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Self-Care for Arthritis

Easing the pain of aching joints

If you suffer from painful joints and think there's nothing you can do about it, think again. The Arthritis Foundation offers a number of suggestions for improving the quality of your life if you suffer from arthritis. Self-care is your number one defense against arthritis pain.

arthritis symptoms
Hand Showing Arthritic Changes by Legger;
 purchased at Dreamstime.com

Surprisingly, there are more than 100 different kinds of arthritis. The most common type is osteoarthritis (OA), which is characterized by the break-down of the cartilage of a joint and is associated with aging.

Rheumatoid arthritis (RA) is a systemic disease that can affect organs as well. It starts with a breakdown in the the synovial fluid of the joint, and in its later stages, it can produces enzymes that literally digest the bone and cartilage.

The first step in self-care, therefore, is seeing a doctor and finding out what kind of arthritis you have. Different kinds of arthritis have different self-care protocols. In this article, we are going to focus on OA as it is more common.

Here are some tips to beat arthritis pain:

There's really a lot you can do to help your self if you suffer from arthritis. It takes self-awareness and effort, but most things that help us improve ourselves take self-awareness and effort. The Arthritis Foundation offers more tips on self-care and has a store with arthritis assisting aids. Check them out, too.

At our office, a 30 minute session is $35, a 60 minute massage is $60. Please call Suzanne at 315-9900 to schedule an appointment.


Stay Well This Winter

Easy solutions to protect your health

Cold weather puts an added strain on our bodies and makes it harder to fight disease. It also means more time indoors where illnesses are more easily passed. Help yourself stay healthy this winter by following some sound advice.

Almost everyone has heard the public service announcements about washing our hands and coughing and sneezing into our arms rather than our hands. Hand sanitizer has been a high priority on lists sent home by teachers of needed school supplies. Did you know that essential oils have antibacterial and antiviral properties that can exceed those of hand sanitizer? Try using carrying your favorite essential oil in your purse instead of sanitizer. My favorite is lavender or peppermint, but almost any of them will work. Likewise, essential oils like eucalyptus, birch, rosemary or wintergreen can open a stuffy head in minutes. I like Ancient Wisdom Essential Oil's blend, Breath Easy, for opening up a stuffy head better than anything I've ever used.

woman eating an apple

Image: Graeme Weatherston / FreeDigitalPhotos.net

Watching what you eat can be a first line of defense against illness. Try to limit the sweets because sugar slows down your metabolism, including your immune response. (Ever wonder why you always seem to catch a cold after feasting on Christmas cakes and candies?) Instead, substitute winter fruits like oranges, pears and apples for added sweetness. Try not to skip meals, and this also taxes the body's immune response. Finally, add spices and herbs like garlic, cloves and cayenne to your food to support the immune system.

A lot of people don't realize how much we sweat in the winter months. We need water to replenish the moisture we lose through perspiration and elimination, and sorry, folks, but drinking coffee and hot cocoa are not the same. In fact, coffee can dehydrate your body. If you have to have something hot, try an herbal tea or even just hot water and lemon to get more pure H2O in your system.

If you're not getting enough water, you may notice that your elimination is sluggish. This often happens in winter because we gravitate to soups and hot stews and skimp on fiber. Try to be sure you are getting enough raw fiber to help your body eliminate toxins that can cause illness if they stay in your body too long.

Keeping the air moist and clean is a job for most of us when it is very cold outside. Changing the furnaces air filter often is a first line of defense against respiratory problems. Adding a humidifier to the furnace or even to a room can help keep nasal passages moist and clear. Personally, I use an essential oil diffuser with eucalyptus oil to help cleanse the air in my home. It kills airborne germs and makes the house smell fresh.


Essential Blend of the Month: Breath Easy

inhalation of essential oils and herbsLast year, our newsletter concentrated on single essential oils, but I really like the blends from Ancient Wisdom Essential Oils. AWEO has high quality essential oils, and their blends have similar formulas to Young Living at a better price and without carrier oils.

Breath Easy from AWEO and R.C. from YLEO are almost identical. The properties of these oils make them extremely effective against allergies, colds, bronchitis, respiratory congestion, flu, sold sores, pneumonia, sinusitis, sore throat, mucus, and bone spurs.

The single oils in this blend are three kinds of eucalyptus, myrtle, pine, marjoram, lavender, cypress, tsunga and peppermint. These all have the anti-viral, anti-bacterial, anti-catarrhal, anti-inflammatory, or anti-spasmodic properties that can relieve various problems affecting the respiratory system.

