Naturopathic management of rheumatoid arthritis
- Cite this article as:
- Dunn, J. & Wilkinson, J. Mod Rheumatol (2005) 15: 87. doi:10.1007/PL00021706
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Complementary and alternative medicines (CAM) are widely used by those with pain and/or musculoskeletal problems, and previous research has shown that high proportions of individuals with rheumatoid arthritis have used these therapies. One of the largest CAM modalities is that of naturopathy, which combines nutritional, herbal, and other complementary practices to treat such conditions. In this review, evidence is examined in relation to those factors which naturopaths believe are significant contributors to rheumatoid arthritis, and are hence the main focus of therapeutic management. These factors include food allergy, increased gut permeability, increased circulating immune complexes, excessive inflammatory processes, and increased oxidative stress. Naturopathic treatment attempts to alleviate symptoms by altering these factors through dietary modification, manipulation of dietary fats, and use of antioxidants and proteolytic enzymes. An understanding of the rationale for these treatments and evaluation of the evidence from their use in clinical settings will assist with the integration of complementary and conventional practices in the treatment of rheumatoid arthritis.