Health Problems are a Write-Off
After spending the first warm day in weeks at the park with my camera, I was surprised to find my back and knees aching by the time I got home. That annoyed me, because I didn’t think I was doing anything particularly strenuous, so yesterday when I went to the library I picked up some books on natural healing for arthritis (which the doctor says I probably have in my knees). One of the books, The Arthritis Foundation’s guide to Alternative Therapies, has a fascinating summary of many “complementary therapies” (in the text, they usually don’t use the term “alternative” because they want people to use traditional western medical procedures as their main therapy), including Ayurveda, Homeopathy, Biofeedback and Tai Chi. I have heard about these, but never really knew what the origins or philosophies were, so this was quite interesting.
One of the side bars shown in the “Mind, Body and Spirit” chapter is entitled “Helping Your Arthritis with the Write Stuff”. It tells about a study which has found that writing about stressful experiences improved the health of people with mild to moderately severe rheumatoid arthritis or asthma. “Rheumatoid arthritis patients in the study averaged a 28 percent decrease in overall disease symptoms. Their asthma counterparts had a 19 percent decrease (Smyth).” The participants were asked to write continuously for 20 minutes, three days in a row. Some were asked to write about the most stressful experience they ever had; others about their plans for the day. The second group showed little change in their health.
The authors also mention that other studies have shown that people who express their emotions in writing improve their health, and improve their immune system. Many find relief from their health problems by keeping a journal, or writing letters that they don’t intend to send.
I browsed around the websites listed as resources and found interesting information in both. In the second resource are additional helps such as the Journal Café, poem of the day, journal writing prompts, and information about online journal writing classes. The websites are listed below.
Since it initiated this whole topic, I figured I’d also feature a photo from the trip to the park!