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Tips and insights on managing lupus with holistic approaches

woman holding lupus awareness ribbon

Living with lupus can be a challenging journey, marked by fatigue, pain, and unpredictable flares. Dr. Sydne Ford-Norton, a renowned Family Medicine physician specializing in Integrative and Functional Medicine, provides valuable insights on holistic approaches to managing lupus, aiming to empower patients with knowledge and practical strategies.

Mind-body techniques for lupus management

Dr. Ford-Norton emphasizes the importance of mind-body techniques such as mindfulness, yoga, and meditation in managing lupus symptoms. These practices can improve mood, reduce fatigue, and enhance mental clarity. They also play a role in lowering stress hormones, which can trigger inflammation and may even decrease pain perception, potentially reducing the need for medication. For those new to these techniques, starting with 5-10 minutes daily and maintaining consistency is key.

Lifestyle modifications for well-being

Adopting lifestyle changes is crucial for lupus patients. Dr. Ford-Norton recommends:

  • Ensuring adequate sleep and practicing good sleep hygiene
  • Eliminating toxins such as smoking, alcohol, and processed foods
  • Engaging in regular exercise
  • Following a plant-predominant, whole foods diet

Complementary therapies and lupus

Additional therapies that may benefit lupus patients include biofeedback, aquatic therapy, massage therapy, and acupuncture. These can aid in pain control and provide relaxation benefits.

Herbs, supplements, and immune health

Before incorporating herbs or supplements into their regimen, lupus patients should consult with health care providers due to potential interactions with medications or exacerbation of the disease. It’s critical to seek advice from professionals who understand the individual’s medical history and the implications of various natural remedies.

Dietary and lifestyle recommendations

An anti-inflammatory diet is vital for managing inflammation and supporting immune health. Dr. Ford-Norton advises a diet rich in fruits, vegetables, nuts, and legumes while limiting processed sugars and animal products. Some patients may benefit from more restrictive diets, such as Paleo or Autoimmune Paleo Protocol (AIP), especially when guided by an Integrative Medicine provider.

Resources for stress-reduction techniques

Dr. Ford-Norton points to the Mindfulness-Based Stress Reduction (MBSR) program as a valuable resource for learning stress-reduction techniques. This 8-week program has been shown to alleviate anxiety, depression, and stress while improving sleep and chronic pain.

Empowerment is a key theme in managing lupus at home. Exploring holistic approaches, discussing options with health care providers, and finding a personalized health management strategy are essential steps toward living well with lupus.