What is Arthritis?

As one of the most pervasive diseases in the United States, arthritis affects  one out of every three Americans, or roughly 70 million people. For most people, arthritis pain and inflammation cannot be avoided as the body ages. In fact, most people over the age of 50 show some signs of arthritis. Joints naturally degenerate over time. Fortunately, arthritis can often be managed Acupuncture, Nutrition, and sensible exercise programs.

Arthritis isn’t just one disease; it’s a complex disorder that comprises more than 100 distinct conditions and can affect people at any stage of life. Two of the most common forms are osteoarthritis and rheumatoid arthritis. While these two forms of arthritis have very different causes, risk factors, and effects on the body, they often share a common symptom—persistent joint pain.

Arthritis, Osteoarthritis, Rheumatoid Arthritis

Osteoarthritis ~

Osteoarthritis (OA) is the most common form of arthritis. OA begins with the breakdown of joint cartilage, resulting in pain and stiffness. OA commonly affects the joints of the fingers, knees, hips, and spine. Other joints affected less frequently include the wrists, elbows, shoulders, and ankles. When OA is found in a less frequently affected joint, there is usually a history of injury or unusual stress to that joint. Work-related repetitive injury and physical trauma may contribute to the development of OA. If you have a strenuous job that requires repetitive bending, kneeling, or squatting, for example, you may be at high risk for OA of the knee.

Rheumatoid Arthritis (RA) ~

The other arthritis is Adult and Juvenile Rheumatoid arthritis (RA). They are a type of autoimmune disease that causes inflammation in the synovial fluid membranes surrounding the lubricating fluid in the joints (there are at least another 100 lesser known subtype autoimmune arthritic diseases such as ankylosing spondylitis AS).

RA can affect many different joints and, in some people, other parts of the body as well, including the blood, the lungs, and the heart. Inflammation of the joint lining, called the synovium, can cause pain, stiffness, swelling, warmth, and redness. The affected joint may also lose its shape, resulting in loss of normal movement. RA can last a long time and can fluctuate between flares (active symptoms) and remissions (few to no symptoms).

What is Autoimmune Disease?

An autoimmune disease occurs when the body’s immune system attacks healthy tissue. Over 50 million Americans suffer from autoimmune disease including rheumatoid arthritis, lupus, thyroid disease, Addison’s disease, pernicious anemia, celiac disease, multiple sclerosis, myasthenia gravis and Guillain-Barré syndrome. Many of these autoimmune disorders are considered to be extremely difficult to treat.

What Causes Autoimmune Disease?

Under normal conditions, an immune response cannot be triggered against the cells of one’s own body. In certain cases, however, immune cells make a mistake and attack the very cells that they are meant to protect. This can lead to a variety of autoimmune diseases. They encompass a broad category of over 100 diseases in which the person’s immune system attacks his or her own cells and tissue.

The exact mechanisms causing these changes are not completely understood, but bacteria, viruses, toxins, and some synthetic drugs may play a role in triggering an autoimmune process in someone who already has a genetic (inherited) predisposition to develop such a disorder. It is theorized that the inflammation initiated by these agents–toxic or infectious–somehow provokes in the body a “sensitization” (autoimmune reaction) in the involved tissues.

As the disease develops, vague symptoms start to appear, such as joint and muscle pain, general muscle weakness, possible rashes or low-grade fever, trouble concentrating, or weight loss. Numbness and tingling in hands and feet, dry eyes, hair loss, shortness of breath, heart palpitations, or repeated miscarriages may also indicate that something is wrong with the immune system.

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How Acupuncture Treats Autoimmune Disorders

According to Oriental medicine, autoimmune disorders occur when there is an imbalance within the body. Imbalance can come from an excess or deficiency of Yin and Yang that disrupts the flow of Qi, or vital energy, through the body. Acupuncture is used to help the body restore balance, treating the root of the disorder, while specifically addressing the symptoms that are unique to each individual.

