Clinical Experience in the Treatment of Rheumatoid Arthritis with Chinese Medicine
Journal of Chinese Medicine
Abstract : Rheumatoid arthritis (RA) is the second most common form of arthritis after osteoarthritis and affects approximately one per cent of the population worldwide, manifesting with both articular and non-articular symptoms. Based on the author's 50 years of clinical experience in treating RA patients with Chinese Medicine, this article summarises the aetiology and pathology of RA, offers insight into the key issues involved in the treatment, and discusses the traditional and biomedical characteristics of Chinese materia medica and the use of acupuncture and moxibustion for RA. The article ends with two representative case studies illustrating the role played by Chinese medicine in treating long-term RA patients.
Rheumatoid arthritis is a systematic disorder that is characterized by sterile inflammation of synovial joints and periarticular tissues.
This disease begins dangerously, and manifests symmetrically with joint swelling and pain and progresses slowly, and eventually results in destruction of the affected joints. Ten percent of rheumatoid arthritis cases end in permanent disability.
Depletion of the liver, spleen, and kidneys is a major internal cause of RA. Nan Jing, classic of difficulties, states that when the spleen is deficient, and the source of generation and transformation of qi and blood is damaged, the flesh can no longer thrive and the limbs and joints are deprived of nourishment.
There are two types of patterns in the treatment of RA with Chinese medicine: heat patterns and cold patterns. Heat patterns are generally seen at the acute stage and are characterized by redness, swelling, and pain, whereas cold patterns are seen once the disease has stabilized and are characterized by cold emanating from the marrow. A 48 year old woman who had been suffering from RA for eleven years and had deformed fingers, wrist, and ankles came to Pi'an and was prescribed internal medicine, such as Dazhu BL-11, Shenshu BL-23, and Yangchi SJ-4. 43 days later, the pain and swelling in her joints had improved, along with appetite. The heat in her palms was restored, and her pulse was thready and moderate.
This cohort study gave me a lot of insight about RA. I have patients who are suffering, and I prescribe some of the internal medicines listed in the article. I have observed that stimulating certain acupuncture points in the channel system can support zheng qi in treating the disease. The evidence presented by the study is strong, because RA affects 25-50 year old men and women, with more common cases of women. The study had two females, aged 39 and 48, but only one had been officially diagnosed with RA. The 39 year old female had not had an “obvious case” of RA, and her RA was severe, but still treated with drastic improvements.
In our clinic we use Balance Method, Distal Acupuncture to treat Rheumatoid Arthritis.
Physical exam and acupuncture three times a week for a month sometimes is necessary in the beginning of the treatment to produce significant results. Each clinical scenario is different, and we might change acupuncture protocol according to individual needs. At our clinic we achieve 85-90% improvements.
If you know anyone who struggles with Rheumatoid Arthritis, let them know Acupuncture and Chinese Medicine can help to restore function and improve daily function.
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