Acupuncture and Chinese medicine have been found to be extremely effective at treating the pain and inflammation associated with all types of arthritis. According to Chinese medical theory, arthritis is caused by the blockage of Qi along the meridians of the body. This type of blockage is called “bi” syndrome, and has been widely studied and treated with acupuncture and/or Chinese herbs.
The Acupuncture Treatment
Acupuncture points to treat Arthritis are located all over the body, not just directly over the affected area. During the acupuncture treatment, tiny needles could be placed along your legs, arms, shoulders, and perhaps even your little toe!
There seems to be little sensitivity to the insertion of acupuncture needles. A brief moment of discomfort is typically followed by deep relaxation throughout the body. The length, number and frequency of treatments will vary. Typical treatments last from five to 30 minutes, with the patient being treated one or two times a week. Some symptoms are relieved after the first treatment, while more severe or chronic ailments often require multiple treatments.
Acupuncture is a clinically safe, effective, and well-proven therapy for both Osteoarthritis and Rheumatoid arthritis. Many people can avoid unnecessary and painful surgeries with acupuncture, while enjoying added benefits such as improved digestive functions and/or better sleep patterns.
Nei Guan (P6 or PC6) is commonly used to help relieve nausea, upset stomach, motion sickness, carpal tunnel syndrome, and headaches. Nei Guan (P6) is located three finger breadths below the wrist on the inner forearm in between the two tendons. To find and use this acupressure point, (1) locate the point by turning your hands over so the palm is facing up then (2) apply downward pressure between the two tendons, massaging and stimulating the area for 4-5 seconds.
The point is located at the medial aspect of the hand.
Three-finger space below the wrist.
For Pain Control (Large Intestine 4/He Gu)
He Gu (LI4) is commonly used for stress, facial pain, headaches, toothaches and neck pain. It is an extremely important point in pain reduction. He Gu (LI4) is located on the highest spot of the muscle when the thumb and index fingers are brought close together. To use acupressure on this point, (1) locate the point then (2) use a deep, firm pressure to massage and stimulate the area for 4-5 seconds.
The point is located at the highest point of the muscle when thumb and index fingers are held together.
Locate the point between the web of the first and second finger.
For Reducing Anxiety (Yintang)
Place your thumb or middle finger between your eyebrows at the root of your nose (see figure). That is acupoint Extra 1.
Apply gentle pressure to the acupoint for 10 minutes. Less time is fine if you don’t have 10 minutes to spare.
For added relaxation, focus on your breathing and consider visualizing yourself in a peaceful place, such as in a garden, by a stream or on a cloud.
Qigong breathing means breathing fully from your abdomen or from the bottom of your lungs. It is exactly the reverse of the way you breathe when you’re anxious or tense, which is typically shallow and high in your chest. This is the way we breathe when we were a baby. All mammals breathe this way whenever they are in a state of relaxation, i.e., when there’s no clear and present danger in their environment.
Qigong breathing helps center your awareness in your body, rather than in your head, so that you feel more physically and energetically grounded. It helps you to relax your neck, shoulders and arms. It improves the circulation of blood and the flow of Qi in your internal organs.
Belly breathing provides a wonderful massage for your internal organs and increases the blood circulation throughout your internal organs. It expands our oxygen intake to a maximum, and releases accumulated toxins rapidly.
Steps of Qigoing Breathing
Qigong breathing can be done sitting down, laying on a floor, or walking. To practice abdominal breathing, follow these steps:
Take several slow and deep breaths through your nose, focusing your mind only on your breaths.
Place the tip of your tongue on the roof of your mouth.
Inhale slowly and deeply through your nose from your abdomen in a circular motion, as if you’re drawing a circle with your breath. You will see your stomach rises (inhale for 5 counts, and gradually increase to 10 to 20 counts).
When you inhale fully, pause for a moment and squeeze your sphincter muscle (around your anus) slightly.
Exhale slowly through your nose for 5 counts which can increase at a later point. (Some prefer to exhale through the mouth and/or a longer exhalation, but they are not critical). Imagine your belly flattens all the way back to your spine, when you exhale.
Repeat the above process as long as your feel comfortable, up to 30 minutes to an hour.
Resume your Qigong breathing when you are about to sleep.
The Arthritis Foundation recommends the following to reduce the impact of arthritis:
Get Active – Regular physical activity helps build and maintain healthy bones, muscles and joints. Tai Chi is a Chinese exercise that strengthens muscles, improves balance and flexibility, promotes relaxation, and has been shown to relieve chronic joint pain.
Control Weight – Maintaining an appropriate weight or reducing weight to a recommended level reduces the risk of osteoarthritis. Losing just 10 pounds relieves 40 pounds of pressure on knees. For those living with symptoms, losing 15 pounds can cut knee pain in half.
Modify Job Tasks – Try to modify your movements, since repeated use of joints in jobs that require bending and lifting is associated with an increased risk of developing osteoarthritis.
Speak with a health care professional about ways to reduce strain on your joints.