About 45 million Americans are diagnosed with arthritis each year. A lot of them are using Western pharmaceuticals such as anti-inflammatory drugs and steroids while some do not get treatment at all for fear of the side effects of these anti-arthritic medications.
As a licensed acupuncturist, I have encountered patients with all forms of arthritis and a majority of them have eventually been able to wean themselves off their steroids and anti-inflammatory drugs. Although acupuncture is an integral part of their treatment, I usually combine this with relaxation techniques such as meditation or yoga, nutritional supplements, and Chinese herbal medicine. It is always comforting (for both me and my patients) to know that my patients get safer and natural treatments for the alleviation of their pain that do not have any of the side effects that Western pharmaceuticals have which often leads to equally serious complications. Their use over a long period of time can lead to a general weakening of the body and premature aging.
Listed below are a number of nutritional and herbal supplements that have been proven effective for the treatment of inflammation and pain associated with arthritis. For arthritis sufferers, you should always avail of the services of a healthcare professional if you plan to use these products.
Evening Primrose Oil – This powerful essential oil is widely used to relieve several of the symptoms of mild to moderate arthritis.
Du Huo Ji Xeng Tang – This herbal concoction is effective in addressing Bi syndromes that strike the knees, legs, and lower back. Bi is a Chinese medicine term that refers to a set of symptoms that is marked by cold, damp or wind accumulating in the body that results in pain. Du Huo Ji Xeng Tang is specifically used to alleviate muscle tension and ache.
Wan Bi Tang – This is a very old herbal remedy for arthritis. It is also used to address Bi syndromes. Wan Bi Tang is very useful in resolving the stiffness and achiness caused by arthritis usually felt in the upper body.
Zhen Tong Shu Yu Tang – This formula is a remedy for systemic blood stagnation marked by severe and sharp pain felt all over the body. Zhen Tong Shu Yu Tang can be used to relieve pain, inflammation, and muscle spasm that is fixed in nature.
Cetyl myristoleate – This is a fatty acid that can serve as an emollient to the joints. For arthritis sufferers, around 500 mg to 1 gram of Cetyl myristoleate needs to be taken every day. It is very effective in the treatment of osteoarthritis and rheumatoid arthritis.
Mineral and Vitamins – Vital nutrients that produce synovial fluid include magnesium, selenium, calcium and vitamins A, B complex, C, D, and E. For the nourishment of connective tissue and bones, Vitamins C and D are extremely vital.
Fish Oil – Intake of complex and high quality essential fatty acid is very important for the relief of arthritic inflammation and pain and for the increased output of synovial fluid in the joints. For chronic arthritis, fish oil can help ward off depression that usually accompanies this chronic disease. Recommended initial dose for fish oil is 3 grams a day.
Yoga and Meditation
Both yoga and meditation have been practiced for thousands of years in several cultures in Asia. These are proven helpful techniques that provide quite a number of health benefits to the body and mind. Yoga and meditation that is correctly practiced can help improve flexibility, overcome fatigue and better manage chronic pain associated with arthritis.
Some rudimentary helpful dietary recommendations can be extremely helpful for the proper management of arthritis symptoms:
Stay away from alcohol and coffee – These two substances irritate the abdomen, colon, and liver. They can also amplify the emotional issues and pain that come with arthritis.
Avoid genetically modified foods as well as synthetic sweeteners and additives.
Avoid refined carbohydrates and sugars – They both can aggravate the pain and inflammation and weaken vitality and digestion.
Consume more organic whole foods including whole grains, fruit, vegetables, chicken and fish, chicken. A diet consisting of these foods can provide you with the fiber, antioxidants, and essential fatty acids you need to properly manage arthritis.
Last but not least, consult with a licensed acupuncturist that has extensive experience in treating arthritis. Your practitioner should know how to improve blood flow in your body, alleviate inflammation and pain, and help improve the function of your nervous system. I usually recommend for my chronic arthritis patients a weekly treatment lasting 6 to 8 weeks.
Dr. Vickery is a licensed acupuncturist in Tarzana, CA., and the founder and clinical director of Vickery Health and Wellness.