Putting Faith in Rheumatoid Arthritis Natural Remedies | Rheumatoid Arthritis Warrior

Putting Faith in Rheumatoid Arthritis Natural Remedies

hearing aidsWhat is acting in Faith?

When my daughter was four, she lost her hearing. There was trauma, yes. There were doctors, yes. Then there were hearing aids. Yay!

Do you know what else there were? There were naysayers.

Some pressured me to have faith that she would be healed. Close friends abandoned us for turning to the medical profession instead of relying completely on God to heal my baby. Since she was a good lip reader, people in the church said the hearing aids were a drastic overreaction on my part.

Having moved 2,000 miles from home days before, I was completely alone to make many decisions. My daughter has been wearing hearing aids for 16 years now. When she was eight, her baby brother got his first hearing aids. Again, there was controversy. The pediatrician didn’t want me to test his hearing. Foolish doubting mom again.

At his first audiology appointment, the severity of my son’s loss was evident. I was tearful. The professional warned me never to have another baby. [1] Did I make these decisions in “faith”?

Rheumatoid Arthritis natural remedies and putting faith in nature

These days, my decisions are concerning RA treatment. The judgment of some is that we ought to have faith in Rheumatoid Arthritis natural remedies. They are critical of medical treatments for RA, putting trust in natural remedies.

Whether it’s positive thinking or RA natural remedies such as herbs or foods, they put their trust in nature itself.  Honestly, I was surprised when I learned that interfering with nature is controversial.  This is not meant to be sarcastic: Doesn’t everyone use soap to interfere with germs? Or get their teeth filled? Or set a broken arm? Or wear glasses? Or a girdle?

…I thought it was me who’s the “natural” radical having had five homebirths with not as much as a Tylenol. Am I never on the right side? Can you guess why I never tried to persuade anyone else to homebirth? Wouldn’t I have felt accountable if something went wrong with a baby?

It seems to me that we already interfere with nature every day. We each decide how to interfere and how much. Sometimes, I reflect that this nature is the same nature that gave us RA to begin with.

What harm is there in pressuring RA patients not to take medical treatment?

What harm is there in offering hope for a cure to RA? [2]  What if it is not a cure? What if RA can spread through a body like a cancer via fibroblasts? What if someone were offered false hope and she delayed treatment? There is provable harm to delaying treatment.

Rise up & walk

Of course it’s not wrong to offer people hope. But it sounds cruel for those who are not sick to judge those who are. Should someone with a mild case of RA in a couple of joints encourage those with severe RA to quit taking DMARDs and go skiing when they can barely walk? Or to rely on positive thinking to run marathons when going to the bathroom is a challenge? How does it help to judge those with severe RA, insisting that they rise up and walk?

Recommended reading:


[1] Years later, I did. His hearing is perfect, but if it were not, I would still choose to have my son.

[2] There is no cure for RA. The remission pattern of RA is only one of the things that make RA very complicated to study as I recently discussed.

Kelly O'Neill Young

Kelly O'Neill (formerly Kelly Young) has worked over 10 years as an advocate helping patients to be better informed and have a greater voice in their healthcare. She is the author of the best-selling book Rheumatoid Arthritis Unmasked: 10 Dangers of Rheumatoid Disease. Kelly received national acknowledgement with the 2011 WebMD Health Hero award. She is the president of the Rheumatoid Patient Foundation. Through her writing and speaking, she builds a more accurate awareness of rheumatoid disease (RD) aka rheumatoid arthritis (RA) geared toward the public and medical community; creates ways to empower patients to advocate for improved diagnosis and treatment; and brings recognition and visibility to the RA patient journey. In addition to RA Warrior, she writes periodically for newsletters, magazines, and websites. There are over 60,000 connections of her highly interactive Facebook page. You can also connect with Kelly by on Twitter or YouTube, or LinkedIn. She created the hashtag: #rheum. Kelly is a mother of five, longtime home-schooler, NASA enthusiast, and NFL fan. She has lived over thirteen years with unrelenting RD. See also https:/rawarrior.com/kelly-young-press/

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29 thoughts on “Putting Faith in Rheumatoid Arthritis Natural Remedies

  • March 11, 2010 at 9:56 am
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    It truly hurts my heart that people would try and dissuade you from giving your children the gift of hearing. What kind of sadists are they?

    I have come to the conclusion that all we can do- be it in our RA treatment or in other aspects of our lives is do what we feel is best for us and share our experiences. We have to leave the decision as to treatment up to the person. I only wish everyone could agree on that!

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    • March 11, 2010 at 10:09 am
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      Jules, It was hard when you already have the trauma of the hearing loss. It was hard to defend the decision. Like we were weak or something for needing medical help.

