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Osteoarthritis and Traditional Chinese Medicine

The term osteoarthritis does not exist in traditional Chinese medicine (TCM), though treatment for this disorder has existed for hundreds of years. TCM categorizes osteoarthrisis as ‘Bi syndrome of the bone’ (meaning painful obstruction syndrome of the bone). Pain, soreness, swelling, numbness of the muscles, tendons or joints, can occur within as little as 30 minutes of use. In mild cases, there may be pain in the limbs and joints that becomes more pronounced with changes in the weather such as dampness, coldness, and heat. In severe cases, more pronounced soreness and pain, deformities, and decreased range of movement are common.

Within TCM, the root cause is generally considered to be a depletion in the Kidney and Liver (zang) which invites invasion of factors outside the organism (wind, cold and dampness). This invasion obstructs the Qi (pronounced “chee”) and blood circulation, which leads to pain and causes disease.

In TCM, the Kidney is thought to dominate the bones, and with age, the Kidney’s essence declines, which causes the Qi to become depleted, the bones to become weakened, and tendons to become stiffened. This leads to impaired movement.

The Liver, is the secondary organ involved. It’s thought to store blood and controls the tendons, cartilidges and ligaments through its nourishing and moistening effect. When the Liver is impaired, the blood stagnates and contributes to the blockage of Qi.

Most TCM treatments for Bi syndrome involve increasing the available energy to the Kidney and Liver; promoting blood circulation, and expelling wind, cold, and dampness. Acupuncture is used extensively to treat Bi syndrome and it is often combined with Chinese herbal medicine, diet, and massage, to therapeutically treat Osteoarthritis.

If your lifestyle is impaired by Osteoarthritis, and you have not tried acupuncture for pain relief, you should make an appointment to discuss treatment options. Schedule your appointment today! Call 650-646-5744 or use the online appointment service:

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The Healing Point Acupuncture Clinic
Xia Xin, L.Ac., CSMA


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