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Health, Dr. Mao, Santa Monica, Columnist

Dr. Mao's Wellness Living: Five Tips To Relieve Joint Pain

Dr. Mao Shing Ni
Courtesy Photo
Dr. Mao Shing Ni

Posted May. 4, 2014, 7:22 am

Dr. Mao Shing Ni / Mirror Columnist

Our joints can pay the price from lack of movement while sitting for long hours at work or on the couch. And of course, some of us suffer from chronic arthritis.

Whatever your reason for joint pain, the main culprit is inflammation. Here are five tips to help relieve the inflammation and soothe the pain.

Inflammation & Joint Pain

Inflammation is the body’s response to a harmful substance, such as a pathogen, damaged cell, or irritant in the body. In acute inflammation, a cut or wound triggers the body’s inflammatory response to heal by clotting the blood. This may also include swelling and redness, which eventually disappears. However, with chronic or prolonged inflammation, such as arthritis, the body is in a constant state of simultaneous healing and cell destruction. As a result, chronic disease may ensue. In the case of joint pain, the body may endure constant pain, redness, and swelling.

1. Keep Moving

Even if outdoor fun may be out of the picture, you should still find ways to maintain your range of motion and keep the joints moving to stay out of pain. A gentle tai chi practice or a swim at an indoor pool are great exercise practices that are gentle on the joints. Hatha yoga, a dance class, or simply working out at the gym are other ways to get physical.

2. Eat More Omegas

Omega-3 essential fatty acids continue to make headline health news. Since our bodies can’t manufacture these fatty acids, we must obtain these essential nutrients from dietary sources in the form of DHA and EPA found in oily fish, walnuts, chia, hemp, and flax seeds. These fatty acids contain anti-inflammatory properties that may be helpful in alleviating joint pain. Make sure to include these foods in your diet often to help disrupt the cells that trigger inflammation.

3. Oil Up Your Joints

Omegas help eliminate inflammation and lubricate your joints from the inside—now use a healing oil on the outside to help minimize pain. For joint pain, I often recommend tonic oil to my patients, which is used in traditional Chinese medicine to warm, stimulate and activate the flow of chi and blood. Massaging a little tonic oil on an aching joint throughout the day can help provide relief from pain. You can mix your own tonic oil by adding a few drops of camphor, eucalyptus and wintergreen to sesame oil, or you can purchase a carefully blended Tonic Oil.

4. Tame Joint Pain with Turmeric

Turmeric, the herb that gives curry its color, has been in the health spotlight recently for its anti-inflammatory properties. Turmeric’s active component, called curcumin, is a compound known to interfere with the chemicals that cause inflammation. Multiple clinical studies have associated curcumin with anti-inflammatory and antioxidant properties. In one study, two grams of curcumin extract provided to subjects was found to provide pain relief that was equivalent to ibuprofen for pain associated with osteoarthritis of the knee. Sprinkle turmeric or curry spice in your favorite dishes to help reduce inflammation. Before taking any supplement, it is important to consult with your physician first. Turmeric can cause changes in blood sugar levels for those with diabetes and may increase blood clotting, so individuals taking blood-thinning medications should be cautious.

Bonus Tip: Powerful herbs can be used in combination to ease painful symptoms naturally. Arthritis & Joint Formula has been specially blended to promote healthy function of joints and relieve arthritis pain.

5. Cool the Fire Tropical Smoothie

Serves 4

This recipe came from a region in Southern China called Hainan Island, a resort island that is also famous for its population of centenarians. Tropical fruits are filled with enzymes: the pineapple is rich in bromelain and the papaya contains papain, both natural anti-inflammatory substances, good for joint pain and arthritis relief, diabetes prevention, and heart disease protection.


• 1/2 fresh pineapple, peeled, cored, and coarsely chopped

• 2 kiwis, peeled and coarsely chopped

• 1 small papaya, peeled, seeded, and coarsely chopped

• 1 cup seedless grapes

• 1 cup unsweetened cherry juice

• 2 heaping tablespoons hemp powder

• 1 tablespoon flaxseed oil

• 2 cups almond milk, chilled


Put all of the ingredients into a blender and blend until smooth. Divide between four glasses and serve immediately. Enjoy!

May you live long, live strong, and live happy!

Dr. Mao Shing Ni, best known as Dr. Mao is a bestselling author, doctor of Oriental Medicine, and board certified anti-aging expert. He has recently appeared on “The Ricki Lake Show,” “Dr. Oz,” and contributes to Yahoo Health and The Huffington Post. Dr. Mao practices acupuncture, nutrition, and Chinese medicine with his associates at the Tao of Wellness in Santa Monica, Newport Beach, and Pasadena. Dr. Mao and his brother, Dr. Daoshing Ni, founded the Tao of Wellness more than 25 years ago in addition to founding Yo San University in Marina del Rey. To make an appointment for evaluation and treatment call 310.917.2200 or you can email Dr. Mao at To subscribe to his tip-filled newsletter, visit

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May. 4, 2014, 11:13:03 am

juao david said...

These articles are consistently relevant and well-written. I always get something out of each timely message.

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