One of the most common reasons people discover and practice Qigong is because of arthritis pain.
Whether it is rheumatoid, osteoarthritis, or one of the many other forms of arthritis Qigong can certainly help with stiffness, swelling, and pain.
But why exactly does it help?
Every year there are new drugs, treatments, supplements, herbs, and therapies to help ease the pain of arthritis. A study showed that the medical system in the US spends $185 billion a year trying to help symptoms of arthritis. Some of them are highly effective, some of them are not.
I honestly hope that some miracle treatment emerges to help arthritis sufferers because I see many patients experience tremendous pain, and lose their quality of life due to arthritis and I would love to see them helped by modern medicine.
Different Forms of Arthritis
There are many forms of arthritis and all of them require different methods to diagnose and treat. They all respond differently to lifestyle changes as well.
The most common form of arthritis is osteoarthritis. OA affects 10% of the population over the age of 15, and steadily increases with age. OA is sometimes referred to as ‘wear and tear’ arthritis, caused from years of over use. Modern research suggests that there are several reasons for OA including:
- abnormal joint loading
- genetic factors
- systemic inflammation
Rheumatoid Arthritis (RA)
Rheumatoid arthritis is an autoimmune condition where the body ‘attacks itself.’ It affects between 2-4% pf the population, and is highly affected by genetic factors.
RA is characterized by hot, painful, and sore joints. While RA can occur anywhere in the body, it’s most common in the:
- hands, finger
- feet, toes
Other forms of Arthritis
There are many other forms of arthritis that people experience such as:
- Systemic Lupus Erythematosus (SLE)
- Gout, Pseudogout
- Ankylosing spondylitis
- Paget’s Disease
- Raynaud’s Phenomenon
- Sjögren syndrome
A visit to your doctor or rheumatologist will quickly determine what form or forms of arthritis you may be experiencing.
All Experts Agree
I think it is safe to say that every expert would agree that the one thing that is helpful for all forms of arthritis is … movement.
All forms of movement help decrease pain and stiffness, and it can possibly reverse the cause of arthritis. There are many different types of movement:
- strength training
- cardiovascular exercise
- balance and coordination
- relaxation, breathing
- core work, etc
What’s the Best form of Movement?
Honestly, it’s best to do all of them!
By no means am I suggesting to spend 4 hours everyday on movement, but a simple 15-20 minute qigong practice will have all the forms of movement that are helpful for arthritis. This is why Qigong helps- in a short daily practice session you can invigorate all your joints, muscles, bones, soft tissue in various ways, at the same time activating and moving your qi.
This is why many people in Asian countries often begin practicing Qigong; to reduce arthritic pain.
There are some good overall Qigong practices that are helpful for all forms of arthritis, such as the 18 Forms, and if you can practice those type of full routines you can activate circulation everywhere in your body.
What if you can’t complete a full routine?
That’s ok, because part of the benefit of qigong practice is activating the “relaxation response” or the “flow state.”
This is when your body and mind can calm down from the “fight or flight” state that we are so often in, and start to actually heal the body. When can’t be in “fight or flight” state AND heal the body at the same time. You can easily achieve the “Flow State” during Qigong even with a very gentle, short practice.
You can always ‘modify’ Qigong practices to suit you and your body. If you have to sit, reduce range of motion, or avoid certain movements due to your restrictions, that’s fine. You can always adjust!
So, the combination of increasing the circulation throughout the body, and calming the fight or flight mechanism is why qigong helps with arthritis.
If you haven’t already, come join the Communi Qi, try out the 30 Days of Qigong program, get your qi moving, and start feeling healthy and full of vitality!