Childhood arthritis is the number one cause of acquired disability in children, and the sixth most common childhood disease following asthma, congenital heart disease, cerebral palsy, diabetes, and epilepsy. It is estimated that 300,000 children in the U.S. suffer from some form of arthritis or rheumatic disease.
Juvenile rheumatoid arthritis (JRA) is also called juvenile idiopathic arthritis (JIA) and juvenile chronic arthritis (JCA). JRA is a form of arthritis that affects children 16 years old or younger and is the most prevalent type of arthritis affecting children today. The most common features of JRA are: joint inflammation, joint contracture (stiff, bent joint), joint damage and/or alteration or change in growth. Other symptoms include joint stiffness following rest or decreased activity level, which is also referred to as morning stiffness or gelling, and weakness in muscles and other soft tissues around the involved joints. JRA can affect internal organs as well.
Most people have heard of or seen the initials D.O., but most do not know what they mean or understand the difference between a D.O. (Doctor of Osteopathic Medicine) and M.D. (Medical Doctor). Both are fully qualified doctors licensed to prescribe medication and perform surgery, both complete four years of medical education, both obtain medical education through internships, residencies, and fellowships, and both can practice in any specialty of medicine.
The biggest difference between a D.O. and an M.D. lies in their perception of the human organism and its health or lack thereof. An M.D. has been trained to treat you for a specific symptom or illness, and views symptoms in disparate parts of the body as separate, largely unrelated disease states. The D.O., on the other hand, is trained to view your body as an integrated whole as it relates to your health and wellbeing. D.O.’s receive an additional 300-500 hours of training in the musculoskeletal system, which is the body’s interconnected system of muscles, bones, and nerves that makes up two thirds of your body mass. This gives the D.O. knowledge and training to better understand how one part of your body can affect many other parts, thus finding the cause of illness, rather than merely treating the symptom or specific illness. A good example of this would be the case of the narrowing of your nerve pathway in your lower back affecting your hips, knees, ankles, and even causing pain in your toes. Most medical doctors would focus on the leg pain as a discrete event and likely prescribe painkillers and anti-inflammatories. A D.O. would focus on what is causing the leg pain.
Inflammation is impossible to escape, as it is a normal, natural part of the healing process; without it injuries and wounds great or small would never heal. When inflammation occurs, chemicals from the body’s white blood cells are released into the blood or affected tissues in an attempt to rid the body of foreign substances. Some of the chemicals cause leakage of fluid into the tissues, resulting in swelling. The inflammatory response is basically your body’s way of releasing free radicals to scavenge damaged tissues in order for your body to begin to repair itself. The common physiological symptoms include swelling, redness, heat at the site, lack of a range of motion of affected body part, and usually increased pain. After the primary healing takes place the excess free radicals produced during the immune response are neutralized by anti-oxidants or free electrons in the body.
Inflammation can be separated into two distinct categories: acute and chronic. Acute inflammation is the body’s normal protective response to an injury, irritation, or surgery. This natural defense process brings increased blood flow to the area, resulting in an accumulation of fluid. The common medical advice in treating acute inflammation is RICE therapy, which stands for Rest, Ice, Compression, and Elevation.
You may or may not have heard of the practice called grounding, or earthing, which has become popular in the holistic health world recently. I had previously heard of grounding, but was unsure what it was. It definitely sounded a little strange at first until I met a couple of people who have used some of the electronic grounding products that are now available, and experienced positive results. Of course my curiosity and my experimental nature urged me to look deeper and see what this grounding thing was all about.
My investigations began with watching a couple of videos by David Wolfe, who is considered one of the world’s top authorities on natural health, beauty, nutrition, herbalism, chocolate, and organic superfoods. I must admit that after watching the videos by Wolfe on grounding the concepts definitely started to make sense to me, but I’m always cautious with these supposedly groundbreaking natural remedies. Sometimes it is hard to filter out the junk from the truly good products. I had to look into Wolfe’s background as he can sometimes come off as a spiritual hippie huckster, but I have always been impressed with his videos and the scope of his knowledge. I discovered that Mr. Wolfe’s accomplishments are impressive, and include a master’s degree in nutrition, and a background in science and mechanical engineering.
So what is grounding? In the shortest explanation, being grounded means being electrically connected to the earth.