Using Acupuncture to Provide Relief to Arthritis

More than 50 million Americans (over 20% of U.S. citizens) are diagnosed with arthritis each year. This ailment is painful and can greatly decrease quality of life. Traditional treatments for arthritis, such as pharmaceuticals, are not providing the relief patients desire. Acupuncture provides a natural, safe, and effective alternative to these pharmaceuticals by attacking arthritis at its source instead of just treating symptoms. 

Acupuncture is one of the most ancient methods of healing, originating in China thousands of years ago. Since then, acupuncture has been used to treat and cure many ailments including arthritis. During an acupuncture session, needles are inserted in specific points along the body to stimulate certain energetic and chemical responses. Recently, acupuncture has gained increased popularity in western cultures for its effectiveness and lack of side effects when compared to traditional medicine.

Arthritis is characterized most commonly as joint pain, but may also show symptoms such as redness, swelling, and reduced mobility of joints. Arthritis is often found in the knees and hips, but may show up in any area of the body. When left untreated, arthritis can be painful and debilitating and could last a lifetime. It can cause simple every-day activities, like eating and brushing your teeth, to be a painful and arduous task. Treatments for arthritis often include medication to lessen the pain or physical therapy to improve mobility in the joints. However, traditional pharmaceuticals only treat symptoms of the problem instead of looking to improve the cause of the pain. Numbing the pain caused by arthritis may help short-term, but it does not help treat the underlying problem. Physical therapy can help improve mobility but can be costly and time-consuming. Some patients may even undergo surgery to repair or replace joints, which can be incredibly costly and can have a long recovery time. This makes acupuncture an appealing option, as it is cost-effective and helps to treat the root of arthritis instead of just taking the pain away for a little while.

When treating arthritis using acupuncture, needles are inserted into specific areas of the skin that are linked to receptors in the brain. This sets off neurotransmitters in the brain such as endorphins and enkephalin and can release the chemical cortisol which aids in reducing inflammation. Acupuncture can also affect a person’s energetic balance, or “Qi.” Qi is the energy that flows throughout the body. This energy can get blocked or fall out of balance and cause illnesses such as arthritis. Acupuncture helps to unblock those areas and restore energetic balance within the body, thus reducing pain. Treating arthritis by using acupuncture is relatively painless and produces no side effects, unlike other traditional treatments such as pharmaceutical medicine and surgery. This makes acupuncture an alluring alternative for those looking for natural and effective ways of treating and curing arthritis.

Dr. Minna Yoon, ND, L.Ac.

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