Numbness of the muscles according to Chinese Medicine

Numbness of the muscles can be the consequence of several so-called “patterns of disharmony” in Chinese Medicine.

Chinese Medicine sees the body as a system, not a sum of isolated parts. A "pattern" is when the system's harmony is disrupted, leading to symptoms or signs that something is wrong (like numbness of the muscles here). It is similar to the concept of disease in Western Medicine but not quite: a Western disease can often be explained by several Chinese patterns and vice-versa.

A pattern often manifests itself in a combination of symptoms that, at first glance, do not seem necessarily related to each others. For instance here numbness of the muscles is often associated with joint pain, swollen joints and stiff neck in the pattern “/tcm-education-center/patterns/cold-invading-the-channels-joints-and-muscles”. As you will see below, we have in record four patterns that can cause numbness of the muscles.

Once identified, patterns are treated using medicinal herbs, acupuncture, and other therapies. In the case of numbness of the muscles we’ve identified four herbal formulas that may help treat patterns behind the symptom.

We’ve also selected below the five medicinal herbs that we think are most likely to help treat numbness of the muscles.

The four "patterns of disharmony" that can cause numbness of the muscles

In Chinese Medicine numbness of the muscles is a symptom for 4 patterns that we have on record. Below is a small explanation for each of them with links for more details.

Prepared Sichuan Aconite (Zhi Chuan Wu) is the king ingredient for Wu Tou Tang, a formula used for /tcm-education-center/patterns/cold-invading-the-channels-joints-and-muscles

Cold invading the Channels joints and muscles

Pulse type(s): Tight (Jin), Floating (Fu)

In addition to numbness of the muscles, other symptoms associated with /tcm-education-center/patterns/cold-invading-the-channels-joints-and-muscles include joint pain, swollen joints and stiff neck.

/tcm-education-center/patterns/cold-invading-the-channels-joints-and-muscles is often treated with Wu Tou Tang, a herbal formula made of 6 herbs (including Prepared Sichuan Aconite - Zhi Chuan Wu - as a key herb). Wu Tou Tang belongs to the category of "formulas that warm the meridians and disperse cold", which might be why it is often recommended for this pattern. Its main action as a formula is: "Warms the channels and remove obstruaction".

Read more about Cold invading the Channels joints and muscles here

Dong Quai (Dang Gui) is the king ingredient for Shu Jing Huo Xue Tang, a formula used for /tcm-education-center/patterns/dampness-invading-the-channels-joints-and-muscles

Dampness invading the Channels joints and muscles

Pulse type(s): Slow (Chi), Soggy (Ru)

In addition to numbness of the muscles, other symptoms associated with /tcm-education-center/patterns/dampness-invading-the-channels-joints-and-muscles include joint pain and swollen joints.

/tcm-education-center/patterns/dampness-invading-the-channels-joints-and-muscles is often treated with Shu Jing Huo Xue Tang, a herbal formula made of 16 herbs (including Dong Quai - Dang Gui - as a key herb). Shu Jing Huo Xue Tang belongs to the category of "formulas that invigorate blood and dispel blood stagnation", which might be why it is often recommended for this pattern. Its main action as a formula is: "Expels Wind Damp from the Channels".

Read more about Dampness invading the Channels joints and muscles here

Prepared Sichuan Aconite (Zhi Chuan Wu) is the king ingredient for Wu Tou Tang, a formula used for /tcm-education-center/patterns/painful-obstruction-syndrome

Painful Obstruction Syndrome

Pulse type(s): Tight (Jin), Wiry (Xian)

In addition to numbness of the muscles, other symptoms associated with /tcm-education-center/patterns/painful-obstruction-syndrome include joint pain, swollen joints and stiff neck.

/tcm-education-center/patterns/painful-obstruction-syndrome is often treated with Wu Tou Tang, a herbal formula made of 6 herbs (including Prepared Sichuan Aconite - Zhi Chuan Wu - as a key herb). Wu Tou Tang belongs to the category of "formulas that warm the meridians and disperse cold", which might be why it is often recommended for this pattern. Its main action as a formula is: "Warms the channels and remove obstruaction".

Read more about Painful Obstruction Syndrome here

Peach Kernels (Tao Ren) is the king ingredient for Shen Tong Zhu Yu Tang, a formula used for /tcm-education-center/patterns/phlegm-in-the-channels-joints-and-muscles

Phlegm in the Channels joints and muscles

Pulse type(s): Choppy (Se), Wiry (Xian)

The bone deformities that occur in chronic rheumatoid arthritis are seen as a form of Phlegm.

In addition to numbness of the muscles, other symptoms associated with /tcm-education-center/patterns/phlegm-in-the-channels-joints-and-muscles include muscle pain, numbness in the limbs and stifling sensation in the chest.

/tcm-education-center/patterns/phlegm-in-the-channels-joints-and-muscles is often treated with Shen Tong Zhu Yu Tang, a herbal formula made of 12 herbs (including Peach Kernels - Tao Ren - as a key herb). Shen Tong Zhu Yu Tang belongs to the category of "formulas that regulate blood", which might be why it is often recommended for this pattern. Its main action as a formula is: "Invigorates Blood".

