Arthritis Breaking a Vicious Cycle

June 9, 2019 Joe Brady

For the more than 40 million Americans with Arthritis, Traditional Chinese Medicine offers a safe, natural and effective way to alleviate pain and prevent further damage. Learn to relieve aches & pains without drugs. According to the Mayo Clinic, a number of alternative medicine treatments can provide considerable relief.

Bing Ji – what is going on ?

Bi syndrome is the Chinese word for arthritis. It means painful obstruction syndrome. Whenever there is a blockage in the free flow of Qi (in this case nerve pain) or in the free flow of blood (in this case actual damage to the tissues) there is painful obstruction.

Aging and arthritis

Another very important predisposing factor is aging, an underlying deficiency of Blood or Yin which leads to malnourishment of the channels. In treatment, it is important not only to expel Wind, Cold or Damp, but also to nourish Blood or Yin.

Wind, a Change in the Weather

Painful Obstruction Syndrome (Bi) or Arthritis in TCM, is considered an invasion of external pathogenic factors such as Wind, Cold or Dampness. A sudden change of weather and the inability of the joints to adapt to it, rather than actual wind. 

A certain amount of damage is inherent if you are going to live a life. It’s not the age so much as the milage. Sometimes we know why a joint is hurting today like if you injure it stepping off a curb. But sometimes there is no rhyme or reason to why it hurts. In Chinese medicine, we blame those days on the weather. Changes in barometric pressure (wind), humidity (damp), heat or cold cause some of those old injuries to flare up out of nowhere. So in Chinese medicine arthritis pain is categorized by what makes it flare up. Wind, cold, damp Bi, for example, is a common type of arthritis that flares up when it is windy, cold and damp. That kind of classification system is useful in that it also provides clues as to treatment.

Treatment for All types of Arthritis

  1. Regular low impact Exercise

Properly done a regular physical activity program can improve cartilage and bone tissue health and decrease joint swelling and pain. Regular exercise can also help you maintain better function and a healthy weight (which reduces pressure on your joints).. Choose low-impact activities, such as walking, swimming, and  Tai Chi Chuan.  

2. Stress makes it worse

Emotional problems are also contributing factors in the origin of Painful Obstruction Syndrome either by causing stagnation of Qi, or by causing depletion of Qi and Blood

According to researchers at the Mayo Clinic, some complementary and alternative medicine treatments have shown promise for osteoarthritis such as:

  • Acupuncture. Some studies indicate that acupuncture can relieve pain and improve function in people who have knee osteoarthritis. During acupuncture, hair-thin needles are inserted into your skin at precise spots on your body.
  • Exercise. Low-impact exercise can increase your endurance and strengthen the muscles around your joint, making your joint more stable. Try walking, bicycling or water aerobics. If you feel new joint pain, stop.New pain that lasts for hours after you exercise probably means you’ve overdone it, not that you’ve caused damage or that you should stop exercising. Try again a day or two later at a lower level of intensity.
  • Lose weight. Carrying extra weight increases the stress on your weight-bearing joints, such as your knees and your hips. Even minor weight loss can relieve some pressure and reduce your pain. Talk to a dietitian about healthy ways to lose weight.
  • Movement therapies. Tai chi and yoga involve gentle exercises and stretches combined with deep breathing. Many people use these therapies to reduce stress in their lives, and research suggests that tai chi and yoga might reduce osteoarthritis pain and improve movement.Make sure the yoga you choose is a gentle form and that your instructor knows which of your joints are affected. Avoid moves that cause pain in your joints.
  • Heat and cold. Both heat and cold can relieve pain and swelling in your joint. Heat, especially moist heat, can help muscles relax and ease pain. Cold can relieve muscle aches after exercise and decrease muscle spasms.

Arthritis Self Help

If you need more information about herbs or acupuncture points email the Barefoot Doctor at

Dragon Tiger Fighting Formula for Pain

Bone Marrow Washing Qigong

Wandering Bi, Wind Obstructing channels

Wandering pain in joints. Eliminate Wind Cold Damp along Yang Meridians with ashi, local and distal Points, Bl 17, Sp 10.

Cold painful Bi Obstructing Channels- 

Sore painful joints; fixed pain, heat relieves, cold weather aggravates. ashi, local and distal Points Bl 23, Ren 4 

Damp fixed Bi Obstructing Channels 

Joint pain; heavy feeling, fixed pain, numbness, damp weather aggravates, St 36, Sp 5 . 

Wind, Cold and Damp Obstructing Channels- various combinations of above

Wind/Heat Bi Obstructing Channels-

Alleviated by cold, aggravated by warmth, red swollen limited motion. Clear heat with ashi, local and distal points Du 14, Li 11.

Damp Heat Obstructing Channels-

Rarely joint pain can be caused by an infection.

Liniments and Herbal Formulas

Dit da jiao, Shang shi zhi tong gao, (warming)

Zheng Gu shui  (warming, repairs tendon and bone injuries)

Guan jie yan wan (hot or cold), 

moxa patch warms for 10 hours, 

Shentong Zhu Yu Tang (Damp Bi (swelling)Chronic)

Xiao huo luo dan (w-c phlegm bi poor circulation)

White Flower oil, Cold = anti-inflammatory

White Monkey Balm Cold = anti-inflammatory

Feng Shih hsiao tong wan (heat bi with deformities, rheumatoid arthritis) and tendonitis.