Acupuncture for Arthritis - Treatment Protocols

General Approaches

Acupuncture For Arthritis - Treatment Protocols

Acupuncture treatment protocols are generally directed towards the deeper root of a persons set of health issues, not at each individual issue. In Traditional Chinese Medicine, treatment is generally directed towards the individuals diagnostic pattern(s) and their primary issue is only a part of the information required to approach the correct patterns to treat (see "treating the cause vs. the symptoms" for an introduction to this process.).

In designing an acupuncture protocol for arthritis (bi syndromes), one might find one or a combination of the following patterns: kidney yang deficiency, kidney yin deficiency, spleen and stomach damp heat among many other possibilities and possible combinations.

Below you will find some of the more common tcm diagnoses and acupuncture treatment protocols for arthritis (also known as bi-syndromes in TCM theory). There are many ways to approach the treatment of this condition within TCM. Our presentation describes foundational approaches that would need to be further tailored in most cases to be effective for a given individual.

  • Differentiation:
    • Wandering Bi (Wind)
      • Signs & Symptoms:
        • Wandering pain in one joint or several at a time
        • Limitation of Movement
        • Fever and aversion to wind
        • Pulse: Floating and Rapid
        • Tongue: Thin, white coating
      • Treatment Points:
        • GV 14 - eliminate wind and heat
        • TH 6 - dispels wind, stops pain
        • GB 39 - joint pain
        • (Use of even needling method)
    • Painful Bi (Cold)
      • Signs & Symptoms:
        • Pain is fixed and severe
        • No local redness or heat (swelling possible)
        • Pain worse in cold weather, better with heat
        • Limitation of movement
        • Pulse: Wiry or Tight
        • Tongue: White coating
      • Treatment Points:
        • ST 36 & CV 6 - tonify Qi and eliminate cold
        • LI 11 - promotes circulation of Qi and Blood, stops pain
    • Fixed Bi (Damp)
      • Signs & Symptoms:
        • Heaviness of local area
        • Numbness of skin and muscles
        • Fixed pain and swelling
        • Pain worse in damp weather
        • Pulse: Slippery or soft
        • Tongue: White greasy coating
      • Treatment Points:
        • SP 6 - needle and moxa to assist Spleen
        • SP 9 - needle to eliminate damp
        • Bony Bi: Joint deformity due to phlegm obstructing the channels
          UB 11 - meeting point of the bones
          GB 39 - meeting point of the bone marrow
          ST 40 - to resolve phlegm
    • Febrile Bi (Heat)
      • Signs & Symptoms:
        • Painful joints, severe with heat, swelling
        • Local redness
        • Limitation of movement
        • Fever or thirst
        • Pulse: Slippery, rapid
        • Tongue: Greasy, yellow coating
      • Treatment Points
        • ST 43 & LI 4 - eliminate heat from Yang Ming
        • (Use reducing method)
  • Treatment Points for all Differentiations According to Affected Regions:

The information on our site is drawn from our own lecture notes and clinical experience. The following lecture notes were consulted within this section:

  • St. John, Meredith: New England School of Acupuncture, Etiology and Pathology Lecture Notes
  • Valaskatgis, Peter: New England School of Acupuncture, Etiology and Pathology Lecture Notes

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