Alternatives for Arthritis – How Food and Acupuncture Helps Chronic Pain
Dr. Mary Riggin, LAc, FitFM – Family Wellness
Karen came to our office looking for help for her chronic arthritis pain and inflammation.
Being tired and fed up with all the medications, she wanted an alternative. The long-term effects on her liver, kidneys and digestive system concerned her. She had already survived breast cancer and wanted to be proactive in her health.
Since she had read about the various forms of natural healthcare available, she decided to try acupuncture. The 5000-year history of the medicine intrigued her, and her personal research showed that there were no negative side effects associated with the practice! She couldn’t believe it; this was too good to be true. Even the World Health Organization and the National Institutes of Health confirmed all the wonderful claims. She was curious as to why her MD never suggested it, considering all the positive information she found, but nevertheless, she decided to give it a try.
She was impressed that the consultation included such a detailed, extensive history; no doctor had ever spent that much time evaluating her entire health history. Her care plan included acupuncture, massage, a specialized arthritis protocol and food recommendations. She had no idea that her food choices could make a difference in her pain levels.
The first nutritional recommendation was the elimination of food chemicals found in processed foods. The second was the addition of foods that would support the healing process stimulated by her acupuncture and herbal treatment. These included lots of fresh, organic vegetables, fruits, nuts, meats, dairy and legumes. Sugars, artificial sweeteners and wheat were to be avoided.
Though this process would require some changes in her eating habits, it made sense to use “food as medicine” instead of allowing her taste buds to decide what she would eat. It also enabled her to be proactive every day in her quest for an improved quality of life. This gave her some control back and gave her hope.
Karen was sure this change would be a struggle because the foods she eliminated were some of her favorites. Coffee without a doughnut or bagel seemed like a bleak future, but she decided to endure it for the sake of her health.
After just a few weeks of treatment and food changes, she was thrilled with the results. She was even more delighted that her taste buds were changing and she actually enjoyed her new diet. There was no struggle to endure! Sure, she had to exercise some self-control, but it was not hard because of the results. Her pain reduced significantly, her hands, feet and knees were moving much better. This strongly reinforced her willingness to stay consistent with her food choices and treatment plan.
Karen worked on healthy substitutes for foods she craved. Much to her amazement, she began to delight in a wide variety of fresh, organic homemade foods. She found that while it took time to prepare food at home, she could satisfy urges for foods deemed destructive to her with foods that were constructive.
Karen’s arthritis pain is now non-existent and many other issues, including her stubborn belly fat, have been helped during her course of treatment. Even the painful scar tissue that developed after her surgery is no longer giving her trouble.
Karen’s story is not unusual. The key element was her commitment to her health. She was willing to do what it takes to make the difference. To achieve optimal results using Oriental medicine and acupuncture for chronic pain, we recommend “food as medicine” as a part of a comprehensive plan. Other treatment modalities may also include acupuncture, acupressure, tui-na massage, nutri-puncture and Chinese herbal medicine.
If you or someone you know suffers from chronic pain like arthritis or fibromyalgia, the practice of Oriental medicine might be right for you. I encourage you to consult with a skilled, licensed acupuncturist to find out if this medicine can help you achieve an improved quality of life.
Executive Director, Acupuncture Physician
Dr. Riggin is FitFM - Family Wellness , is the Founder and Director of Healing Touch Oriental Medicine. As an inspiring health educator, in-demand speaker and doctor of acupuncture and Oriental Medicine, Dr. Mary has helped thousands of people completely turn their health around. Dr. Mary co-hosts and produces the wildly popular radio show "Food is the First Medicine" and her presentations and viewpoints on natural healthcarehave made her an in-demand and innovative expert in the natural health world.
Dr. Mary Riggin, produces and hosts Food is the First Medicine Talk Radio Show, and is a popular speaker. Since 1996 she has practiced natural medicine in the Tampa Bay area; her passion and purpose is to help as many people as possible. Listen to her weekly on TanTalk 1340AM in Tampa Bay, or online anytime, anywhere at www.foodismedicine.org.
She is former Vice Chair of the Florida State Board of Acupuncture and was appointed to this gubernatorial position by Governor Lawton Chiles and Governor Jeb Bush. She has been featured on various TV and radio shows and frequently teaches free classes at community and recreation centers throughout Pinellas County.
She is a published author and was featured in the book A Woman's Guide to Vitamins, Minerals and Alternative Healing, writes and publishes educational newsletters and brochures, and was elected to serve two consecutive terms as President of the Florida State Oriental Medical Association.