Monday, July 26, 2010
Whether it is because of concerns about side-effects or because one's
current medication regime isn't working as well as it used to,
individuals suffering from arthritis pain can turn to Chinese medicine
for reliable and time-tested answers. Chinese medicine is a holistic
medicine. The criteria for holism varies from case to case, but below
are five significant factors that will be addressed through a Chinese
medical approach to arthritis.
Factor 1: Blood Flow
microvasculature, or tiny blood vessels, is commonly stagnant in
arthritis cases. Many researchers believe that acupuncture is
effective in minimizing pain because it increases blood flow in the
microvasculature. An adage from the Chinese medical classics states
"Where there is pain, there is stagnation." One of the primary causes of
any pathology in Chinese medicine is stagnant blood flow. Blood flow
can slow either due to sluggish blood quality or the accumulation of
Factor 2: Blood Quality
is an auto-immune condition. This means that the immune response is
constantly receiving messages that are telling it to attack the joints
of the body, in the case of arthritis. These messages go by varying
names, immune factors, cytokines, inflammatory markers.
herbs can down-regulate the immune system by removing factors from the
blood that excite the immune response. Herbs that fall within the
category of blood tonics
perform this function, loading the body with vital nutrients targeted to the body's circulatory system.
Factor 3: Breath
classics state "blood is the mother of qi and qi the commander of
blood." If the qi is weak, blood cannot be commanded to flow freely.
What is qi? In this context it is the breath and specifically lung
function. The heart pumps the blood, but if the lungs are weak the
heart will have little strength to pump the blood efficiently.
is a gentle form of movement and breathing exercises that works on
increasing qi capacity. Qigong, literally means, qi work. There are
numerous forms of qigong, just like its more popular variations Taiji,
more commonly Taichi, and Gongfu, aka Kung-fu. All of these martial
arts work the qi, emphasizing different aspects of development,
strength, stamina, flexibility, and often drawing inspiration from
nature to articulate the forms: preying mantis, crane, clouds. Although
breath enhancement is a principle reward, the combination of learning
synchronized movement with the breath also benefits the neurological,
digestive, and other systems of the body. When the qi of all the
systems is enhanced then the immune system too is regulated, slowing the
growth of and reducing accumulations around the joints.
Factor 4: Fluid and Digestive Metabolism
in fluid metabolism, implicating lymphatic, muscular, and respiratory
systems, can cause the swelling of joints. There is a category of
herbs that specifically targets the draining of excess fluids. The
level at which such actions catalyze is within the lymphatic, muscular
and respiratory systems.
Certain herbs, qigong, and acupuncture
improve digestive function, the hypo-function of which plays an
important role in fluid excess. Fluid congestion characterizes aspects
of arthritis. This is often called "phlegm" or "dampness" in Chinese
medicine. Improving system function will rectify fluid congestion
because such a problem is the result of functional impairment.
Basically by working specifically on fluids and the source of fluid
metabolism dysfunction, Chinese medicine addresses both the symptoms and
the cause of arthritis.
Factor 5: Diet
but certainly not least is diet. Nothing can go toward addressing
chronic conditions like arthritis in a more dramatic way over time than
changing one's diet. An effective approach to diet modification is a
process, whereby one learns as much about what to include as what to
avoid based on one's individual constitution.
medicine is a distinguishing aspect of Chinese medicine. It takes into
account each individual's body type to allow dietary recommendations to
be specific. Food, like herbs, have properties that produce predictable
effects in the body. Th classics express a sentiment identical to
Hippocrates, "Let food be thy medicine." Chinese medical theory
actually provides a framework for understanding how foods work as
medicine based on your constitution.
flow and quality, breath, fluid metabolism, and diet are five aspects
of a Chinese medical approach to holistically addressing the chronic
condition of arthritis. Herbs, acupuncture, qigong, and dietary
collaboration are tools applies in restoring balance naturally.