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One Woman's Successful Fight With RA The Natural Way

I've always believed meditation is a great tool for you to take a deliberate break from the stream of thoughts that are constantly flowing in and out of your minds. Some people use it to promote spiritual growth or find inner peace, while others use it as a relaxation and stress-reduction tool. Simply focus on freeing your mind of all its conscious thoughts or focus on the sounds you are hearing now, your breathing, or your eyes moving over this page and you will get a taste of how beneficial meditation can be.

That's why I wanted you to know a little more about the inspiring story I read about one rheumatoid arthritis (RA) sufferer who has had seven hip replacement surgeries. However, since leaving the hospital following her latest operation seven months ago, she hasn't taken any painkillers. Not because the pain isn't there, because it is. But the 52-year-old Maryland woman has learned to accept the pain, the disease and herself, thanks to meditation.

This natural tool has allowed her "to have the patience to deal with these flare-ups and become relaxed enough so the need for pain medication is almost not there." Meditation has made her symptoms less severe, helping her relieve stress that she said made the condition worse.

Researchers at the University of Maryland School of Medicine in Baltimore are studying others like this woman to determine if meditation helps sufferers of the autoimmune disorder, which affects about 2.1 million Americans, mostly women. Those with the disease often have general fatigue, soreness, stiffness and aches at first. Joints may swell and become damaged over time.

Some groups of RA patients are being trained in "mindfulness," a form of stress reduction meditation developed 30 years ago at the University of Massachusetts. Their progress is being compared to patients not in the program. Mindfulness is similar to many meditation techniques. Participants are taught to focus on breathing to quiet the mind and become aware of the moment. The method has been used successfully to help patients with chronic pain from a variety of conditions, but this marks the first time it is being studied to see if it can help the physical and psychological symptoms of RA patients.

A popular tool, much like the ones described here, I've used in my practice for some time is EFT, a psychological acupuncture treatment I recommend to optimize your emotional health. Learn the technique yourself with my free manual and learn more about the connection between your emotional well-being and your overall health.

MSNBC September 13, 2004

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