3 Ways to Calm Autoimmune Flare-ups

Back to Blog   Posted:   February 20, 2017 by

My mom has suffered from two autoimmune diseases for over two decades. If life has ever seemed unkind, it is in the struggle with ongoing pain and flare-ups, and alternating between optimism and defeat of a chronic autoimmune condition. 

What I’ve learned from her journey is that even self-care can be a duty and form of self-berating. Do you try to do everything and then get so overwhelmed you do nothing? And then beat yourself up and feel defeated? If this is happens to you, you are not alone. 

The connection between stress, feeling overwhelmed, and autoimmune disease is inflammation. All of these share a relationship to cortisol, an adrenal hormone that helps our bodies cope with stress on the body (whether emotional, physical, or metabolic). Since inflammation plays such a crucial role in autoimmune diseases, your state of mind and attitudes can directly affect your body. By learning to calm your mind, you can affect your stress level and begin to break the cycle of pain and inflammation. Here are 3 ways to start:

Calm your mind, calm your system

  1. Get serious about relaxing. It may sound counter-intuitive, but taking time out for relaxation techniques such as meditation or tai chi takes some commitment. Choose one, be gentle but consistent, and make this a ritualized form of soothing your nerves. 
  2. Manage your blood sugar. Unregulated blood sugar causes the body to release more cortisol, which can aggravate pain and mood imbalances. To reduce the cycle of craving, eat regular meals and include protein and healthy fats. Read labels for hidden sources of sugar like pre-made sauces, avoid processed foods, and be moderate about fruit, which can also spike blood sugar.
  3. Take one step at a time and be methodical. You are better off adding one thing consistently than bouncing from strategy to strategy. Chronic disease is like a boat with 25 holes in it. If you only ever plug a few holes at a time, you will always feel like you are sinking. Whether it’s diet change, meditation, or a new supplement, take time to stabilize one lifestyle change before adding the next.

Sometimes you will need help plugging some of those 25 holes. In Chinese medicine we can take all of the things happening to you in your body, mind, and spirit, and fit them into a pattern. By treating this pattern, we help you feel better. Acupuncture and herbs have been proven effective in helping reduce inflammation, relax the body, and boost energy. Contact me now for a free consult or to schedule an appointment.

Wishing you well!

Leela Longson

Healing your pain and discomfort for a better quality of life. 5 Element Acupuncture in NE Portland.


Stress,Pain Management,Autoimmune Diseases,Depression