Even though over 20% of American adults have been diagnosed with some form of arthritis, people erroneously see it as a “normal” sign of aging and resign themselves to disability or the side effects that come with conventional medical treatment. While drugs and surgery may be necessary in certain cases, they’re far from curative for a majority of chronic arthritis sufferers. Plus, they can interfere with the body’s inherent healing abilities. Optimizing those healing abilities is the very goal of the Chinese medicine we practice at Tao of Wellness. There are, in fact, hundreds of subtypes of arthritis and many of them can be successfully treated with acupuncture, Chinese herbal medicine, nutritional therapy, tuina bodywork, and mind body exercise. And studies continue to confirm this. Pain is relieved, mobility is regained, bones become stronger, and cartilage is produced. This is the body healing itself.
How We Successfully Treat Arthritis
There are many types of joint pain. The most well-known is osteoarthritis, or the “wear and tear” arthritis that comes with overused or under-cared-for joints. There are also the autoimmune disorders of rheumatoid arthritis and psoriatic arthritis, not to mention diet-based gout pain in the joints, as well as differing types of infectious joint pain. Typical treatment includes pain relieving NSAID drugs like Ibuprofen, Advil and Motrin, but they have a strong track record of creating kidney problems, bleeding ulcers, heart attacks and stroke if used over the long term. Surgery should really be considered for only the most severe cases of arthritis. Despite that, hip and knee replacements are increasingly common as the years go by, and were performed over 100,000 times in 2010 alone.
There is no singular type of joint pain, and this pain is often worsened by other factors. Diet, allergies, weight, menstruation, and toxins all affect joint health. It’s the job of our Chinese medical practice to not only help you point to the joint that hurts, but also to understand what may be going on in the body or in your life that may be contributing to the arthritis.
Chinese medicine successfully treats many types of arthritis with acupuncture, Chinese herbal medicine, nutritional therapy, tuina bodywork, and mind body exercise. Our Detoxification protocol, which features our far-infrared sauna, is also popular among our arthritis patients to treat both the localized pain in combination with other inflammatory waste and toxic buildup that exacerbate the condition. Chinese medical treatments are very well tolerated and have little-to-no side effects when compared to harsher drugs and surgery. Tao of Wellness is an integrative clinic and works in collaboration with your orthopedic specialists, physical therapists, and anyone else on your healing team. In fact, patients recover from surgical procedures quicker with pre- and post-operative care including Chinese medical treatment.
Your experience at Tao of Wellness will begin with a comprehensive consultation with one of our doctors. We will detail your specific arthritis subtype as diagnosed in the Chinese medical system, but we’ll also discover the history of your body and your life. This will allow your acupuncturist to construct a custom treatment plan. No two people experience arthritis the same, and thus, your acupuncture and Chinese herbal prescription will be equally unique to you. Finally, any questions will be answered before beginning your therapy.
Our Customized Therapies for Overcoming Arthritis
Customized Treatment Program
There are many forms of arthritis. Even within the most prevalent form, osteoarthritis, each person’s pain experience and pain location are different. Thus, each person requires a different approach. Chinese medicine’s deep history of customized treatment allows the doctors at Tao of Wellness to approach each case of arthritis with fresh eyes. There are many time-tested therapies available but until we know how the whole body is functioning or malfunctioning we won’t know the best course of action for your unique body. There is no arthritis pill or arthritis acupuncture protocol. There exists only the protocol that’s made special for you, and it will seamlessly fit into the other help you may be receiving from other health professionals.
Many studies illustrate the benefits of acupuncture for joint pain. Pain relief is one of the most popular reasons for seeking help from Tao of Wellness, and acupuncture will be recommended to you. Acupuncture needles can be applied to any joint and tissue in the musculoskeletal system. Acupuncture is very well tolerated and in some cases can give immediate relief. Neurotransmitters called endorphins are released during acupuncture, and their effect on pain receptors in the body rival the strongest prescribed drugs like morphine or codeine, though without the side effects of addiction or dependence. Learn more about acupuncture.
