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Top 5 Supplements to Heal Your Joints

by Health News

Arthritis is a common condition affecting over 52 million people in the U.S., according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. This painful condition is caused by inflammation and stiffness in the joints. Despite it being such a widespread disease, there is no cure for arthritis, which leads many sufferers to seek natural arthritis treatment. 

natural arthritis treatment

Here are 5 of the most effective supplements considered the best forms of natural arthritis treatment available:

Boswellia

Boswellia has been used for centuries in folk medicine to reduce inflammation. The plant resin is extracted from the trees which grow in the dry mountains of Africa, India and the Middle East. Scientific trials show that boswellia is effective in treating osteoarthritis, rheumatoid arthritis, tendonitis and bursitis by reducing inflammation. In an eight-week randomized double-blind trial on 30 patients suffering with osteoarthritis of the knee, the participants given boswellia extract reported reduced knee pain and swelling. They also had improved mobility and longer walking distance than those who received a placebo, showing that boswellia should be considered an effective natural arthritis treatment.

White Willow Bark

Another natural anti-inflammatory herb is white willow bark. It contains acetylsalicylic acid which has similar attributes to aspirin but does not irritate the stomach lining. Research so far on white willow bark as a natural arthritis treatment has shown inconsistent results. However, a 2001 study on 78 osteoarthritis patients by Phytotherapy Research concluded that white willow bark showed moderate pain-reducing effects.

Turmeric for natural arthritis treatment

Commonly used in curries, this yellow spice from the ginger family has many medicinal uses in India. As well as a digestive aid, it is claimed to reduce pain, inflammation and stiffness in those suffering from rheumatoid and osteoarthritis. The active agent in turmeric is curcumin, which blocks inflammatory cytokines and enzymes, thereby reducing inflammation and pain. Studies show that taking 50 mg of turmeric up to four times a day provides long-term improvement in pain and inflammation for chronic arthritis sufferers.

Related:  Ginger for Muscle and Joint Pain Relief

Hyaluronic Acid

Another common natural arthritis treatment is hyaluronic acid which is naturally found in the synovial fluid of joints. Clinical trials continue to show that supplements of hyaluronic acid can be an effective solution for treating arthritis.

Devil's Claw

Finally, Devil's Claw (Harpagophytum procumbens) is an herbal plant from South Africa which contains harpagoside, a natural anti-inflammatory. It is frequently used as a natural arthritis treatment as it has been shown to decrease joint pain in sufferers. Devil's Claw taken as a 2% powder can be a natural alternative to non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs) for arthritis sufferers, as well as reducing back pain and other painful inflammatory conditions.

Many of these natural painkillers and anti-inflammatory supplements are combined in formulas for natural arthritis treatment and are well worth considering as a safe alternative to prescription drugs for treating painful swollen joints.

30 Days to Rethink How You Take Supplements

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The Stress Menopause Connection

by IVL Products

The link between stress and menopause is well documented. It can become a vicious cycle of worsening menopausal symptoms leading to increased stress.  Jump off that debilitating merry-go-round and find natural menopause relief with a few simple changes to your diet, activity levels and outlook on life.

Studies are showing that there is a connection between stress and menopause.

The journal Menopause found in a study of over 400 women between the ages of 37 and 47 that those who reported the highest stress levels had as much as five times the hot flashes as those who women who reported less anxiety.  Even women who reported only moderate anxiety levels suffered three times more hot flashes than those who lived with less stress.

More bad news connecting stress and menopause came from a study in the Maternal and Child Health Journal that reported vaginal dryness, a common symptom of menopause due to decreased estrogen, was associated with high levels of psychological stress (not physical stress).

Related:  Modest Weight Loss Lowers Disease Risks in Middle-aged-Women

Stress reduces the secretion of all sex hormones like estrogen. Women going through menopause are already experiencing a dramatic drop in estrogen production, which causes hot flashes, insomnia, depression and vaginal dryness.  Being stressed out about life situations and menopause symptoms can be debilitating and greatly affect one’s quality of life.

The Dangers of Chronic Stress

It is well known that chronic stress is not good for you. It is linked to an increased risk of high blood pressure, headaches, gastrointestinal disorders, more illness and diseases like cardiovascular disease, stroke and even cancer.  It makes chronic illnesses like irritable bowel syndrome, arthritis and diabetes worse as well. 

Add the dramatic physical changes of menopause to an already stressed out life, and you get a recipe for disaster. Your personal relationships, career, and over all sense of wellbeing can be negatively affected.  The good news is natural stress and menopause relief is available with a little effort on your part.

Diet

Your diet has so much to do with how you feel each day. Weight gain is a common side effect of menopause, so paying attention to what you eat can help you manage your stress levels and menopausal symptoms.

Foods rich in probiotics like yogurt, kefir, and kimchi, along with probiotic supplements help keep your GI tract functioning smoothly and your immunes system strong.  Suffering less sever colds, urinary tract infections (also common during menopause), gas pain and bloating will greatly reduce your stress levels. 

Being chronically run down and feeling ill is very stressful. Boosting your immune system with a diet rich in vegetables, fruits, omega-3 rich foods and staying well hydrated will relieve stress and menopausal symptoms like fatigue, depression and hot flashes.

Exercise

Weight gain and insomnia are common menopause complaints.  Exercise can offset these two unpleasant symptoms and help you reduce your stress levels.  Making time every day for some physical activity is critical to managing your stress levels and menopause symptoms.

You don’t have to spend hours at the gym or run a marathon, either.  A brisk walk or a few laps in the pool is all you need.  Being outside to exercise has many health benefits and makes working out less of a chore and something to look forward to.

Attitude

Your outlook on life makes a huge difference when it comes to managing stress and menopausal symptoms.  Menopause and stress are a fact of life for all women.  Accepting that and making plans to deal with both are critical for keeping your spirits high and warding off depression and other mood disorders. 

Women's Health Top Superfood Recipes

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Look Beyond NSAIDS For Inflammatory Arthritis Pain Relief

by Cindy Gray

More than 33 million Americans take NSAIDs every day to cope with the moderate to severe pain associated with inflammatory arthritis. While they may provide temporary relief, NSAIDs come with potentially serious side effects, and in some cases may even worsen the inflammation they are prescribed to relieve.

