Traditional Chinese Medicine for Arthritis

From the perspective of traditional Chinese medicine, arthritis and joint pain are considered as blockage in the flow of qi and blood throughout pathways in the body. In TCM theory, there are six external forces invade the human body to cause diseases. They are called the six external pathogens, namely wind, heat, dampness, fire, dryness and cold. The blockage can be caused by wind, cold, dampness and heat invade the body and enter into the joints.

Qi deficiency in internal organs such as heart, liver, lungs, kidneys, and spleen can make your body weak. Weather changes can induce the invasion of external pathogens. It is why people with arthritis sometimes claim they can predict rainfall due to the level of pain in their joints.

In Chinese medicine, there are many patterns of arthritis in TCM terms. The most common patterns are wind, cold and dampness, which are why arthritis tends to aggravate in cold and wet weather. TCM practitioners use acupuncture combined with herbal formula for arthritis. TCM aims to unblock the pathways whether the blockage is affecting the bones, blood vessels, tendons or muscles.

Chinese Herbs for Arthritis

For wind pattern, there is joint soreness and pain which moves from joint to joint. Movement of joints is limited, and there is often fever. TCM practitioners often use an herbal formula which contains Ma Huang and Fang Feng.

For cold pattern, there is severe pain in a joint or muscle. This pain has a fixed location. Movement of joints is limited. TCM practitioners often use an herbal formula which contains Ma Huang and Wu Tou.

For dampness pattern, there is pain, soreness and swelling in muscles and joints, with a feeling of heaviness and numbness in the limbs. The pain has a fixed location. TCM practitioners often use an herbal formula which contains Yi Yi Ren and Cang Zhu.

Acupuncture for Arthritis

The relief of arthritis pain using acupuncture has been studied by researchers from all over the world. Acupuncture points to ease arthritis pain are located all over the body, not just over the affected area. TCM practitioners believe that the use of acupuncture can be an effective form of pain management.

According to the World Health Organization, acupuncture has been proved through controlled trials, is effective for rheumatoid arthritis (1). Many studies indicate that acupuncture has a positive effect on the cells that contribute to chronic inflammation and joint destruction associated with rheumatoid arthritis. Acupuncture may help decrease your pain, reduce morning stiffness, and abate inflammation. Acupuncture is also effective for knee osteoarthritis pain and joint dysfunction. Other TCM techniques may also be used such as cupping therapy and moxibustion to control arthritis pain.

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