Maybe you don’t like summer because of the high temperatures and heat waves that make you feel breathless like you are on a giant steamer. On the other hand, people may enjoy summer’s clarity, enthusiasm, and exhilaration. However, some people like summer because of the extra benefits it brings. Many arthritis patients find relief from pain and stiffness in the warmer, drier climate on summer days! Is that true about weather affecting arthritis? And how can we manage chronic arthritis in hot weather? Let’s get down to the topic of treating arthritis in the summer.
Can the weather affect arthritis?
Many arthritis patients find relief from pain and stiffness in the warmer, drier climate on summer days! According to some patients with rheumatoid arthritis, it seems that in summer, those annoying pain symptoms are relieved. Some even have no symptoms at all, as if they are cured without treatment. Is that true?
“Our joints operate best in temperate weather,” says Dr. Mariko L. Ishimori, Interim Director of the Cedars-Sinai Division of Rheumatology. “When the weather gets cooler, the synovial fluid that acts like motor oil in our joints becomes more like sludge.”
Some people are so sensitive to the weather that their aching joints signal a storm is coming. When you were growing up, you might have heard your grandmother say, “There’s a storm coming. I can feel it in my bones!” The research is still out on why this may occur, or if there’s even a 100% provable connection at all. However, the anecdotal evidence from people with arthritis is clear: Certain weather conditions can make arthritic pain better or worse.
Although many people have been skeptical of a connection between chronic arthritis pain and the weather, study after study has proven what many patients with rheumatoid arthritis have always known – warm weather improves. In fact, in summer, the symptoms of some patients with rheumatoid arthritis can indeed improve, but don’t take it lightly. Improvement in rheumatic symptoms does not mean disease remission. Many arthritic patients neglect treatment in summer, leading to recurrence or aggravation of old diseases in winter. Summer is the right time to treat joint disease, so don’t let it slip away!
Treating winter diseases in summer
In China, many people take advantage of summer warm weather to cure winter diseases. In Chinese Medicine practice, we call it “treatment of winter diseases in summer”, which means doing some Chinese medicine and acupuncture treatment in summer, can significantly decrease the incidence and severity of symptoms for certain diseases in winter, especially for chronic nose inflammation, asthma, rhinitis, arthritis, Chronic obstructive pulmonary disease, cold and flu, chronic lower back pain, chronic diarrhoea, sinus problems, cervical problems and more.
You may have heard of Chinese “San Fu Tie”, which is widely employed to treat diseases with attacks in winter and during summer’s hottest days. As part of its concept of ‘winter disease and summer treatment’, “San Fu Tie,” combining Chinese herbal medicine and acupuncture points with nature, has become very popular in recent years in China. And the effects have been proven to be true by many patients. “One woman in her 60s told me this was her second year coming for treatment and that her bronchitis was much better. And her husband said it had helped his back pain.” Joseph Alban said in his Dong Xia Bing Zhi: The Treatment of Winter Diseases in Summer report when he completed a six-month hospital residency in a Chinese hospital.
Ying and Yang therapy in Traditional Chinese Medicine
Based on Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM) theory, between mid-July and late-August, there are four 10 day periods when the Meridian points are wide open. During these 10 day periods, the human body is full of Yang energy, and the outside temperature is quite high. Therefore, summer is the best time to treat winter ailments and strengthen your health with Yang energy in the body. This relieves and prevents the most common pathogens in the winter, which are characterized as “cold” in Chinese Medicine and Acupuncture.
From one of the oldest academic sources for Chinese medicine, in Yellow Emperor’s Classic, already mentioned the importance of Yin and Yang and how to care for Yin and Yang in different seasons; for example, with the cold climate outside, the yang energy in the body will hide inside and relatively the ability to defend from pathogenic factors will be also weak, and easy to recurrent some diseases; while in summer, the yang energy is at the maximum level in the body, also working with the warm weather together, will be the best time point to help to improve the disease-defensive ability and care for lots of chronic health conditions.
What are “winter diseases”?
The so-called “treatment of winter diseases in summer” refers to some diseases that are prone to attack or aggravate due to cold. An anti-seasonal natural remedy for this purpose.
Most chronic diseases, especially the diseases will be getting worse or reoccur in winter or with cold weather, for example, reoccurring cold and flu, chronic nose inflammation, asthma, chronic arthritis or keen problems, chronic obstructive pulmonary disease, lower back pain, arthritis pain, chronic diarrhoea, sinus problems, cervical problems and more.
Treating arthritis and joint pain in the summer
Arthritis, which tends to occur or aggravate in winter, is just one of the illnesses ideal for treating on summer days. Treatments applied during the summer, for patients with chronic arthritis pain, can reduce and possibly even cure any regular health problems they have during the winter months.
What treatment methods can be applied to winter diseases in summer?
There are multiple treatments of winter disease in summer, such as acupoint application, acupuncture, moxibustion, infrared radiation, cupping, scraping, massage, fumigation and washing, etc., especially acupoint application, acupuncture and acupoint injection are commonly used and the most convenient; in terms of internal medicine, there are decoctions, pills, ointments (summer ointments), diet therapy and exercise therapy.
In summer, metabolism is vigorous. If the body’s disease resistance is strengthened while the disease is mild, targeted treatment can achieve twice the results with half the effort. It can also prevent the disease. Therefore, summer, especially in the dog days, is the appropriate time to treat joint diseases.
1. ACUPOINT application
Acupoint application therapy is an organic combination of traditional acupuncture and herb therapy. It is a compound treatment method that integrates meridians, acupuncture points, and drugs. “San Fu Tie” is an application of acupoint therapy, belonging to the external treatment of Traditional Chinese Medicine.
Acupuncture is the practice of penetrating the skin with thin, solid, metallic needles which are then activated through gentle and specific movements of the practitioner’s hands or through electrical stimulation.
Traditional Chinese medicine uses acupuncture to treat pain. Increasingly, it is used for overall wellness, including stress management.
Moxibustion is a therapy that involves burning mugwort leaves. This is a small, spongy herb that enhances healing through acupuncture. As such, the leaves are burned close to the skin’s surface using a stick to apply heat. The practice is derived from Chinese medicine.
4. Infrared radiation
Infrared therapy is an innovative light-based method to treat pain and inflammation in various parts of the body. Unlike ultraviolet light, which damages the skin, infrared light enhances cell regeneration.
Infrared light penetrates even the deepest layers of body tissue, providing better pain relief. Also, infrared light is safe, natural, non-invasive, and painless. Thus it may provide a broad range of health benefits.
PHYMAT infrared heating pad – this type of product offers far-infrared light therapy for managing and treating arthritis in the spine, shoulder, knee, or other joints, making your body more active.
With the above treatments, you can cope with chronic arthritis pain in the summer, enjoying a safe, healthy, and happy summer season.