ACH Blog

Managing rheumatoid arthritis with Chinese medicine

Tim Davis - Sunday, October 06, 2013
Rheumatoid arthritis is an autoimmune disease. This is when your immune system – which usually fights infection – attacks the cells that line your joints, making them swollen, stiff and painful. Over time, this can damage the joint itself, the cartilage and nearby bone.
I attended a seminar this weekend with Professor Shen P'ian from Shanghai TCM Hospital. He has 50 years experience in treating Rheumatoid arthritis with Chinese herbs patients are referred from the whole of China to his clinic.
 He presented a very detailed and interesting seminar on this auto immune disease from a chinese herbal perspective and outlined his treatment principles and relevant herbs and acupuncture points.
Invariably the patients he sees are also on western drugs such as, non steroidal anti inflammatory drugs, steroids, and immune suppressant drugs. This is normal treatment and is considered to be management  rather than curative. All these drugs have side-sffects with long-term use. The herbal and acupuncture treatment works along side these, with the goal of reducing western drugs as the condition improves.This takes time depending on the severity and onset of the condition. Generally the sooner after onset it can be treated the better it is. This is particularly true for young people who get the disease. Although anyone can be helped.
I was very impressed and feel I have many more tools to treat rheumatoid arthritis.

Interesting the concept of the body attacking itself was present in the Neijing written over 2000 years ago. The Neijing is still the foundation text of modern chinese medicine. Many of the principles are still relevant today although the medicine has continually evolved often utilising modern pharmacology to study and refine the effects of traditional remedies.Professor Shen;s treatments are rooted in a long tradition and refined by modern research and fifty years experience.

Interesting I was talking to a friend,Terry Cooper ( who is a very experienced psychotherapist about the seminar and the core ideas of auto immune disease. He said that from his clinical perspective how someone relates to themselves is also a very important factor in how the auto immune system functions. Makes sense..and gives another way of influencing the problem. At a basic level you could say, to relate to ones self with kindness and compassion as opposed to attacking would support the treatment of any auto immune problem. Also it is the way a person deals with stress rather than the stress itself that can generate a problem. More on this in further blogs.

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