NSAIDs work by suppressing prostaglandins, which are lipids produced by the body to deal with injury. The body produces two types of prostaglandins, those that cause inflammation and those that fight inflammation. Unfortunately, NSAIDs suppress BOTH types of prostaglandins so the medications have the potential to do more harm than good.

It is important to note that NSAIDs are powerful drugs and they affect many organs in the body including the heart, kidney and liver. The gastrointestinal side effects are so well-documented that in 2009 the FDA ordered all manufacturers of NSAIDs to list the dangers on the product labels. Problems range from mild stomach upset to potentially fatal stomach bleeding and ulcers.

Related: Natural Anti-Inflammatory Supplements vs. NSAIDs

Many people risk the serious side effects because they think NSAIDs are their only option for pain relief, but there are many natural remedies that can ease the pain of inflammatory arthritis.  Millions of Americans use nutritional supplements to deal with arthritis symptoms.

Glucosamine and chondroitin supplements can speed the formation of new cartilage and help block enzymes that harm cartilage. A study conducted at Montreal Hospital found that patients who take supplements containing glucosamine and chondroitin have less pain and inflammation. Arnica Montana, often called “mountain daisy” for its bright yellow flowers, has been used for centuries to treat joint pain. It is available in capsule and powdered forms online and in natural health stores.

Talk to your holistic health practitioner to determine the supplement formation and dosage that best suits your needs. Treat your back pain the natural way and avoid the harmful side effects of NSAIDs.   

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Why You Need Yoga for Lower Back Pain

by Cindy Gray

Yoga has many health benefits, both physically and mentally. It incorporates a gentle range of effective stretching techniques which can be beneficial for reducing lower back pain while helping to strengthen back muscles, lowering stress, improving circulation and balancing mood.

Yoga can ease lower back pain and improve inflammatory arthritis of the hands

Yoga principles are a form of exercise, but they are the opposite of aerobic exercises. This means that yoga can be practiced by all ages and abilities, even those in pain. Two key areas of physical health that can be eased with regular yoga exercises are inflammatory arthritis and lower back pain.

Yoga for Inflammatory Arthritis

The Journal of Rheumatology reported the results of a study on patients who had inflammatory arthritis of the hands. They found that those who practiced yoga as a therapeutic treatment had a greater range of movement in their fingers. They also reported less pain and tenderness in their arthritic finger joints than those who did not practice yoga.

Yoga for Lower Back Pain

A study of 25 patients suffering from lower back pain found that yoga provided significant benefits. After a six month trial period, 80% of those participants who practiced yoga reported reduced lower back pain compared to 44% of the study group who were given medications instead. 

Over time, just 12% of the yoga practitioners suffered an acute episode of arthritis pain while 56% of the medication group suffered a serious arthritis episode.

Related: Yoga and Natural Supplements for Back Pain Relief

Yoga and Muscle Strength

The more physical form of yoga known as Hatha Yoga relies on learning controlled breathing techniques, Pranayama, while holding complex body postures. Yoga increases muscle strength as you practice positions and movements. As weak muscles and misaligned posture are the main cause of lower back pain, it makes sense that practicing postures that strengthen the muscles, particularly in the lower back, will reverse the unnatural muscle stretching and reduce back pain.

Other yoga positions strengthen abdominal muscles which, together with back muscles, maintain a healthy muscle network that supports the spine. When these muscles are toned and conditioned they can significantly prevent or reduce lower back pain.

Stress may be another cause of back pain, causing shoulders to be hunched and muscle to be misaligned. Yoga includes stretching and relaxing techniques which reduce that tension and alleviate the lower back pain it causes.

With the additional benefit of improved blood circulation, yoga stretches the lower back, lowers stress and strengthens muscle tone to align the body and reduce or prevent lower back pain. As it also improves mobility in those with inflammatory arthritis of the hands, it’s never too late to consider joining a yoga class to improve your physical and mental health.

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Why You Need to GAG for Natural Arthritis Treatment

by IVL Products

One of the undeniable signs of aging is that joints become painful as they succumb to years of wear and tear. With few effective drugs on the market, osteoarthritis sufferers are increasingly turning to natural arthritis treatment for relief. Here’s how they work.

GAG supplements are a natural arthritis treatment to help replace cartilage in joints

Most of the joint cartilage is made up of water (70-80%) with the remainder being elastic collagen fibers, chondrocytes and proteoglycans. Collagen is a particularly important component of the joint cartilage as it provides cell strength and structural integrity to hold the joint firmly but flexibly together while being worked.

Chondrocyte cells contained in the cartilage produce proteins known as proteoglycans which are linked to glycosaminoglycans, or GAGs for short. These important chondrocytes build and repair the collagen fibers and proteoglycans using glucose to maintain the worn cartilage.

Unfortunately chondrocyte cells stop building and repairing damaged joint tissue as we reach adulthood, meaning that those joints have to provide a lifetime of movement and wear. The cartilage between the bones in the joint eventually begins to wear. With less cushioning, the bones begin to grind painfully together during exercise or movement. This is what causes the pain of arthritis.

Related: Video Blog: What Causes Arthritis Pain?

Natural Arthritis Treatment from Dr Weil

Dr Andrew Weil offers a number of suggestions to help reduce arthritis pain and provide natural arthritis treatment. Losing weight and reducing strenuous activity that puts additional stress on worn joints is a good way to start. Instead, take up swimming, cycling and light weight training to keep muscles strong without putting undue strain on painful arthritic joints.

Dr. Weil recommends dietary changes to reduce the symptoms of osteoarthritis. Lower inflammation by eating turmeric, ginger, flaxseed and plenty of oily fish, or take omega-3 fatty acid supplements. Don’t neglect those 5-a-day portions of organically grown vegetables and fruits as a good source of antioxidants which help reduce tissue damage from free radicals.

Finally, top up those joints with supplements of glucosamine sulfate which is used to manufacture glycosaminoglycans (GAGs) in the cartilage. Take a supplement of chondroitin to increase synovial fluids and protect the cartilage. A supplement of evening primrose oil provides gamma-linolenic acid (GLA) to reduce inflammation.

This natural arthritis treatment is very easy to implement. It is proven to help prevent painful arthritis and reduce the inflammation associated with osteoarthritis, safely and naturally.

