About Arthritis

Arthritis is a degenerative condition that affects the joints. Around 8.5 million people in the UK have long-term health problems due to arthritis or a related condition. Osteoarthritis affects 80 percent of people over the age of 55. One child in every thousand has arthritis. Arthritis is the second most common cause of time off work in both men and women.

There are more than 200 types of arthritis and rheumatic disease. Arthritis is a degenerative condition that affects the joints. The primary site of damage is in the articular cartilage. This is the white, shiny material on the ends of the bone. Normally, this material allows the joint to function smoothly without pain, catching, or grinding. When the articular cartilage becomes damaged, the cartilage breaks down and tiny particles are released into the joint. This can lead to inflammation in the synovium, or lining of the joint. The synovium normally creates a small amount of joint fluid, which is similar in consistency to oil. This fluid helps to lubricate the joint. In addition, it provides nutrients and oxygen to the cartilage cells so they can survive. When the synovium releases too much fluid, the joint will swell and may feel stiff and painful.

Once the cartilage is worn, roughened cartilage or bone may be rubbing together in the joint. These surfaces are no longer protected by healthy cartilage and the result can be pain when the joint is used. This pain may be felt in the joint or at a site distant from the joint. This is called referred pain and is seen frequently in the hip and knee. In this case, an arthritic condition in the hip may actually cause pain, which is felt in the knee, or a condition in the knee may cause pain in the thigh or shin. The sensation of pain is unique to the individual and can vary greatly in severity and duration.


Western Medicine View

Arthritis implies an inflammatory condition of one or more joints. This can be considered to be an auto-immune condition. The features of inflammation are pain, swelling, redness, stiffness and hotness. As for mild aching pains around the joints, heat and rest can be helpful for treating arthritis. Tylenol®, aspirin, or another analgesic can help with the pain. There are over-the-counter anti-inflammatory medicines available to help decrease pain and inflammation. You should discuss taking these with your doctor to make sure that they do not interfere with any other drugs you are taking.


Chinese Medicine View

Clinical trials have proven that acupuncture is effective at treating rheumatoid arthritis*.


In Chinese medicine, arthritis is caused by a blockage in the Meridians, a network of channels and pathways where Qi (the body's essential energy) and Blood flow.

Arthritis, therefore, is referred to as a Blockage Syndrome. The aim of Chinese medical treatment for arthritis is to unblock the system whether the blockage is affecting the bones, blood vessels, tendons, or muscles.

Central to Chinese medicine is the theory that the body's essential energy (Qi) flows through and along the channels (Meridians). These meridians are like rivers that irrigate the body and nourish its tissues. Any obstruction along one of the meridians is like a dam that blocks the vital energy flow, creating pain and disease.


Chinese Medicine is also used according to CM theory to regulate the immune system in order to address the auto-immune aspects of this condition.


According to Chinese Medicine theory arthritis affecting more than one joint is treated mainly with herbs to address the blockage imbalance in the whole body, while acupuncture is used to relieve the pain. To treat single joint arthritis, particularly if the cause is injury,  acupuncture is often used singularly. Herbal washes, ointments, plasters and oils are also used if necessary.


Acupuncture for pain relief is becoming increasingly popular. According to Chinese Medicine theory acupuncture is applied to specific points along the meridians to help unblock the blocked energy channels. There are more than 2,000 such points on the body, according to CM theory. Sometimes heat, pressure, friction, suction, or electrical impulses are used in Chinese Medicine along with or instead of the usual needles, but the goal is always the same: to stimulate these points.


The number of sessions needed varies. For a complex, long-standing problem such as arthritis, one or two treatments a week for several months is not uncommon.”


Lifestyle Advice

Blockage can be caused by Wind, Cold, Damp, Wind Heat and Damp Heat. The most common cause is a combination of Wind and Cold, which is why arthritis is more common in damp and wet climates and tends to aggravate in the Winter.

For personalised advice on diet and lifestyle, please ask the doctor during your consultation. Please be reminded that we offer free online health advice.




Man SC et al. Preliminary clinical study of acupuncture in rheumatoid arthritis. Journal of Rheumatology, 1974, 1:126-129.

Ruchkin IN et al. [Auriculo-electropuncture in rheumatoid arthritis (a double-blind study).] Terapevticheskii Arkhiv, 1987, 59(12):26-30 [in Russian].

Sun LQ et al. [Observation of the effect of acupuncture and moxibustion on rheumatoid arthritis in 434 cases.] Chinese Acupuncture and Moxibustion, 1992, 12(1):9-11 [in Chinese].


Case History

"I came to AcuMedic for treatment of osteoarthritis having previously had Shiatsu, iridology, reflexology, osteopathy, cranial osteopathy. The treatment at AcuMedic stabilised acute pain levels linked to arthritic condition and improved overall health. The Doctor has helped immensely – her expertise coupled with her authenticity and integrity has enabled me to live well with a long condition and manage it effectively. I have been deeply impressed by the Doctor’s treatments over the years."


Case Histories

"Recently out of the blue, so to speak, I developed arthritis.  The joints of my wrists, elbows, knees and neck were still, weak, painful and burning. I have no family history of arthritis and have never suffered from it before. I left it a few weeks thinking it might be a viral infection or something, but then the disabling pain and immobility was too much. So I visited Dr. Lily and explained the symptoms (I had not seen her for 6 months). After just 5 days of herbs and acupuncture; the pain vanished. With something as challenging as arthritis this is my opinion, nothing short of miraculous. But perhaps my knowledge of Chinese medicine enabled me to get treatment early."


"My knee was very painful which was diagnosed by the NHS as arthritis. I knew that arthritis in Western medicine is treated with anti-inflammatory drugs which are destructive to the lining of the stomach. So I came to AcuMedic for natural treatment and it's been just short of a miracle, the swelling has gone."


A 15 year-old female patient had suffered from arthralgia with low fever for half a month, and also had a high fever for four days. She had a sore throat before the onset. The pain was in both knees migrating to the ankles. The other symptoms were perspiration, slight intolerance to wind, excessive thirst, poor appetite, as well as throat congestion, swelling of the tonsil and slight rough breath sounds in the lung. There was swelling and pain in both knees and ankles. The skin colour was light red. Her tongue was slightly reddish with thin and whitish coating. Her pulse condition was floating and rapid. Examination also revealed: T  39.2°C,  P  120/minute, R  28/minute. She was diagnosed as suffering from an attack of Wind, heat and damp and blockage of the meridians. Treatment focused on clearing away the heat, wind and dampness to dredge the meridians. After taking 3 doses of herbs and undergoing 3 treatments of acupuncture, swelling and pain of joints had been relieved. The treatment continued and the patient was cured.




I came to AcuMedic to treat osteoarthritis. Previous treatments were Shiatsu/iridology/reflexology/osteopathy/cranial osteopathy. At AcuMedic, stabilised the acute pain levels linked to arthritic condition and improved overall health. The doctor has helped immensely. Her expertise coupled with her authenticity and integrity has enabled me to live well with a long years condition, manage it effectively. I have been deeply impressed by her treatments over the years.

Last Updated: December 13, 2012


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