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Acupuncture and osteoarthritis

Acupuncture and osteoarthritis

Acupuncture is gaining popularity as a new weapon against arthritis. While it may not be a cure for arthritis this alternative form of treatment may help to reduce symptoms such as pain, stiffness, and inflammation. A large international study has shown dated 2012 that acupuncture may be effective in the treatment of chronic pain. Based on similar outcomes, researchers now believe more arthritis patients should be referred to acupuncturists. 

What is acupuncture?  Acupuncture is a traditional Chinese treatment, going back for thousands of years. Central to this treatment method is the Taoist believe in a balance between yin and yang. It is believed that if this balance is disrupted, we become ill. This treatment method is based on a system or network of meridians in which energy flows.

acupuncture meridians

meridians targeted by acupuncture

Certain points, that are located in specific areas of the body, are targeted as acupuncture points. These points are also in contact with organs or bodily functions. By placing tiny needles into the subcutaneous tissue, the acupuncturists seeks to restore the beforementioned balance between energies. The practitioner will either aim to stimulate or slow down certain energies. In certain cases, the acupuncturists may recommend Chinese herbs to further support the treatment.

Scientific support of acupuncture. The aforementioned research was performed by an international team of epidemiologists and statisticians that selected 29 scientific studies from a pool of over a 1000 research papers. In these studies, acupuncture was compared with a placebo (fake intervention). It involved 17.922 patients with chronic pain from Germany, the United States, Sweden and Spain. It was concluded that acupuncture has a positive effect on low-back pain, neck and shoulder pain and chronic inflammation in osteoarthritis and rheumatoid arthritis. The final report was published on September 10, 2012 in Archives of Internal Medicine. (See source below.)

Choosing the right acupuncturist. If you are considering acupuncture to address pain and stiffness in your joints, choose a licenced acupuncturist. Tell your general practitioner and any other healthcare provider that you may be seeing so it can be included in the treatment plan.

For the original study click here

 





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