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Three Natural Arthritis Treatments in Your Kitchen

by Cindy Gray

Arthritis is a very common disorder that causes pain, stiffness and limited mobility in the joints.  Inflammation is the source of discomfort and often requires strong non-prescription and prescription pain relievers. However, there are several natural arthritis treatments that can be found in your kitchen.

Ginger

Many cultures around the globe have been using ginger in variety of medicinal ways. The root of the plant is where its many health benefits are contained. In addition to adding a spicy kick to many dishes, helping alleviate nausea, and being a rich source of antioxidants, ginger has powerful anti-inflammatory properties.

Research conducted in 2001 found that ginger oil reduced knee pain in participants diagnosed with osteoarthritis.  The journal Arthritis published a study that compared the effectiveness of ginger extract to medications like cortisone and ibuprofen for arthritis suffers.  The ginger extract was as effective in reducing cytokine production (a substance produced by the body with inflammatory effects, linked to arthritis pain).

That’s good news for those who want to avoid the unpleasant side effects of cortisone (aka betamethasone) like depression, seizures, muscle weakness and sleep problems, just to name a few.

If you are eating fresh ginger, two or three tablespoons grated into your dish are a correct amount for most people.  Taking ginger in capsule form (100 to 200 mgs) is the best way to reap the benefits of ginger as a natural arthritis treatment.

Turmeric

Turmeric is another natural arthritis treatment in your kitchen, and is a probably on your spice rack. Turmeric is not as widely used in the U.S., but is a staple in Chinese and Indian diets for its taste and many health benefits.

Related: Turmeric - The Natural Cancer Fighter in Your Curry

Curcumin, the main compound in turmeric, is a powerful anti-inflammatory. Like ginger, clinical studies comparing it to regular drugs for pain relief showed turmeric to be as effective for pain relief, but without the unpleasant side effects of OTC and prescribed medications.  In addition to being an anti-inflammatory, turmeric is an abundant source of antioxidants that help neutralize cell damaging free radicals.

Adding turmeric to your diet by taking a supplement is the best way to get maximum benefits.  Take a 300-milligram capsule with the meals to reduce pain and inflammation due to arthritis.

Pineapple

Sweet, juicy exotic pineapple is proving to be tough on inflammation and a powerful pain reliever.  Bromelain, an extract from the fruit’s stem, has been shown to be an effective anti-inflammatory that helps reduce pain and joint swelling.

Pineapple has actually been used in Hawaii and other tropical cultures as an effective treatment for sore throats and digestive issues.  Besides tasting delicious, pineapples are also rich in vitamin C and calcium. The digestive enzymes it contains are called bromelain and the source of the fruit’s anti-inflammatory effects.

For natural arthritis treatments, taking bromelain in capsule form is best. There is no standard dose, but in general, from 80-320 milligrams of the extract taken two or three times a day could offer pain relief without side effects.

Natural Relief

Using natural arthritis treatments makes dealing with arthritis pain and discomfort much more manageable without having to suffer the side effects of many prescription drugs.  Always be sure to consult with your doctor before taking any supplements to avoid unfavorable drug interactions and to get the best dosage for you.

Vibrant Living Challenge. Free 30-Day Challenge Download

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Three Natural Arthritis Treatments

by IVL Products

While medical science continues to search for an effective cure for arthritis, many sufferers are finding the relief they need in natural arthritis treatments. Three different substances are known to provide pain relief naturally for those suffering with joint pain and arthritis. Best of all, these all-natural substances reduce pain and inflammation without the nasty side effects caused by pharmaceutical drugs such as NSAIDS (non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs).

Three natural arthritis treatments hold the key to joint pain relief

White Willow Bark

White Willow Bark is an ancient natural remedy used for safe and effective pain relief. The active ingredient salicin in converted by the body into salicylic acid. It lowers inflammation and counters pain in a similar way to aspirin, but without the adverse side effects of stomach bleeding. White willow and bark hyaluronic acid are the main ingredients in natural arthritis treatments that offer safe relief from inflammation. 

Boswellia Serrate

Boswellia has been shown to have powerful anti-inflammatory properties. Researchers have found that formulas containing Boswellia Serrate can provide natural pain relief for arthritis. Extracted as a resin from Boswellia Serrata trees, it works by improving circulation and blocking the formation of leukotrienes which cause pain and inflammation in arthritic joints. It works particularly well in conjunction with white willow bark and cherry fruit extract, making it an excellent natural treatment for arthritis by trickling pain relief constantly.

Related: Boswellia Extract Is An Effective Therapy For Osteoarthritis

Hyaluronic Acid

Hyaluronic acid preparations are known to decrease arthritis pain and improve joint mobility, particularly in those suffering with osteoarthritis in the knee joint. It is thought to work as a natural arthritis treatment by changing the synovial fluid viscoelasticity and by lowering inflammation in the joint.

These three natural substances work together synergistically in scientifically balanced joint formulas. Natural treatments may combine these natural anti-inflammatory pain relievers with ginger root powder to create highly effective natural arthritis treatments.

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A Devil of a Natural Arthritis Treatment

by Institute for Vibrant Living

Osteoarthritis is a disabling and painful condition that affects an estimated 27 million Americans. It is caused by joint cartilage wearing away and allowing the bones to rub together during natural movement. There are several supplements available that can provide a natural arthritis treatment to enhance the quality of life for those suffering from this debilitating condition. One that appears to be the most effective is the strangely named Devil’s Claw.

natural arthritis treatment devils claw

Devil’s Claw is the common name for the plant Harpagophytum Procumbens, also known as the Grapple Plant for its tenacious hooks or claws on the fruit. The tuberous root of this South African desert plant contains a beneficial substance, harpagoside, which that has been used for centuries for brewing into an herbal tea for medicinal purposes. Not only is it used as a natural arthritis treatment, it is also used to treat gastrointestinal conditions.

Research into Devil’s Claw has found it to be extremely effective as a natural arthritis treatment. A double-blind placebo-controlled study organized by Phytomedicine compared Devil’s Claw to the pharmaceutical drug Diacerhein. The drug was developed specifically to treat osteoarthritis of the hip.

