimize pain in knees, keep a slight bend in the elbows and knees rather than locking the joints at full extension.

Upper Body Weight and Circuit Training

Upper body weight training is another exercise for people with bad knees. For weight loss, the best approach is to use less weight with more repetitions (circuit training) and to focus on the middle of the body by doing abdominal crunches. Weight training helps to improve the cardiovascular system, makes you stronger, increases flexibility. and. once you lose some weight. it helps you maintain acceptable body fat limits.

Take Away:

Body movement and a consistent exercise routine is imperative to optimal health and wellness. For people with aches and pains, exercising is very possible, but you may have to substitute certain favorite exercises for another. Put your ego aside and modify when possible. Listen to your body, but don’t fall into the habit of being lazy or not pushing yourself too hard. Maximize your effort with upper body exercises.  Plan out daily workouts ahead of time by writing them down and sticking to a weekly routine.  Challenge yourself and keep the intensity level up throughout your workouts (a heart rate monitor can assist you with that, for the ones on the cardio machines are inaccurate).  Also keep your calories and food consumption charted and eat healthy, whole and organic (when possible) foods (not too much). Livestrong has a great free calorie charter available through their website and a mobile app for those with smart phones. Ice your knees if the pain is too great after your exercises, but do not rely on over the counter pain relievers because it is temporary relief, only masks the symptoms of the real problem and harms the liver.

Resources: EverydayHealth.com, SparkPeople.com, LiveStrong.com, WebMD.com, WellSphere.com, OneResult.Com

Irritable Bowel Syndrome (IBS): Symptoms, Foods to Avoid and Foods that Heal

Irritable Bowel Syndrome (IBS): Symptoms, Foods to Avoid and Foods that Heal 

An estimated 15-20% of all Americans have Irritable Bowel Syndrome, or IBS (helpforibs.com).

This chronic, long-term, and incurable condition which is also called spastic colitis, mucus colitis, and nervous colon syndrome, is a gastrointestinal disorder that causes abdominal pain, bloating, mucous in stools, irregular bowel habits, and alternating diarrhea and constipation.

The large variety of symptoms such as sensitivity or intolerance to certain foods that cause digestive problems, alternating bouts of diarrhea and constipation, pain, diarrhea, constipation, bloating, can be controlled, but you have to eat the right type of foods that don't make tummy situations worse.

What foods should people with IBS avoid?

The rule of thumb here is to avoid foods that irritate or cause the body to work harder to process (mostly all fried, acidic, and processed foods.

If the foods you are eating cause gastric distress or overstimulation, resulting in diarrhea or constipation, pain, gas, and bloating, try taking extra measures in your dietary choices to help your body.

Limit the amount of dietary fat (the single most powerful digestive tract stimulant), most animal meats, dairy products, nut butter,  processed foods, fried foods, pretty much anything in a carnival or state fair, coffee, carbonated beverages, alcohol, and  tobacco products.

Don’t be discouraged, however. Even though this short list may seem like taking all the fun out of snacking and eating, the body is very adaptable and re-trainable.

You owe it to your digestive tract and body to nourish it with wholesome, anti-inflammatory, fiber filled, and fresh foods.

It is sad to hear many of my clients tell me that their doctor recommends a diet of wheat bran and raw veggies (for the fiber) and not mention a thing about stress, either.

First of all, too much raw veggies or insoluble fiber and not enough soluble fiber can immediately aggravate IBS symptoms. People with IBS should focus more on the foods with soluble fiber.

Secondly, stress is often a major factor in how people chose what to eat and the body produces more not-so-good-for-you hormones to try to combat the bad feelings. Taking up stress-reducing meditation or exercises daily should definitely address some of those anxieties.

Try reaching for more soluble fiber:

oatmeal, oat cereal, lentils, apples, oranges, pears, oat bran, strawberries, nuts, flax-seeds, beans, dried peas, blueberries, psyllium, cucumbers, celery, and carrots


Soluble fiber attracts and bonds with water to form a healthy bulk, which slows down digestion. Soluble fiber delays the emptying of the stomach and makes people feel satiated, which in turn helps to control hunger and weight.

This process also affects blood sugar levels and has a beneficial effect on insulin sensitivity, has been shown to lower the LDL "bad" blood cholesterol and may help people with diabetes control their insulin levels.

Avoid Insoluble fiber:

most grains, whole wheat, bran, corn bran, seeds, nuts, barley, couscous, brown rice, bulgur, zucchini, celery, broccoli, cabbage, onions, tomatoes, carrots, cucumbers, green beans, dark leafy vegetables, grapes, raisins, assorted fruits, and root vegetables with skin. (WebMD)

Remember that we are focusing on an anti-inflammatory lifestyle, here, and that IBS, though its name has to do with the bowel, is a lot more collective than just the digestive and elimination tract.

The entire gastrointestinal system, which is closely linked to mental health, brain to gut communication, food hypersensitivity, genetics, and intestinal bacterial levels needs to be understood better before client recommendations are given.

