Millions of people all over the world are afflicted with arthritis and one of its most common forms: gout. It can affect many joints, but most commonly appears in the joint connecting the big toe to the foot. Left untreated, it does not only cause crippling pain, it can make for a misshapen toe as well. The gout treatments available today are numerous, but many people are looking towards alternative medicine to give them the pain relief that they desperately need.
Natural gout treatments are attractive for so many because they usually do not have the side effects that are common in pharmaceutical drugs. Also, natural and alternative medicine procedures have been used by many cultures since the ancient times, and undergoing one form or another of these techniques makes a person feel that he is somehow in tune with the healers of the ancient world, who believed in the curative and restorative powers of the human body and spirit, nature, and the universe.
Take acupuncture, for instance. This ancient Chinese medical practice has been used over the centuries to treat a variety of diseases. In more recent times, research has shown that acupuncture can reduce not only gout pain, but also lower the body’s uric acid levels — uric acid being a major factor in the occurrence of gout. Acupuncture is also appealing to gout patients because it can be administered to sites other than the afflicted joint.
Another form of alternative medicine that may be of immense benefit for gout patients is hypno-therapy. Hypnosis has been used for therapeutic reasons throughout the centuries to treat both the body and the mind. Clinical studies suggest that a good hypno-therapy session will encourage the production of endorphins, chemicals released by the brain which are considered the body’s natural pain killers. The severity of one’s pain and anxiety are markedly reduced after a session.
The ancient meditative practice of yoga is also believed to help alleviate gout symptoms. Yoga exercises bring about inner serenity and peace, and help the body heal itself. Additionally, yoga involves the stretching of muscles and tissues, which would affect the joints — but not to the point of injuring or damaging them further. Moreover, yoga also helps in the regulation of the body’s systems and processes that influence uric acid production and metabolism — key factors in the management of gout.
The mystical powers of the shamans and medicine men of the ancient world are alive today in gout treatments and therapies for many other diseases. We may not fully understand how they work, but we are fortunate to be able to benefit from them still.