The treatment of arthritis has a long history in Chinese Medicine. Acupuncture and Herbal treatments have been recorded in classical medical books before and including the Han Dynasty (25-220 AD). These were written on bamboo books before papers.
Of course, the latin-based name for Arthritis was not used in Ancient China. It was given another name, “Bi” syndrome. Over many centuries, detailed observation of signs and symptoms were collected. Shared and individualised disease patterns were observed. Special treatments and formulae that were developed in China to treat “Bi” syndrome were recorded and passed down for centuries all the way to the present day.
In Traditional Chinese Medicine, we empasise individualized treatment by identifying the person’s specific “Pattern of Disharmony”. For example, an arthritic joint that feels hot, looks red on the skin and prefers colder conditions is a heat pattern; whereas an arthritic joint that feels cold to the touch, is more painful in colder weather and prefers heat is a cold pattern.
The severity and combinations of other simptoms and signs, such as poor blood circulation, stiffness, joint swelling, lumbar pain, osteoporosis and when the arthritis is better all come together to form a basis for Chinese Medicine practitioners to form a basis for individualised diagnosis and treatment. In this way, we can find the root of the problem and rebalance the body.
Traditional arthritis is caused by a simultaneous weakness of vital energy, in addition with an invasion external factors such as wind overexposure, cold, dampness and heat attacking the joint. This causes a stagnation of the flow of vital energy (Chi) and blood, leading to pain and inflammation. Over time, these patterns can change. For example: a wind, cold, and damp pattern stagnating over time can transform into a damp-heat pattern. Or, excessive pattern overtime can weaken the body, turning into a deficient pattern.
Thankfully today, we have the blessing of modern medicine, and research which may give us even more diagnostic information needed to analyse the condition.
Clinically, we do a “double diagnosis”, observing the western medical diagnosis plus our Chinese traditional eastern diagnosis.
The features of Rheumatoid and Osteoarthritis conditions are observed alongside the Pattern of Disharmony and the person’s unique constitution. Because Arthritis can become a severe and chronic problem, early treatment is encouraged. One early sign may be ongoing increased joint stiffness and decreased range of motion in the morning.
We employ and combine treatments such as Acupuncture, Herbal Medicine, Moxibustion, cupping, massage, and dietary therapies to cater to the health needs of the client. Treatment focuses can vary between the acute, active, or remission phases of Arthritis.
In short, in Chinese Medicine we look at the body as a whole, take into account a wide variety of factors and may employ a variety of tools in order to free-up the joins, alleviate pain and symptoms, and restore homeostasis (the body in perfect harmony}.
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