Chinese Herbal Medicine
Chinese medicine sees arthritis as a result of different imbalances in the body relating to inflammation and swelling. These are intimately related to the metabolic, immune, and circulatory systems. There are categories of herbs to treat each type of arthritis pain that have been used for thousands of years for this very purpose. Herbs like corydalis, angelica, boswellia, and peony are commonly used and are well studied for their pain-relieving effects. Learn more about Chinese herbal medicine.
At Tao of Wellness our Nutrition therapy is two-tiered. Available to you are nutritional consultations where we assess your current eating habits and devise an individualized plan for you from the ground up. Next are nutritional supplements which are recommended to address nutritional deficiencies that may be creating problems for your joints.
Certain inflammatory foods like alcohol, caffeine, and refined sugars and carbohydrates can make pain worse and are often discussed when putting together a custom eating plan to heal arthritis. Healthy foods do lead to healthy joints and the focus will be on certain foods that reduce pain and inflammation like turmeric, cayenne pepper, green tea, pineapple, rhubarb, flax seeds, and fish. During a nutritional consultation we’ll take into account your current food choice and preparation habits and work with you to make the changes you need to completely heal your joints. Ultimately, you’ll be given a custom eating plan to address your unique condition.
Supplement use for arthritis and joint pain is extremely common but most of this is as a result of advertising. When you work with a Tao of Wellness doctor you get the expertise of physicians who utilize food and supplements as a first-line medicine. You will learn which supplements may be right for you to reduce pain, heal tissues, and produce cartilage. These supplements include curcumin, fish oil, methylsulfonylmethane (MSM), glucosamine, chondroitin, hyaluronic acid, and avocado soybean unsaponifiables (ASU). You may also learn that you’re taking the wrong kind of supplements or that you’re taking them in redundant doses. Often streamlining current supplement regimens can assist certain conditions. Taken without proper supervision can be risky as there are many powerful substances available to the consumer. We at Tao of Wellness are dedicated to ensuring your supplement plan is both safe for your body and effective for your pain. Learn more about nutritional therapy.
Mind Body Exercise
The joints require movement for fluid and nutrient exchange with the blood vessels outside of each joint’s closed-off capsule. This is often why, over the long term, when people are told to stop using a painful joint that things can get worse. Tai chi and qi gong are the perfect low-impact exercises. Unlike other low-impact movements like swimming or walking, the circular and wavelike motions the joints make during these meditative movements are optimal for this fluid exchange. This allows the inflammatory waste inside the joint to leave the body while also bringing joint-healing and cartilage-producing nutrients into the joint. Learn more about tai chi and qi gong.
Chinese medical bodywork is known as tuina (pronounced “tway-nah”) and uses physical manipulations that work with the same points and channels as acupuncture uses. Unlike the relatively mild stimulation of acupuncture, tuina allows a doctor to work with much more of the body’s structures. This gives the Tao of Wellness a lot more to offer an arthritis patient than simply one or two therapies alone. Used by itself, or in combination with acupuncture or other therapies, tuina allows for a greater healing potential. The body can optimally exchange fluids within the joints, in addition to aiding circulation of vital nutrients to other affected organ systems and body parts. Tuina therapists will use their hands or a variety of tools, including cups, which provide a suction-based therapy, to direct the flow of blood and nutrients to the joints to quicken tissue healing and regeneration. Learn more about tuina bodywork.
Our cleansing protocol is perfect for both acute or chronic arthritis. The protocol consists of a specific frequency of acupuncture, Chinese herbal medicine, tuina bodywork, mind body exercise, infinichi energy healing, and far-infrared heat therapy; along with a specific eating plan focusing on fruits, vegetables, vegetable juice, vegetable soup, whole grains, and proteins. Releasing from the body toxins that came from the environment, food, and drugs allows the body to more fully recover joint function, as the closed-off capsule that surrounds every joint in the body is a common hiding place for these inflammatory and pain-making substances. Learn more about the Detoxification Protocol.
