Rheumatoid arthritis (RA) is a chronic inflammation that may affect many tissues and organs of the body, but primarily attacks synovial joints, which is the most common and movable type of joint in a person’s body. Rheumatoid arthritis is a connective tissue disease that affects three times as many women as it does men. Symptoms usually appear between the ages of 40 and 50, although young people are also affected. Left untreated, it can damage other parts of the body, including the circulatory system, lungs, kidneys and eyes. This autoimmune disease also affects the tissue around the joints. Autoimmune diseases normally occur when the body’s tissues are erroneously attacked by their own immune system.
Because rheumatoid arthritis is a chronic illness, it can last for years, and people suffering from this disease may experience it for longer periods of time without showing any symptoms. Rheumatoid arthritis is typically a progressive illness that may potentially cause the destruction of joints and permanent disability. The symptoms that are experienced are joint pain, swelling, stiffness and general discomfort. The pain can be quite severe.
Rheumatoid arthritis mainly affects the hands, feet and cervical spine. Symptoms include swollen and painful joints along with stiffness, especially in the morning. Changes in the skin in the surrounding area are also common.
Acupuncture has been shown to be a safe and effective alternative approach for treating rheumatoid arthritis. A key benefit to using acupuncture to treat RA is that it is a drug-free way to minimize pain. Drug treatments can cause people to develop a tolerance and increased doses may be needed to have an effect. This is not the case with acupuncture.
In fact, a recent “Health Alert” issued by Johns Hopkins about effectively treating RA stated: “Acupuncture is a potentially viable adjunctive therapy for arthritis pain, and it is rapidly gaining favor in the Western World.”
Additionally, a recent article in Arthritis Today outlined the benefits of using acupuncture to treat arthritis and cited several studies that showed its success:
Rheumatoid arthritis: A recent study from China shows that both traditional acupuncture and electroacupuncture – a type in which pulsating electrical currents are sent through the needles to stimulate target areas – may reduce tenderness.
Osteoarthritis: In a German study, 304,674 people with knee OA who received 15 sessions of acupuncture combined with their usual medical care had less pain and stiffness, improved function and better quality of life than their counterparts who had routine care alone.
Since rheumatoid is autoimmune system disease, acupuncture is a wonderful tool because it effectively works to boost the immune system. When the immune system is strong, this disease can be prevented as well as other illnesses. Most importantly, acupuncture is a form of preventive medicine, because individuals can undergo this procedure without any specific illness or ailments. And it helps to keep their minds and body relaxed and stress free.
We treat local point sites to the painful areas, as well as systemic point sites designed to help the body be less inflamed and healthier. We treat the person as a whole rather than focusing on the symptoms of the disease. We also consider the lifestyle of the patient and also the environmental factors that may have triggered the problem. We may look at diet issues as well. We work with each patient to customize a treatment plan that can be tailored to their condition.
So, before you turn to medication for your RA – or to assist an ongoing and effective treatment regimen – think about how acupuncture could help relieve this pain and stop the attack. Let us help!
For more information, please visit us at www.ctacupuncture.com
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