Can Acupuncture Help Rheumatoid Arthritis Symptoms?
In the United States roughly 1.5 million Americans suffer from Rheumatoid Arthritis (RA), an autoimmune disease that attacks the body’s joints resulting in redness, inflammation and sometimes severe pain. The immune system mistakenly attacks the tissues between the joints as it would a foreign substance like a bacteria or virus. This response creates inflammation of the tissues that line the inside of the joints causing swelling, pain and disfigurement. Acupuncture can help rheumatoid arthritis sufferers find relief from this discomfort, and in many cases over only one or two treatments.
Acupuncture Treatment for Rheumatoid Arthritis
Acupuncture treatment for RA may not involve sticking needles into your joints as you might think. There are a few exceptions, but you wouldn’t want to poke a stick into a hornets nest would you? Thus, we do not want to stick needles into inflamed, swollen, painful joints. In many cases, at Common Ground Wellness, we will start treatment with a Direct Moxibustion or Rice Grain Moxa over the affected area. This is especially helpful over smaller joints in the hands, wrists and feet.
In Direct Moxa treatment for rheumatoid arthritis we place tiny pieces of an herb called mugwort, Artemisia vulgaris, on the skin, joints or acupuncture points. Mugwort is burned like incense cones, sticks or loose herbs over the joints warming and nourishing the body and acting as a highly localized anti-inflammatory treatment. Moxibustion increases the white blood cell count in the area which, in turn, eats away at the inflammation and boosts the immune system.
Studies Show Moxibustion & Acupuncture Combo Treatment Increases Positive Patient Outcome Significantly
Research published in the Jilin Journal of Traditional Chinese Medicine and reported on the Healthcare Medicine Institute’s Acupuncture Continuing Education website found that, when combined, moxibustion and acupuncture had an 83.3% total effective rate for the treatment of rheumatoid arthritis. While both forms of treatment show positive results, together they were found to be more effective.
Moxibustion Acupoints for RA Treatment
- Mingmen, DU4
- Pishu, BL20
- Shenshu, BL23
- Zusanli, ST36
Acupuncture Points for RA Treatment
- Mingmen, DU4
- Zusanli, ST36
- Shenshu, BL23
- Pishu, BL20
- Ganyu, BL18
- Quchi, LI11
- Taixi, KD3
- Hegu, LI4
- Waiguan, SJ5
- Yangchi, SJ4
- Wangu, GB12
- Shenmai, BL62
- Kunlun, BL60
- Yanglingquan, GB34
Healing Rheumatoid Arthritis Pain with Traditional Chinese Medicine
Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM) has helped to restore harmony to the body and correct imbalance for centuries. In TCM, arthritis is categorized as a type of blockage in the smooth flow of qi and blood throughout the body. When the pathways are blocked, the obstruction causes pain and reduced range of motion. Chinese medicine calls these “painful obstruction syndromes,” “bi syndrome” or “bone bi” diagnosis.
Bi syndromes are environmental diagnoses. Outside factors penetrate the body’s defenses and lodge deep in the muscles, tendons and joints such as wind, cold, heat and/or dampness. Rheumatoid Arthritis presents as a damp-heat pattern bi syndrome characterized by pain, soreness and swelling and can result when a wind-, cold- or damp- pattern bi syndrome causes reduced flow of qi and blood through a joint.
Treating Rheumatoid Arthritis with Acupuncture
In Traditional Chinese Medicine practice, treatment involves treating both the manifestation (pain, swelling, redness) and the root cause(s). Acupuncture is used to restore balance and harmony to the body and thereby offer pain relief and help prevent progression of the disease.
Modern scientific research has revealed that two naturally occurring hormones provide relief from arthritis: endorphins (natural pain-killing hormones produced in the brain) and adrenocorticotropin (ACTH) (an anti-inflammatory hormone). Daniel N. Hsu, D.A.O.M., L.Ac. of New York AcuHealth Acupuncture
Acupuncture is capable of stimulating the production of both of endorphins and ACTH triggering the body to heal itself. Used in an ongoing basis, acupuncture treatment can prevent the recurrence of arthritis and in mild cases, acupuncture may be able to eliminate pain altogether.
Whole Body and Health Treatment from Louisville Acupuncture Clinic
Autoimmune diseases are on the rise and we’ve seen many cases of Rheumatoid Arthritis in recent years. At Louisville Acupuncture Clinic we believe in the Traditional Chinese Medicine practice of treating more than just the manifestation of the issue. There is more to the root cause of RA than genetic tendency. Trauma, stress, childbirth, divorce: all these stresses in our environment and our lives can impact our body’s ability to function and maintain balance.
First things first, we’re going to want to see your clinical diagnosis and/or discuss your family history so we can formulate the best acupuncture treatment for your unique situation. Then we will discuss your diet and how the environment in your gut can affect inflammation, emotional stability in the body and balance. Food as medicine is deeply ingrained in Chinese culture. A complete care plan for a whole body approach to your well-being will maximize the positive effects of your treatment. By seeking acupuncture treatment for RA, many patients are able to reduce or avoid risky medications and return to normal daily activities.
Contact Us For More Questions
If you still have questions about the benefits of acupuncture for rheumatoid arthritis and related conditions, please don’t hesitate to contact us. We’re happy to schedule a consultation and discuss your individual needs and develop a treatment and wellness plan just for you.