What are rheumatoid arthritis and rheumatism
Rheumatoid arthritis is a chronic disease that mostly affects the joints and their inflammations are painful and accompanied by edema. The development of this disease leads to stiffness of the fingers, wrists, elbows, knees, ankles and toes.
The disease can affect the cartilage of the joints, tendons and muscles. This, however, is an autoimmune disease, so various other tissues and organs can be affected because the body attacks the immune system by mistake. It is believed to be caused by viruses and bacteria.
With regard to rheumatoid arthritis, scientists consider genetic, hormonal and various ecological causes. The main symptoms of the disease include stiffness, pain and swelling of the joints, which leads to:
- Limited mobility
- Warming and redness of the affected areas
- Subcutaneous lumps and ganglion
- Deformation of the joints.
Patients experience difficulties even with elementary actions such as brushing and making a step forward, which may also lead to disability. There is also a great risk of developing pulmonary diseases, cardiovascular diseases, and so on. Western medicine treats the disease with analgesic medicines and drugs that relieve the swelling, as well as with basic medicines that act slowly to alter disease development.
Rheumatism, called acute, is a cardiac autoimmune and inflammatory disease that affects the joints, nervous system and skin. It develops as a result of streptococcal infection, and it manifests about two weeks after the infection. At first, it affects the upper respiratory tract. In the process of development it attacks the medium and large joints that become painful and swollen, and the patient becomes immobilized.
The worst damage, however, is on the heart, as all three layers can be affected. Antibiotics are used to treat the infection, as well as anesthetics and medicines that reduce the edema.
Causes and types of rheumatism and rheumatoid arthritis according to Ayurveda
Ayurveda associates joint pain, including in rheumatoid arthritis and rheumatism, mostly with the spread of toxins in the body and their accumulation in the bones and joints. These toxins – Ama are mainly formed by poor digestion.
Undecomposed food residues remain in the digestive tract that start to decay over time. In these processes, various poisons are released – heavy metals, as well as pesticides, free radicals, and so on. Together with nutrients, they migrate throughout the body through the bloodstream and accumulate in different tissues in the form of a layer.
The harm coming from these toxins is that they poison the cells, thus disturbing the metabolism. When the tissues and organs are not fed properly, their functions are disturbed and diseases occur as a result. The accumulation of poisons in the joints leads to rheumatoid arthritis and rheumatism.
The formation of Ama is caused by a disturbed balance between the three energies in the human body called Doshas and through which the vital processes in the body take place – the transformations /Pitta dosha is responsible for the digestion and metabolism/; movements /Vata dosha is responsible for the pulse, blood circulation, energy flows, and so/, and the penetration, consolidation /Kapha dosha is responsible for the state and control of fluids/. Nature sets these energies in a specific proportion for each person, and the deviations of each of these energies from the balance and general harmony, causes diseases.
Joint pain of the Vata type are most common. The pain is variable, sharp, cutting, exacerbated by cold weather or cold water. The skin becomes dry, joints harden, and usually get deformed. Usually the pain is relieved when the weather is warm.
Other symptoms characteristic of Vata dosha include nervousness, anxiety, insomnia, as well as abdominal pain, constipation and flatulence. Other common causes are deviations of Vata combined with Pitta imbalance. The areas around the joints become red and there is a burning sensation. Symptoms that are typical of Pitta dosha are, for example, fever, sweating, diarrhea, severe irritability to angry outbursts.
Rashes can occur around the affected joints, swelling, as well as edema without inflammation, greasy skin and mucus in the Vata-Kapha type of imbalance. Symptoms exacerbate when the weather is cold and humid, and when the weather is warm and dry the symptoms are relieved.
Treatment of rheumatoid arthritis and rheumatism according to Ayurveda
Treatment of rheumatoid arthritis and rheumatism with Ayurveda includes soothing Vata dosha, because this energy is increased and as a result toxins spread throughout the body. At the same time, of course, measures have to be taken against the toxins.
The body must be cleansed of toxins. This is mainly done through internal therapies according to the methods of Panchakarma – laxatives and cleansers such as healing vomiting, medicinal enema, and so on, using herbs and oils. At the discretion of the Ayurveda specialist, these can be combined with preparatory external procedures according to the methods of Puvakarma, which also cleanse the toxins from the upper layers – pouring with oils, rubbing with herbs, massages, herbal saunas, etc.
The healing complex also includes a diet and beneficial eating habits, spices and herbs consumed in different forms to improve digestion and metabolism, which in turn prevents the development of new diseases and accumulation of toxins. Everything so far should be combined with a daily regimen that includes suitable exercises, yoga asanas and meditation. The prescription of a healing complex by the Ayurveda specialist is strictly individual according to the patient’s physical characteristics, condition, age, and so on.
Generally, however, the food should always be fresh – cooked no more than three hours before consumption to preserve the life force of nature. Otherwise, it becomes “dead” and, instead of bringing energy and benefits, it harms the Doshas, which contributes to the energy imbalance. Dried and acidic foods should be excluded, as well as the fried and cold ones. Foods that are heavy, greasy, hard to digest, fatty meats, seafood, milk and various dairy products, especially yoghurt and cream, should be avoided.
The possibilities of using herbs and spices in the complex treatment of rheumatoid arthritis and rheymatism are numerous – to relieve joint pain, to cleanse toxins and to improve digestion. The selection, as well as the specific dosage, should be determined by the Ayurveda physician. Widely known remedies used in the various procedures and therapies are bay leaves, dashamula potion, guggul, nirgundi, prasarini, katuka, turmeric, ginger, sesame oil, and so on.