Related: Yoga and Natural Supplements for Back Pain Relief

After eight weeks, 50-70% of those taking Devil’s Claw reported less pain and improved mobility. The test showed that Devil’s Claw was more effective in treating the arthritis pain than the pharmaceutical drug and did not cause the unpleasant side effect of diarrhea that Diacerhein produced.

Recommended Dosage of Devil’s Claw as a Natural Arthritis Treatment

Devil’s Claw is available in capsules, powder, liquid and tincture. The adult dosage of Devil’s Claw for treating joint and arthritis pain, according to Dr. Andrew Weil, is 600 to 1200 mg three times a day. It is safe at these levels, but no studies have yet been conducted to confirm the effects of its use in the long term. However, it should be avoided by anyone with stomach problems such as ulcers, or those taking diabetic medications, as it can lower blood sugar levels.

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Why Sulfur May Be the Answer for Chronic Back Pain

by IVL Products

It may smell a bit like rotten eggs, but sulphur is the eighth most common element in the human body, and is found in almost all of our tissues. Despite this fact, there is no recommended daily allowance of sulfur provided by the government or health agencies, which could be a contributing factor to chronic back pain.

Look to sulfur for relief from chronic back pain.

About 70% of American adults have reported experiencing lower back pain, according to national health surveys.  When the pain persists for 12 weeks or longer and is more than a dull ache that sticks around long after the initial incident, it’s diagnosed as chronic back pain. The symptoms can be milder one day, and more severe the next, but they are always present.  This has led some in the medical community to believe that a dietary deficiency could be contributing to the problem.

Sulfur’s Role in the Body

Many of our biological processes depend upon sulfur to work correctly. It helps maintain the integrity of the cell walls and produce collagen and essential protein that makes up the support bands beneath our skin. Sulfur is also needed to produce connective tissue, keratin (the key component in hair and the outer layer of our skin) glucosamine and chondroitin, which are part of our cartilage, the crucial cushioning tissue between the bones in our joints.

Sulfur also plays a critical role in keeping our metabolism humming along efficiently. When we become sulfur deficient, our metabolism becomes defective, damaging muscle and fat cells; this can lead to becoming glucose intolerant. When that happens, there is a number of muscular and skeletal disorders that can result, such as inflammation and chronic pain.

Upping Your Sulfur Consumption

Getting more sulfur in your diet is important, whether or not you are suffering from chronic back pain.   Adding the supplement MSM to your daily diet could help alleviate chronic pain. 

Related: White Willow Bark For Safe And Effective Pain Relief

MSM stands for methyl sulfonyl methane and is a naturally occurring sulfur compound found in human, animals and plants. It can be made manufactured into pill form or even a topical gel to help provide the correct daily dosage.  To date, MSM has proven to be non-toxic.

How Sulfur Can Help Relieve Chronic Back Pain

MSM has powerful anti-inflammatory properties that can help reduce the pain of inflammation in joints and muscles.  For this reason, it is often used to treat a variety of discomforts such as:

  • Leg cramps
  • Chronic fatigue
  • Menstrual cramps
  • Migraines and headaches
  • Joint pain and stiffness
  • Constipation

One of the ways MSM relieves chronic back pain and other disorders is by inhibiting the transmissions of pain impulses along nerve fibers.  This helps to reduce inflammation that could be compressing a nerve, and reduces muscle spasms, contributing to lower back pain.

Sulfur in MSM also has the ability to dilate blood vessels for improved circulation, bringing more nutrients to speed up the healing of damaged tissue. What’s more impressive is MSM’s potential to make cell membranes more permeable, letting the body’s own natural painkillers into damaged areas.

By reducing inflammation, enhancing blood flow to more flexible cells to allow for faster healing, MSM could play a big role in not only relieving chronic back pain, but also with the loss of joint mobility from arthritis.

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Natural Treatment for Arthritis

by Cindy Gray

A History of an Ayurvedic Natural Arthritis Treatment

Joint pain is a common complaint in this country affecting approximately one-third of the adult population. The most likely cause of painful joints is arthritis, and either rheumatoid (RA) or osteoarthritis (OA).  Clearly, finding a natural arthritis treatment is an attractive option for many sufferers.  

Natural treatments for arthritis can include Ayurveda.

A Natural Alternative Treatment

Ayurvedic medicine offers natural arthritis treatments that have shown to be highly effective in modern medical studies. This is good news for those who wish to manage their joint pain, but are wary of the side effects of prescription drugs, such as the possible increased risk of heart attacks, stroke, or drowsiness and constipation.

In addition to NSAIDs (non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs) like aspirin and ibuprofen, real relief can be found using Indian frankincense. Also known as Boswellia serrata, it has a centuries-long history of use for aromatherapy and in religious ceremonies.

Indian frankincense has also been used in Ayurvedic medicine for relief from joint pain. Clinical trials by western medicine researchers have confirmed its effectiveness in relieving discomfort and helping to restore mobility to stiff joints by alleviating inflammation.

How Does Indian Frankincense Work?

It is believed that Indian frankincense helps to relieve arthritis pain by inhibiting the formation of leukotrienes, which cause inflammation in the body. This inflammation destroys joint tissue leading to pain and stiffness that becomes progressively worse over time to the point of being debilitating.

Four acids found in Boswellia resin (scientific name for Indian frankincense) are most likely responsible for the herb’s anti-inflammatory properties by suppressing 5-lipoxygenase or 5-LO, the enzyme that produces leukotriene.

Related: A New Strategy To Successfully Prevent Rheumatoid Arthritis

In a study published by Phytomedicine all 30 participants suffering OA-related knee pain reported a decrease in their pain and improved knee flexion; and the ability to walk farther with less discomfort after taking doses of Indian frankincense extract.

While results published in the Journal of Rheumatology about a research project involving the use of Boswellia extract for those with rheumatoid arthritis were not as dramatic, researchers concluded that it still may be an effective therapy because of the drug’s ability to interfere with the autoimmune disorder that causes RA.

ApresFLEX as a Natural Arthritis Treatment

Promising results were shown in a clinical study that tested the effectiveness of a trademark blend of Boswellia serrata known as ApresFLEX when compared to another form of the drug 5-Loxin.  The study involved 60 participants with OA knee pain.

