At the tender age of seven years old, my daughter Cassandra was given the devastating news that she was suffering from a severe case of juvenile rheumatoid arthritis. I was shocked and unaware that arthritis afflicts 300,000 American children.

Following more than a year of medical doctors, anti-inflammatory medications, and procedures without any significant improvement, I’d had enough. I immersed myself in finding answers. I’ve spent hundreds of hours researching medical and alternative therapies as well as the impact of diet and exercise.

To my delight, Cassandra has defied the odds! Just six months after beginning the steps I will outline below, her blood tests came back negative for arthritis! Considering that I was told she could potentially suffer from this disease for the rest of her life while experiencing stunted growth and possible deformity, I am ecstatic!

There are seven major steps I took through our journey. I did not find one Web site or person who detailed this plan for me, but through research and using my mother’s intuition, these are the things that I chose to use. Although I cannot say which step or steps are the reason Cassandra is free from arthritis today, I can share with you what we did. I hope this will guide you in your journey to finding freedom for yourself or loved ones from ill health.

Research, Research, Research

Research is the first crucial step. If you asked me two years ago what the words rheumatologist, JRA, hydrogenated oils, and homeopathy meant, I would have answered “I’m not sure” for all of them. Cassandra’s illness changed all of that, including my outlook on nutrition, health, and doctors.

After being told by her rheumatologist that she needed to be given an adult rheumatoid arthritis medication, Methotrexate, I began my quest for alternatives. The thought of giving my daughter’s fifty-pound body a chemotherapy drug that, according to the clinical trials, may potentially cause liver damage and affect the reproductive system made me cringe.

Learning about autoimmune disease, proper nutrition, and alternative medicine online became my part-time job. I began simply by typing in arthritis and autoimmune diseases into a search engine. After months and months of reading, it became apparent to me that I wanted to heal Cassandra’s autoimmune system, not just treat her arthritic symptoms. This led me to alternative medicine because treating the cause, not the symptoms, seemed to make more sense to me. Some reputable sites I found very helpful include Mercola.com, NaturalHealthWeb.com, and HealingWithNutrition.com.

Although a large percentage of my research was done via the Internet, it did not stop there. I asked anyone—family members, friends, and hairdresser—really, anyone I came in contact with, if they had ever tried something for an illness that had worked. I would take any information I received and research it.

Nutrition

Nutrition is, in my opinion, the most important for a lifetime of good health. Although I am a college graduate and a dedicated mother, I was very uneducated when it came to nutrition and its effects on one’s health. I fed Cassandra vegetables and fruit regularly and limited the amount of candy and junk food she ate, or so I thought. I learned that this was not nearly enough.

Most likely, you are unaware of the unhealthy ingredients you are consuming—I sure was. My education on nutrition began when a friend, who was studying to become a research scientist, had a child. She had a book sitting in her kitchen called Super Baby Food by Ruth Yaron. In light of Cassandra’s health, my friend urged me to read it.

Although the book is intended for new mothers wanting to provide proper nutrition to infants, I found it enlightening for people of all ages. Ms. Yaron thoroughly covers every aspect of eating properly, from shopping for food, to reading labels, to knowing what ingredients to look for (and which to avoid, and why), to kid-friendly recipes.

My first trip to the grocery store after reading the book took two hours, and I left without buying a thing. When I read the ingredients on every loaf of bread I picked up, I found that only a few, if any, contained whole grains, but rather, they were filled with toxic substances such as high-fructose corn syrup, sugar, hydrogenated oils, and so on. This also applies to just about every snack food that children typically eat, for example, Goldfish, pretzels, peanut butter, milk, and so on. Now I only shop at health food stores, and I still read labels even there.

To my surprise, one evening, after eating lentil pasta with organic spaghetti sauce and broccoli, Cassandra turned to me and said, “Mommy, I feel better when I eat organic.” From the mouth of babes!

It was like learning how to shop and cook all over again. Throwing out a whole dish of macaroni and cheese because it tasted awful, a box of sesame sticks because she didn’t like them, and doubling the amount of time and money on food took patience. However, I believe that this was the most important part of Cassandra’s success. By the way, don’t try to use lentil pasta to make your own baked macaroni and cheese—it’s awful!

Supplements

Supplements are also an essential part of a healthy diet. Pesticides, overworked soil, and extended time from harvest to consumption are a few of the reasons to supplement. The most important factor in determining what products to choose is bioavailability. This is your body’s ability to absorb what you are taking. When you consume supplements from a whole food source that is free of fillers and flowing agents, this can happen.

