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Juvenile Rheumatoid Arthritis & Bikram Yoga

Bonus interview with Katy as per Andy from Oxford’s suggestion

Name – Katy

Age – 28

Location – Oregon USA

Diagnosis – Juvenile Rheumatoid Arthritis

Question. How old were you when you were diagnosed?

Answer. 10 months old

Question Can you describe the onset of symptoms?

Answer. Upon waking up one morning, my mother noticed my ankles were swollen so badly she couldn’t even get my shoes on. I was constantly crying, eventually, I stopped crawling, and every movement hurt.

Question. Do you have any family history of autoimmune diseases?

Answer. No

Question.  Did you try adjusting your diet to help with symptoms?

Answer. I have gone to several neuro paths in the past and was given different dietary restrictions each time, but none of them helped lessen my symptoms, until I came across Clint Paddison, the author and creator of the Paddison Programme for rheumatoid arthritis.  Clint was diagnosed with rheumatoid arthritis in his early 30s, but founded his own diet which was low fat, Whole Foods, plant based, and went to Bikram yoga every single day.

Because of the diet plus Bikram yoga , he has been drug free, pain free drug free and symptom free for over 5 years now. He created the Paddison Programme to help others, like myself, heal from their rheumatoid arthritis as well. Since I started his programme years ago, I have seen significant improvements in my body. I have been able to get off very heavy addictive painkillers – tapering off some other drugs as well- and I have never felt better .

Question. What made you go to your first Bikram yoga class? Where you hesitant?

Answer.  Curiosity.

Clint Paddison highly recommended it to me, as it was what helped him heal his rheumatoid arthritis. I had heard that it had helped many people heal from different injuries or illnesses, and I was hopeful that it would do the same for me. I was desperate for relief from pain and stiffness.

I really had no idea what to expect, as I had never been to any kind of yoga class before.

So, I invited one of my close friends to join me on my first class.

Question. Do you remember your thoughts during the first class, and what you felt like after that first class?

Answer.  I stood in the back row- shy, timid, and very self-conscious.

Because of my rheumatoid arthritis, I grew up hating myself and the way I looked. So, walking into the hot room and realising I had to look at myself in the mirror for 90 minutes was possibly one of the hardest parts of the class. I could not balance for more than a second. I felt very weak and unstable. I glanced around at all the other people in amazement and awe. I couldn’t do more than half the postures because of my very stiff joints.

BUT Walking out of class, I felt so good!

It was like nothing I had ever done before and watching everyone else in the room inspired me. When I came home from class, I sat on the couch and was expecting to feel worse. As a kid and at all times previously, doing any type of exercise was extremely difficult for me and only made my joints hurt worse and be in even more painful stop But I never felt like that after Bikram Yoga. In fact, I felt better after exercise for the first time ever. My joints felt looser, and I slept much better .

The sweating felt good on my body. I told myself I had to go back the next day. And then it turned into the next, and the next and before I knew it, I found that Bikram yoga was my medicine .

Question. What was the experience that led you to think, “this is going to work for me”?

Answer. The more I came to class, the better my joints felt. I slowly began to notice tiny improvements in certain postures such as grabbing a foot I couldn’t grab before, and that inspired me and gave me hope. No other exercise has given me the potential to change, strengthen, and become more flexible. And the yoga community was always so welcoming and supportive. I’ve felt like I was practising among family. I liked that it never felt like a competition, but that we each got to work on our own body.

After a few months of consistently practising Bikram yoga, my pain levels were so low I was able to taper off headed heavy Vicodin pills.

Within seven months of practising, I was Vicodin free and have been ever since . I knew that Bikram yoga was working for me. After about a year, I even started tapering off my rheumatoid arthritis injections. Initially I was taking one injection a week, currently I am only taking one injection once a month, and my inflammation levels are continuing to decrease, even on less drugs.

Question . What makes you choose Bikram yoga over other forms of exercise?

Answer. Throughout my life I have tried various yoga videos at home. I also tried ballet for a couple of years and swimming, but all of these were so hard on my inflamed, stiff joints.

I eventually gave up on exercise entirely because all exercise made me feel worse, but Bikram yoga has turned my life around and has brought hope and new future to my life.

It has never made me feel worse.

Bikram yoga continues to bring more strength and flexibility, but it has also helped with my self-confidence, self-care , and love for others around me.

Bibliography – Hope for Autoimmune Disease (by Ann Chrapkiewicz)