In the 90-day, double blind, randomized, and placebo-controlled study (meaning neither participants nor researchers knew who received the drugs or the placebo) those who received the placebo reported no significant relief in their joint pain. However, those who received the 5-Loxin and ApresFLEX reported significant improvements in joint pain and increased mobility.

What was especially significant was that those who received the 100 mg dose of ApresFLEX reported improvements to their OA symptoms in as little as five days, two days earlier than those who received the other Boswellia serrata extract!

With so many undesirable side effects associated with many prescription drugs, a more natural arthritis treatment like ApresFLEX offers a promising new way to address the pain and limited joint mobility of the disease more swiftly with fewer health risks.

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Alternative Arthritis Treatments for Joint Tenderness

by Health News

Approximately 350 million people worldwide have some form of arthritis, a group of conditions that typically cause pain and swelling in joints.  While many claims have been made about the effectiveness of alternative arthritis treatments for relieving joint tenderness, two in particular appear to show promise.

Acupuncture and massage make promising arthritis treatments for joint tenderness.

Acupuncture

Acupuncture has been used in some parts of the world to relieve joint pain for more than 5,000 years.  It is a treatment in which ultra-thin needles are inserted into specific points of the body, triggering energy flow (or qi) to promote healing.  While many people worry about the treatment's potential for discomfort, insertion by skilled practitioners usually proves painless.

Moxibustion

Sometimes, practitioners use a technique called moxibustion, in which the tip of the inserted needle is wrapped in an herbal mixture called moxa.  Made from mugwort, a small spongy herb, the moxa is ignited to generate heat to the acupuncture point and speed healing in the body.

Acupuncture Research

Research on acupuncture for pain and joint tenderness has shown good results, making it one of the most promising alternative arthritis treatments.

  • Research published in the American Journal of Chinese Medicine looked at 204 patients with chronic pain.  Following treatment with acupuncture, 74 percent of the patients experienced significant relief for more than three months.
  • A study from China showed that 20 sessions of traditional acupuncture or electro-acupuncture (sending pulsating electrical currents through the needles) reduced joint tenderness in people with rheumatoid arthritis.
  • A German study examining 304,674 people with osteoarthritis of the knee showed that those who received 15 sessions of acupuncture in combination with standard care experienced less pain and stiffness than people receiving standard care alone.  Results lasted for three months after the acupuncture treatment.

Massage

Many people take advantage of massage to relieve anxiety and soothe sore muscles, but according to research, it also makes for one of the better alternative arthritis treatments for relieving pain.

Related: Managing Chronic Joint Pain on a Day-to-Day Basis

Massage Research

A study in 2006 examined 68 adults with osteoarthritis of the knee.  Researchers found that people who received two sessions of Swedish massage for eight weeks reported less pain and stiffness and better range of motion than people who did not partake in massage.  Another study in 2006 examined 22 adults with arthritis of the hand or wrist.  Participants received four weekly therapeutic massages and were educated how to self-massage tender joints at home.  All experienced reduced pain and anxiety and better grip strength as evidenced by pre-therapy and post-therapy testing.

With a pill for nearly every medical condition, often accompanied by unwanted side effects, many people are turning to alternative methods of treatment.  Offering promising results in scientific studies, acupuncture and massage give people with arthritis an alternative to NSAID pain relievers or stronger oral medicine for the relief of joint tenderness.

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Cannabis-Related Drugs May Provide Pain and Inflammation Relief to Osteoarthritis Sufferers

by Cindy Gray

According to recent research from the Arthritis Research UK Pain Centre, synthetic chemical compounds similar to those found in cannabis have the potential to reduce both the pain and joint inflammation seen in osteoarthritis.  Osteoarthritis affects eight million people in the UK. The cartilage at the ends of bones wears away, causing joint pain and stiffness, and is a major cause of pain and disability.Osteoarthritis Relief from Cannibis-Related Drugs

Current treatment is limited to pain relief, exercise, physiotherapy and joint replacement. There are no drugs or therapies that slow its progression. Clearly, more effective treatment is urgently needed.

Cannabis contains a number of natural chemicals called cannabinoids, to which our brain responds in various ways. Cannabis and synthetically manufactured cannabinoid compounds have previously been shown to relieve pain in animal models of arthritis, but so far their use has been limited because of undesirable psychological side effects.

This new study shows that selectively targeting one of the molecules involved in the body's natural pain-sensing pathways can reduce pain in animal models of osteoarthritis, partly through actions in the spinal cord and brain.  The compound used in this study is a synthetic cannabinoid molecule manufactured in a laboratory, not derived naturally from the cannabis plant.

Interestingly, this study showed for the first time that the amount of receptors for this synthetic molecule in the spinal cord was directly related to osteoarthritis severity, which means this drug target may have significant clinical relevance to osteoarthritis pain.

Cannabinoids are known to have anti-inflammatory effects. Indeed, this study shows that the synthetic molecule reduces inflammation in osteoarthritis. Thus, drugs targeted to this molecule’s receptor may have a dual beneficial effect for people with osteoarthritis by providing pain relief as well as reducing joint inflammation.

These findings are significant, as spinal and brain pain-signaling pathways are known to make a major contribution to pain associated with osteoarthritis.

Millions of people live daily with the severe pain caused by osteoarthritis, and better pain relief is urgently needed. This research suggests that there is potential to develop a synthetic drug to relieve both pain and inflammation in this condition by mimicking the behavior of cannabinoid receptors and without causing serious side effects.

If you regularly suffer from debilitating joint pain and inflammation, there are also natural supplements formulated with many powerful, proven pain and inflammation fighting ingredients to help improve joint flexibility and movement.

 

Source:

Drugs Related to Cannabis Provide Pain and Inflammation Relief in Osteoarthritis

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Daily Ginger Consumption Eases Muscle and Joint Pain

by Cindy Gray

Did you know that for centuries, ginger root has been used as a folk remedy for a variety of ailments such as colds and upset stomachs?   In the Indian and Chinese systems of medicine, ginger root is used to help cleanse the colon, reduce spasms and cramps and stimulate circulation. However, it is best known for its anti-inflammatory properties. Many studies show that ginger can improve morning stiffness, swelling and joint pain associated with arthritis.Ease Muscle and Joint Pain with Daily Ginger

And now in a 2010 study, researchers at the University of Georgia have shown that daily ginger consumption significantly reduces muscle pain caused by exercise.  While ginger had previously been shown to exert anti-inflammatory effects in rodents, its effect on human muscle pain was not known before this study.  Since some people believe that heating ginger during cooking increases its pain-relieving effects, study authors carried out two studies to look at the effects of treatment with both raw and heat-treated ginger supplementation on muscle pain.

