Melbourne's Trusted Team for Acupuncture & Chinese Herbal Medicine

Acupuncture for Rheumatoid Arthritis: Enhancing Quality of Life

In the realm of traditional Chinese medicine, rheumatoid arthritis is often regarded as a component of the Bi syndrome (painful obstruction). It is viewed as a result of the interaction between external and internal factors. 

1. External Factors

Conditions like wind, cold, dampness, and heat are viewed as external factors that may invade the body, particularly when the Vital Qi is insufficient. Such invasions can hinder the smooth flow of Qi and blood, thereby causing inflammation and swelling in different parts of the body. Exposure to chilly winds, excessive alcohol consumption, or soaking the impacted joints in cold water can lead to serious aggravation of the arthritic joints.

2. Internal Factors

Early Stage

Rheumatoid arthritis usually begins with pain, inflammation, and swelling in the small joints of the limbs. Joint stiffness may also be a symptom which may gradually lead to bone damage, often attributed to a weakness in the Spleen and Stomach.

Middle and Later Stage

If the initial symptoms are not effectively addressed, the disease can progress from the Spleen and Stomach to the Liver and Kidney, making it more challenging to manage.

Role of Acupuncture for Rheumatoid Arthritis and Traditional Chinese Medicine

Western medical practices typically handle rheumatoid arthritis with non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs. When these medications do not provide adequate control over the disease, immune-suppressing medications are often employed to suppress inflammation.

Integrating acupuncture for rheumatoid arthritis and traditional Chinese medicine into the treatment regimen can help reduce both pain and the potential side effects of the drugs. Over a three-month period, this combined approach may result in decreased drug dosage requirements and can improve the likelihood of disease remission.

When utilising acupuncture for rheumatoid arthritis in conjunction with Chinese medicine, the approach is not limited to the inflammation alone. We look at the entire person, considering their day-to-day symptoms and various environmental influences. Our primary goal isn’t merely to address rheumatoid arthritis symptoms, but to enhance the patient’s overall quality of life.

Acupuncture for rheumatoid arthritis, when administered by a skilled practitioner, along with select Chinese herbs, can rapidly reduce joint inflammation and swelling. However, the overarching goal of Chinese medicine is to improve the patient’s overall health, enabling their body to better fight inflammatory factors and ultimately slow the progression of the disease.


The earlier patients seek treatment, the better the outcomes. Utilising acupuncture for rheumatoid arthritis is part of our comprehensive strategy not just to treat symptoms but to improve the overall quality of life for each individual. 

To learn more about the benefits of Chinese medicine and acupuncture for rheumatoid arthritis and other allergy & autoimmune conditions, please reach out to us on 1300 432 639.

Written by

Dr Scott Ling
Dr. Scott Ling is the Chief Chinese Medicine Practitioner and Acupuncturist and the founder of Sustain Health. He holds a PHD Doctorate Degree in Chinese medicine from Guangzhou University of Chinese Medicine. Dr Ling’s extensive qualifications also include a Master of Reproductive Medicine (western medicine). Due to his unique medical background, Dr Ling’s approach stresses on the integration of Chinese and Western medicine to ensure patients get the greatest benefits from the best of both medical systems.
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