Using this oil in a diffuser cleans the air and helps decongest the sinuses. Other ways the oil an be applied are directly on the feet, throat, and chest, or using a swab, apply on the sinuses and nasal passage. You can also put a few drops in your bath water, or put a few drops in a steaming bowl and inhale the steam. Make a hot compress with the oils and place it on the chest and back.


What is Hot Stones Massage?

woman receiving hot stones massage

Hot stones massage is a specialty massage that uses smooth, heated stones both directly on the body in sweeping stokes, or held stationery on the covered back and belly, in the palms, and between the toes.

At our office, we use smooth basalt, a black volcanic rock that absorbs and retains heat so the stones can stay warm longer. The stones are various sizes and shapes. Basalt is considered the best rock for hot stones massage because of its iron content and is sometimes referred to a river rock.

A hot stones massage is deeply relaxing, and and the heat helps tight muscles release, in some cases better than with traditional massage. Both Laura and Suzanne have been trained to do hot stone massages safely.

The stones are sanitized before each use. Before the massage they are heated in a 120 to 150 degree water bath. During the massage, the therapist uses the heated stones in strokes along the muscles. As one stone cools, it is replaced with another. Safety and comfort are always emphasized. You should always speak up if the temperature of the stone feels too warm or if the pressure is uncomfortable.

Heated stones are also placed along specific points, including along your spine and belly (always covered to avoid prolonged, direct exposure the heat), in the palms and between your toes to stimulate and improve the energy flow in your body.

Cold stones are often used on the face or on the sites of inflammation or muscle injury.

A hot stones massage at our office is $70. It costs more because the preparation and clean up take longer than with a traditional massage, but most clients say the extra cost is worth it.

It's a great idea for a Valentine's Day gift.

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Feb. 2010

In This Issue

purple spiral

breath easy essential oilAncient Wisdom Essential Oils
Breath Easy 15 ml: $20.00

Quotes about Love for Valentine's Day

heart outlined with berries in snow

Image: Tina Phillips / FreeDigitalPhotos.net

“Love is the condition in which the happiness of another person is essential to your own.”
~Robert Heinlein

“You know you're in love when you can't fall asleep because reality is finally better than your dreams.”
~Dr. Seuss

“Love is all you need.”
~Paul McCartney

"You don't marry someone you can live with - you marry the person who you cannot live without."

"Love cures people - both the ones who give it and the ones who receive it."
~Dr. Karl Menninger

"Love is like an hourglass, with the heart filling up as the brain empties."
~Jules Renard

TLR logo
Copyright 2010
Suzanne H. Eller


frozen fish pond

Winter is fully upon us. During the recent cold snap, a friend's fish pond started freezing over, and the fountain created some interesting ice formations. We're just grateful that fish are cold-blooded.

We've now had two major snowfalls this winter. All the colder than average weather has reminded some of us of the importance of taking care of our muscles and bones to ease the effects of age-related diseases like arthritis. Massage can help, of course, but so can exercise, warm baths, and good nutrition. In this issue, we'll talk about some self-care practices that can keep you up and moving, no matter the weather conditions.

If you have time this month, we'd love to see you. Massage is a wonderful way to take care of yourself and warm up from the chilly weather. (Our table warmers and heated massage pillows are great!)

Gift Certificates make great Valentine's Day gifts. You can call us at 828-315-9900 or click the link below for our online gift certificates. You can even email the gift certificate to someone you love.

purple spiral

Click here for Instant Gift Certificates

purple spiral

Suzanne's Picks: Good Stories for a Snowy Day

This is a short little book and like Gap Creek below, a former Oprah pick. I read it initially because it is one of the books in a series the Hickory Library is doing on the Literary South and because I liked Gibbons' earlier Ellen Foster. The setting is the same as Ellen Foster, and the story is a love story though that does not obscure the hard lives of the characters. The title, which comes from the Bible, reflects the novel's theme of the healing power of love.

This book was actually published in 2006, so you should be able to buy a copy for a small price. The public library has copies also. It's the story of a woman's mid-life crisis, including an affair with a priest, but like all of Sue Monk Kidd's writing, it has a spiritual message, too. It's set in coastal South Carolina. I don't think it is as good a her The Secret Life of Bees, but I still couldn't put it down.

Also set in South Carolina and published in 2000, this novel was an Oprah pick. I read it for the second time last week because it is one of the books in the Literary South series at the Hickory Library. It's about the first year of marriage of a seventeen year-old girl and the hardships the couple face seemingly daily. What I liked best about it was the first-person narrator who led me into the protagonist's heart.

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