The participants in these two studies, 34 and 40 volunteers, respectively, consumed capsules containing two grams of either raw or heat-treated ginger or a placebo for 11 consecutive days. On the eighth day they performed 18 extensions of their elbow flexors with a heavy weight to induce moderate muscle injury to the arm. Arm function, inflammation, pain and a biochemical involved in pain were all assessed before the study began and for three days after the exercise.

These studies show that daily ginger supplementation reduces exercise-induced muscle and joint pain by up to 25 percent. However, this effect was not enhanced by heating ginger beforehand.

Muscle and joint pain are very common types of pain. Specifically, exercise-induced muscle and joint pain are common injuries, especially related to sports and activities such as gardening and shoveling snow.

If you frequently suffer from these types of pain, ginger might just be the solution for you!  There are powerful formulas that contain many pain and inflammation fighting ingredients, such as ginger root extract, to help ease pain and improve joint flexibility and movement.

Imagine if your knees could bend more easily…your hips rotate more smoothly…your hands, wrists and fingers had better flexibility…and your back had renewed strength?  It’s possible to free up your joints and get much-needed pain relief, so why not give ginger or a ginger formula a try today?

 

Source:

Daily Ginger Consumption Eases Muscle and Joint Pain After Exercise

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Healthy Recipes: Ginger Salmon

by Nancy Maneely

Many people want to know how to gain energy. Eating healthy meals is one way to give your energy levels a boost. Check out this Ginger Salmon recipe that’s packed with good-for-you nutrients to keep you energized and feeling great.

Ginger adds a lovely, distinctive flavor to many recipes, but it’s the anti-inflammatory properties of this ancient root that makes it an indispensable addition to the kitchen pantry.

According to Dr. Andrew Weil, in addition to its benefit as an anti-inflammatory agent, ginger provides relief of nausea, chest congestion, and  joint pain from arthritis and bursitis.

Dr. Weil recommends:

For inflammatory conditions, 1 or 2 g of powdered ginger a day. For nausea and prevention of motion sickness, take 1,000 mg as a preventive and 500 mg every four hours as needed, or eat two pieces of crystallized ginger or take ginger syrup or tea. For cold relief, brew tea with one-inch piece of peeled and grated ginger root per two cups of water; bring to a boil, lower heat and simmer for five minutes; add 1/2 teaspoon cayenne pepper and simmer one minute more. Remove from heat. Add two tablespoons fresh lemon juice, one or two cloves of mashed garlic and honey to taste. Let cool slightly and strain. that is the real miracle.

This recipe for Ginger Salmon combines the anti-inflammatory power of fresh ginger with the omega-3  goodness of salmon and antioxidant-rich olive oil, for a delicious and nutritious main course. Bonus: it’s incredibly quick and easy to prepare. Add a tossed salad and a glass of wine and you have a light, elegant summer supper fit for company!

Want to know how to gain energy? Eat healthy meals!

Ginger Salmon
(4 servings)

Ingredients

  • 2 teaspoons olive oil
  • 1 tablespoon honey
  • 1 tablespoon Dijon mustard
  • 2 teaspoons grated fresh ginger
  • 1 pound salmon fillets

Directions

1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees.

2. In a small bowl, blend olive oil, honey, Dijon mustard and ginger

3. Brush salmon fillets evenly with the olive oil mixture. Place in a medium baking dish. Bake 15 to 20 minutes in the preheated oven, until the fish flakes easily with a fork.

Nutrition information per serving:

249 calories, 14.7g total fat, 67mg cholesterol

 

Sources:
Allrecipes.com
Drweil.com: Herbal Remedies

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Regular Exercise Provides Amazing Benefits for Arthritis Sufferers

by Health News

How to Have More Energy and Relieve Arthritis Pain

When arthritis pain flares up and every single movement is fraught with pain, the very thought of exercising can be enough to make you cringe. But medical researchers agree that exercise is vital for healthy aging, particularly the treatment and prevention of the pain associated with arthritis. According to the National Institutes of Health, arthritis is the nation’s number one cause of disability and more than 50 million adults suffer from the disease.  Many sufferers are not involved in any type of exercise program even though research has confirmed that regular physical movement keeps joints strong and lubricated which helps control swelling and pain. As an added bonus, exercise helps keep off the excess pounds that put additional stress on achy joints. And if you’re wondering how to have more energy, exercise will naturally provide your body and mind with more energy than living a sedentary lifestyle.

Because people with arthritis sometimes resort to sedentary lifestyle they put themselves at higher risks for other illnesses such as heart disease, diabetes, hypertension and certain types of cancer.  Exercise also provides significant psychological benefits for people who are struggling with the pain, limited mobility and lifestyle adjustments that are associated with arthritis.  The type of exercise that is best for you will depend on the type of arthritis you have, the joints involved, and the amount of inflammation. You should consult your holistic practitioner or physical therapist to develop a personalized plan. 

Yoga, Tai Chi and warm water exercises are good choices for most people because they involve slow, fluid movements that relax muscles and improve range of motion. Yoga stretches not only the muscles but also the soft tissues of or body, including ligaments, tendons and the fascia sheath that surrounds the muscles. Yoga is safe for people of all ages and fitness levels because the exercises cater to the needs of each individual.  Tai Chi is a gentle form or martial arts that originated in ancient China and involves a series of slow movements similar to those used in yoga. 
 
Warm water exercises provide excellent benefits for people with arthritis. Warm water provides soothing relief for sore muscles and helps support the body while the joints are moved through the range of motion. When you immerse your body in warm water your body temperature rises which causes your blood vessels to dilate and increases circulation.

Walking is another good activity for arthritis sufferers. Walking should be part of everyone’s healthy aging plan because it strengthens the bones and also helps keep the joints flexible. With spring just around the corner, walking provides the perfect opportunity to enjoy the outdoors and explore the wonders of nature.  