Far-Infrared Heat Therapy
Far-infrared heat therapy very specifically allows toxins to leave through the skin as well as the body’s other natural exit points — the bowels and bladder. Learn more about the far-infrared heat therapy.
Arthritis Patient Success Stories
Complete Recovery from a Tropical Disease
“I was visiting India and got a mosquito bite on my arm. I woke up the next morning and my arm and face were swollen and red. All my joints became very swollen and inflamed and I had a high fever. When I arrived home I met with the medical doctor covered by my insurance. After several tests he confirmed that it was likely a virus called chikungunya and that there was really nothing he could do for me. There was no known treatment and painkillers were ineffective. I contacted Tao of Wellness to see if there was anything Chinese medicine could do. The doctor was very interested in learning about all the symptoms and reviewing exactly where I hurt. At this point it was practically in every joint in my body! I had great difficulty walking and could hardly get up off the floor once I sat down. The treatment consisted of drinking a custom Chinese herbal tea. I started noticing the effect within the first week. I was assured it would be a slow process of detoxification so I kept up the routine of drinking the herbal tea for 2 months. I was also treated with a series of acupuncture treatments to reduce the pain in my joints and aid me in regaining some flexibility. Even though some needles were placed very deeply in certain joints, the treatments were relatively painless. I’m happy to report that I recovered full mobility. All the pain is gone. I have regained my strength and flexibility too. You were able to make me a true believer in Chinese medicine and acupuncture.”
— Patrick S.
Competing with Her Dog Despite Degenerative Arthritis
“I have severe degenerative arthritis. One leg is two inches shorter than the other and I have chronic severe pain. I’ve used acupuncture, and tuina bodywork with cupping. The treatments have enabled me to [run and] compete with my dog in the show ring which I never in a million years thought I’d be able to do with my chronic condition.”
— Laurie M.
Rebecca’s “Goodbye” to Viral Arthritis
Rebecca’s pain began one morning as she was getting out of bed. She said it felt as if the inside of her joints were on fire. It went away quickly, so she assumed it was just lingering soreness from her daily workout. But it began to recur over the next few days, until eventually Rebecca had to stop exercising altogether. She was always tired even after a good night’s sleep. She started to take naps in the middle of the day, which was a first for her. She had to quit her soccer team when she no longer had the stamina to make it through a game. She was only 18 years old, but the pain in her body made her feel like an old lady. Rebecca’s parents were worried because rheumatoid arthritis runs in their family and they were afraid that is what Rebecca was developing. After several appointments and blood tests with a long string of different doctors, no one could diagnose Rebecca’s condition or explain to her why she was in so much pain.
When she came to visit the Tao of Wellness, we were able to diagnose her right away with parvo, a virus that attacks the joints. She started treatments and saw immediate improvement. After each acupuncture treatment, Rebecca felt instantly improved and little by little, she felt better every day. With a combination of different herbal formulations and a specific diet plan, Rebecca can now exercise again and no longer walks with a limp.
Stephanie Sweat Out All Her Pain
Several years ago, Stephanie came into our office with acute pain in her neck, shoulders, elbows, knees, and back. At the outset she felt she had caught the flu with the usual accompanying body ache but instead of gradually fading away, her pain only grew as time went on. She felt increasing pain in her neck that would shift locations in the mornings to include her elbow or her knees. Stephanie saw her internist who initially advised pain relievers like Motrin and Advil. When the pain only got worse he switched her to a prescription anti-inflammatory medication. Her pain did not get better and continued to shift from one joint to another. She struggled to cope with the pain for three weeks without any relief before she came to Tao of Wellness.
