by David Bates
As a long time sufferer with gout, both in my feet and my hands. I have tried various treatment suggestions prescribed by several doctors.
It took me some time before I realised what was causing the pain and it was only after one particularly painful attack, when it became impossible to put any weight on my standing foot and it even hurt when I was lying down that I visited my doctor. He immediately diagnosed gout and prescribed some medication, eventually the pain disappeared and I attributed this to the pills I had been prescribed.
Gout however had not finished with me, it has been returning at intervals for years now, the intensity and duration of the attack varies and even which foot it chooses to affect. Luckily it has never been in both feet simultaneously but on several occasions it has started in one foot, cleared up and immediately flared up in the other (that's what I call vindictive). The pills prescribed by doctors (there has been several of both) all act retrospectively and do not stop the gout reoccurring. I have been offered a "pill for life" which could work but the thought of taking a daily pill seemed akin to permanently wearing a stab vest just in case I got stabbed.
Research has shown me that gout is caused by having too much uric acid in your body; the kidneys normally pass excess uric acid out of your body via urine. This acid can sometimes crystallise and it is these crystals that often deposit in a joint (usually at the extremities of our limbs) that cause the pain and swelling associated with a gout attack. This information also indicated that I should be taking a more alternative approach; treat the cause not the symptoms. I tried popular dietary recommendations, drink plenty of water and avoid eating too many foods high in purines ( kidney, liver, sweetbreads, and game meats) another popular suggestion is to eat plenty of cherries (ironically in the UK this is one of the few fruits that are not available all the year round and although the tinned variety are a suitable alternative they soon lose their appeal.
Reflexology seemed the obvious answer, the pain was in my feet, and it was crystals forming round the joints that were causing it. I contacted a Reflexologist and explained the problem she agreed to offer some treatment when I felt I was about to have a gout attack. That day happened and I booked an appointment. The reflexologist massaged my foot at two points, firstly at the reflex point that connected to the appropriate kidney and then around the toe joint where there were signs of pain. The session lasted about 40 minutes and left me pain free. Subsequent treatments have left me convinced that Reflexology may not stop gout totally; but it can stop the first signs of discomfort turning into a full blown attack.
One word of warning that may seem obvious; I would not recommend having treatment at the height of an attack when it is often painful to have your foot touched by a light bed sheet.
David Bates is a complementary therapy specialist from the United Kingdom; he has an interest in this natural therapy site:http://www.therapiesguide.co.uk