Bodywork: A Natural Way To Better Health
For most people arthritis conjures up thoughts of stiff joints and swollen muscles. Maybe you picture an elderly person with pained wrists or knees who must use a stick simply to walk around the house. But it doesn't have to be this way.
Just because you've been diagnosed with arthritis doesn't mean you have to forget about feelings of flexibility and body movement.
Maybe you think that you can no longer move the way you used to. The opposite is true: arthritis patients must seek out movement more than they did before their diagnosis. Movement is important to retain flexibility, improve posture, and build strength.
So get moving: try one of these bodywork techniques to keep at your best.
Yoga: This ancient Indian art means "union". This refers to the goal of bringing together body and spirit in the road to good health and well being. Yoga is an effective yet gentle enough bodywork exercise that can keep your body flexible while not overexerting your joints and muscles. In adition to the physical benefits yoga can provide relaxation and anxiety-reducing effects that can linger long after a session on the mat. Try yoga when you are feeling stiff, tired, or stressed.
Massage: While technically not regarded as a bodywork exercise, massage can be a panacea for many arthritis sufferers. A professional massage be a great help in relieving your tight, contracted muscles. If you don't receive massages on a regular basis, ask friends or family members for recommendations. Many arthritis sufferers experience considerable relief as the massage therapist gently massages and loosens your tired and stiff joints. If you don't know anyone who can give you a good personal recommendation, speak to your doctor or visit your local YMCA center.
Feldenkrais: This is a combination of exercise and massage that can help arthritis patients simultaneously loosen and exercise their joints and muscles. Your Feldenkrais therapist will gently massage your body while guiding you toward small, simple movements that are aimed at increasing flexibility. Feldenkrais can help your body "remember" old movements that your body is no longer able to perform or which you have been doing incorrectly over the years. The movement is gentle and unforced. You should feel looser, more flexible, and less stressed after a session of Feldenkrais massage. Your therapist can also teach you exercises that you can do at home when you are feeling stiff and pained.
Chiropractor: A visit to the chiropractor can often be beneficial to arthritis sufferers, particularly if you are affected in the spine or back muscles. Many arthritis patients receive spinal adjustments that can help relieve back, neck, and overall muscle pain and pressure. Speak to your doctor before you visit a chiropractor. Some patients may not be good candidates for chiropractic therapy because their joints may be too fragile. If your doctor agrees that you may receive some benefit from it, ask for a recommendation. Try to find a chiropractor that has experience working with arthritis patients, and who is gentle enough so that you can visit them on a regular basis.
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