If you are among the 50 million Americans who suffer from arthritis, it’s time to get moving. Don’t be tempted to give in to a sedentary lifestyle because inactivity is your worst enemy. Make exercise a central part of your overall arthritis management plan so you can maximize your mobility and keep your pain at bay and set yourself on the path to aging healthy.

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How Omega-3s Ease Arthritis Symptoms

by Institute for Vibrant Living

As you already know, arthritis is a disorder that involves inflammation of one or more joints. The most common form, osteoarthritis - also known as degenerative joint disease - is the leading cause of chronic disability in the US.

Omega-3 Fats For Arthritis Pain Relief

Arthritis sufferers experience a lot of pain, typically localized to the affected joint. This pain happens because of local inflammation, daily wear and tear and muscle strains caused by forceful movements and fatigue. Other symptoms include tenderness, morning stiffness and joint locking.

Treatment generally involves some combination of exercise, lifestyle modification and painkillers. If the pain becomes debilitating, joint replacement surgery is typically used to restore quality of life.

According to Dr. Christine Horner, diet is a powerful way to lower inflammation levels inside your body, even reverse arthritis without the need for either medications or surgery!

She points out that refined carbs, sugary foods such as cake, cookies and sweets, crackers, potato and corn chips - and red meat - are pro-inflammatory foods that create conditions favorable for arthritis, and can actually trigger it.

On the other hand, fresh, organic fruits and vegetables as well as the essential omega-3 fats are well-known anti-inflammatory foods.

In fact, according to Dr. Horner, omega-3 fats are the most anti-inflammatory foods we can consume. Among the omega-3 fats, those from fish oil - known as eicosapentaenoic acid (EPA) and docosahexaenoic acid (DHA) - are the most potent.

Omega-3 fats are converted within our body into biologically active substances called eicosanoids, which control many bodily functions such as muscle contraction, blood thickness and inflammation levels.

Some of the effects caused by omega-3 fats in our body are because of the actions of eicosanoids, but these essential fats also act inside cells in many other ways.

In fact, both animal experiments and clinical studies have shown that omega-3 fats in fish oil can significantly benefits the management of inflammatory and autoimmune diseases, including osteoarthritis.

For example - in a 2006 study, 250 patients who had nonsurgical neck or back pain were asked to take a total of 1,200 mg of EPA and DHA daily, from fish oil supplements. Approximately a month after starting the supplement, they answered a questionnaire.

Of the 250 patients, 125 returned the questionnaire. Of these, 59 patients said they had completely discontinued their prescription painkillers thanks to the fish oil supplement. Overall, 60% stated that their joint pain had improved, while 88% said they would continue to take the fish oil. No significant side effects were reported.

In other words, omega-3 fish oil supplements are a safe and equally effective alternative to prescription painkillers for treatment of joint pain.

Source: Omega-3 Fats for Arthritis Pain Relief.   

 

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The Simple Spice that Eases Back Pain and Arthritis

by Institute for Vibrant Living

According to new research, ginger can reduce pain and inflammation in muscles and joints.Ginger For Muscle And Joint Pain Relief | Institute for Vibrant Living

Ginger has been used medicinally for thousands of years in Ayurvedic medicine in India, as a natural anti-inflammatory therapy to soothe upset stomachs and diminish nausea - and recent studies show it may help relieve pain and inflammation as well.

In one study, arthritic patients were given small amounts of ginger daily for three months. The majority showed significant improvements in pain, swelling and morning stiffness.

Another study concluded that ginger extract could be an equally effective, safer substitute for nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs). The effects of a highly concentrated ginger extract were compared to placebo in 247 patients with knee osteoarthritis.

Ginger was seen to reduce pain and stiffness in knee joints by 40 percent over the placebo. This may be because ginger affects certain inflammatory processes at a cellular level thanks to its anti-inflammatory, anti-ulcer, antioxidant and analgesic properties.

Ginger blocks the formation of the inflammatory compounds prostaglandins and leukotrienes, while also breaking down inflammation and acidity in the fluid within joints.

While many forms of ginger provide health benefits, capsules appear to provide the best therapeutic benefits. Ginger capsules should be taken with food - because although small amounts of ginger can help settle a sour stomach, concentrated doses can actually cause stomach upset.

Before taking ginger, get professional advice - especially if you’re taking a blood-thinning medication for any other health conditions, as ginger may reverse the effects of these drugs.

If you enjoy the tangy taste of fresh ginger, a few tablespoons of grated ginger has been reported to help ease muscle pain caused by exercise. Fresh or dried ginger can also be added to stir fries, curries, soups, or made into tea.

As you age, your synovial fluid - the natural lubricating fluid that protects your joints from deterioration - breaks down, leading to more friction and wear on the cartilage surfaces of the joints. Try adding Ginger to your diet to help alleviate chronic joint pain.

Source: Is Ginger Better Than Drugs For Muscle and Joint Pain Relief?   

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Natural Joint Pain Relief: Boswellia Extract Is An Effective Therapy For Osteoarthritis

by Institute for Vibrant Living

Did you know that the Biblical-era incense frankincense was most likely an extract from the resin of the tree known as Natural Joint Pain Relief: Boswellia Extract Boswellia?

Four species of Boswellia trees - found mainly in Africa and Asia - are known for their fragrant resin. They are also well-known for their anti-inflammatory, anti-arthritic and analgesic properties.

However, Boswellia is more than just an ancient herbal remedy.

A recent review of studies on the effects of Boswellia extract on osteoarthritis concluded that it provided clinically effective natural joint pain relief, with no serious safety issues. The review authors noted that evidence for the effectiveness of Boswellia extracts was ‘encouraging’.

Further evidence comes from a randomized, double-blind, placebo-controlled study on the effects of Boswellia extract on 30 patients from India with osteoarthritis.

Osteoarthritis is a chronic, progressive, degenerative disorder which typically affects the knee joint.

In the study, two groups of 15 patients were given either Boswellia extract or placebo for eight weeks. After the initial eight weeks, each group was ‘crossed over’ to receive the opposite therapy for eight weeks.

All patients receiving drug treatment reported a significant decrease in knee pain, improved knee flexibility and increased walking distance. Not only that, the frequency of swelling in the knee joint was reduced.

