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Four Alternative Treatments That May Help Treat Lupus

Updated on June 24, 2017
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I suffer from lupus. Here are four alternative therapies that I find to be beneficial.

Four Alternative Treatments that may help with Lupus

Many lupus sufferers rely on pharmaceutical drugs to maintain a functioning life. The aim of many of these medications is to suppress the immune system, suppress inflammation, and alleviate pain. And while drugs such as NSAIDS, immunosuppressives, and anti-inflammatories work well to keep lupus symptoms at bay, there are also alternative treatments that may contribute to our overall wellness. Here are four alternative treatments we think will help you on your journey of healing! As always, please consult your doctor before altering your medications in any way and/or before adding any of these treatments to your routine.

1) Massage

If you’ve ever had a professional massage, I don’t have to tell you how relaxing it is. In my experience, even if the massage isn’t given by a professional, it’s still very beneficial. The power of touch is so incredibly amazing and it shouldn’t be underestimated. Before my first professional massage, I actually felt that massages were for people who had too much money and too much time on their hands. But the moment the masseuse stepped into the lavender aroma filled room and began rubbing my body gently, I figured I must have died and now I’m in heaven. I always find myself not wanting to get off the table after a massage session. But it’s not just the heavenly feel of someone else’s hands touching you, although it’s a lot about that. Massage also has therapeutic benefits. According to licensed massage therapist, Samantha Paige-Graeber, massage reduces stress and increases energy and alertness. It also increases endorphins which help to relieve pain and reduces inflammation.

2) Acupuncture

So we’ve all heard of acupuncture by now, but maybe you’re still not clear on what it is. In short, acupuncture is an ancient Chinese practice which uses very thin needles placed strategically at different points in the body. In the west, acupuncture is best known for its pain relieving effects. However, the treatment is much more comprehensive. The goal of acupuncture is to promote and restore the balance of energy throughout the body. Dr. Weil, a physician who promotes integrative healing, says acupuncture can work well for addressing autoimmune conditions when used with TCM (Traditional Chinese Medicine). TCM includes dietary changes, bodywork, and the taking of botanicals. I decided to try acupuncture at a time when my lupus fatigue was at an all-time high. I know the idea of being stuck with needles is a bit scary for most. But to be honest, most of the insertions I didn’t feel. And after each session I definitely noticed a difference in my energy levels. I would come into the practitioner’s office feeling sluggish and tired. But I would leave full of energy, feeling like I could conquer the world. For us lupies, pain and fatigue are the bane of our existence. Since acupuncture directly addresses these issues, why not give it a try?

3) Herbs

"Herb" is the term given to plants or parts of plants such as grass, stems, stalks, roots, leaves, flowers, seeds, etc. that are said to have medicinal effects. These plants and plant parts are prepared in various ways to render these benefits. Herbal remedies have been used by many cultures for centuries. There are countless herbs used for therapeutic purposes and the remedies can be prepared as: teas, tinctures, oils, creams, etc. Because every one of us lupies has her/his own set of lupus symptoms, I would advise researching herbs for your own specific needs. For example, fluid retention, fatigue and occasional joint aches are symptoms I encounter with lupus. So herbs such as dandelion root, ginseng and turmeric are staples in my cabinet. Dandelion root acts a natural diuretic helping to relieve fluid retention by increasing urine production. In this way, it aids the kidneys to clear out waste. For us lupus sufferers with kidney issues, dandelion root is definitely worth trying. Ginseng is one of the most popular herbs used in America. In traditional medicine, it has many uses, but its best known for boosting energy. Turmeric is technically a spice which also has multiple medicinal uses including relief of arthritic symptoms and joint pain. An added bonus here is that all three of these plants contain anti-inflammatory properties!

4) Meditation

The word meditation means different things to different people. Most people think of it as a spiritual practice. But meditation in its most basic state simply allows us to calm our thoughts and our spirits. Meditation promotes a state of deep peace in which we gain clarity and focus. When we think of the word meditation, it probably conjures an image of someone sitting on the floor, with legs crossed and eyes closed. But truthfully, meditation can take place anywhere. I meditate while washing dishes and doing laundry. It’s just about entering your own mental space and becoming one with your mind. Some of us probably meditate all the time and don’t even realize it. There are many ways to meditate so I’d advise trying a few different ones to find what works best for you. Amy Caron, project director for the Lupus Research Institute, says there’s a small but growing body of evidence that suggests meditation helps to reduce stress, anxiety, depression and even pain in some cases. The life of a chronic illness sufferer can be quite stressful. With stress being a trigger for our disease activity, anything we can do to reduce it is worth a try. Research different forms of meditation and try one today! What have you got to lose?

Have you tried any of these alternative treatments?

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Again, please consult your physician before adding or changing anything in your prescribed treatment plan. And If you know of any other helpful alternative treatments, please comment below. Stay healthy!

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