Arthritis treatment using acupuncture is now becoming more common although it may seem unsavory to some people to have their skin savagely poked with a few thin and long needles, especially when they already have to worry about the pain caused by their arthritis. This condition is a rheumatoid disease marked by the classic symptoms of pain and stiffness. However, the ancient Chinese practitioners would see arthritis in a different way along with 15 million Americans who have tried and gotten to know very well the ancient Chinese needle healing art known as acupuncture. Acupuncture has been used for thousands of years in China and Northeast Asia to help relieve chronic pain symptoms caused by conditions like arthritis. Prospective acupuncturists need to realize that acupuncture treatment is not designed to diagnose arthritis, only to treat it. To diagnose this condition, the patient needs to visit a doctor first and if he/she is positively diagnosed, the person can then consider acupuncture.
Studies Involving Acupuncture Treatment for Arthritis
Among several forms of arthritis, the most common type that affects an estimated 20 million people in the United States is osteoarthritis. The reality is that osteoarthritis is the biggest, if not one of the biggest reasons for physical disability in adults. Acupuncture is 4,000 year old modality that actually only became popular in the United States four decades ago. In 2001, before medical researchers knew acupuncture can help relieve arthritis symptoms, the University of Maryland School Of Medicine launched a study that involved a total of 570 patients all past the age of 50 and all suffering from osteoarthritis who have never experienced getting steroid shots, surgery, or acupuncture. A designated control group was formed who were administered with regular acupuncture treatments. By the end of the first week, this group showed an increase in mobility and by the end of the study it registered a 40% reduction in pain and a 40% surge in knee function.
Western medicine big shots are at a loss as to how acupuncture actually works in fighting degenerative diseases such as arthritis. But any skilled acupuncturist will tell you that that pain is the result of an obstruction in the flow of the body’s vital energies known as qi or chi. When specific points in the skin known as acupoints are stimulated, it leads to the restoration of normal chi flow and the clearing of the obstruction. The body’s healthy balance is then restored which leads to long term relief of chronic pain. Acupuncture has also been proven to improve sleep according to a 1999 study.
During an acupuncture treatment, filiform needles are stuck into exact points in the skin, these points are called acupoints. These acupoints have the biggest influence on the connection between arthritis and acupuncture. Besides being prodded and poked, acupoints can also be stimulated by manual pressure (acupressure), mild electrical currents, magnets, and even bee stings. Acupuncturists also use herbs along with acupuncture and lifestyle and diet recommendations during treatment.
Studies show that there are acupoints that are associated with sensitive bio-trigger points replete with nerve endings. Additional studies also reveal that tinkering around with those triggers can lead to certain biological responses, one of which is the release into the bloodstream of neuro-chemicals known as endorphins. When released, endorphins play a huge role in the relief of arthritis symptoms because it serves as the body’s natural alternative to synthetic painkillers such as Motrin, Tylenol, and Advil among many others.
Acupuncture Checks and Balances
The cost of acupuncture differs from state to state although normally the initial visits would range between $75 -$150 and follow up treatments would be around $35 – $75. Health insurance rates also differ although acupuncture advocates for the treatment of diagnosed arthritis argue that the longstanding benefits is worth the cost which includes saving money on pharmaceutical drugs and fewer doctor visits over time.