It’s worth noting that every one of the patients treated with Boswellia extract found relief from their pain and suffering.

The authors noted that “observed differences between drug treated and placebo being statistically significant, are clinically relevant”. Boswellia extract was well tolerated except for minor gut disturbances.

The study authors recommend Boswellia extract as a therapy for natural joint pain relief in patients with osteoarthritis of the knee, with possible uses in other forms of arthritis as well.

If you too suffer from pain and stiffness in your knee, back and hips, try adding in natural supplements that contiain Boswellia extract as a natural and effective way to help ease your pain and suffering.

 

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What's the #1 Supplement Every Man Should Take?

by Health News

What's the #1 Supplement Every Man Should Take

One of the most important things men can do to stay healthy and energetic is to take an Omega 3 supplement. Now, fish oil is nothing new to you.  It’s so well-researched and documented that even the American Heart Association suggests you take fish oil supplements too—and for good reason.
 
Fish oil owes its health-boosting power to two compounds your cells crave.  They’re called Eicosapentaenoic acid (EPA) and Docosahexaenoic acid (DHA), also known as Omega-3 fatty acids. And they are the fundamental building blocks of virtually every organ, tissue and cell in the body.
 
Dozens of studies over the years reveal that Omega 3's are capable of almost mind-boggling health benefits.  They help boost levels of healthy HDL cholesterol, and lower blood pressure.  Omega 3’s can improve mood and cognition, reduce joint and muscle aches and keep your heart beating long and strong. They can boost blood flow and support healthy digestion, too!
 
Promotes Healthy Triglyceride Levels
 
According Mid-America Heart Institute, Omega 3’s can lower triglyceride levels anywhere from 25% to 30%.  Another study reported in the American Journal of Cardiology found that high levels of Omega 3’s reduced triglycerides as much as 38% and increased levels of HDL (good) cholesterol by 24%.
 
[retrieved from: http://www.oilofpisces.com/cholesterol.html.  Harris, William S. n-3 fatty acids and serum lipoproteins: human studies. American Journal of Clinical Nutrition, Vol. 65 (suppl), 1997, pp. 1645S-54S.
 
Cullen, Paul. Evidence that triglycerides are an independent coronary heart disease risk factor. American Journal of Cardiology, Vol. 86, November 1, 2000, pp. 943-49]
 
Eases joint pain
 
Fish oil is great for your joints, too. Several studies show that patients taking Omega-3 fish oil experienced less stiffness and fewer joint aches than they had without taking the capsules. In a study of patients with joint problems, 53% of the patients in the Omega-3 group showed significant relief of their symptoms compared to only 10% in the placebo group.
 
[Geusens, Piet, et. Al. Long-term effect of omega-3 fatty acid supplementation on active rheumatoid arthritis. Arthritis & Rheumatism, Vol. 37, June 1994]
 
Protects your brain from “aging”
 
Plus, research suggests that Omega 3's can actually help keep your brain and memory young! A study reported in the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition states that Omega 3 fatty acids slow the aging of the brain by supporting healthy inflammation response. Dr. Lawrence Whalley of Aberdeen University in Scotland stated, "The results suggest that … aging of their brain is being slowed down by a year or two."
[http://www.nutraingredients.com/Research/Fish-oil-supplements-slow-ageing-of-brain]
 
Other research suggests they can protect against age-related vision loss, support healthy blood sugar levels, and even reduce inflammation in the lungs that causes shortness of breath.
 
So How Much Omega 3’s Do You Need?
 
When it comes to Omega 3's, the rule is: the more, the better. The recommended daily amount of Omega 3 is 1,000 mg per day of EPA and DHA combined.  If you’re concerned about your heart or brain health, you should probably take about 2,000 mg of Omega 3 fish oil per day. Unless you eat several meals of fish every week, your dietary intake probably doesn’t come close to that. That’s why it’s best to take supplements.
 
However, not all fish oil supplements are created equal.  To keep prices low, many fish oil suppliers get their stock from the cheapest possible sources.  Other manufacturers use unstable commodity oils that begin to oxidize – or rot – as soon as they’re exposed to oxygen, light, and heat.  That’s why so many fish oil supplements may give you an upset stomach or that uncomfortable fish burp after taking them.
 
The richest sources for essential EPA and DHA are small cold water fish such as anchovies, mackerel and wild sardines. These small fish contain the ocean’s highest natural oil content. Plus, they are usually free of the pollutants and toxins found in larger species of fatty fish.
 
Also, make sure the fish oil you buy includes antioxidants to help maintain stability and protect against a fishy aftertaste.
 

 

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Natural Pain Relief

by Health News

We all suffer from pain occasionally, whether it’s a headache, menstrual cramps, arthritis or an injured limb. Occasional pain is manageable, but what about chronic or recurrent pain? If you suffer from chronic or recurrent pain, it’s important to consult with your healthcare professional and get a diagnosis and treatment plan. Once you know what’s going on, perhaps you will be interested in natural, everyday things you can do to help minimize chronic pain and even improve your health along the way. Here are some natural pain relievers you might not know about:

Natural Pain Relief

Reclining. Make sure you have an office chair that allows you to recline backward slightly instead of sitting up perfectly straight or slouched forward. This position takes pressure off of the muscles, ligaments and tendons that support your upper body. If you can’t adjust your chair, roll up a towel or strap a lumbar pad to your chair to create the same effect.

Don’t sit for too long. If you have a desk job, it’s very difficult to remember to take regular stretch-and-walk breaks. But to minimize the chances developing or exacerbating stiff, strained muscles and joints, it’s essential that you take these breaks. Set a timer on your computer or phone to go every 30 minutes to remind you to get up and move. Take a bathroom break, get a cup of coffee, file papers, etc.  Even moving around for just 60 seconds each time stretches and loosens tight muscles.

Smell some lavender. According to Hyla Cass, MD and author of Eight Weeks to Vibrant Health, “When this aroma reaches the brain, it stimulates production of calming, pain-soothing alpha waves.”

Try some meadowsweet tea. Meadowsweet tea is rich in salicylic acid, the active ingredient in aspirin. But it won’t upset your stomach like aspirin as it contains a unique blend of stomach-soothing mucilage and tannins that prevents the common side effect of an upset stomach. You can find meadowsweet tea in most health food stores.