3 Rheumatoid Arthritis Natural Treatment Options

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Rheumatoid arthritis is a common, chronic disorder that causes inflammation in the linings of the joints. This causes pain, swelling, tenderness, and weakness in the joints. People with rheumatoid arthritis also commonly experience fatigue.

So how can you treat these painful and debilitating symptoms? Try these rheumatoid arthritis natural treatment options.

Top Rheumatoid Arthritis Natural Treatment Strategies

If you want to treat your rheumatoid arthritis naturally, you’ll want to focus on physical activity, mindfulness, and effective supplements.

1. Move More

While you might not feel like it due to pain, fatigue, and stiffness, increasing your physical activity is one of the best things you can do for your symptoms. Exercise can help to improve your quality of life, level of functioning, muscle mass, fitness, energy levels, and mood, for example.[1]

Moving more throughout the day is essential. You might find that using a pedometer or Fitbit to help you track your activity levels and motivate yourself to be more active is helpful.One recent study found that a pedometer-based physical-activity intervention led to increases in physical activity and decreases in fatigue that benefited people with rheumatoid arthritis.[2]

Certain types of exercise can be particularly beneficial for people with rheumatoid arthritis. Try these two gentle, enjoyable activities:

Tai chi can help you sleep better, increase your mood, boost your muscle strength, reduce stress, and benefit your cardiovascular and bone health, too.[3] It can improve physical symptoms (by improving your range of motion and functional capacity while decreasing disease-related disability[3]) and mental symptoms as well (reducing anxiety and depression, improving self-esteem, and providing social support, for example[4]). Sign up for a local Tai chi class to give this gentle, effective mind-body exercise a try.

Yoga is associated with improvements in general health perception, walking ability, pain levels, energy levels, and mood. It can lead to better physical and mental health, improved fitness and function, and higher quality of life in people with rheumatoid arthritis without any associated adverse events.[5]

2. Try Mindfulness

Mindfulness refers to a state of being where you are intentionally aware of the present moment. This involves paying close attention to the thoughts, sensations, and emotions you are experiencing in any given moment without judgment. People with rheumatoid arthritis who went through an eight-week mindfulness-based stress reduction program experienced reduction in things like pain scores, tenderness in the joints, and morning stiffness compared to controls who didn’t do the program.[6]

You may consider doing a formal mindfulness-based stress reduction program (search for one in your area or ask your doctor about this type of program), but if that doesn’t feel right for you, there are many ways you can practice mindfulness in your daily life. Read our blog, 5 Fun Mindful Exercises to Improve Health and Well Being, for more information on mindfulness and how to simply and enjoyably cultivate mindfulness.

3. Get Some Supplement Support

There are many all-natural supplements that can help to treat your rheumatoid arthritis. Try these four to get started:

Fish oil contains the omega-3 fatty acids EPA and DHA, which help to fight inflammation, making it helpful for rheumatoid arthritis treatment. People with rheumatoid arthritis who supplemented with 2.1 g EPA and 1.4 g DHA daily experienced significant reductions in disease activity after nine months.[7] A review study found that people who supplemented with more than 2.7 g of omega 3s per day reduced their need for NSAIDs (over the counter pain relievers) significantly.[8]

Borage seed oil is rich in something called gamma linolenic acid (GLA), which has anti-inflammatory and immune system-modulating qualities. Borage seed oil supplementation (1.8 g of GLA daily for nine months) led to significant reductions in disease activity in one study.[7]

Turmeric is a spice with strong anti-inflammatory capabilities, which can help relieve inflammation in the joints and the pain and tenderness associated with it.[9] Learn more about taking turmeric supplements here.

Boswellia, also known as frankincense, can be an effective rheumatoid arthritis natural treatment. It is also a natural anti-inflammatory herb, which is in large part why it can be effective.[10,11] Typical dosage ranges from 300 to 400 mg three times per day.

Getting started

You don’t have to let rheumatoid arthritis symptoms control your life. Get started finding relief today by increasing your activity levels, practicing mindfulness, and supplementing with natural options like fish oil, borage seed oil, turmeric, or boswellia. By combining these three strategies, you’ll be well on your way to feeling better, both physically and mentally.


[1] Int J Clin Rheumtol. 2012 Oct 1;7(5):489-503.
[2] ACR/ARHP Annual Meeting. 2015 Sept 29. Abstract #3243.
[3] Curr Rheumatol Rep. 2012 Dec;14(6):598-603.
[4] J Clin Nurs. 2013 Nov;22(21-22):3053-61.
[5] J Rheumatol. 2015 Jul;42(7):1194-202.
[6] Ann Rheum Dis. 2015 Feb;74(2):472-4.
[7] Evid Based Complement Alternat Med. 2014;2014:857456.
[8] Arch Med Res. 2012 Jul;43(5):356-62.
[9] Biofactors. 2013 Jan-Feb;39(1):69-77.
[10] Planta Med. 2006 Oct;72(12):1100-16.
[11] Clin Pharmacokinet. 2011 Jun;50(6):349-69.

Natural Health Advisory Institute Contributing Editor Chelsea Clark is a writer with a passion for science, human biology, and natural health. She holds a bachelor’s degree in molecular and cellular biology with an emphasis in neuroscience from the University of Puget Sound in Tacoma, Wash. Her research on the relationship between chronic headache pain and daily stress levels has been presented at various regional, national, and international conferences. Chelsea’s interest in natural health has been fueled by her own personal experience with chronic medical issues. Her many profound experiences with natural health practitioners and remedies have motivated Chelsea to contribute to the world of natural health as a researcher and writer for Natural Health Advisory Institute. Read all of her MOTHER EARTH NEWS posts here.

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