Joint pain and inflammation are typical signs of a chronic joint condition known as arthritis. Western medicine so far has no answer to this oftentimes debilitating disease forcing doctors to address its painful symptoms rather than tackling the root cause of the problem head on.
Fortunately, natural and alternative treatments such as acupuncture can both resolve arthritis symptoms and its root cause(s). Studies have shown that drugs and acupuncture combined can significantly relieve symptoms and provide long-term benefits for people suffering from knee osteoarthritis.
What is Acupuncture?
Acupuncture is an age-old Chinese healing procedure that involves the insertion of ultra fine needles into pathways of energy known as meridians. The meridians carry the life force qi to all parts of the body to energize and nourish the whole body. Acupuncturists argue that the needles clear out obstacles in the meridians helping relieve pain in the process.
Acupuncture is an important component of traditional Chinese medicine (TCM), which is founded on the notion of qi. Acupuncture is now a widely practiced form of treatment throughout the world. Its origins came from China over 4000 years ago. When it has been discovered to be an effective way to relieve arthritis pain, acupuncture’s popularity in the United States increased even more.
While the idea of needles being stuck in your body may seem unpleasant, most of those who were treated with this procedure state that the sensation felt when a needle was inserted into their skin generated nothing more than a tingling or numbing sensation. They also said that the procedure was overall extremely pleasant than painful. The needles used in acupuncture are extremely thin and smooth. Unlike the hollow needles used in hospitals to inject drugs or draw out blood, an acupuncture needle is not hollow and is quite flexible. The duration of the treatment may vary, and it usually depends on the type of condition being treated. When it comes to arthritis, acupuncturists usually recommend twice a week sessions for several months..
NIH Study on Acupuncture and Arthritis
A study done by the National Institute of Health (NIH) in the United States was one of the most detailed studies ever conducted to see the effects of acupuncture on arthritis sufferers. At the end of the study, it was found that patients who were given acupuncture experienced a 40% improvement in joint function and a 40% lowering of in compared to the baseline.
This study was performed by both acupuncturists and rheumatologists and involved the participation of 575 patients who were 50 years old and above and all suffering from knee osteoarthritis. They were treated randomly with one of three treatments – sham acupuncture, acupuncture, or control group participation.
This detailed study verified acupunctures effectiveness in improving the function of the knee and relieving the pain caused by knee osteoarthritis. The outcomes bolstered what acupuncturists already know to be true. That is, that acupuncture can be used as a standard treatment for osteoarthritis to help raise the quality of life of sufferers of knee osteoarthritis.