Home // Natural Treatments for Lupus
For patients suffering from lupus, living with the disease can be a stressful rollercoaster of coping with painful, debilitating symptoms and trying to find treatment that works without unwanted side effects. This chronic disease causes the body to attack its own organs and tissues, resulting in high levels of inflammation and damage throughout the body. Lupus negatively affects the heart, lungs, brain, kidneys, lungs, and endocrine system, leading to a constellation of symptoms that can mimic conditions like fibromyalgia, Lyme disease, or thyroid disorders. As a result, it can take years for patients to be accurately diagnosed.
The most common type of lupus is systemic lupus erythematosus (SLE). Lupus tends to be characterized by periods of flareups, when symptoms can be quite severe, followed by remission. Common symptoms include:
The symptoms of lupus that are caused by inflammation can be made worse by the stress of coping with the condition. For example, symptoms like anxiety, depression, insomnia, or memory loss can be caused by nerve damage in the spine and inflammation in the brain and then exacerbated by the difficulty of struggling with lupus.
What causes lupus isn’t fully understood, as with most autoimmune disorders, but both genetics and lifestyle factors can increase your risk of developing the disease. You may be more likely to be diagnosed with lupus if you:
In those with susceptibility, lupus can be triggered by allergic reactions, hormonal imbalances, viral infection, emotional stress, estrogen disruption (such as from pregnancy or hormonal birth control), poor digestion, or metal toxicity.
Conventional medical treatment typically includes a combination of prescription medications and lifestyle changes—often many medications at the same time. Patients are told that it can take a long period of experimentation with different combinations of drugs to get their symptoms under control. The uncertainty, coupled with the side effects of those medications, can be nerve-wracking. Drug regimens can include immunosuppressive medications, hydroxychloroquine (an anti-rheumatic medication), NSAID painkillers, steroids, blood pressure medication, anticoagulants, synthetic hormones, and/or birth control pills. The success they achieve in lowering inflammation and calming the immune system can come with the price of serious side effects, including a higher risk of infection, kidney and liver damage, weight gain, heart problems, and more.
When faced with a lifetime of relying on pharmaceuticals that could potentially create additional health problems, it is no wonder that many lupus patients seek out alternative therapies to help manage their symptoms. Many natural therapies are highly effective at reducing inflammation and improving quality of life, including:
Anti-inflammatory diet for gut health: A healthy, unprocessed diet can help reduce inflammation from poor gut health, lowering the risk of complications such as heart disease, building energy and strength, and reducing side effects from medications. Beneficial foods include organic, unprocessed foods; wild-caught fish; high-antioxidant fruits and vegetables; and bone broth. Patients with lupus may also need to avoid gluten, trans fats, excess sugar, high-sodium foods, and certain legumes such as peanuts and soybeans, which can make lupus symptoms worse. At the Natural Healing Center, we use Nutrition Response Testing to pinpoint exactly which nutrients are lacking to create a personalized plan that addresses the underlying cause of troubling symptoms. This not only helps improve the gut, but alleviates the stress associated with a trial-and-error approach to determining both what your body needs and triggering foods. We can also recommend whole-food supplements to relieve gastrointestinal symptoms, reduce inflammation, balance hormones, modulate the immune system, and boost kidney and liver function.
Stress reduction: Because stress can set off a lupus flare, stress reduction techniques can be essential in maintaining periods of remission and good mental health. Breathing techniques, meditation, joining a support group, or spending time in nature may all be helpful. In addition, modalities such as Emotion Code can help release negative emotions that negatively affect your physical health. Therapeutic massage can also help lower stress, reduce pain, improve joint mobility, and improve circulation and lymphatic drainage.
Getting enough sleep: Fatigue is a primary symptom for most lupus patients, which means getting quality rest is of the utmost importance for good quality of life. Unfortunately, many patients also suffer from insomnia, either due to anxiety or to excessive daytime sleep caused by fatigue. Developing healthful sleep habits, such as sticking to a regular sleep routine, limiting caffeine and electronics well before bedtime, and sleeping in a cool, dark room, can help increase the amount of truly restful sleep you’re getting. In addition, therapies like NovoTHOR and Bemer can help promote restful sleep as well as reducing inflammation and pain.
Protecting sensitive skin: Skin rashes caused by inflammation are a common lupus symptom. To help heal rashes and lesions and protect the skin, you should avoid the sun during peak hours (9 a.m. to 3 p.m.), wear a hat and sunglasses, use a nontoxic sunscreen with SPF50 or higher, and switch from chemical-containing personal care and household products to those made with natural ingredients such as jojoba oil, shea butter, coconut oil, and essential oils. In addition, help keep your skin moisturized by taking lukewarm showers (instead of hot ones), running a humidifier, spritzing dry skin with mineral water as needed, and getting plenty of vitamin E in your diet.
At the Natural Healing Center, we’ve worked with many clients dealing with chronic conditions like lupus who’ve almost given up hope of returning to the quality of life they enjoyed before their diagnosis. Our approach focuses on rebuilding health and getting to the underlying source of troubling symptoms, rather than trying to fix problems after they’ve occurred. We work with each patient as an individual, creating a multifaceted treatment plan incorporating modalities best suited to promote their overall physical and mental well-being. If you’re ready to get the help you need to reclaim your health, contact us here for your free initial consultation.