Acupuncture and Rheumatoid Arthritis may not sound like they go hand in hand. How is poking needles on your skin going to treat a disease of the joints? It sounds very uncomfortable. Doesn’t it? But you would be surprised to know that acupuncture actually helps to treat Rheumatoid Arthritis (RA).
In Columbus, Ohio, this therapy is gaining significant recognition as a reliever of pain from rheumatoid arthritis.
Acupuncture involves the inserting of needles on to the skin at some of the 2,000 pressure points present on the body. The pressure of the needles restores absolute flow of energy in the body. Sometimes mild electric current is also used. This version of acupuncture is known as electro-acupuncture.
Rheumatoid arthritis is the swelling of joints of the hands and feet, especially the wrists and the knuckles.
Experts from the Center for Integrative and Lifestyle Medicine at Cleveland Clinic agree that acupuncture does relieve pain by increasing the release of endorphins, naturally produced painkillers by our own body. It relieves pain locally by having an anti-inflammatory effect on the swollen joints.
Study by Chinese researchers in 2011 proved that both the styles of acupuncture – electro and traditional – have significantly reduced chronic inflammation. Inflammation is generally caused by an increase in tumor necrosis factor-a (TNF-a) and vascular endothelial growth factor (VEGF). Acupuncture significantly reduces these two factors. TNF-a is the main culprit when it comes to joint damage. Rheumatoid arthritis is described by depletion of bones.
Director of the paediatric pain management clinic at Children’s Hospital in Los Angeles, Jeffrey I. Gold, PhD, asserts that acupuncture on specific areas of the body induce response in different parts of the brain. MRI scans have proved that acupuncture not only blocks pain signals but also has neurological, psychological, immunological and hormonal effects. But Gold also concedes that it is not yet clear how the inflammatory factor TNF-a is affected by acupuncture.
The 2008 version of Arthritis & Rheumatism have revealed that several tests conducted have confirmed that the practice of the therapy of acupuncture has led to a decrease in morning stiffness and other pain in patients of rheumatoid arthritis.
The various studies conducted also revealed that there has been considerable reduction in erythrocyte sedimentation rate (ESR) and also a significant reduction in C-reactive protein (CRP). Both ESR and CRP are factors that cause swelling of the joints in the hands and feet.
Ideally, treatment takes around three to six sessions.
Acupuncture may not be effective on everyone. 20% of the patients may not get the desired results. The reason could be that there are different types of acupuncture and different practitioners have different styles of practicing this therapy. Also, certain insurance companies may not cover acupuncture therapy.
Proper research needs to be done before deciding on an acupuncture practitioner. Licensed acupuncturists with experience of treating RA patients should only be considered.
Though much research needs to be done into the actual effect of acupuncture on RA, the evidence actually looks very promising. If you suffer from Arthritis and want to know your treatment options, get in touch with Acupuncture of Columbus today.
For more information about how acupuncture and other treatments can help you, please contact Board Certified Licensed Acupuncturist, Steve Drugan,B.S., L.Ac., at 614.218.6287 or click here. Taking new patients in and around Columbus, Ohio.