Read more about Phlegm in the Channels joints and muscles here

Four herbal formulas that might help with numbness of the muscles

Wu Tou Tang

Source date: 220 AD

Number of ingredients: 6 herbs

Key actions: Warms the channels and remove obstruaction. Disperse Cold and Dampness. Warms the joints. Relieve joints pain.

Why might Wu Tou Tang help with numbness of the muscles?

Because it is a formula often recommended to treat the pattern '/tcm-education-center/patterns/cold-invading-the-channels-joints-and-muscles' of which numbness of the muscles is a symptom.

Read more about Wu Tou Tang here

Shu Jing Huo Xue Tang

Source date: 1587 AD

Number of ingredients: 16 herbs

Key actions: Expels Wind Damp from the Channels. Invigorates Blood. Unblocks the channels.

Why might Shu Jing Huo Xue Tang help with numbness of the muscles?

Because it is a formula often recommended to treat the pattern '/tcm-education-center/patterns/dampness-invading-the-channels-joints-and-muscles' of which numbness in the muscles is a symptom.

Read more about Shu Jing Huo Xue Tang here

Da Fang Feng Tang

Source date: 1107 AD

Number of ingredients: 14 herbs

Key actions: Expel Wind Damp. Relieve pain. Tonify the Liver and the Kidneys. Tonify the Blood and Qi.

Why might Da Fang Feng Tang help with numbness of the muscles?

Because it is a formula often recommended to treat the pattern '/tcm-education-center/patterns/painful-obstruction-syndrome' of which numbness in the muscles is a symptom.

Read more about Da Fang Feng Tang here

Shen Tong Zhu Yu Tang

Source date: 1830

Number of ingredients: 12 herbs

Key actions: Invigorates Blood. Unblocks painful obstruction. Relieves pain. Invigorate Qi. Dispels Blood Stagnation. Unblock Channels.

Why might Shen Tong Zhu Yu Tang help with numbness of the muscles?

Because it is a formula often recommended to treat the pattern '/tcm-education-center/patterns/phlegm-in-the-channels-joints-and-muscles' of which numbness of the muscles is a symptom.

Read more about Shen Tong Zhu Yu Tang here

The five Chinese Medicinal herbs most likely to help treat numbness of the muscles

Why might Liquorice (Gan Cao) help with numbness of the muscles?

Because Liquorice is an ingredient in several formulas indicated to treat numbness of the muscles as a symptom, like Wu Tou Tang or Da Fang Feng Tang for instance.

Liquorice is a Neutral herb that tastes Sweet. It targets the Heart, the Lung, the Spleen and the Stomach.

Its main actions are: Tonifies the Basal Qi and nourishes the Spleen Qi. Clears Heat and dispels toxicity. Moistens the Lungsexpel phlegm and stop coughing. Relieves spasms and alleviates pain. Harmonizes and moderates the effects of other herbs.

Read more about Liquorice here

Why might Szechuan Lovage Root (Chuan Xiong) help with numbness of the muscles?

Because Szechuan Lovage Root is an ingredient in several formulas indicated to treat numbness of the muscles as a symptom, like Shen Tong Zhu Yu Tang or Shu Jing Huo Xue Tang for instance.

Szechuan Lovage Roots is a Warm herb that tastes Pungent. It targets the Gallbladder, the Liver and the Pericardium.

Its main actions are: Regulates and moves the Blood. Relieves Wind-Cold and pain. Circulates the Qi in the Upper Burner, relieving headaches.

Read more about Szechuan Lovage Roots here

Why might White Peony Root (Bai Shao) help with numbness of the muscles?

Because White Peony Root is an ingredient in several formulas indicated to treat numbness of the muscles as a symptom, like Shu Jing Huo Xue Tang or Wu Tou Tang for instance.

White Peony Roots is a Neutral herb that tastes Bitter and Sour. It targets the Liver and the Spleen.

Its main actions are: Tonifies the Blood and preserves the Yin. Nourishes the Liver and assists in the smooth flow of Qi. Regulates the meridians and eases the pain.

Read more about White Peony Roots here

Why might Milkvetch Root (Huang Qi) help with numbness of the muscles?

Because Milkvetch Root is an ingredient in several formulas indicated to treat numbness of the muscles as a symptom, like Wu Tou Tang or Da Fang Feng Tang for instance.

Milkvetch Roots is a Warm herb that tastes Sweet. It targets the Lung and the Spleen.

Its main actions are: Tonifies the Wei Qi and stops perspiration. Tonifies the Spleen Qi and the Yang Qi of the Earth Element. Tonifies the Qi and Blood. Expels pus and assists in the healing of wounds. Helps to regulate water metabolism in the body and reduce edema.

Read more about Milkvetch Roots here

Why might Saposhnikovia Root (Fang Feng) help with numbness of the muscles?

Because Saposhnikovia Root is an ingredient in several formulas indicated to treat numbness of the muscles as a symptom, like Da Fang Feng Tang or Shu Jing Huo Xue Tang for instance.

Saposhnikovia Roots is a Warm herb that tastes Pungent and Sweet. It targets the Bladder, the Liver and the Spleen.

Its main actions are: Relieves the Exterior and disperses Cold. Relieves Wind-Damp-Cold painful obstruction. Disperses Wind.

Read more about Saposhnikovia Roots here