Easing Tendonitis

In Chinese Medicine there can only be pain in a particular area of the body if there is a blockage.



If everything is flowing freely there will be no pain.

Musicians, athletes, and computer users are often plagued with “tendonitis” as a result of repetitive strain. When we repeatedly use the same movement, the tendons and muscles fatigue and local inflammation and pain results.

For those suffering from “repetitive stain injury” it is common to feel there is no relief in sight.  Often people lose hope they will ever be pain free again.

By selecting tight points in the muscle area and releasing local constrictions inflammation is reduced. Using acupoints surrounding the area of pain will help move the stagnant blood and result in new fresh blood circulating to the injured area so it can heal faster and so you can get back to doing the activities you enjoy.

In addition to using modalities like acupuncture and massage there are specific QiGong exercises that help tendonitis and food choices that will further strengthen the area and increase circulation.


For example, a QiGong exercise that provides fast relief is a hand loosening exercise.  Fold your thumb into the center of your hand then close each finger to cover your thumb.  Slowly open each finger to an outstretch palm, you will immediately feel a rush of warmth to your hand. Repeat as needed.

Food Choices

Food recommendation that benefits inflammation vary greatly.  Some practitioners instruct patients to avoid foods that trigger inflammation such as: stimulates, alcohol, night shades, shellfish, and spices.

To see if these suggestions are affect you specifically, try a week of abstinence from the food/drink, and then reintroduce the item and notice if you feel a difference.  I have one patient who felt markedly better after she stopped drinking her daily chai latte.  The warming spices in the latte plus the sugar before breakfast were aggravating her tendonitis (and her skin).  She still enjoys her favorite drink, just not as frequently!

What I have found to work effectively for most people suffering with tendonitis is to increase the foods that lubricate and nourish the tendons, muscles and blood.

For a vegetarian diet these include: dark beans like black and aduki, sea vegetables rich in nutrients like kombu and hijiki, and plenty of blood tonics like warm broths and root vegetable purees.

If you consume animal protein nothing works faster than beef as it fills up the depleted blood and lubricates the tendons according to the dietary recommendations of Traditional Chinese Medicine.

The idea of eating beef not working for ya?  Then try a beef broth with plenty of sweet potato or parsnips to sweeten it up.




Eating for Your Health Goals

So often patients ask: What does Chinese medicine have to say about diet?

The simple answer is balance.

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You want balance in every meal.

Each and every meal should include protein, carbohydrate, fat and, don’t forget, flavor!

When deciding how much you should consume you can use this simple guideline:

Each meal should contain a portion of protein the size of the palm of your hand, approximately a cup of carbohydrates, and small amount of high quality fat.

Imagine a freshly prepared meal consisting of a portion of tofu, fish, poultry or beef, a lovely display of leafy green vegetables and a scoop of quinoa drizzled with olive oil garnished with avocado, cilantro and lime.



Sounds good doesn’t it?

But what if you have a very specific health goal, then how do you adjust your diet to support your intended lifestyle shift?

Here are a few examples . . .

Health goal: to reduce your overall intake of caffeine.

  1. Make sure to have protein at every meal. This will help equalize blood sugar levels and prevent weight gain as you reduce the caffeine in your diet.
  2. Reduce caffeine intake GRADUALLY a 25% decrease each week. Do not stop “cold turkey,” trust me, you will feel miserable.
  3. Replace the routine of sipping coffee with a healthier alternative. Try green tea or for even less caffeine Kukicha (twig) tea, or any tasty herbal tea with lemon ginger or peppermint. They sell sample packets so you can try a variety and decide which ones you like.
  4. Monitor your mood and energy level. This will help keep track of your progress and keep you on top of your health goal.

Health goal: to make better food choices when away from the kitchen.

  • Start with a food diary to collect the facts.  Where and when do you eat, and how does that make you feel?  You will record the time of the day, what you consumed, and how you felt.  Then it’s time to analyze your choices.  Slowly and methodically identify your unhealthy choices and make an effort to move toward more healthy foods.
  • Pack a lunch when you leave home. If possible, try to pre-plan your lunch meal by bringing leftovers from the previous night’s dinner or a homemade sandwich.
  • Find a local, organic and fresh food whenever possible.  Avoid prepackaged and processed foods. Fresh is always best!
  • Continue to monitor your progress. Reward yourself for you efforts and make course corrections along the way if you fall off track.

What is YOUR specific health goal?  

Post a comment and I will add suggestions in response.

Let’s get going TODAY on the path to a happier and healthier you!