The COVID pandemic has driven a significant change in behaviour across the country with more people online than ever before. Screen time is up and people are spending more time surfing, socialising and shopping online.
According to Brendan Howell, the increase in online activity is delivering positive and negative impacts for people, especially in the health and wellness sector.
Brendan Howell is the Director of Arborvitae Health and Wellbeing, one of Australia's fastest-growing supplement companies. Founded in 2014, the Australian family-owned business produces the highly popular range of Arborvitae supplements including the highly popular Arborvitae's Joint Health which many people with arthritis take to reduce pain and discomfort.
"While our sales, especially our online sales have increased markedly during COVID, so has the number of enquiries and questions we are getting from customers about information they are reading online about health issues such as arthritis," Howell said.
"The internet is a powerful tool and it contains a lot of beneficial and useful information, but unfortunately it is also a place where people such as ill-informed influencers and bloggers sprout a lot of misinformation.
"We are seeing a lot more information being promoted and shared that undermines good health and wellbeing practices and supports the promotion of questionable products. Concerningly, a lot of the information and associated products are targeting the elderly who are worried and vulnerable."
Howell has put together a list of seven myths and BUSTED them in the hope that this might help people avoid some of the concerning information being shared online.
1. Grapefruit tablets will cure arthritis
"This is a ridiculous myth and it is totally false. Arthritis can not be cured but supplements, medication and lifestyle changes can effectively manage symptoms and support normal activity," Howell said.
"Increase your intake of fresh fruits and vegetables as some have anti-inflammatory properties that will assist with inflammation."
2. Avoid exercise if you have an arthritis flare-up
"This is simply not true. In fact, movement is important for the joints, especially if you have arthritis. Many doctors state that regular well managed exercise may help with arthritis," Howell added.
"While arthritic joints may sometimes need a short period of rest, gradually returning to activity is important and helps to maintain strength and range of motion in your joints."
3. Heat is better than ice on arthritic joints
"False. Applying heat and cold to the joints is beneficial. Everyone is different and responds differently. Applying a heat pack in the morning to joints helps to relax the muscles that move stiff joints. Using ice packs at night can help to ease joint inflammation resulting from daily activities," Howell explained.
4. Drinking ginger tea every day will stop you getting arthritis
"Sadly, this is not true either. While you can minimise the risks associated with developing arthritis, you can not stop the onset of arthritis by drinking ginger tea. The best approach is to reduce weight, avoid smoking, eat well and keep moving," Howell added.
5. Arthritis only affects the joints
"Unfortunately this is not true either. There are more than 100 kinds of arthritis and related conditions. Types of arthritis such as rheumatoid arthritis typically cause joint pain and swelling, but it also impacts the heart, lungs and other areas of the body. Many people encounter fatigue and poor sleep as a result," Howell said.
6. Massage honey and cider vinegar into the joints
"Again, there is no evidence to suggest that there is any benefit applying a concoction of honey and cider to the joints. It is a remedy that seems to be used to help people overcome the common cold, but has absolutely no benefit in the management of arthritis," Howell said.
7. Cut out all red meat
"False. Red meat is important for our health as it supplies protein which is an essential building block and vitamin b12, which helps make DNA and supports nerve and red blood cell health. It is essential to only eat lean meat and as part of a balanced diet," Howell added.
"Our advice to our customers is simple. Follow the management plan provided by your doctor and only include supplements in your diet that are listed on the Australian Register of Therapeutic Goods (ARTG).
"Our products are listed on the ARTG. They contain Pycnogenol a French maritime pine bark extract and include other natural ingredients designed to quickly and efficiently re-set the immune system and bring down inflammation in the body. Many people take our products to improve their health and wellbeing, in particular, Arborvitae Joint Health, to ease the symptoms and pain associated with conditions like osteoarthritis.
"Osteoarthritis is one of the key diseases where Arborvitae can assist in the minimisation of symptoms. Many of our customers have reported significant improvements in their osteoarthritis after taking Arborvitae.
"In fact, an independent research study published last year concluded that Arborvitae Joint Health 'may be an effective supplementary management in controlling signs/symptoms of mild-moderate [osteoarthritis]'. This includes a reduction in inflammation and, subsequently, pain related to osteoarthritis.
"Participants in the study experienced a 66 percent reduction in pain test scores, a 50 percent increase in walking distance without pain, a 56 percent reduction in inflammation in blood tests (CRP), a 78 percent reduction in their use of on-demand medications and a 50 percent improvement in quality of life."
Arborvitae's products are sold online and now stocked in over 1,200 pharmacies and health food stores throughout the country. An explosion in demand for Arborvitae products fueled by positive feedback from users is seeing the company put in place significant expansion plans both domestically and internationally.
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