Series: Does TCM Address... PT. 2 ARTHRITIS

Updated: Nov 2, 2021


Of all the preventable diseases that afflict the American population nothing is more chronically devastating than arthritis. Billions of dollars are spent annually on symptomatic improvement of arthritic pain by using medication, surgery and physical therapy that provides only temporary relief. This does not count the millions of dollars lost annually by American businesses from lost worker productivity. Fortunately, there are many natural solutions to eliminate arthritic pains including back pain and improve an individual’s functional status. The most effective natural treatments of exercise, nutrition therapy, acupuncture, herbal medicine, Chinese massage, and mind-body therapy have been shown to be time tested for thousands of years.

Many studies have been conducted over the years demonstrating the strong relationship between the lack of daily exercise and exacerbation of arthritic symptoms. When an individual can stretch and move the body the amount of circulation and nutrition to the joints and spine is increased reducing inflammation and ultimately pain. Exercise also releases natural pain killing hormones in our bodies called endorphins and enkephalins. They bind to the same areas in our body that morphine and other analgesic medications do without the side effects or addictive potential. Besides exercise, stretching the body daily can help prevent muscle spasms and pain that result from overstrain. Stretching also can infuse a rich supply of new nutrition into the muscles and spine.


The use of nutrition to heal the human frame is not a new theory. Hippocrates, the father of modern conventional medicine once coined the phrase, “use medicine as your food and food as medicine.” Many of the foods commonly available are of great benefit to eliminating arthritic pain. Whole food herbs such as garlic, ginger, turmeric, and cayenne as well as the natural expressed oils of fish liver or flax seed can help reduce pain and inflammation. Natural vitamins and minerals found in fruit, vegetables, and plants can be used by the body as building blocks to repair damaged or degenerated joints. Bromelain, an enzyme from pineapple and papain from Papaya are used as food therapy for their natural anti-inflammatory actions. Although food therapy is extremely beneficial for arthritic conditions long term it is often considered therapeutically too weak to alleviate acute pain. In these cases, natural plant medicines are used.


Many cultures have a rich history of using plant-based medicines to treat pain. They come in many varieties of dosage forms and preparations such as poultices, teas, tinctures, pills, and decoctions to name a few. Both white willow bark and boswellia, an Ayervedic herb are used extensively in the treatment of low back pain and arthritic joints to reduce inflammation. A quality herbal supplement from a reputable manufacturer should be sought to ensure clinical improvement. An experienced and trained herbalist is the best resource to provide guidance and monitoring of herbal therapy.


Few natural healing methods have existed in medical history longer than Traditional Chinese medicine. For over 3,000 years, Chinese physicians have used a combination of acupuncture, Chinese herbal medicine, Tuina massage (a deep tissue acupressure treatment), cupping therapy and Qigong exercises to eliminate pain. The theory in Chinese medicine is that a natural flow of energy called “Chi” through meridians or energy channels becomes disrupted in the body, like a kinked water hose going to a garden. This disruption causes the body to feel pain or dis-ease and eventually lose function. An acupuncturist is trained to find and remove these areas of energy blockage and free the flow of Chi to bring balance to the body and ultimately relieve pain.


The use of natural medicine to eliminate arthritic pain can be cost effective, prevent medication side effects, strengthen, and feed the body. Some of the most effective forms of healing the body are also some of the simplest. The key to treating arthritis is taking an interest in its prevention. Seeking the advice of a natural physician experienced in nutrition, exercise and herbal medicine can empower an individual with the knowledge to improve and prevent this devastating disease.


Consider trying a different, more natural approach to health with traditional Chinese medicine. Click here to schedule your complimentary consultation, or simply contact our office at (772) 398-4550! Wishing you the best of health!














Dr. Stuart Shipe, D.A.O.M., R.Ph.


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