If you are suffering from rheumatoid arthritis and searching for ways to cure it, I am able to suggest that you adopt a different approach. I am not trying to sell to you any magic pills, herbs, or supplements. However, my method will help you to stop the further degeneration of your joints. It would not reverse them. If you wish to reverse them, then you need to consider traditional treatments such as acupuncture, qi gong, etc.
This article is based on my own experience in successfully reversing my rapid onset of rheumatoid arthritis. I did it by researching into the mind body connection, and identifying the emotions and limiting beliefs that triggers this condition and change it. Within a few days, the inflammation stopped…. my immune system stopped attacking my joints.
There are few emotional factors that may lead to development of rheumatoid arthritis:
I have included some situational examples. Your experience may be different but may be relatable to the point below.
1. Not setting healthy boundaries
You may have problem saying no to something because you wanted to please or did not want to appear rude, not helpful and mean.
Sometimes people may not even ask you to do certain things. You offer your service and ended up having too much on your plate.
2. Viewing responsibilities as burden instead of mere responsibility
This conditioning could come from childhood. You may have the need to please people or having made assume responsibilities that are not age appropriate. For example your parents constantly argue and one or two of them would then complaint to you and you had to be like a surrogate parent…. when you were still a child. Or learning to cook and take care of your younger siblings before you were even 10 years old when you should be out playing.
So you grow up caring for people. You grow up quicker than you have to. Deep down, sometimes your heart feels very tired. You really don’t want to do it. So at times, even though it is a simple chore, your heart feel burdened.
3. Self directed anger and resentment
When you keep doing things and feel burdened by it, resentment can build up. On the other hand, if you don’t do it, you start to hate yourself. Or you hate yourself for not being able to say no.
4. Untreated anxiety
One of the reasons you agree to things or did not set boundaries could be due to anxiety. For example you may worry too much that if you don’t do this or that, something bad would happen.
I would try to bring all the points together by sharing my experience.
Early this year, I started developing rapid onset of rheumatoid arthritis. The pain started on 2 of joints in my right hand before spreading to my left hand. When it started to spread to my toes, it really got my attention.
My joints started swelling- the pain started at first on 2 distal phalanges (upper joints) of my index and middle finger on my right hand. Then it spread to my left hand. Within amount two months, it was on all my 10 fingers. If any of the joint accidentally knock on something, even lightly, it is very painful. I could no longer close my fingers into a fist… it was too painful.
At first, I tried to treat it by following the advice of my friend on changing my diet and going to acupuncture. The acupuncture treatment relieved the symptoms- but only for a short period. And then I started noticing the joints on my fingers becoming more painful on all 10 fingers. When I felt the similar sensation starting on my toes, I knew I had to do something about it.
I read and asked around. I was told that till today, no prescribed medication (basically steroids) can cure rheumatoid arthritis. The only thing it can do is delay the onset. So I researched into mind body. Just go to YouTube, type in “mind body connection rheumatoid arthritis” and you would discover the work of Dr Gabor Mate, a physician based in Canada with a best selling book called “When the Body Says No” (affiliate link).
Feeling burdened by responsibilities
He mentioned that burden and responsibility are different thing. Responsibility will not cause you illness but feeling burdened by your responsibility would.
Try to see if you can relate in your own life from my experience. In 2017, I resigned from my corporate job to be a caregiver full time. I had to give up many things when I made the decision- things like power, freedom and being able to afford the things that I want. It is also not easy to care for a person with dementia.
By end of last year, I moved with my mom to a new place to stay. With the change of environment, I felt more restricted. When I run into some initial behavioural challenges with my mom, I started to feel overwhelmed, burden and stifled. I started getting a lot of resentment because no one else wanted to do it. I was feeling overwhelmed, under appreciated and could not contain my temper. Sometimes I lost it on my mom and after that felt very bad. Good thing is that after about 10 minutes or so, my mom forgotten about the outburst.
About a short period… maybe a month of feeling that, I started to get a rapid onset of rheumatoid arthritis. It happened on my fingers and I knew it was related to doing things with my hands…. and of course I use my hands a lot in caregiving.
