Sign Language Relieve Arthritis

English translation: Ixone Sáenz Paraíso

A pioneering initiative for the treatment of arthritis, a very common disease in older people characterised mainly by joint pain and inflammation, has been launched in Mexico in 2017: the program consists learning the Mexican Sign Language (LSM), whose movement exercises the joints of the hands and part of the body.

The program was launched by the Mexican Foundation for Rheumatic Patients (Fumerac) and is known as "talking hands". In just a month, they began to see its benefits, like a 70-year-old patient who learnt to tell a story in Mexican Sign Language to Deaf children. This way, they not only exercise hand movements but their promoters ensure that older people also restore self-confidence.

It appears that the practice of Mexican Sign Language activates the same joints and tissues in the hands as traditional clinical therapy. In addition, Sign Language is highly attractive compared to the monotonous exercises of traditional therapy, which decreases the percentage of dropouts from therapy.

At that time, the experiment was carried out on pilot basis with four Deaf people, although the positive results indicate that this will continue in the future.

Another Experience in Chile

In Chile they have also carried out a similar initiative by taking advantage of Internet's potential: they have launched a web platform in which anyone with arthritis can learn Chilean Sign Language and evaluate their results in therapy. It is called 'Sign Therapy' and was launched by the Me Muevo Foundation and the Sordos Chilenos Foundation. The therapy was presented with the following video (Spanish texts):

In short, this is one more advantage from the sign languages of the world, this time it is older people with arthritis who can especially benefit from.

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