According to the American College of Rheumatology, range-of-motion and stretching exercises help maintain and improve flexibility in affected joints and surrounding muscles.

Some natural remedies also make a difference to muscle and joint health. Here are three approaches to becoming more flexible:

Stretch: The Arthritis Foundation recommends smooth, gentle stretches for 15 minutes each day. If you’ve been inactive for a while, stretch for five minutes daily at first, working your way up to 15 minutes. You shouldn’t experience pain or joint swelling during or after your stretches.

Your physical therapist can devise a stretching routine that targets your problem areas. You’ll learn the proper techniques so you don’t risk injury. Also, never stretch cold muscles. Before you start, do three to five minutes of moderate walking to warm up your muscles. Or, apply heat by taking a warm shower or using a heating pad beforehand.

Yoga: This ancient art form and physical activity can improve your flexibility, balance, and strength. It also helps induce relaxation, which can improve the pain and stiffness of arthritis.

Yoga asanas or poses for flexibility are more appropriate if you have osteoarthritis, or mild rheumatoid arthritis (RA). Unlike RA, osteoarthritis involves lower levels of inflammation and doesn’t affect multiple joints symmetrically in the body.

In a University of Pennsylvania School of Medicine study, Iyengar yoga improved osteoarthritis symptoms in the knee, including stiffness. This method of yoga focuses on correct alignment and actions that develop balance, flexibility, strength, and stamina.

However, be careful about which poses you do, as some may be too aggressive and cause injury. The Yoga for Arthritis DVD produced by the Arthritis Foundation may be a good beginner’s guide. It’s specifically for people with limited mobility, so it will also be gentle if your arthritis is not as advanced.

Epsom Salts: Long recommended for treating rheumatoid arthritis and musculoskeletal conditions, soaking in Epsom salts is budget-friendly and convenient.

Epsom salts are magnesium sulfate crystals. The Epsom Salt Industry Council explains that magnesium reduces inflammation, relieves muscle soreness, and improves muscle and nerve function, and circulatory health. Sulfate is essential to protein formation in joints, and helps keep joints healthy.

When soaking feet or hands in a basin use about ¼ cup of Epsom salts; in a tub bath use about five to six pounds. The water should be around 100°F, working your way up to 108°F or 112°F. Soak for about eight to 10 minutes initially, eventually increasing to 20 minutes. Add more hot water to maintain the temperature. Try this treatment once or twice a week.

Don’t soak in Epsom salts if you’re weak, elderly, or have high blood pressure, cardiovascular disease, kidney problems or diabetes. If you have any other medical condition speak to your doctor first.