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Arthritis as viewed by Chinese Medicine

Western medicine defines arthritis as inflammation in one or more joints. Typically this happens in areas where two bones meet. While arthritis mostly occurs in our hands and feet, because of its broad definition arthritis can apply to anywhere in the body.

According to Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM), when there is healthy qi(energy) and blood flow, there can be no pain. Whenever there is a blockage of either qi or blood, then pain will occur. Arthritis arises from this same theory. When wind, cold, and dampness penetrate the body's defenses and enter the muscles, tendons, and joints, this can cause stiffness and pain.

Because of these different etiologies, we can separate arthritis into 4 different types.

Tong Bi-Extreme pain that settles in one or more joints. Cold and lack of activity will worsen the pain, whereas heat will reduce the pain.

Re Bi-This produces swelling, tenderness and sharp pain in one or more joints.

Zuo Bi-The affected parts of the body feel very heavy and numb. The pain will worsen on damp(rainy) days.

Xing Bi- The pain will wander throughout the body in patients. Often affects people who are slender.

It is very important to eat foods that help promote good qi and blood circulation to avoid arthritis, particularly in damp humid environments such as Florida or any city next to a beach. Eating warming foods such as ginger root, cinnamon, and garlic can help ensure good circulation in the body. Wheat foods such as quinoa, rice and sunflower seeds can help ensure proper energy flow.

If you happen to have a sudden onset of arthritis, you can try incorporating these foods into your diet:

Tong Bi- cinnamon, ginger, lentils, onions, hot peppers, cloves, basil, fennel

Re Bi- apple, banana, watermelon, tomato, wheat , barley, tofu, cauliflower

Zuo Bi- lettuce, pumpkin, jobs tear, white pepper, celery, asparagus.

Xing Bi- cinnamon, ginger, scallions, fennel, peppermint, sweet potato, watercress

Once the type of arthritis is diagnosed, our TCM practitioners use a variety of techniques to treat its painful symptoms. Among the most popular techniques are acupuncture, acupressure, herbal remedies, and diet changes. Depending on your condition, you may find quicker relief with herbal medicine as that may work the fastest.

As with any disease , time and patience are needed for the body to heal. Healthy exercise regime and healthy eating habits are to key to preventing arthritis from happening or occurring.

Feel free to ask us for more personalized answers for your arthritis condition.


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