Arthritis - Lokahi Acupuncture

What We Say Versus What We Mean – Part III: Arthritis

Arthritis is a common condition that affects millions of people worldwide.

It’s a condition that causes inflammation and stiffness in the joints, which can be painful. However, the way we describe this condition differs depending on whether we’re using Western or Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM) terminology.

In this blog post, we’ll be exploring the difference between Western and TCM descriptions of arthritis, and how understanding these differences is important for effective TCM treatment.

One of the first things to understand when looking at the difference between Western and TCM descriptions of arthritis is the different types that exist.

Osteoporosis and rheumatoid arthritis are two common types of arthritis, and they have different symptoms, causes, and treatment methods. Osteoporosis is a condition where the bones become weak and brittle, making them more susceptible to fractures. Rheumatoid arthritis, on the other hand, is an autoimmune disorder that causes inflammation in the joints, leading to stiffness and pain.

In TCM, we think about arthritic pain in terms of “bi-pain.” This refers to pain and stiffness in the muscles, tendons, and joints that can be chronic or acute. We consider the location of the pain, whether or not it moves around the body, whether it feels hot or cold, whether it gets better with movement or not, and what the feeling of the pain is – stabbing, dull, aching, shooting, etc. All of these factors help us determine the root cause of the pain, which can be due to an imbalance in the body’s energy or “qi.”

When it comes to TCM treatments for arthritis, we investigate the pain and then treat the root cause as well as the symptom as it presents.

We use a variety of techniques, including acupuncture, moxibustion, herbal medicine, and dietary changes, to help bring balance back to the body and alleviate pain and stiffness in the joints.

It’s important to note that the terminology we use in TCM for arthritis may sound similar to Western terminology, but the meaning can be radically different. For example, the term “yang deficiency” in TCM refers to a lack of energy in the body, which can contribute to joint pain and stiffness. This is very different from Western concepts of arthritis, where joint pain is caused by inflammation in the joints.

In conclusion, understanding the difference between Western and TCM descriptions of arthritis is essential for effective treatment. While the condition may have similar symptoms in both approaches, the underlying causes and treatments are distinct. In TCM, we focus on restoring balance to the body in order to alleviate pain and restore mobility to the joints.

By treating the root cause of the pain, we can help the body heal and prevent arthritis from becoming a chronic condition.

If you’re considering TCM treatment for arthritis, be sure to discuss your symptoms and any prior Western diagnoses with your practitioner to ensure that you receive the most effective treatment possible.

Contact us today to schedule a consultation or learn more about our services.

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