I did not know what to do. Was it a message that my body was telling me that I should just give up caregiving, send my mom to a home and go back to corporate life? Was I wasting my life and talent? But at the same time, I love my mom dearly. I really wanted to care for her myself. And caregiving has given me an opportunity to research into health and blog again…something I truly love.
At the same time, I spend a lot of time watching videos of Dr Gabor Mate. The answers he gives when questioned by the audience are often insightful, compassionate and straight to the heart. It hit me right then on the part on feeling burdened. And how by feeling that, I also developed resentment.
With the onset of symptoms, I decided to do something about it. It’s a shot but it’s either all or nothing. If I do nothing and my fingers start to lose its function, then I will not be able to do the things I love such as driving and typing.
I changed my paradigm. That my daily chores are not a burden. I have been doing mindfulness meditation (on and off and slacking) so I applied it…. when I start to feel negative, instead of ruminating, I focus on my breath. I kept saying to myself, just a work, just actions. Don’t feel burdened.
I did all the caregiving responsibilities that I had to do- ensure my mom had her meals daily, feed her meds, take her out for short walks and bathe/clean her.
But if I don’t feeling like washing the toilet, clearing the dishes or mopping the floor that day, I don’t do it. I realized in the past I did it not because I wanted to but because I had worried what others would say about me if I did not help out. For about few days, aside from doing my caregiver duties, I slept and rested. I don’t offer to help if I don’t want to.
Then I realized that the burdened feeling was due to childhood conditioning. This is common in children who had to grow up faster than they had to and started assuming roles as adults from a young age. The desire to help and please, but putting the needs of others ahead of oneself, which on long term creates the feeling of being burdened and inner resentment.
Also with support and understanding from my teacher and friends, I felt better and more positive. I really stopped looking at tasks of the day as burdens. I resumed other household duties without the negativity. At days if I don’t feel like doing this work, I don’t.
The inflammation stops
Just with that, my immune system stopped attacking my joints… just within a few days. I know this because further swelling and inflammation stopped. I could make my fingers into a fist…. it is a little uncomfortable as my joints still felt stiff but it was no longer painful.
I read that when we do not set boundaries, it would cause our immune system to lose the ability to differentiate. It either start attacking the body (causing auto immune disease) or it does not fight off what it needs to (causing cancer).
And just out of curiosity…. I experimented with my diet. I started drinking carbonated iced drinks, eating seafood and chicken meat which I had largely avoided. In the past the carbonated iced drinks would have made my joints painful and inflamed but surprisingly…. after the change of attitude…..the drinks had very minimal negative effect. I could knock the joints against surfaces and make my fingers into a fist without them being painful.
The conclusion I got is that the mind-emotion factor is much stronger than diet.
Observation of others with RA
A friend of my mom (A) told me that she had a friend (B) with rheumatoid arthritis. I don’t know B personally but I asked if I could describe B’s character and A to help verify it. A confirmed that I was right about her friend’s character. In fact, she told me that B had a bad bout of rheumatoid arthritis after she agreed to her father-in-law (a very difficult man to get along with) to stay with their family. Because of her rheumatoid arthritis, B could no longer do a lot of the work and eventually her father-in-law moved out.
I’ve also observed another lady who had rheumatoid arthritis in her late thirties. Her mom had that symptoms so she thought it was hereditary. But she started showing the symptoms of RA (swelling at her fingers, inflammation and pain) after she had been very troubled at being cheated of money by someone she trust. She hated herself for losing the money and unable to recover it and was at lost to what to do with her life. So whatever people suggested she try, she did it even though it was not really what she wanted to do. She had failed to set healthy boundaries because she did not know what she had wanted. Because she just did what people suggested for her to do to earn a living, it was clear that often it was not what she wanted to do but she did it grudgingly, almost unwillingly as if it was a burden. And always, at the back of her mind, she could not get over the fact about the lost of money and anger at herself for being guillable.
I would not have believe this if it had not happened to me personally. Of course, the swelling in my joints prior to my ‘attitude change’ did not magically subside. It is still there but no more new inflammation.
Give my suggestions a try. But be prepared though…. like what Dr Gabor Mate said- in being authentic, there is always the risk of loss in relationships. Suddenly people who like you when you are saying yes do not like you anymore. But the good thing is that you would attract authenticity. People who accept authenticity will celebrate you.