Understanding Weather And Temperature Sensitive Arthritis

Understanding Weather And Temperature Sensitive Arthritis

Many types of joint pain are aggravated by changes in weather or temperature. This kind of pain is known is Chinese Medicine as “Bi” (pronounced bee) and is a temperature sensitive arthritis. Some people find their arthritis is worse when the weather is damp or about to turn damp. They can be heard to say that they know it is going to rain or snow because their joints become painful. Other people find that it is the cold weather that aggravates their joint pain. For these people hot baths or application of heat to the affected joints can bring great relief. For yet others, heat will aggravate their joints. Each of these conditions share a common thread and that is the pain is heightened when certain weather conditions exist.


In Chinese Medicine people with these sensitivities are often diagnosed as having cold and heat types of Bi Syndromes.
These too are forms of temperature sensitive arthritis. The hot or cold sensitivity can be the result of pathogenic influences. The external variety tend to be akin to too much exposure to either a cold or hot external pathogen which then lodges in the body. This is more like a common cold (a wind-cold invasion) or a flu-like illness (a wind-heat invasion). These can become lodged in various places within the body. Often they are lodged in joints which by design have empty spaces in which the pathogen can lodge. In such a case treatment will be aimed at dislodging or releasing the pathogen from the affected joints.

A heat or cold Bi can also be the result of a purely internal condition. If the body is hot as a result of excess yang (a hot body substance) or a form of heat due to a lack of moisture (a substance which cools the body), heat may lodge in the joints.

Similarly, if the isn’t enough yang (warming substance), this can result in the body becoming cold; and that cold may lodge in the joints. This type of Bi would be treated by boosting or reducing yin or yang, as appropriate.


As with the other types of Bi, damp Bi can have an internal or external cause. In its external form, afflicted individuals are likely to live or work in damp climates or places. Over time the damp seeps into the body and lodges in the joints. The internal variety is likely, although not solely, due to a qi deficiency. Certain qi deficiencies cause the body to produce damp. As the damp becomes more severe the substance will lodge throughout the body.
Because damp is heavy in nature, a damp Bi will tend to present initially in the lower parts of the body.

In both cases, because there is excess damp within the body, when damp weather occurs these people feel increased discomfort in their joints.

For further information, please contact Elizabeth Healy at +1 917-968-2854.

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