By Jim Stegenga, L.Ac.
Serving Olympia, Lacey, and Tumwater, and the South Puget Sound
Approximately 44 million Americans have been diagnosed with arthritis. Many of these people are being treated with Western medications such as steroids and anti-inflammatories, while many others are left untreated, as they do not want to pursue conventional Western treatment options.
In my clinical practice, I have worked with people with all forms of arthritis and I have helped many of them get off of pain killers and steroids. This is possible by using a combination of acupuncture, herbs, nutritional supplements, and possibly techniques such as Tai Chi, yoga or meditation. I am always pleased (as is the patient) when we can use natural therapies for pain management because they do not have any side effects, unlike most of the Western medications for pain relief, which can cause a host of complications. Many of these medications weaken the body over time, which, in my opinion, causes premature aging and general debility.
Below are several natural herbal that have proven effective in overcoming the pain and inflammation of arthritis. It is always best to seek out the services of a healthcare professional if you are interested in using these products.
- Shen Tong Zhu Yu Tang: This is a formula used for systemic blood stagnation characterized by sharp and severe pain throughout the body. It is useful for muscle spasm, inflammation, and pain that is fixed in nature.
- Juan Bi Tang: This is a classic formula for arthritis. In Chinese medicine, Bi is a syndrome that is characterized by certain elements such as wind, damp, or cold lodging in the body causing pain. This formula is helpful for achiness and stiffness primarily in the upper body.
- Du Huo Ji Sheng Tang: This formula is useful for Bi syndromes that affect the lower back, legs, and knees. It helps to relieve achiness and tension.
- SPZM: This is a Health Concerns formula that is useful for muscle spasm, particularly in the upper body.
- Channel Flow: This is a Health Concerns Formula that is useful for pain anywhere in the body. It can help with moderate or severe pain.
The following common sense dietary tips can be very helpful for managing the symptoms of arthritis. Depending on the patient’s specific symptoms, other dietary changes might be appropriate.
- Start eating an organic whole foods diet that is rich in fish, chicken, vegetables, fruit, and whole grains. This diet is rich in essential fatty acids, antioxidants, and fiber.
- Avoid refined sugars and carbohydrates: These foods promote inflammation and pain and weaken digestion and vitality.
- Avoid synthetic additives and sweeteners and genetically modified foods.
- Avoid coffee and alcohol: Both of these are irritants to the liver, colon, and stomach. They can exacerbate pain and emotional ups and downs.
Acupuncture is one of the greatest therapies available for healing arthritis. It has been clinically proven to reduce pain and inflammation, improve circulation, and trigger the rest and restore mode of the nervous system. Acupuncture should be painless and deeply relaxing. I recommend getting weekly or bi-weekly treatment for 6-8 weeks for chronic arthritis, then assessing for progress.
Tai Chi, Meditation and Yoga
Tai Chi, meditation and yoga have been practiced for thousands of years in many different cultures. They have stood the test of time because they have enormous healing benefits for the mind and body. If practiced appropriately, they can offer profound support for managing chronic pain, overcoming fatigue, and improving flexibility.
Call Olympia Acupuncture today at 360.943.0306 to set up your first appointment today!