Managing Arthritis with Chinese Medicine

Arthritic and joint problems – Osteoarthritis, Rheumatoid arthritis, Frozen shoulder, Sciatica, Tennis elbow, Golfers elbow, Neck & shoulder pain, Back & knee pain. Chinese Medicine may help.


A different approach to Arthritis

According to the theories of Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM), the Kidney (which represents the Water element in the body) is closely associated with the bones; while Liver (representing the Wood element) is closely related to the tendons. TCM attributes the degenerative processes in arthritis to impairment of the Kidney and Liver. TCM defines these organs in a completely different way to Western medical science. In TCM, bodily organs are seen as interrelated groups functioning together with related tissues.



TCM theories see the Kidney as the centre of control for:

• overall growth, development and reproduction • bone marrow production and bone development • fluid metabolism • reflex action of breathing in • the ears and our sense of hearing • the genitals, urethra and anus • will, determination, concentration and memory • hair and scalp condition


Arthritis identified over 2,000 years ago

A Chinese medicine classic describes conditions that we now refer to as arthritis. Already 2,000 years ago, it was classified (along with other similar disorders) as a type of Bi Syndrome —Bi meaning obstruction or blockage. Earliest theories attributed it to an invasion of the body by the atmospheric conditions of wind, cold and dampness. Subsequent developments lead to the recognition of internal factors in the development of arthritis. In a medical text from the 13th century, the author theorised internal factors affecting arthritis, involving lowered immune function and decreased vitality. Today Arthritis is the major cause of disability and chronic pain in Australia, with 3.85 million Australians affected. (Access Economics, 2007).

How does it work?

Over the centuries, TCM physicians have developed many unique herbal formulations to combat the effects of arthritis. Generally these medicines are composed of herbal ingredients to support organ function and have a tonic effect. Some formulas help activate the blood and dispel stasis for better circulation. Some are used to unblock channels and find a remedy for Hot/Cold Bi, while others provide relief to help improve local circulation as well as relieve pain and inflammation.

Commonly seen arthritic and joint problems

• Osteoarthritis
• Rheumatoid arthritis
• Frozen shoulder
• Sciatica
• Tennis elbow
• Golfers elbow
• Neck & shoulder pain
• Back & knee pain

Frozen shoulder , Sciatica, Tennis elbow, Golfers elbow

Frozen shoulder , Sciatica, Tennis elbow, Neck & shoulder pain, Back & knee pain generally manifest from deficiency disorders or lack of Qi & Blood. They generally manifest as we get older. Thus the formulas used for Osteoarthritis (OA) can be used (wind cold damp & tonifying, blood moving/statis herbs).

Herbal formulas to manage arthritis

There are many different traditional Chinese herbal formulas developed by renowned herbal clinicians in China based on classic formulations, that address the needs and symptoms of arthritis (RA/0A) and chronic joint pain. These formulas are prescribed based upon each person’s different symptoms. People with RA will generally display heat & wind symptoms where-as people with OA will generally display deficiency, cold & wind damp conditions. Damp could be explained or interpreted as the immune systems reaction or the fluid in the tissues that the immune system generates in such conditions. Wind could be described as the pathogen or pathology of the specific arthritis.
Some of these herb formulas are listed below but only a short example – other formulas or versions of these below formulas can be made depending upon the persons exact symptoms and underlying issue:

Rheumatoid arthritis (RA) or Osteoarthritis (OA)

As a general rule the tcm practitioner would employ heat clearing formulas (RA) or warming formulas (OA) as the basis for each formula. But there are exceptions – Wind Cold Damp can also cause Rheumatoid arthritis.


How long before I see results?

On average, patients generally experience noticeable relief from pain and improved mobility in the affected joints within about two week. The formulas may be continued longer for maintenance.
Only A Grade Chinese medicine is dispensed at the Health Essence clinic. TCM medicines are produced to the most rigorous standards by an Australian GMP (Good Manufacturing Standard) certified manufacturers in China and Taiwan. This means that every step of production is subject to strict quality control. All of these medicines must pass tests for safety, purity and potency.