Acupuncture has developed a reputation for helping arthritis sufferers find relief. Treating arthritis with acupuncture can reduce pain and improve mobility by up to 40 per cent, according to a long term clinical trial.
In the study, 570 patients aged 50+ who suffered from osteoarthritis of the knee were put into one of three groups - they either experienced genuine acupuncture, "sham" acupuncture, or a self-help course that taught them how to manage their own condition.
In addition, they continued to receive their regular medication throughout the 26 weeks of the trial. By week 8 the genuine acupuncture patients were demonstrating a significant increase in function compared with the other groups, and by week 14, a noticeable decrease in pain.
By the end of the 26 weeks, the acupuncture group were reporting 40% less pain, and had 40% more function in their knee.
This is exciting news for acupuncture, which is often slated by the medical community for lacking any scientific evidence that it works. Of course, for the millions who benefit from this treatment every year this is nothing new.
Acupuncture works by freeing up the electromagnetic field that runs through our bodies. In acupuncture this is called Qi, the universal life energy, and it is believed to run in channels, or meridians, just beneath the surface of the skin.
Once the acupuncturist has completed their assessment, they will insert the needles in key points of the body to unblock the flow of Qi, and allow the body to begin to heal itself.