Many patients with arthritis are seeking help with chronic disease management and they are finding relief from alternative therapies such as acupuncture. These alternative treatments have been shown to increase the quality of life and improve the patient’s ability to enjoy their daily activities at a much higher level.
Traditional Chinese medicine views the body from a distinct perspective which places an emphasis on maximizing the body’s healing ability and tending to aim for long–term healing. According to traditional Chinese medicine, musculoskeletal disorders, arthritis, and rheumatoid arthritis result from the invasion of wind, cold, and dampness combined, which causes stagnated flow of qi (life force) and blood. Acupuncture works through recovering the normal flow of qi and blood to relieve pain and improve physical function. This interpretation of the condition can change the way patients think and feel about their illness and their treatment.
Evidenced-based research shows acupuncture can be a clinically effective and cost efficient approach for many age-related chronic health problems. Dr. Hoyt states that acupuncture is shown to protect the immune system against the negative effects of stress and aging by inhibiting inflammatory cytokines and increasing T-cells. She has successfully helped many patients over the past 20 years to manage and reduce the painful swelling that accompanies this chronic disease.
A 1999 Canadian study randomized 73 older adults with osteoarthritis of the knee into two groups: acupuncture treated group and a control group. Acupuncture was provided bi-weekly for eight weeks. Significant reduction in the osteoarthritis index was seen in the acupuncture group including pain reduction of 34 percent by week four and 44 percent by week eight.
The chronic pain of Osteoarthritis can also affect the patient’s cognitive and emotional well being. In combination with a “whole body” approach, acupuncture can satisfactorily meet these needs and help develop better coping strategies.
Acupuncture treats aging-related pain through an analgesic and antidepressant effect resulting from increasing endorphin, serotonin and dopamine levels in the brain. Relevant clinical trials have examined the effects of both acupuncture and acupressure in older adults. A 2006 study randomized 38 acute hip fracture patients into acupressure versus control group in the ambulance on route to the hospital. Statistically significant reductions in pain, anxiety, and heart rate were reported for the acupressure group.
The opportunity to bring wellness to a person with a chronic disease is met through acupuncture. Enhancing wellness allows the patient to feel empowered about their healthcare and experience a deeper appreciation for their ability to live a rich life with reduced pain and inflammation.