Soothe Your Rheumatoid Arthritis Aches

Who says you need to travel the world for luxury spa treatments to soothe your RA pain? You can get the relief you need right in the comfort of your own home!

Beth Shapouri
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Spa specialists overseas use relaxing treatments to unknot tense muscles and soothe aches and pains away—and if you have rheumatoid arthritis (RA), that may be just what you need. But you don’t have to book an international flight to get in on the benefits—you can find what you need right in your own home! Whether you’re looking to relieve joint pain or that nagging ache in your lower back, these at-home treatments will turn your ouches into ahhhhhs...

There is a reason saunas are so popular in European countries—these hot rooms help you sweat out toxins and relax tight muscles for an overall feeling of relaxation. In fact, a Finnish study published in the American Journal of Medicine suggests that saunas can alleviate pain and improve joint mobility in patients with rheumatic disease. And a Dutch study also found that infrared sauna treatments eased pain and stiffness and lifted fatigue in patients with RA and ankylosing spondylitis. While you can go to a nearby spa to luxuriate in a sauna, it’s easy enough (and way cheaper) to turn your own bath into a makeshift steam room. Pick the smallest bathroom in the house, tuck towels around the door so heat can’t escape, then turn on the hot water in the sink and bath. If you like, spritz your favorite aromatherapy scent into the air. Let the room fill with steam, then sit on the side of the tub and relax for 10 minutes or so.

Paraffin treatments
Paraffin treatments—in which heated wax is applied to the skin to lock in moisture—can also relax and soothe achy joints. In fact, some research indicates they might actually be helpful in the temporary relief of arthritis symptoms. Today, you can get paraffin warmers at beauty supply stores and give yourself an at-home treatment: Simply dip your hands, elbows, knees, feet, ankles—any body part that bothers you—into the warm paraffin several times (the wax will create a seal), wrap in plastic to create a mini hothouse around the area, then sit back for 10 to 15 minutes while the heat works its magic. Of course, if you don’t want to go to the trouble at home, you can likely find the treatment at your local nail salon!
Note: Do not apply a wax treatment to any area that has open cuts, sores or cracks.

April 2013