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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Hot/cold therapy
In many European spas you’ll find two plunge pools: One quite hot, one quite cold. The idea: People jump into one, then the other and alternate back and forth. The sharp contrast in temperature is thought to increase circulation and leave you feeling invigorated. No plunge pools near you? Try this at-home technique from Cygalle Dias, founder of the Cygalle Healing Spa: If you have a separate bath and shower stall, fill the bath with cool water and the shower with steamy water by letting the hot water run. To prepare, get inside the shower—but do not get wet—and absorb the steam for as long as 10 minutes. Drink a cup of warm herbal tea. Take a cold water plunge in the bath and then jump back into the hot shower (this time getting wet). Alternate soaking your body in the two temperatures quickly several times.

Heat wraps
Low-level heat wraps are used in many spa treatments. Why? Vivianne Garcia-Tunon, vice president of operations in the U.S. for the international spa company ESPA, explains, “Heat increases blood circulation to the muscles, joints and skin. This rise in circulation decreases muscle aches and tension, and brings freshly oxygenated blood to all tissues.” And a Temple University study found that the therapy helped ease wrist pain brought on by osteoarthritis, tendinosis and other conditions. So it’s no wonder that some of the massages at Peninsula Spas by ESPA kick off the relaxation process with the application of six hot, steamy towels to the body. Low-level heat wraps are available in drugstores, but you can get the effect by tumbling some dry fluffy towels in the dryer on high heat for several minutes and immediately placing them where you ache! 

April 2013