Research has already demonstrated that acupuncture can help treat the symptoms associated rheumatoid arthritis but many patients inquire at The Acupuncture Clinic, just as to how it works.
Many patients believe acupuncture is only a temporary measure to help alleviate the pain of rheumatoid arthritis and don’t realize that Chinese medicine actually stimulates the body to repair and rejuvenate itself and a reduction in pain is just a side effect!
Scott Pearson of the Newtown Acupuncture Centre in Wellington helps to explain.
“To gain understanding of how traditional acupuncture can help treat rheumatoid arthritis, we need to have a look at how does somebody get rheumatoid arthritis from a traditional Chinese medical perspective“.
Patients who become afflicted with rheumatoid arthritis according to traditional Chinese medicine theory view that environmental factors can penetrate into the body. In particular wind, cold, heat and damp are said to lodge into the joints, muscles and tendons.
What is wei qi, otherwise known as protective energy?
When a person is healthy they should have what is called a strong wei qi on the outside of their body. Wei Qi translates as protective energy and is somewhat like a thin force field circulating just at the surface of the skin protecting the interior body against extremes of wind and temperature changes. In order to have good protective energy, a number of factors are required, including optimal liver health.
Scott says “When the protective energy is weak, cold wind for example can penetrate through the skin and lodge into the joints. If the internal health and energy of the body is still strong, it can deal with the cold wind that has settled into the joints and expel it. If, however because of weakness, sickness, aging or excessive exposure to extreme weather conditions, the amount of wind and cold will keep accumulating in the joints eventually leading to the modern concept of rheumatoid arthritis“. Ancient Chinese physicians just called it by another name. The treatment of the symptoms of the pain, stiffness and swelling associated with rheumatoid arthritis has been discussed for centuries in Chinese medical texts.
Can moxibustion help?
Moxibustion can be beneficial for those people suffering from an accumulation of cold and damp in their joints. When people have cold and damp lodged in their joints, the symptoms exasperate in sudden changes to cold weather and this is when moxibustion can be particularly helpful.
It has been observed for centuries by Chinese physicians that people living in diverse climatic areas of China, when exposed to the different types of weather, had different types of rheumatoid arthritis. And treatments were developed accordingly to cater for the different symptoms. For example, southern China is damp and hot, so treatments developed for patients here with rheumatoid arthritis involved acupuncture points and herbs that promote a cooling effect.
What about if you live in a hot damp environment?
One would expect that people living in Queensland, where it is very hot and damp, that there would be an abundance of also have these types of rheumatic problems. But this is not the case. Mr Alan Jansson, who specializes in traditional Japanese acupuncture on Queensland’s Gold Coast says “Modern technology has changed and complicated everything even more. In Queensland, all shopping centers, cars and homes have air conditioning which are usually set at very cold temperatures. The hot damp weather outside opens up all the pores of the body only then to allow excessive invasion of cold and wind from air conditioning to penetrate rapidly and easily. This is why I actually use a lot of warming moxibustion techniques even though I practice in a predominately hot damp environment“.
Can Chinese herbs help rheumatoid arthritis?
Research has shown that a Chinese herb has been found to be just as effective as the most common drug used to treat arthritis. Chinese herbs are prescribed in combination with other Chinese herbs to address the individual requirements of the patient and there are many different Chinese herbs that treat all types of rheumatoid arthritis whether caused by cold or hot exposure.