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    Are There Natural Treatments for RA?

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    Mind/Body Therapies continued...

    Visualization: This can help reduce stress and pain. With this exercise, you close your eyes, breathe deeply, and picture yourself in a quiet, peaceful place.

    Meditation : This technique can be as simple as focusing on your breathing and just noticing each inhale and exhale. It doesn’t require any spiritual beliefs, and it’s not about being super-calm. Anyone can do it, and only a few minutes can make a difference. Your mind will almost certainly wander. That’s OK. Just return your attention to your breath, or whatever else you choose to focus on.

    Tai chi : This slow, gentle martial art is easy on your joints. It can help with flexibility and strength, too.

    Acupuncture : This traditional form of Chinese medicine uses super-fine needles to stimulate energy pathways called "meridians" in the body to correct imbalances of energy, or "qi."

    There’s not a lot of research specific to RA. But studies do show that acupuncture helps with pain, especially back pain. It may also help with osteoarthritis.

    Biofeedback : This technique helps you learn to control automatic responses such as heart rate and blood pressure. You do this with sensors on your body, which send information to a monitor. A therapist teaches you how to control your reaction to stresses. There isn’t enough research to know if it works to curb RA pain, but it may be something to try.

    Supplements

    A few RA studies show some benefit for certain supplements and natural remedies. But the research is still in its early stages, so the bottom line isn’t clear yet.

    Keep in mind that supplements can affect other medications. Tell your doctor about anything you take, even if it’s natural, so he can check that it’s safe for you.

    The most promising supplements include:

    Fish oil . Several studies have shown that fish oilsupplements may help reduce morning stiffness with RA. Omega-3s curb inflammation and help protect against heart disease. That’s good for people with RA, who are more likely than other people to get heart disease. Fish oil appears to be safe when used appropriately. Don’t get more than 3 grams per day because of the risk of bleeding.

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