Health, Naturally! Health, Naturally! 2014

Health, Naturally – May 2014 – Sarah Greenhalgh

Bones them bones!

arthritisA few exciting developments have occurred since I wrote my last article especially in mind are those with joint issues. This month’s editorial I hope will interest those who have started to feel deterioration in their joints either through an environmental cause maybe sitting at a desk too long, an injury especially whiplash or through maturity or disease. Firstly, were you aware of an amazing informative website for those with arthritis in Cornwall? Namely, Cornwall Arthritis, (CA) Fig1

The site that was created in partnership with the Royal Cornwall Hospital and Cornwall Arthritis Trust aims to provide a reliable place for people suffering from this debilitating disease to find information and advice about local services. Patients are able to chat with other sufferers and research subjects including clinic services, how to manage arthritis, where to get financial advice, leisure and travel precautions and link to recommended sites including complementary therapies. There are a few listed and at time of writing Reflexology wasn’t included but fortunately through sourcing trials and sending the information to the research associate it will be very soon. I have a couple of case studies of success too that I would like to share with you.

But first, another service highlighted on the CA site deserves a special mention as it focuses on many of the quandaries described above the course is : EPP The Expert Patient Programme that provides training and support for adults who are living with any long-term health condition to manage their condition better on a daily basis.

reflexI had the pleasure of speaking with a lady who has experienced the course. Alison, a registered healthcare professional was diagnosed with a rare form of Rheumatoid arthritis (RA) that also affects her eyes and lungs describes how 6 weeks of EPP training benefitted her. Alison explains that EPP looks at all the aspects one might have questions about after diagnosis of a chronic condition including services available, how to be active in disease management and one of the most important aspects: support in Goal setting.

Alison was reassured that although no one in her EPP group had the same condition as she did, each member did have the same fears, questions and hurdles to overcome. During our interview, Alison openly recounts the trauma of losing two jobs through the effects of RA and how she lost her identity and couldn’t be sure if she was doing everything right.

But EPP gave her the Eureka moment, through the support from the group she found her confidence to achieve her next goal and know that she wasn’t on her own. Alison believes EPP would be beneficial to anyone faced with a chronic disease but the most important thing is to have a willingness to accept change before you sign up for the course.

Just in case Reflexology isn’t included on the site as yet let me describe some amazing feedback from one of my Reflexology clients. Many years ago when I was still living up country I treated a lady who had been diagnosed with Rheumatoid arthritis for over 10 years. She was prescribed pain killers and anti-inflammatory medication that she took daily including every morning before she could get out of bed. After a couple of treatments she found she was able to get out of bed in the morning without the painkillers. The effects of the treatment were reduced as the month went on and she knew when she needed another boost and treatment. FIG2

newenglandThis case was amazing and showed me very early on in my career the benefit of Reflexology and how it can help the body to heal. But how much did the mind play a part in such a dramatic change? At this point it would be relevant to report on a piece of research carried out in the USA in 2002. First seen on Dr Kathy Sykes Alternative Medicine programme in 2006 she met a knee surgeon Moseley who had just made an amazing discovery. In a research trial, he gave one group of his patients a fake operation. He opened them up – but instead of carrying out the usual procedure – he simply sewed them back up again having done nothing at all. Incredibly, this group of patients did as well as those who had the real procedure. New England journal of medicine 2002

So, could the power of the mind explain the benefits people experience from therapies? The conclusion throws new light on all healing processes, and has a surprising and inspirational message for every practitioner and patient. Dr Tom Heller of the OU Faculty of Health and Social Care and a working GP believes that the body has enormous restorative powers and a very wide spectrum of interventions seem to be able to trigger measurable physiological changes. These changes may have potentially positive, healing effects. It could be that the key intervention is the medication that he’s prescribed. Equally though, the trigger could be all the ‘theatre’ that surrounds coming to the doctor or finally the laying on of hands and soothing words.

Last year a small study was carried out by Dr Samuel and Dr Ebenezer at University of Portsmouth, with properly controlled conditions (a placebo/control group) they showed that Reflexology reduced the feelings of pain and hope further larger studies will confirm that Reflexology may be used to complement conventional drug therapy in the treatment of conditions associated with pain such as osteoarthritis, backache and cancers.

Sfeelgoodo what can be done earlier, when niggles start in our joints to boost in times of wear and tear and support their natural healing process after an injury like whiplash? I have found personally great comfort and pain relief in boosting my joints by using Hand Reflexology including daily after the whiplash I experienced. If you would like to learn more or see if this type of therapy may benefit you or a member of your family; I am running a seminar from 2pm at the Feel Good, Health and Wellbeing exhibition at Trelissick Gardens on May 24th; please come and join me. Fig3

Finally Josephine Erwin, research associate for the new website wanted me to spread the word about a group of patients, supported by the National Rheumatoid Arthritis Society (NRAS) who are starting a Cornwall support group for people with rheumatoid arthritis and other forms of inflammatory arthritis. They are currently looking for other people affected by inflammatory arthritis who may be interested in helping them co-ordinate the group. They are planning to launch the group with an event in October.

I do hope the sun continues to shine for you.

Best wishes

Sarah Greenhalgh

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