Osteoporosis is a disease of the bones which is common in people who have too much or too little of certain hormones in their bodies. For example, those who have lowered sex hormone levels also tend to have weakened bones. The reduction of estrogen levels in women at menopause is one of the strongest risk factors for developing osteoporosis. Even men experience a gradual reduction in testosterone levels as they age. Other hormones such as the thyroid in excess can also cause bone loss.
It is said that people who spend a lot of time sitting are susceptible to a higher risk of osteoporosis than do those who are more active. Regular consumption of alcoholic drinks increases the risk of osteoporosis. Usage of tobacco definitely contributes to weak bones as well.
Acupuncture Some medical researchers have proven the positive effects of acupuncture with an increase in bone metabolism. According to TCM or Transitional Chinese Medicine, the loss of Kidney Qi and blood stagnation are mainly responsible for osteoporosis. It is the kidneys that dominate the bones'
growth of marrow and promote vital essence (qi) which is believed to be responsible for health and vitality throughout the body. The understanding that kidneys are "in charge of the bones" means that the physiological and pathological mechanism of the bones is dominated by the function of the kidneys.
As the human body ages, often the kidneys and other organs become weaker and burdened with toxins. The level of minerals in the bones begins to decrease gradually. One of the conclusions of TCM is that
"the increase of bone mass in amount and density and the increase of age have a close relationship with the abundance of, or decline of, kidney qi. Overall, TCM offers promise in treating the root causes of
osteoporosis and other bone diseases.
The Chinese Medicine treatment of osteoporosis generally involves arriving at an appropriate TCM pattern. The following patterns may represent the underlying contributing factors for the development of osteoporosis— kidney jing deficiency, kidney yang deficiency, kidney yin deficiency and spleen qi deficiency.
Kidney Jing Deficiency: The pattern leads children to have poor physical or mental development, and weakening of the bones, teeth, back, knees, memory problems and fall of the libido in adults. Two acupuncture points that are empirically important for Kidney Jing Deficiency are ST 29, UB 23.
Kidney Yang Deficiency: Sore or weak back, knees, sensation of cold, aversion to cold, weak lower limbs, lassitude, clear copious urine, poor appetite, loose stools, edema are seen with this pattern. Five acupuncture points that are empirically important for kidney yang deficiency are KD 3, KD 7, UB 23, UB 29, UB 30.
Kidney Yin Deficiency: Dizziness, tinnitus, vertigo, sore back, constipation, heat flashes, night sweats, heat in the palms, insomnia and dry throats are often noticed among those with this pattern. Nine acupuncture points that are empirically important for Kidney Yin Deficiency are KD 1, KD 2, KD 3, KD 5, KD 6, LU 7, LU 8, SP 6, UB 23 Spleen Qi Deficiency: This deficiency leads to poor appetite, distention after eating, weakness of the four limbs, fatigue and loose stools. Eleven acupuncture points that are empirically important for Spleen Qi Deficiency are SI 6, SP 3, SP 5, SP 6, ST 21, ST 31, ST 32, ST 33, ST 34, ST 36, UB 20.
The author is Head of the Department of Acupuncture, Sir Ganga Ram Hospital, Delhi. This treatment is now being made available in India.