As people become older, the joints naturally degenerate and cause inflammation and pain. However, anyone these days can get arthritis, regardless of one’s age. There are two major types arthritis ; osteoarthritis and rheumatoid arthritis. Osteoarthritis occurs when joint cartilages breakdown. It affects various parts of the body such as fingers, knees, hips, elbows, shoulders and ankles. Repeated injury or trauma can cause osteoarthritis. On the other hand, cause for rheumatoid arthritis is unknown. It is inflammation of synovium, which is joint lining. The affected joint may lose its shape(known as “swan-neck”) and not function properly.  

In oriental medicine perspective, arthritis occurs when the flow of qi becomes blocked within the meridians ; this is known as “Bi” syndrome. “Bi” syndromes can be divided into wind, cold and damp.  

- Wind = joint pain that moves from one joint to another joint, motor disorders, pain and numbness in several joints, nerve pain, skin feels itchy and hot, weakened body, aversion to cold, stiff neck 

- Damp = fixed joint pain that swells up, motor disorders, arms and legs feel numb or paralyzed, difficulty in flexion/ extension of the joints, body feels stiff and heavy, no sweating, digestive problems

- Cold = severe fixed joint pain that alleviates with heat and aggravates with cold, cold and stiff hands/ feet, urinary difficulty, extreme pain in lower back and legs

Acupuncture treats arthritis according to the types of “Bi” syndromes. If it is wind or damp type, acupuncturist focuses on getting rid of wind and damp. If it is cold type, acupuncturist focuses on warming the body.