Treating Arthritis with Chinese Medicine

This article was printed in the Nelson Daily News in February, 2009.

Dear Academy, I have been diagnosed with Arthritis in my knee. Can acupuncture or Chinese medicine help relieve arthritis pain?
-Missing skiing, Nelson, BC.

Dear Missing Skiing,

Yes, Acupuncture and Chinese Medicine can definitely help relieve arthritis pain.

Acupuncture, which is the insertion of fine needles into various points on the body, helps alleviate the pain associated with arthritis by facilitating the flow of blood to the area, moving stuck ‘qi’ or energy, reducing inflammation and evoking the bodies natural healing response.

A 2004 study by the University of Maryland School of Medicine found that acupuncture reduces pain and functional impairment of osteoarthritis of the knee. The study followed over 500 patients with an average age of 65 who had osteoarthritis of the knee. Patients were randomly assigned to receive one of three treatments: acupuncture, placebo treatments or pain relievers.

As an added benefit the results of the study also suggest acupuncture can help improve overall quality of life for people suffering from arthritis.

Chinese Medicine also has many topical liniments and herbal plasters to stop pain and reduce inflammation associated with arthritis. There are also herbal formulas in pill or powder form which can help relieve pain and improve movement of the joints. Always check in with a Chinese Medicine practitioner or herbalist to get a prescription for the formula that is right for you.

Make an appointment with an acupuncturist and start sessions now to get ready for the season. Be sure to combine your sessions with some strength training so your overall body is fit and ready for sports.

Best wishes for this ski season!

written by Jennifer Gawne, Registered TCM Herbalist at the Academy of Classical Oriental Sciences.