Words of wisdom from my rheumatologist.
HOW IT HELPS ME
“When I was first diagnosed with RA, the pain was awful. I’d wake up with daily stiffness and often need help doing minor tasks.
A few years after my diagnosis, I started practicing meditation by chanting a Buddhist prayer: nam-myoho-renge-kyo. The literal translation: nam means devotion to; myoho, the mystic law of life; renge, understanding that cause and effect happen simultaneously; and kyo, that all life is connected through sound.
I chant this prayer twice a day, which helps me center myself and remember that I have the power to create the life I want — no matter how daunting or impossible it may seem.
I can’t fully explain how, but the more I chant, the better I feel. Emotionally, I’m stronger, more determined and more appreciative of my life. It has truly allowed me to discover my inner strength and motivated me to not be defeated by RA.”
WHY IT WORKS
“It’s important to pay attention not only to the physical aspects of your RA but also the emotional aspects. The body is one entity and, not surprisingly, research shows physical and emotional well-being are strongly tied together.
Staying emotionally healthy will benefit your physical condition and vice versa — and you can do this by incorporating mindfulness into your daily routine. In addition to chanting, like Imani does, you could also try deep breathing exercises or find a cozy environment to sit quietly while focusing on your breath.
Anything that clears the mind and allows you to consciously focus on the present can help improve your psychological well-being. However, keep these two points in mind: 1. Medications are of utmost importance. They outweigh all other therapeutic options for RA, including meditation. Speak with your care team about the best treatment for you. 2. While meditation has been shown to be beneficial for stress relief and overall well-being, it is not a replacement for medication and should be used to complement medical treatment.”