Again, I learned all of this information from reading alternative health magazines and online articles as well as by asking people about their personal experiences. After learning about all of the awful ingredients in the food I had been consuming, I assumed that all supplements were not created equal. It was daunting at times sifting through promotional jargon to figure out which products were the best. Following what I had learned about food, I chose supplements that were from a whole food source, organic, and free of preservatives.

Some of the essential products that I used to improve Cassandra’s health included probiotics, digestive enzymes, green foods, minerals, and omega-3 fatty acids. All of these supplements help the body function properly; therefore it is able to maintain balanced pH levels and in turn reduce inflammation.

Chiropractic Care

Chiropractic goes far beyond simply alleviating back and neck pain, which was a surprise to me. I had sought out a chiropractor prior to Cassandra’s illness for back pain from multiple car accidents earlier in life. After trying two others, we were lucky to find a chiropractor, Dr. Janet McGaurn of West Chester, Pennsylvania, who adapts her approach to each client’s needs. I personally felt more comfortable with her soft touch approach that did not involve any jerking or snapping of the neck. Cassandra looked forward to her appointments because she felt immediate relief from some of her pain.

Chiropractic care is an essential part of maintaining optimal health. Aside from direct trauma, science has discovered a major interference to our system of nerves called vertebral subluxation. This is a mechanical problem in the spine that reduces a person’s ability to heal, regulate, and express well-being.2 Chiropractors are the only professionals trained in the detection and correction of this problem.

In addition to the care she provided, Dr. McGaurn offered her knowledge of disease and treating it naturally. When I spoke with her about my quest to treat Cassandra’s illness without pharmaceutical drugs, she referred me to a homeopathic doctor that she had personally seen for over twenty years. Trusting her, I was able to try more confidently another alternative approach I knew nothing about.

Homeopathy

Homeopathy is an alternative medical approach that believes in stimulating the body’s own innate healing mechanisms. We had to wait a month in between remedies, the name given to their medicines, which are natural forms of an extremely diluted amount of substances that would cause illness in a healthy person.

The first three times we went, we saw little to no results; however, we continued on. After the fourth visit, she had a breakthrough within three days. She attended physical therapy on a Friday afternoon, and her affected shoulder had not improved. Saturday morning, she saw the homeopath. Tuesday afternoon, at her physical therapy appointment, her therapist was shocked that she had full mobility back in her shoulder. All the muscular tension and knots were gone. It sold us both on homeopathy instantly!

Exercise

Exercise is one of the most important aspects of good health, and even more so if you have arthritis. This was advice that was consistently given to me from all medical and alternative medical professionals as well as being detailed in most online and health magazines.

The more active you are, the better you will probably feel. Non-impact workouts are best as to not put any undue stress on joints.

Cassandra swims and thoroughly enjoys it. It doesn’t seem like exercise because it’s fun. I found a yoga DVD for children that provides her with fun stretching and strengthening exercises that are very important. Also, she is in a karate class, which she resisted at first but has come to love.

Reiki

Reiki is a Japanese term that is translated as “universal life-force energy.” I had heard the word reiki before, but I found it hard to believe that without being touched, you could experience any relief from pain. As with all the methods I employed to help my daughter heal from arthritis, I tried them first. Amazing is the one word I would use to describe reiki. Cassandra agreed, and after one session would ask to go back because she felt so much better.

During a reiki session, a certified practitioner will place his or her hands over you at different points, depending on your needs. The practitioner channels healing energy to you. This can help facilitate healing from physical and emotional trauma.3

Cassandra is now a happy and healthy ten-year-old. When we first learned of her illness, I was distraught, questioning why this happened to her. Now we look at it as a blessing because we learned so much through this journey. Our whole family is healthier and happier than we’ve ever been. It has also given me a new passion, and I am planning to return to school to obtain a naturopathic medical degree. I hope to be able to help many more people heal.

So, know that you can cure illness naturally. It won’t happen by itself; you’ll need to give it your all, but I believe unequivocally that anything is possible. I’ve seen it with my own eyes. Best wishes to living a happy and healthy life!

** This article is one of 101 great articles that were published in 101 Great Ways to Improve Your Health. To get complete details on “101 Great Ways to Improve Your Health”, visit http://selfgrowth.com/healthbook3.html

Author's Bio: 

Amy Butler is a devoted mother and freelance writer. She is the co-owner of GreenLifeSaver.net, an online store where you can now purchase many of the supplements that she used to help aid in Cassandra’s recovery from juvenile rheumatoid arthritis. Amy is dedicated to creating awareness about the potential life-altering benefits of natural living. If you have any questions about the supplements or any of the methods she spoke about, you can ask at ricamy@greenlifesaver.net.