Mind and body exercises
There are a number of mind and body exercises that are thought to be beneficial to people who have a difficult time managing the pain and stress often associated with rheumatoid arthritis.
- Deep Breathing: Taking slow breaths from your belly and holding them for a few seconds can help to relieve pain and release tension in the body.
- Progressive Muscle Relaxation: Starting with your face, begin to tighten and release each and every muscle in your body. Take a deep, belly breath in as you tighten each muscle, and release the breath as you relax each muscle.
- Visualization: Visualizations can help to reduce both stress and pain. To start off with an easy visualization exercise, simply close your eyes, practice your belly breathing, and imagine you're in a calm and peaceful environment. Many people like to imagine themselves in peaceful spaces out in nature, while some people will visualize themselves in a safe place from their youth.
- Visualization Exercise #2: Another visualization exercise is to lay on your back and start off with your belly breathing. Then imagine that a warm sensation begins to take over your entire body. Start with the toes, or the head, and work your way throughout your whole body, focusing on areas that are in the most pain.
- Tai Chi: Tai chi is a slow and gentle martial art that is designed to be low-impact and can easy joint and muscle pain.
- Acupuncture: Research has shown that acupuncture can be highly beneficial for relieving pain. Using tiny, fine needles, an acupuncturist will place the tips in certain points in the body that can stimulate certain energy pathways and relieve pain and pressure.
- Biofeedback: With the help of a specialist, you can learn to control the automatic responses of your body, such as heart rate, and can decrease stress and relieve pain.