Reflex Sympathetic Dystrophy Syndrome (RSD)

topical foot soak with essential oilsRSD is now more commonly referred to as Complex Regional Pain Syndrome (CRPS) by medical professionals. This chronic neuro-inflammatory disorder may or may not have a trigger such as an musculoskeletal injury, surgery, nerve injury, or stroke. it is believed that tissue damage initiates a faulty immune response causing nerves to misfire sending pain signals to the brain and disrupting cellular-level communication. Skin changes due Blood Stagnation and cell die-off can develop in to severe impairments. For best outcomes using self-care, combine associated Aroma Acu-Sticks® to acu-points, topical remedies, and good lifestyle practices.

herb leaves

Aroma Acu-Therapy Points for RSD-CRPS Self-careessential oils for acupressure

 herb leaves

Patterns of Imbalance In CRPS-RSD

Chinese medicine addresses complex diseases by addressing the underlying imbalances that cause symptoms. Symptoms are organized and assigned to energetic organ systems of Chinese medicine creating patterns that can help identify the underlying cause(s). A pattern cannot be established with a single symptom; a pattern of imbalance of any single energetic organ system must contain several symptoms. A condition as convoluted as CRPS-RSD will involve several organ-level imbalances that must be resolved for best outcomes.

Kidney Deficiency


  • One common underlying theme seen in most CRPS-RSD is Kidney Deficiency. According to Chinese medical theory, the Kidney energetic organ system includes the adrenals and thyroid function. Therefore, cortisol and thyroid hormone insufficiencies are symptoms of Kidney Deficiency. Other common symptoms of CRPS-RSD that point to Kidney Deficiency would include urinary incontinence and ankle edema.
  • Jing, or Essence, is stored in the Kidney energetic organ system according to Chinese medicine. Essence plays an important role in the creation of Marrow, which is not only associate with bones according to Chinese medical theory, but also the brain and spinal cord. The Marrow nourishes these elements of the body and influences their strength and ability to recover from injury. This unique function would relate to the body/mind confusion and inability to heal.
  • The Kidneys are also considered to be the root of Yin and Yang for the entire body. Yin and Yang are interdependent as Kidney Yin provides the material foundation for Kidney Yang, while Kidney Yang provides the energetic force necessary to transform Kidney Yin. CRPS-RSD sometimes presents with a difference of temperature of one side of the body compared to the opposite side of the body reflecting a Yin/Yang imbalance. Additionally, the affected limb can have varying abnormal temperature fluctuations.

Wei Qi Imbalances and CRPS-RSD

The Wei Qi of Chinese medicine envelops much more than the basic concept of the immune response. It does, however, have some overlapping similarities to the immune system. Wei Qi circulates at the surface of the skin and oversensitivity to touch or fabrics sometimes seen with CRPS-RSD may relate to Wei Qi imbalances. Wei Qi is also partially responsible for maintaining normal body temperatures. 

Blood and Qi Stagnationchinese pain remedy dit da jow with essential oils


  • Shortness of breath/asthma

Spleen Qi Deficiency

internal wind herbal remedyInternal Wind

Heart Imbalances

  • Memory issues
  • Problems verbalizing thought
  • Sleep disturbances

Pro Tips:

  1. Needling, acupressure, dry needling, pressure, and suction cupping therapy are contraindicated on the affected limb where swelling, discoloration, or pain is present when addressing CRPS-RSD. Use opposite limb and opposite auricular therapy points.
  2. Palpating points along the channels can help determine an effective protocol as the most tender points are often the most appropriate points to apply Aroma Acu-Therapy™.
  3. We provide detailed information for many commonly used acupressure points; you can research the related articles to see which points are the most appropriate for your specific condition.
  4. Keep in mind that you are trying to apply Aroma Acu-therapy to only 5-8 points daily for a focused therapy.

herb leaves


Wilson PR. Complex Regional Pain Syndrome-Reflex Sympathetic Dystrophy. Curr Treat Options Neurol. 1999 Nov;1(5):466-472. 

Sayegh SA, Filén T, Johansson M, Sandström S, Stiewe G, Butler S. Mirror therapy for Complex Regional Pain Syndrome (CRPS)-A literature review and an illustrative case report. Scand J Pain. 2013 Oct 1;4(4):200-207. doi: 10.1016/j.sjpain.2013.06.002. PMID: 29913636.

Pervane Vural S, Nakipoglu Yuzer GF, Sezgin Ozcan D, Demir Ozbudak S, Ozgirgin N. Effects of Mirror Therapy in Stroke Patients With Complex Regional Pain Syndrome Type 1: A Randomized Controlled Study. Arch Phys Med Rehabil. 2016 Apr;97(4):575-581. doi: 10.1016/j.apmr.2015.12.008. Epub 2015 Dec 23. PMID: 26723854.

Wilson PR. Complex Regional Pain Syndrome-Reflex Sympathetic Dystrophy. Curr Treat Options Neurol. 1999 Nov;1(5):466-472. doi: 10.1007/s11940-996-0010-1. PMID: 11096731.

This information has not been evaluated by the Food and Drug Administration. This information is not intended to diagnose, treat, cure, or prevent any disease.