Abdominal acupuncture plays an important role in treating rheumatoid arthritis the most severe type of inflammatory joint disease that affects the wrists, fingers, knees, feet and ankles.
In traditional Chinese medicine, we believe that arthritis is caused by a combination of internal and external factors.
The first factor we focus on is the loss of relative balance between yin and yang, a theory which views things in relation to its whole.
An individuals blood and qi, or their vital energy, may not be flowing smoothly so the joints do not get enough nutrients.
The second factor we look into is how cold weather and high humidity may lead to an acute arthritis attack.
Arthritis is called feng shi in Putonghua. The two Chinese words literally mean wind and dampness.
In traditional Chinese medicine, when our body is not in good condition, external factors can easily affect us. Insufficient nutrition and other factors can cause painful joints. When they get inflamed, they become stiff and swollen.
Recently, I met a patient who had been suffering from rheumatoid arthritis for 20 years.
This disease gradually damages the joints and causes bone erosion.
First, I inserted fine needles into the affected joints to relieve her pain.
The acupuncture needles trigger the body to unleash chemicals that reduce pain and inflammation.
But that was not enough to eliminate the root cause of her pain.
After further diagnosis, I inserted fine needles into certain points of the body (called acupuncture points) to improve her digestion.
With a healthier digestive system, the patients body can absorb nutrients better. Finally, I used abdominal acupuncture to restore the yin-yang balance in her internal organs and to enhance the flow of blood and qi.
A few days after the treatment, the patient said she did not feel any pain or stiffness any more. And after a few months of acupuncture, she said her joints functioned normally.
To prevent arthritis flare-ups, I advised my patient to keep her joints warm and avoid immersing them in cold water for long periods of time and to protect her joints from the wind and dampness. For cold and damp weather may trigger an acute arthritis attack.
Wong Pui-man is a registered Chinese medicine practitioner with a Bachelor of Chinese Medicine degree from the Hong Kong Baptist University. www.facebook.com/ CandyWongAcupuncture