One of things I find to be the biggest boon of Chinese Medicine is the fact that it views not only each person as an individual, but also each condition as individual. What I mean by this is that it isn’t a ‘one size fits all’ approach, and it isn’t a one treatment fits all approach either.
No matter the condition, as acupuncturists we seek to find which type of imbalance is at the root of the matter – is it a yin or yang imbalance?
A yin deficient imbalance would generally be more hot, and worse as the day progresses into nighttime, and a yang deficiency imbalance would be more cold and worse in the mornings. This is a very generalised explanation, but you can see already that a condition can present differently in different patients.
So let’s take a look at arthritis. There is more than one type of arthritis, there is osteoarthritis, which is generally a cold type, and rheumatoid which is generally more hot and aggressive. These again are very generalised descriptions, it all depends on the constitutional factor and lifestyle factors of the patient.
If you were to see an acupuncturist for your arthritis they would firstly take a full health history and inventory of your body systems, lifestyle choices and emotional wellbeing. ALL of these factors contribute hugely to your diagnoses, and some tweaks in these areas can go a long way towards your healing.
For example, if you suffered from osteoarthritis and ate a diet of predominantly cold and raw food, wore shorts outside all winter and felt fearful often. (I say this not to mock – I literally spent a few winters in my youth wearing flip flops with my jeans, needless to say the cold invasion became an issue – in my particular case it was a cold invasion into the liver channel, which manifested as excruciatingly painful periods.
Treatment with acupuncture, warming moxa and correct clothing healed the issue thankfully.) These factors would all be compounding the original yang deficiency and by making dietary changes to cooked, energetically warming foods, wrapping up warm during colder months, and addressing the emotional issues you’d be a lot closer to where you want to be.
So what role do the needles play? We work with a main set of up to 365 points although there are more, and each point has a specific function. Some points increase the Yin – the body fluids – and are cooling. Some points are inherently more nourishing and work specifically on helping the body to create and build blood. Some points are more for the spirit and can actually help with emotions like fear, anger, worry, grief and joy.
We talk about Bi syndrome – painful obstruction of channels causing pain, soreness, numbness aches or heaviness in joints, sinews and muscles, when treating arthritis. We are looking at which particular manifestation of Bi syndrome applies to your unique individual diagnosis. The different types of Bi syndrome are:
Wandering Bi: Invasion of pathogenic Wind, or internal wind as a result of long term diet, emotional and lifestyle factors. The signs and symptoms of this may be wandering pain in one joint or several at a time, limitation of Movement, fever and aversion to wind.
Painful Bi: Invasion of pathogenic Cold, or internal cold from diet, emotions or lifestyle factors. Signs and symptoms of this type may be pain is fixed and severe, no local redness or heat (swelling possible). Pain is worse in cold weather, better with heat, and limitation of movement.
Fixed Bi: Invasion of pathogenic Damp, or internal damp from diet, emotions and lifestyle factors. Signs & Symptoms may include heaviness of the local area, numbness of skin and muscles, fixed pain and swelling, pain worse in damp weather.
Febrile Bi: Invasion of pathogenic Heat, or internal heat from diet, emotions and lifestyle factors. Signs & Symptoms may include painful joints, severe with heat and swelling, local redness, limitation of movement, fever or thirst.
Acupuncture points would be selected to balance according to individual diagnosis. As a general rule of thumb we say one month of weekly treatment for every year you have had a condition – although I do believe in Miracles and my patients experience them regularly!
The points selected may be local to the area of pain, or my favourite way of treating is balancing opposites. So, for example if you had a painful elbow I would treat the opposite knee as it lights up the same part of your brain and minimises discomfort for you in the session.
So, in conclusion, if you are suffering from arthritis or any other condition, acupuncture can be a ray of hope and my only wish would be that you give it a good try before exhausting all other options because, in my opinion, it holds the most potential.
About The Author
Carolyn Anne Sykes Lic Ac is a Licensed Acupuncturist and Meditation Coach. She ran a busy clinical practice for the last 7 years and also taught meditation to individuals and companies. She organised and hosted events for leaders in the industry, and is proud to have been personally mentored by the late Barefoot Doctor, Jason Chan and Ishaya Monk, Sandy Newbigging.
Carolyn helps people from all walks of life to increase their life-force energy, which allows their bodies to heal and their minds to settle into present moment awareness. The ultimate goal of her work is to assist you to achieve Inner Peace.
Carolyn is so passionate about what she does because she feels incredibly blessed to have been gifted with her mentors so early on in her life and career. Nothing makes her happier than sharing these transmissions of wisdom.
Carolyn is currently enjoying spending as much quality time as possible with her beautiful 9 month old baby boy, whilst simultaneously offering The Heaven Sessions – transformative 1-1 life coaching.
You can find Carolyn on Facebook Carolyn Sykes Lic Ac, and through her website www.theheavensessions.com
Carolyn’s book ‘Decoding the wellness mantra‘ is available on pre-order here