      I am truly shocked that it is the same with RA. Here we are disabled by a killer disease & there are family members who think we just need more faith or a better attitude. Then others with mild RA who critisize us for using medicine. It just surprises me that this is how people react. I guess I’ll get used to it like I did with my kids.

      Reply
  • March 11, 2010 at 10:11 am
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    If many remedies are prescribed for an illness, you may be certain that the illness has no cure. – A.P. Chekhov, The Cherry Orchard

    Why do those who say we are fearfully and wonderfully made often think remedies come in one size fits all? How arrogant we are to think we can define what faith means for another?

    Your children are so fortunate to have you for a mom.

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    • March 11, 2010 at 11:00 am
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      “How arrogant we are to think we can define what faith means for another?”

      Truer words may never have been spoken, Anj! My faith lies in the belief that God will lead me to where I need to be . . . IF I let Him. No man (or woman!) can know from where my relief will come, and shame on he (or she) who has the audacity to think any different.

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    • March 11, 2010 at 12:20 pm
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      “If many remedies are prescribed for an illness, you may be certain that the illness has no cure.” Thanks, Anj. That is an amazing quote. :star: :star: :star:

      Reply
  • March 11, 2010 at 11:34 am
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    I think you are very brave to post this… Alot of people wont answer the tough questions let alone talk about them freely. I too am brave that way.. Ive also heard many same things regarding my children. My son was born with Spina Bifida, and yet i chose to have another child after.. Then i was told i was seraching for the perfect child.. Would i not love her any less? Ive knocked out a few people whove told me things. I praise you for not knocking out anyone and handeling it with grace..

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    • March 11, 2010 at 12:23 pm
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      Shannon, Thank you so much! It was scary. I do get criticism & I’m sure I will. However, in the end, the only thing I can be is myself. And the only thing I can say is what I really believe. How old is your son?

      Reply
  • March 11, 2010 at 11:55 am
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    JUST NOW got this in email!!!!! from someone I LOVE…..
    > ARTHRITIS:
    >
    > Arthritis patients may take daily, morning and night, one cup of hot
    > water with two spoons of honey and one small teaspoon of cinnamon
    > powder. If taken regularly even chronic arthritis can be cured. In a
    > recent research conducted at the Copenhagen University , it was found
    > that when the doctors treated their patients with a mixture of one
    > tablespoon Honey and half teaspoon Cinnamon powder before breakfast,
    > they found that within a week, out of the 200 people so treated,
    > practically 73 patients were totally relieved of pain, and within a
    > month, mostly all the patients who could not walk or move around
    > because of arthritis started walking without pain.

    Reply
    • March 11, 2010 at 12:25 pm
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      I must not have the cinnamon & honey type of RA… haha :laugh:

      Did your friend/relative really expect you to try this remedy? Just curious.

      If that’s the cure, we can take down the rest of the website & just leave your comment… 😎

      Reply
      • March 11, 2010 at 1:43 pm
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        I couldn’t be more appalled!!!!!! My mom gives me the same mixture when I feel iffy in my throat 😎 and I am pretty sure I drank it for weeks together in last five years….sometimes just because I liked the taste :drool:

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  • March 11, 2010 at 12:14 pm
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    To me faith is the absolute knowing that *in the end* things will work out as God intends. I have no expectation that the journey will be easy. I try to handle the things life throws at me in the best way I know how, always prayerfully. I don’t doubt His love, faithfulness or goodness though I sometimes get angry at Him for allowing the suffering in this world. It saddens me when people use their religious beliefs to pass judgement on others. It seems clear to me that our place is not to judge but to love. A wise gentleman on another RA board I frequent tells newcomers to remember that they don’t just have RA, they have “insert own name” RA. It’s a nebulous disease. Maybe my autoimmune system is reacting to a food or other environmental factor. Maybe I am genetically predisposed to RA. Who really knows? RA IS NOT UNDERSTOOD even by rheumatologists. I wish we could just support each other while we explore what makes sense in our own situation.

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    • March 11, 2010 at 12:25 pm
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      As you know, faith is the root of faithfulness. Trusting that we are all led as we need to be led, if we are open to the leading, might be the basis for a community that supports each other in faithfulness.

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      • March 11, 2010 at 5:28 pm
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        Well said! I would just add that love need be at the center of community.

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        • March 11, 2010 at 8:22 pm
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          Lori – great point. Love is the first motion.

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  • March 11, 2010 at 12:26 pm
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    When I was first diagnosed with PA, my husband was in the military, and we had no choices in health care. You had to go to the doctor they assigned you. The rheumy that I saw was very religious, and made a point of telling me that he felt that faith played a big part in healing. He also made it very clear that he did not approve of my choice in religion, and even went so far as to ask me to come to his church and see the people there that had been healed. He was also doing a study on faith and arthritis, and each patient was asked to fill out a questionnaire with very personal questions about our faith and home life. I was very active in my church and very offended by this man. I was already depressed because I had 3 small children at home, the youngest just 6 months old, and I wasn’t able to be the kind of mother I wanted to be. He made me feel like I didn’t have enough faith, or I would’ve been healed.

