Are you stiff in the morning? Do your knees hurt when you stand up? Or are you finding it difficult to pick up or hold things like a coffee cup?

It could be that you are suffering Arthritis. This is a general term can refer to a wide variety of conditions such as Osteoarthritis, Ankylosing Spondylitis, Gout, Systemic Lupus Erythematosus, and Fibromyalgia all of which cause pain in the joints.

In Chinese medicine, each client is different and viewed as a whole (holistically) including diet, lifestyle choices and genetics.

This means the same disease is treated differently depending on the person presenting.

However we can treat different diseases with the same protocol. In general painful, swollen joints would be treated by addressing the Liver.

Each of organs in Chinese Medicine is related to a season, flavour, time of day, a body part, an emotion and even a symbolic animal.

The liver (yin) with it’s partner the gallbladder (yang) is connected to the tiger. It is related to the spring and governs the tendons and ligaments, which give the body the ability to be flexible and agile.

TCM says that strength comes from the tendons, not muscles.
If you think of a big cat, it is strong, agile, and flexible.  Compare this to a cow, which has huge muscles but little real strength.
The liver, governing the sinews and tendons, has the ability to release strength and power.

Part of its function in western medicine is the regulation of metabolism and the release of energy stored in the body.

Ensuring the health of this organ will mean good blood flow to all the ligaments and tendons surrounding the joints plus an increase in energy levels which can be affected by arthritic conditions.

Joint pain which can happen as we age, especially following  menopause but all conditions of stiffness and pain can be reduced by treating the liver with food, acupressure and Qi Gong exercise to reduce the painful swelling symptoms.  For food and acupressure solutions see my next blog – Ouch, Gout !

 It is true that whilst you are in the middle of a flare and your joints are red and inflamed, exercise is difficult. Pain decreases your activity level, and when the body is not moving much, your joints can stiffen and become less flexible. But a recent clinical review showed exercise modalities such as Qi Gong can be beneficial for restoring your flexibility after the immobility of a gout flare up.

Try this Tiger Move from the 5 Animals practice. For the month of June we will be using acupressure, diet and Qi Gong to improve all aspects of flexibility and mobility – they will cover a range of ability including some seated movements so that everyone can get mobile.

If you would like to try gentle, effective movement in your own home but as part of an line group that meets every weekday morning, join us for a free class:

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