Stress Reduction Techniques and Rheumatoid Arthritis: How to Relax and Relieve Pain

Stress Reduction Techniques and Rheumatoid Arthritis: How to Relax and Relieve Pain
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Stiff, aching joints, painful swelling and inflammation; rheumatoid arthritis can be a very difficult disease to deal with. Enjoying everyday activities may be a challenge, making life more stressful than it needs to be and a moment of peace, elusive. Ironically, one of the best things you can do for this condition is relax.

By reducing stress muscles loosen, tension dissipates, and what was once stiff and obstructive becomes fluid and free. There is also a correlation between the mind and arthritis suffering — by feeling good and believing in serenity the brain may actually release pain-reducing chemicals. Another explanation for the power of stress reduction is overall health. The more you laugh, enjoy life, and feel positive, the stronger your immune system and the more capable the body is to cope with arthritis. Try any of these stress reduction techniques for rheumatoid arthritis and see what works best for you.


Meditating is something anyone can do at any time. It requires no special skills, no fees, and no materials. Sit down in a comfortable position, close your eyes, and focus on your breath. Release all thoughts, worries, and concerns. There are no bills to pay, no dishes to wash, no problems with coworkers or family members. There is only the present moment and the breath.

Meditate every day to help relieve stress and cope with arthritis. Start with five minutes and work up to ten, twenty, and even thirty minutes. This technique will help to put muscles at ease and to improve mental well-being.

Physical Activities

Another great way to reduce stress and also improve rheumatoid arthritis is to exercise. Walking with a pair of well-cushioned sneakers out in

tai chi

the fresh air is ideal. This will not only ease tension, but it will strengthen muscles, bones, and joints and improve blood circulation. Swimming, biking, yoga, chi gong; all of these help to strengthen the body, improve flexibility, get the blood flowing, and incorporate breathing to alleviate both stress and pain.

Alternative Medicine

You can also effectively reduce stress and anxiety and at the same time manage arthritic pain by seeking professional help. Acupuncture has this dual beneficial effect on the body. This therapy addresses the meridian system, the subtle pathways of energy flow in the body. Acupuncture seeks to release blockages and return the body to a state of balance.

Massage therapy is another ideal alternative medicine. Therapeutic massage will of course ease tense muscles, promoting feelings of relaxation, but it also helps to release accumulated toxins from the body.

Aromatherapy can be beneficial as well. Many essential oils have properties that help to relieve stress, tension, nervousness, and anxiety. Many as well have anti-inflammatory properties, immune enhancing properties, and cleansing properties. With all of these forms of alternative medicine to help with rheumatoid arthritis, be sure to find a certified acupuncturist, massage therapist, or aromatherapist.

Techniques at Home

spa bath

There are also things you can do around the house on an everyday basis to manage stress and pain. Try therapeutic bathing. The hot water helps to ease tension, improve blood circulation, and increase the release of toxins through sweating. Add one cup of Epsom salts and five or six drops of a beneficial essential oil such as chamomile, lavender, rosemary, or sandalwood.

Gardening is also beneficial. Putting your hands in the dirt is good for you! The work will ease sore hands and a stressed mind. Gardening is also a great way to get your mind off of stressful everyday concerns and connect with the tranquility of nature.

Do what is enjoyable for you. If you like reading, brew a cup of relaxing oat straw tea, put your feet up and open up a good book. If you enjoy being creative, try working with clay to strengthen hands, ease tension, and have fun. Alternatively, simply talk to a good friend or family member and enjoy the company of another.

Why are stress reduction techniques for rheumatoid arthritis so important? Because pain is stressful, difficult, and even depressing. Addressing mental well-being is the key to turning this cycle of physical and psychological illness around. As simple as it may sound, having a serene and optimistic mind does impact the state of the body.


Arthritis Foundation

Everyday Health

Web MD

photo by: Oddsock (CC/flickr)

photo by: Gigi SocriA (CC/flickr)

photo by: Dennis Wong (CC/flickr)