Traditional Chinese Medicine is an approach that some people use to treat their arthritis symptoms. The information below will help you understand more about this therapy, if it can help with your symptoms of arthritis, and how to find a provider.
What is Traditional Chinese Medicine ?
Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM) takes a holistic approach to healing and wellness. It involves thinking about the body systems as part of a holistic energy flow known as qi [pronounced chee] that flows along pathways called meridians. It is thought that when these meridians are blocked or unbalanced, illness can occur. TCM uses many methods to try and restore balance and strong qi to the meridians.
Qi is thought to be influenced by external and internal forces as well as lifestyle factors. External forces include environmental factors such as wind, cold, heat, dampness, and dryness, while internal forces include emotions such as joy, anger, and fear. Lifestyle factors could include poor diet, lack of exercise, or too much alcohol.
According to TCM practice, rheumatoid arthritis belongs to a group of diseases caused by the penetration of wind, cold, and dampness in muscles, sinews, bones, and joints. This can result in pain, soreness, and heaviness.
How does Traditional Chinese Medicine work?
Traditional Chinese Medicine uses acupuncture, herbal medicines, cupping therapy, exercise, and tui na (a form of massage) to help restore balance to qi and re-establish health. TCM can also be used as preventative care.
Can Traditional Chinese Medicine be used to treat arthritis symptoms?
While there are research studies on the use of Traditional Chinese Medicine for rheumatoid arthritis symptoms, its helpfulness remains unclear due to limitations in study control variables as well as study size and effect size. Further research is required before the impact of TCM on arthritis can be determined.
How do I find a provider?
If you decide to try Traditional Chinese Medicine, it should be used to complement the arthritis treatment plan advised by your medical team, not as a substitution. It is recommended to inform your primary care provider about any medications or herbs prescribed by your TCM provider to prevent any interactions or unwanted side effects.
Traditional Chinese Medicine is a regulated profession in Canada. To find more information about registered practitioners in your area, visit The Chinese Medicine and Acupuncture Association of Canada.