Treatment for rheumatoid arthritis left Joy with diabetes, hypertension, and multiple growths on her body. Now she’s finding relief through lifestyle medicine.
by Martin Raj

When Joy Gunter from Queens, NY, joined a recent program at Hartland’s Lifestyle Education Center (LEC), she immediately saw the difference from the medical treatments her doctors had been using to address her rheumatoid arthritis. “This is a more natural, healthy approach, and I prefer this,” says Joy.

Joy, who is originally from Jamaica, was diagnosed over eight years ago with rheumatoid arthritis that affects her mobility and endurance, and gives her excruciating pain in all her joints. She followed the traditional medical treatment for her health condition and developed diabetes and hypertension as side effects. “I took Prednisone for over two years, and then I decided to withdraw from it,” she relates. “During the withdrawal, I started to lose weight; I got weaker, and I got growths all over my hands and different parts of my body. It was not a comfortable experience.”

Her cousin, an Adventist medical doctor, encouraged her to try a lifestyle approach and provided her a list of lifestyle centers. When Joy called the one closest to her, they explained that they were only a day treatment center and directed her to Hartland’s residential program.

One of Joy’s new experiences at the LEC was the plant-based diet. “Before I came, I still ate some meat,” Joy admits. Many treatments were also new to her. When she told her daughter about the paraffin wax treatment for her joints, her daughter remarked, “Oh, it’s usually the rich people in New York who get that!”

Joy especially enjoyed singing hymns and listening to the devotional talks during the group worships. She states, “You can see that the Holy Spirit is in them [the speakers], and this is not just a talk—it’s a ministry.”

She not only appreciated the worship leaders, but commends all the staff at the LEC for their hard work: “I haven’t found one that hasn’t impressed me.”

Has Joy seen results from her stay at the LEC? “There’s no doubt that I’m improving!” she enthuses. “My growths have been dwindling and drying up, and there’s less pain and swelling.” As a bonus, she has gained muscle tone, feels strengthened, and has more energy and endurance. “Overall the program has been successful,” Joy says happily.