If you are suffering from arthritis, you may find that acupuncture can help. Many people have had acupuncture treatments and felt relief from pain and limitation. In fact, several studies have been done that prove acupuncture does help with pain.
Just what is acupuncture and how does it work? Chinese doctors hold the belief that when someone develops illness in their body, it is as a result of the body's ‘energy flow’ being out of balance. When acupuncture is performed, disposable, stainless steel needles are used to stimulate the body's 14 major meridians through which the body energy flows. The needles work by increasing the release of chemicals that block pain, called endorphins. Energetically, the needles release stagnant energy. Physiologically they act to stimulate nerves to create a healing response.
The physiological impact is important if you’re focused on pain relief. When the nerves are stimulated through acupuncture, the nerve signal reaches the brain. The brain then signals endorphins to be released. Endorphins are morphine-like chemicals the body produces during times of pain or stress to lower or block pain. Once these endorphins are released, along with other neurotransmitters (body chemicals that modify nerve impulses), they block the message of pain to the area affected. This can result in a person feeling less pain.
What happens in an acupuncture treatment? The acupuncturist will swab each point of the body where needles are to be placed with an alcohol swab. They will then gently tap a needle into each site. This is usually painless or like a very light pin prick. The number of needles used will depend on the area being treated and the severity of pain. The length of time that the needles are left in the skin after being inserted varies and can range from several minutes to an hour. Oftentimes the acupuncturist will energise the needles electrically, or warm the needles.
Acupuncture has been known to be successful in treating arthritis. It has helped many people. If you or someone you love has arthritis, try it. If it works, continue treatments.
Dr Marcus Chacos
Chiropractor and Founder of the Natural Treatment of Arthritis Institute
PS Here’s some basics on research:
A recent study from China shows that both traditional acupuncture and electroacupuncture—a type in which pulsating electrical currents are sent through the needles to stimulate target areas—may reduce tenderness. All 36 participants had a standardised treatment, whether they received traditional acupuncture or electroacupuncture. During a total of 20 sessions throughout a 10 week period, needles were placed at a depth of about 10 to 20 millimetres and left in place for 30 minutes.
In a German study, 304,674 people with knee osteoarthritis who received 15 sessions of acupuncture, combined with their usual medical care, had less pain and stiffness, improved function and better quality of life than their counterparts who had routine care alone. The improvements occurred immediately after completing a three month course of acupuncture and lasted for at least another three months, indicating osteoarthritis is among conditions that can be successfully treated with acupuncture.