How Does Traditional Chinese Medicine Treat Arthritis?

Arthritis At Wrist
Arthritis At Wrist

Traditional Chinese Medicine treats arthritis through the circulation of both blood and Qi. This is achieved through the removal of blockades in your body’s energy pathways. In doing so, your body will regain the ability to block out external wind, heat, cold and dampness, factors that are known to cause arthritis.


Before we dive further into the merits of traditional Chinese medicine in treating arthritis conditions, we need to first understand what exactly arthritis is.

What is Arthritis?

Arthritis is an umbrella term for around 200 inflammatory conditions that affect your joints as well as its surrounding tissues. As such, it is also classified as a rheumatic condition, involving pain, ache, stiffness and swelling in affected joints. Unfortunately, depending on the area of effect and the type of arthritis, the condition may impair your ability to perform daily tasks.


Though arthritis is more prominent amongst senior citizens, it is not entirely uncommon to hear of it developing in younger people. Factors in its development include that of prior injury, genetic makeup, infections and immune system dysfunction. Given the range of conditions and factors involved, it is not surprising to find that millions of adults suffer from arthritis worldwide.

Common Types of Arthritis

Two of the most widely diagnosed forms of arthritis is osteoarthritis and rheumatoid arthritis. While both of these forms share common symptoms, they completely differ in the causes and treatment required. This makes accurate diagnosis critical before any treatment is applied for arthritis. You may use the following pointers to differentiate between osteoarthritis and rheumatoid arthritis:


  • The age at which the condition emerges. Osteoarthritis usually starts later in life where else rheumatoid arthritis may begin at any time, including that of childhood.
  • Speed of onset. Osteoarthritis develops gradually over the years while rheumatoid arthritis tends to feature a rapid onset.
  • Joint symptoms. Osteoarthritis will cause joint ache and tenderness. On the other hand, in addition to these two symptoms, rheumatoid arthritis will also contain swelling and sharper pain.
  • Patterns of symptoms. A critical difference is that while osteoarthritis typically affects one set of joints, rheumatoid arthritis affects a symmetrical pair of joints at once.

How has Arthritis Traditionally Been Treated

Treatments for arthritis have traditionally being centered around improving pain and motor ability of the affected joints. It aims to help you to control pain, minimize damage while improving the quality of your life. Given the complexity of the problem, several treatments are often prescribed:

  • Pain reducing medications
  • Anti-inflammatory medications
  • Physical or occupational therapy to reduce strain on affected joints
  • Joint assistive aids
  • Weight loss
  • Surgery

How does TCM View Arthritis

Prescribing joint pain supplements

Traditional Chinese Medicine examines your external symptoms to diagnose the health conditions of your internal organs or musculoskeletal system. Specifically, it sees your body as an integrated whole where all parts are both linked and interdependent. Consequently, illnesses, pain or other health issues arise when your body’s balance is disrupted.


According to Chinese medicine theory, invading wind, heat, cold or dampness causes a blockage of qi flows. Consequently, when deprived of Qi and proper blood circulation, your joints become stiff and start to hurt. The invasion of these foreign elements happens when your body’s constitution and qi are insufficient to repel them.


Depending on the combination of invading elements, different symptoms will emerge:

  • Wind – pain is brief, but your range of motion will be compromised. Additionally, it can affect various joints simultaneously.
  • Cold – pain is severe, while your range of motion will once again be limited. A key differentiator is that the symptoms will be limited to one fixed location.
  • Damp – rather than pain, you will experience soreness, heaviness or numbness.
  • Heat – inflamed red and swollen joints.


Based on the invading element, traditional Chinese medicine seeks to restore harmony of the forces within your body. In doing so, it is believed that Qi and blood will once again circulate freely, thereby enabling the protection against invading elements.

Categories of Arthritis According to TCM

According to traditional Chinese medicine, four main categories of arthritis exist:


  • Zuo Bi – the afflicted joint in question will become heavy and numb, with pain increasing on damp days.
  • Re Bi – swelling, tenderness and sharp pain will be experienced at the afflicted joint
  • Xing Bi – unlike the previous two cases, Xing Bi involves a wandering pain that affects several joints.
  • Tong Bi – severe pain is suffered at one or more joints, with pain increasing during cold or inactivity.

Depending on the diagnosed category of arthritis, TCM practitioners will prescribe different treatments.

TCM Treatments for Arthritis

TCM emphasizes on the need for an integrated approach, incorporating Chinese herbs, acupuncture, acupressure, diet changes and Qi Gong exercises.


When a TCM practitioner intends to use herbal medicines to treat arthritis, he or she will start by asking you about your overall health and diet. Based on your inputs, a formula for moving both blood and qi as well as pain relief can be formulated. As such, each formula is personalized to your needs and may differ from other patients. In general, black soybeans, papaya and royal jelly is helpful for treating arthritis.


Acupuncture and acupressure serve as compliments to Chinese herbal techniques. In the case of acupuncture, needles are placed at key points along your meridians, thereby opening up their channels, allowing blood and qi to flow. Acupressure achieves similar results but is an non-invasive technique that relies on the skilled application of force through a practitioner’s fingers.


Qi Gong exercises including that of Tai Qi Quan provides gentle motions and stretching that help to remove blockages in your body. Additionally, it helps relieve arthritis by delivering warm to the affected joint.

Manufacturing traditional chinese medicine

Trust Tong Jum Chew for All Your TCM Needs

Tong Jum Chew was founded in 1965 as a medical hall. Since then, it has grown into a manufacturer and distributor of traditional chinese medicine and health supplements. We boast a modern manufacturing facility in Singapore, that includes a clean room environment. All products are produced using modern machinery and undergo stringent checks to ensure that they are safe for consumption or usage.


Under our proprietary brand, Nature’s Green, we supply various joint pain supplements that aid with joint conditions such as arthritis.