    That was 20 yrs ago, since then I have experienced many losses, including divorce, career and financial security. I was always very active in my own church, which teaches healing thru faith as well, and finally, a few yrs ago, I just couldn’t take it anymore. I felt that either God didn’t love me or care about me, or that there is no God. THIS IS THE DANGER IN TELLING PEOPLE THAT IF THEY HAVE ENOUGH FAITH THEY WILL BE HEALED. I don’t know how much more faithful I could’ve been. There is no rhyme or reason for remissions with this disease, it just is. Going to church become the most emotionally painful thing I did each week, and I had to stop going. I still don’t know where I’m at as far as belief in God.

    I’m tired of hearing from ‘experts’ who have never had RA, or who have a mild case(for now), tell me to exercise more, take these magical herbs, pray harder (RLY?), etc. We all have to function as best we can in this world, and there should be no judgemnts made on what we have to do in order to work, raise our children and just plain Live. Thank you so much for this post, sorry I ran on for so long, but I feel very strongly about this.

    Reply
    • March 11, 2010 at 2:16 pm
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      I find it hard to tell you how angry it makes me that a man, that was being paid with taxpayer money, brought faith in that judgmental way into his medical practice. I’m sorry for that, and I am sorry for how THAT LIE impacted your faith and that going to church became so emotionally painful.

      Holding a container of grace to allow us all to do what we need to without judgment is something I feel very strongly about too.

      Reply
  • March 11, 2010 at 3:50 pm
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    If God did not want us to go to doctors and use medications developed by man, then why did He give us the knowledge to become doctors and scientists that develop new meds.? Many medications are made from things found in nature such as tree bark, plant roots and leaves, etc. Other medications are developed to mimic already existing natural chemicals in the body. Yet other medications are derived from human cells. How much closer to nature do these people want us to get?

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  • March 12, 2010 at 1:26 am
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    Dear Kelly,I love your website/blog,and follow it “religiously” every day..My mother had Rheumatoid Arthritis,and died when she was just 50 years old..I was diagnosed last summer with RA,and am on Methotrexate,medrol,and Enbrel…In my mother’s life she gave birth to 3 children,a daughter that she had before the RA,and then my brother and I after she got Rheumatoid Arthritis,at the age of 23..To make a long story short,both my brother and I were born with problems..I had severe hearing loss,which required all the normal classes,speech therapy,etc..I grew up,married,had children of my own,and became a nurse,and practiced for 30 years…My brother was born with Cerebral Palsey,went to special schools all his life,and still managed to graduate from Berkeley with honors,and work as a social worker for 35 years helping the homeless in San francisco…I don’t know how anybody else feels about this but I think even with our disabilities,we managed to live very productive lives,and be good citizens of our society..Which I can say,is more than some people I’ve met along the way…My mother and father always taught us,that each life has a purpose,and that we are all leaving imprints on each other’s lives,and that was believing in God.God provided all things,even medicine,hearing aides,and imperfection in our lives to learn,and love…Above all,to love!!..Thankyou for allowing me to share this….

    Reply
  • March 13, 2010 at 6:58 pm
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    Linda,
    If your story breaks my heart, how much more it must sadden the Lord who is the definition of love. If Christ were here in bodily form He would be ministering to your needs instead of measuring your faith. Remember that Paul had a thorn in his side that he prayed repeatedly would be taken away and it never was. Surely he had enough faith. Christ died so we could be saved by grace and to take the condemnation away. In spite of the poor representation that we believers sometimes are, please see how much you are loved by Christ and don’t go through all this without Him.

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  • June 17, 2010 at 3:33 pm
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    Kelly,
    First I love your website! Thanks for posting this, I think it’s great! I was born at home as well, so I totally understand why your choices and if I ever have children, I will choose to use a midwife also.

    I get the same sort of reaction coming to me, from the other end. I am on both medications and supplemental therapy for rheumatoid arthritis, but because I’m not taking the “normal medications”, I get lots of people who get really upset when someone asks about alternative treatments and I say what has worked for me. For instance, people will post that you HAVE to go on conventional RA meds or you are really doing yourself a disservice… and I think that kind of advice is close-minded since we don’t know what’s best for any one individual. But I totally get that on the flipside, like you said in your post, there are just as many and more that scream natural is the way to go. I would never claim that any one way is best…my only intention ever is to say what has worked for me. I’ve even encouraged people to stay on their meds at different times rather than going the holistic route. I know my body better than anyone else and I hope for us all to make our own choices, not someone else’s!
    thanks again for the great website!
    hugs,
    Sarah

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  • April 21, 2011 at 9:13 pm
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    Thanks for this post and blog. When did the church become a medical care facility is what I keep thinking? I don’t see any medical degrees anywhere but they seem to think that I am the one missing it. I have been told that I should just not “receive” this disease. Please I don’t know of anyone on record who actually wants it. Trying not to be bitter…trusting God anyway. Thanks for this blog. It is a respite for those who are RA hurting.

