Kennington Osteopaths & Physiotherapy, 2-4 Cleaver St, Oval, London SE11 4DP

Is Chinese medicine good for Baker’s cyst?

Bartosz Gorecki MD, L.Ac.

Is Chinese medicine good for Baker’s cyst?

Is Chinese medicine or acupuncture good at treating Baker’s cyst? And if so, why would you prefer them over a conventional approach? Would not be better to have the whole assortment available by western medicine at hand?

Maybe…if you prefer to stuff your body with pills, or put it through fluid evacuation, steroids injection or arthroscopy.

But sometimes as little as a proper diet is enough to get rid of the nasty and oftentimes painful condition.

So, what’s Baker’s cyst?

Baker’s Cyst

Baker’s cyst is a lump at the back of your knee joints area caused by overproduction of fluid, which normally would lubricate the joint. This condition usually causes pain while bending and extending the knee, and restricts the knee movements.

According to western medicine, the inflammation of the knee can be caused by many conditions such as osteoarthritis or an injury that causes a tear of cartilage inside the knee.

Whilst the injury is a state of emergency and requires a doctor’s immediate attention, the origins of the inflammation causing Baker’s cyst are not so obvious. And that’s what western medicine qualifies as arthritis.

But here we’ll take a look at those inflammations from the Chinese medicine perspective to see how successfully we can help ourselves just by taking on the right approach.

And I’m not talking about acupuncture treatment alone, but a proper diet based on the Chinese medicine principia.

leg to the left of the image with the lump, to the right blue lump on the back of the knee showing Baker's cyst

Baker’s cyst is a lump at the back of your knee joints area caused by overproduction of fluid

Anna’s story

Recently, I saw a patient a 28-year-old woman, with Baker’s cyst at the back of her right knee. Anna, as that was my patient’s name, came to me not only with the cyst but also other medical problems. She complained about having tummy aches for the last 2 months, sever bloating after eating and suffered from premenstrual syndrome (PMS). There was no evident history of trauma or any chronic diseases.

I considered different approaches but the one thing which was obvious from the very beginning and needed immediate attention were the fluids accumulation in the body.


Because when fluids accumulate, they are more of a burden rather than something the body can use. In Chinese medicine this condition is called dampness or phlegm which can lead to many diseases.

And oftentimes the Spleen and its malfunctioning is responsible for the accumulation of fluids.

(I am writing “Spleen” in the capital letter because it is not quite the same spleen as in western medicine.)

Why Spleen is so important in Chinese medicine?

In Chinese medicine Spleen is responsible for the transformation and transportation of nutrients we absorb from food and drink. And in western medicine, this function belongs to the pancreas. Although spleen and pancreas are different organs, they share many similarities during embryological development.

As the organ responsible for drawing and supplying energy to our body, Spleen is in the centre of most processes. That is why it is the main victim of our stressful and exhausting lifestyle, and often improper diet.

By improper diet I mean not only what we eat, but how we eat.

There is quite a wide range of symptoms of impaired Spleen function to name just a few: tiredness, heaviness, slow digestion or indigestion, diarrhoea, elevated sugar level, skin problems, oedemas or even joints inflammations…


… on seeing Anna, I immediately advised her to avoid certain foods that damage Spleen.

chicken broth in pot

Spleen likes warm food. Cooked broth nourishes the body and this vital in Chinese medicine organ

Right diet helps with Baker’s cyst

She had to say goodbye to any sugar (maple syrup and honey including) and aliments containing sugar (read the labels!), dairy and gluten. Also, as frozen and raw foods are not Spleen’s favourites so off they went salads, juices and ice-cream. As Ana did not drink alcohol, I did not need to include it her list of forbidden food. But for sure our Spleen does not like alcoholic beverages at all.

One week and a few dietary sacrifices later, Ana came back to my clinic for a check-up. As you can imagine there was no trace of Baker’s cyst anymore!

With the simple changes we introduced to my patient’s diet, we managed to restore Spleen’s transformative power and get rid of accumulated dampness. The pathological fluids disappeared altogether causing Baker’s cyst to disappear as well.

There was no need for acupuncture treatment for Baker’s cyst anymore so we could move on to other issues the patient came to my clinic with.

Follow up acupuncture treatment

Now with my patient, we could focus more on her acne, releasing the body from stress, tummy aches, premenstrual syndrome which are the effects of Liver stagnation.

But that’s a completely different story 😉