Polymyalgia Rheumatica and Chinese Medicine could be the way forward in the treatment of this condition as western medicine has little to offer in the relief of its symptoms.
What is Polymyalgia Rheumatica?
It is an inflammatory problem resembling rheumatoid arthritis. The pain is experienced in specific areas including the shoulders, neck, upper arms, buttocks, hips and thighs. There is no known cause of the problem according to western medicine and polymyalgia rheumatica can can go away on its own accord without reason. Other symptoms may coexist such as fatigue, fever and diminished appetite.
What does Chinese Medicine actually refer to?
When one refers to the term Chinese medicine, it usually means an array of modalities including acupuncture, moxibustion, cupping, gua sha, Chinese herbal medicine and tui na.
As a general rule, an acupuncturist uses moxibustion, cupping and gua sha as part of their repertoire. Chinese herbalists and tui na physicians have specialized in that field. The traditional and classical diagnostic framework is the same for everyone.
Is Traditional Chinese medical diagnosis valid in the modern world?
For many years, western medicine has ridiculed traditional Chinese medicine diagnosis but the World Health Organization in 2017 endorsed and officially accepted Traditional Chinese medical diagnosis as an official system of diagnosis.
What is Polymyalgia Rheumatica in terms of Chinese Medicine diagnosis?
It is important to understand that Chinese medicine treats people and their disease patterns and not specific diseases. This means that 5 people could present with polymyalgia rheumatica but each would be classified under a different diagnosis according to Chinese medicine. An example of one pattern of disharmony that may contribute the symptoms associated with polymyalgia rheumatica could be damp and heat concurrent with spleen deficiency. Chinese medicine says that the spleen controls the flesh, aka muscles and that if the muscles are weak and vulnerable, then they could be the target of environmental factors such as damp and heat. When this damp and heat lodges in the muscles, they will become achy, sore, heavy and tired. The heat component of the imbalance gives rise to a vague heat flu type feeling that is experienced by many people with polymyalgia rheumatica. Other patterns of disharmony could be blood stasis as a result of a liver problem or another cause may due to liver and kidneys.
The correct diagnosis is the key to finding the appropriate herbal formula
Chinese herbal medicine involves fitting the combination of herbs to the manifesting and presenting symptoms as well addressing the underlying cause. If only herbs are prescribed to treat symptoms, the problem will not go away and keep coming back.
Who can I see in New Zealand who is qualified and experienced in Chinese Herbal medicine?
Contact New Zealand’s oldest and largest Chinese medicine association Acupuncture New Zealand to find a suitable practitioner nearest to you or you can contact the author.
Where do the Chinese herbs come from that you use in New Zealand?
I personally use the Ko Da brand freeze dried granules and more information about them can be found here from their New Zealand distributor.