Excruciating Pain. Debilitating.
Those are the two symptoms I’ve heard most often describe Rheumatoid Arthritis(RA). This is a condition that most of us are not familiar with, even though over 1.5 million people in the United States are afflicted with this disease.
Rheumatoid arthritis is an autoimmune disease, which means the body is attacking itself, and thereby causing inflammation. The inflammation is pervasive throughout the body and touches nearly every system – mainly joints, but also lungs and blood vessels. It can cause dryness in the eyes and mouth, anemia, and can trigger nodules under the skin. It can also cause runny eyes and a runny nose. The nature of RA means that it has multiple symptoms and multiple types of symptoms.
Treating the autoimmune disease and inflammation is critical to being as well as possible, as long as possible, with this challenging, chronic condition.
Acupuncture enhances the immune system and reduces inflammation. Reduced inflammation helps to control the pain and stiffness RA causes, and can slow the debilitating aspects of RA on joints and bodily systems.
Importantly, acupuncture treats both autoimmune and inflammation without using narcotics and other heavy pharmaceutical drugs that are often prescribed to RA patients.
There is no exact course this disease follows – each patient has their own unique experience in terms of pain levels and related health issues. It is the management of the inflammation and immune system that provides the best chance at limiting RA’s progression and improving the overall quality of life for RA patients.
Recently a 34-year-old rheumatoid arthritis patient from Los Angeles reached out to me while she was in Chicago attending a convention. She had severe, debilitating pain, heat and swelling in her joints. She was in very bad shape.
After just one acupuncture treatment she stated: “I am pain-free!”
She came back to see me for a series of treatments while on a family vacation in Chicago. Once again, the effect of the treatment was almost immediate.
The American Journal of Chinese Medicine summarized the results of a recent study aimed at identifying how acupuncture impacts RA via immune-network modulation (treating the immune system)
They say previous studies have shown that acupuncture can help treat RA, but it is not known exactly how that happens. This study was designed to learn more about how acupuncture impacts the immune system for those with RA.
What they found was that acupuncture could effectively stimulate elements of the immune system such that the immune system was enhanced for those in the early stages of RA, and helped return the immune system to normal levels for those in later stages of RA.
Acupuncture is beneficial at every stage of Rheumatoid Arthritis
– Early treatment slows the progression of RA
– Consistent treatment improves the immune system
– Reduces pain-causing inflammation
– Late-stage treatment can help keep the immune system at a normal level
There is no cure for RA, and it’s not known how RA is acquired. Evidence indicates a genetic link, as well as evidence for lifestyle triggers. The best treatment options are aimed at the symptoms of inflammation and autoimmune deficiency. Without the side effects that can be caused by pharmaceutical drugs, acupuncture offers pain relief and improved immunity.