There are many great resources that highlight very clearly the IBS dietary guidelines to follow and how to eat safely for Irritable Bowel Syndrome, based on the well-established effects certain categories of foods have on the GI tract.

One particular source I helpful is Laura Knoff’s, “The Whole-Food Guide to Overcoming Irritable Bowel Syndrome: Strategies and Recipes for Eating Well with IBS, Indigestion, and Other Digestive Disorders." (The New Harbinger Whole-Body Healing Series)

A great take away from many resources is this: there isn't one specific food(s) that causes Irritable Bowel Syndrome symptoms. It is far more comprehensive.

It’s actually MOST ALL foods that are high in fat, insoluble fiber, caffeine, coffee (even decaf), carbonation, or alcohol.

Why? Because all of these food categories are either GI stimulants or irritants, and can cause violent reactions of your gastrocolic reflex. This directly affects the muscles in your colon and can lead to IBS pain, constipation AND diarrhea, gas, and bloating.

So now what?

You have now identified that IBS is not fun and you have to live with it.

By educating yourself on what types of foods exacerbate your symptoms is a great first step. The next step is to prepare your kitchen for those foods that will irritate your gastric tract the least.

Which foods will help your colon ease bowel movements?

Below are general guidelines to foods that are a fan of people living with IBS.

Try to stay away from these as much as possible!

✗ Animal Meat

This pretty much is an umbrella term that steers people with IBS away from animals and animal by-products. This means the hamburgers at fourth of July BBQ's and the bratwursts at the county fairs.

If you are a meat and potatoes kind of eater, try meat substitutes that do not wreak havoc on your digestive tracts, such as tofu and beans.

Some people with IBS say if you must have animal meat, choose those that are very lean and have little to no fat such as lean chicken or turkey. Also stay away from egg yolks (highly acidic and a big GI irritant!)

✗ Dairy products

If it is made with the help of a cow, think twice before consuming . Dairy is a big IBS trigger even if you're not lactose intolerant. Blame the fat, lactose, and the proteins whey and casein for the trickle down effect on your digestion tract.

This also goes for workout shakes made from whey protein and power and meal replacement bars that have dairy in them. Read labels carefully and avoid eating out as much as possible. Many restaurants put cream, butter, and extra fat into dishes to make them tastier!

✗ Fried, High Fat, Fast Foods, Processed Foods, Oils, Margarine, and Shortening

These foods and beverages offer no IBS benefits but plenty of IBS risks. If it is in a gas station, pretty much avoid them or read the labels very carefully!

✗ Coffee

Sorry Starbucks fans, both regular AND decaf contain an enzyme that's an extremely powerful GI tract irritant. Coffee and most drinks with  caffeine are very acidic! 

Choose herbal or green teas instead. Better yet, eat an apple!

✗ Caffeine

Including chocolate is a GI stimulant and should be avoided, especially in higher doses.

✗ Alcohol

Alcohol is a GI irritant and often triggers IBS attacks, especially on an empty stomach (though small amounts of alcohol used in cooking are fine).

✗ Carbonation in soda, sparkling mineral water, and in juices can cause bloating and cramps.

There are even science soda kits sold to children now that teach children how to make their soda. Not only horrible for the digestive tract, but it also teaches little people nothing about the effects of over stimulating our digestive organs.

✗ Artificial Sweeteners

Fat-free, low fat, sugar-free, gum lovers and ice cream lovers and processed food lovers beware of artificial sweeteners, especially sorbitol and maltodextrin, both of which can trigger IBS pain, cramps, gas, bloating, and diarrhea.

✗ Artificial fats

Artificial fats, namely Olestra in fat-free chips and other fat-free fried products have been reported to cause abdominal cramping and diarrhea in people who don't even have IBS – imagine what it can do to you.


MSG is an additive that many people have a strong intolerance to. in many Asian style pastries, snacks and has acquired lots of ugly anecdotal evidence against it regarding all sorts of digestive upsets.

It can simply be avoided, so why take a chance?

Foods to Eat

Psyllium husks is a great source of soluble fiber, and can be extremely helpful when taken daily with plenty of water. Soluble fiber alone has the ability to normalize colonic activity from either extreme.

Foods that are naturally high in soluble fiber include steel cut oatmeal, basmati rice, non white potatoes with skin, French or sourdough bread with live cultures, soy, barley, and oat bran.

High in complex carbohydrates,  these foods provide quick energy. Nuts, beans, and lentils are also good sources of soluble fiber. Watch fat contents on all nuts and nut butters.

Soluble fiber should ALWAYS be the first thing you eat on an empty stomach, and it should form the basis of EVERY snack and meal.

I always begin my mornings with a pro-biotic and 2 glasses of lukewarm water with lemon to reset the GI tract before consuming any foods.

The goal is to keep your body and blood at a PH of less than 7 and more alkaline state. By the foods we choose to eat, our colons will be able to stabilize and IBS symptoms can begin to subside and may eventually be dormant.

Additional sources: helpforIBS.com, mayoclinic.com, aboutIBS.org, healthflatters.com, amazon.com, halfmedical.com, and weightwatchers.com.