We immediately treated her with acupuncture and cupping, along with vigorous tuina bodywork to stimulate energy, increase blood flow, and induce sweating to expel toxins. We also sent her home with a customized herbal formula to help support her immunity and fight off the invading pathogen that was the cause of her arthritic pain. We asked her to take a hot bath with tonic oil. That night after the bath she sweated profusely, and per our instructions, she drank plenty of water to keep herself adequately hydrated. The very next morning her pain had drastically decreased. She came in for a follow-up treatment three days later and woke up the next morning with her pains completely subsided. It has not returned since.
Sam Graduates from Ice Fishing and His Cold Joints
As an avid fisherman, Sam has fished all over the world, but one of his favorite pastimes was ice fishing on the lakes of Minnesota in the dead of winter, an experience he shared with his father while growing up. When Sam came to us, he had been suffering from osteoarthritis in his ankles, knee and hip for about five years. Our initial consultation revealed that the onset of his arthritis had been about two months after his last ice fishing trip, during which he had suffered frostbite from that week’s particularly cold weather. His pain was sharp and consistent in both ankles, his right knee, and his left hip, and it had not let up since it began. He had taken many painkillers, anti-inflammatory medications, and even steroids without any relief. The x-ray showed diminished cartilage and his orthopedist recommended surgery. Sam was opposed to surgery, and came to us out of desperation.
We put him on a diet and herbal protocol specific for his “pathogenic cold” condition. He was also treated with weekly acupuncture along with infrared sauna to get rid of the cold. Before he used the sauna we had him take niacin, vitamin B3, to dilate his capillaries and create a warm flushing. We also recommended that Sam take a course of supplements, including vitamin E, fish oil, and MSM, and add hot spices like chili peppers, ginger, and turmeric to his daily diet. Every time Sam came out of the sauna his pain would be substantially diminished.
About four months into his weekly treatments Sam was experiencing almost full relief of his pain and was planning another fishing trip. This time we recommended that he avoid the cold, skip the ice fishing, and go marlin fishing in Baja, Mexico instead!
Jerry Evicts His Mold and His Joint Pain
Jerry’s wife was a long-time patient of ours so we knew before meeting Jerry that he and his wife had been dealing with water damage in their home for over two years. The water pipe that burst on the second floor of their home was repaired, but the water damage was extensive, and affected many rooms in the house, including the master bedroom. They ripped up and replaced the carpeting and repaired whatever they could see. Several months later Jerry developed a cough that wouldn’t go away for more than a month. He went to see his medical doctor, who thought Jerry had developed bronchitis and prescribed antibiotics. But Jerry continued to cough, and soon he had also developed debilitating pains in his wrists and fingers to the point where he was no long able to type, which had been a critical part of his work performance. He took ibuprofen to deal with the pain, but the relief lasted a few hours at best and always got worse at night and in the morning. After our initial examination, we diagnosed Jerry with “congestive arthritis,” which in Chinese medicine also served to explain Jerry’s digestive problems including bloating, gas, and frequent loose bowel movements. We also suspected mold exposure might be causing his immune system to react. Jerry was put on the detoxification diet we often recommend for this type of arthritis. He also began a treatment course of twice-a-week acupuncture and tuina bodywork treatments, along with customized herbal formulations and supplements that included digestive enzymes, probiotics, and Boswellia.
We were concerned that possible mold exposure had caused his arthritis, so we referred him to a mold inspector. After air samples came back showing extremely high levels of mold spores, the inspector broke into the master bedroom wall and discovered an entire wall covered with black mold. Jerry and his wife moved out for the duration of the mold abatement and drywall replacement. After five months of treatment and repair on his home, Jerry’s arthritis went away completely and never returned. His digestion also normalized.
Natural Healthcare for Arthritis
Tao of Wellness was established in 1976 as a resource to address arthritis. We strive to support you in mind and body, and invite you to make an appointment for your health and wellbeing. It would be our pleasure to serve you.