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    • April 23, 2011 at 11:47 am
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      Arlene, I wish I didn’t hear this so much from people about church, but I do. It seems so common that Christians think they are supposed to have answers and they are uncomfortable with the fact that there is not one for RA – so they offer advice about how to get a miracle either by an herb or by a prayer. They probably don’t realize how hurtful it is to keep insisting that we could get well if we wanted to. Personally, I think it’s a case of how we learn compassion by suffering and those who haven’t suffered much do not have much compassion to offer to others. Here’s a link to a pretty tough post I wrote on that.

      Reply
  • July 8, 2011 at 5:15 pm
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    I just found you! And I will be back. I have just been introduced personally to the wonderful world of RA (though I have seen others in my extended family deal with its effects so I wasn’t real happy on now having to hvae personal experience with it).

    I love your take on life and I thank you. I know soon when my situation gets out I will be bombarded with natural “cures.”
    You’ve helped me see it all with love and humor.

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    • July 8, 2011 at 9:25 pm
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      Hi Jane 🙂 welcome aboard. Sorry RA has found you, but glad you have found us.

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  • June 10, 2013 at 8:12 am
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    Today, I have to stay home from work again. Every part of my body is hurting, and I can barely keep my eyes open and get a full breath. I’m glad I found your bloc today and I look forward in reading it in detail. I was diagnosed in 2007 after my daughter was born. I was in remission until 2011, but then it became hard to get an appointment with my doctor so he withheld my prescription. I hadn’t seen him in over a year was there reasoning and they had to review my case and do more bloodwork. Ive been off my medicine for a little more then a year. I no longer have health insurance, so its not even an option for me anymore. So my only option right now is natural remedies and faith. Not a faith in a religious God, just faith that I can get some relief until I can find a new job.

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  • August 4, 2013 at 9:56 am
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    I just can’t understand.

    I’m an atheist, so for starters I’ll never rely in god to help me. but even if I believed, why does it mean I can’t rely on scientific discoveries?

    and the “natural” argument… that’s just stupid, at least when it comes from “civilized” people. If you’re wearing clothes and cooking your food (for starters), you’re not living “naturally”. we’re not born with clothes!

    I think faith can be in concordance with scientific discoveries. we’re curious, perhaps it’s in our nature to investigate and discover things to help ourselves live better. If you believe in god, you can think perhaps he made us curious and skillful creatures for a reason. perhaps hearing aids are just a part of OUR nature, we’re just “inventing animals”.

    would all these people feel that way if their own kids were hearing impaired? or needed antibiotics? or surgery?

    I don’t know. when I was a kid I thought believing in god would be easier, because you don’t have to deal with the tought of death as THE END OF EVERYTHING. but eventually it stopped scaring me. and now I’m grateful I’m an atheist, because I wouldn’t stand the feeling I’m just being judged for everything I do. I’m my own and only judge and that’s enough for me.

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  • April 29, 2015 at 10:31 am
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    I think most people miss the point that fighting RA should be a continuum of actions pointing to control of inflammation of the entire body rather than merely RA induced inflammation.
    Obviously we know there is no silver bullet “natural” herb, potion or practice. But, if one takes the tact of controlling ALL inflammation, dietary changes are not only beneficial they are mandatory.
    My experience of utilizing pharmacological treatment along with total dietary and lifestyle changes has been tremendously effective for me. So much so I’m thinking for writing a book.
    The key: Treating the entire body and soul, not merely the RA.
    I also know that Steve Jobs felt, as did his doctors, that if he had treated his pancreatic cancer sooner with modern medical intervention rather than “natural” for 9 months, he may have survived.
    Don’t dismiss natural practices per se, resist the urge to call something like turmeric a miracle drug. Treat it like a good spice to add to your natural dietary regimen.

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  • August 17, 2016 at 1:51 pm
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    If it is a spiritual decision –
    lets remember Ecclesiastes chapter 9v11 King Solomon said “I have seen something further under the sun,the swift do not always win the race, nor do the mighty win the battle, nor do the wise always have the food, nor do the intelligent always have the riches, nor do those with knowledge always have success, because time and unexpected events overtake them all.
    Really can’t argue with those inspired words!!

    Reply
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