Clinical research has shown that acupuncture causes physical responses in nerve cells, the pituitary gland and parts of the brain. These responses can cause the body to release proteins, hormones and brain chemicals that control a number of body functions. It is proposed that, by these actions, acupuncture affects blood pressure, body temperature and the immune system.

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How Nutrition Response Testing Can Help Autoimmune Conditions?

Despite notable advancement of medical science, when it comes to our physical bodies, we still do not understand most of incredibly complex and intricate processes of our body mechanisms. It doesn’t take a rocket scientist to speculate that overgrowth of some pathogens such as bacteria, virus, yeast, or accumulated metal/chemical toxins in certain organs can trigger chain reactions in surrounding tissues. Over time, this “confusion” in the tissues sends “confusing” signals to the central nervous system, which subsequently sends other “confusing” commands to our immune functions. When this “confusion” persists over a long period of time, our immune functions can no longer identify which agents they need to “fight against” or to “fight for”. The results are typically displayed as autoimmune conditions such as allergies, arthritis, or lupus.

The nutrition response testing is designed specifically to identify the most fundamental, prominent causes of autoimmune conditions. For instance, the real culprit of chronic thyroid conditions may be some “retro-virus” stuck on someone’s liver. Under this scenario, unless this virus issue is resolved, this patient cannot get better even if she religiously follows medical protocol prescribed by her endocrinologist. Can MS (multiple sclerosis) caused by mercury toxins in someone’s teeth? Is adrenal exhaustion (Addison’s disease) caused by none other than parasites in the kidneys? With nutrition program, there are virtually unlimited different situations since “anything can cause anything” in our bodies.

Real food-based nutrition program, combined with accurate testing based on not our “learned knowledge,” but on “mysterious intelligence” within our bodies, will provide us with a safe and effective route to combat any diseases, especially autoimmune conditions.

To learn more about how acupuncture and nutrition program can safely and effectively be incorporated into care for people with an autoimmune disorder, please call for a consultation today.

Acupuncture for Addison’s Disease Symptoms

Addison’s disease, also known as adrenal insufficiency, occurs when the adrenal gland cannot produce adequate amounts of the hormones cortisol and aldosterone. This can be a serious and potentially life-threatening situation, as the adrenal gland influences many essential functions in the body. The risk of getting this disease is the same for all people, regardless of age and other factors. Signs and symptoms may take months to appear, or they may develop very quickly and unexpectedly.

addison's disease and acupuncture

For example, if a patient with Addison’s disease also experiences muscle weakness and diarrhea (which is common). An acupuncturist and Oriental medicine practitioner may determine that spleen deficiency plays an important role in the way the disease presents itself. According Oriental medicine, some functions of the spleen include keeping the bowel’s movements running smoothly and helping maintain muscle and limb strength. So, no matter what your specific complaints may be, acupuncture and Oriental medicine is equipped to help you manage the signs and symptoms of Addison’s disease.

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6 Food Tips for Autoimmune Disorders

A class of plant chemicals — known as bioflavonoids — has been found to dramatically reduce inflammation and improve symptoms associated with autoimmune disorders.

Tea
Both green and black tea contain the flavonoids catechins and theaflavins, which are beneficial in autoimmune disease.

Apples
Apples contain the flavonoid quercetin, which can reduce allergic reactions and decrease inflammation. Quercetin also occurs naturally in other foods, such as berries, red grapes, red onions, capers and black tea.

Carrots
Carotenoids are a family of plant pigments that include beta-carotene. A lack of carotenoids in the diet is thought to promote inflammation. Good sources of carotenoids include apricots, carrots, pumpkin, sweet potato, spinach, kale, butternut squash and collard greens.

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Ginger
Recent studies show that ginger reduces inflammation by inhibiting prostaglandin and suppresses the immune system’s production of pro-inflammatory cytokines and chemokines, reducing disease severity in patients with rheumatoid arthritis.

Omega-3
Omega-3 essential fatty acids can counter the formation of chemicals that cause inflammation. Good natural sources include flaxseed oil and salmon.

Fiber
A healthy and active colon can decrease food sensitivity, which, in turn, can lighten the burden on your immune system.

autoimmune and nutrition