Acupuncture is a system of complementary medicine in which fine needles are inserted in the skin at specific points along what are considered to be lines of energy (meridians), used in the treatment of various physical and mental conditions.
Western medical acupuncture uses principles of evidence based Medicine. It is therapeutic modality which involves the insertion of fine needles. This has been an adaptation of Chinese acupuncture applying current knowledge of anatomy, physiology and pathology.
Over two millennia ago the Chinese made the significant discovery that needling could influence various functions of the body. The advances since the scientific revolution in particularly the discoveries of the neurotransmitters and neuroplasticity. These have lead to the understanding of acupuncture mechanisms and the use of a the term “Western medical acupuncture”. Hence, two important distinctions between WMA and Chinese acupuncture are that WMA does not involve the traditional concepts such as Yin / Yang and circulation of “qi. Also WMA does not claim to be an “alternative” medical system.
The clinical effectiveness of acupuncture has been widely studied in relation to a number of diseases and this article provides more information about the results found and the future of acupuncture.
Osteoarthritis and Acupuncture
According to the Cochrane Review 2010, people with osteoarthritis may find that continued acupuncture treatments lead to small improvements in their pain and physical functions over an 8 week and 26 week period.
This suggestion is supported by a number of separate reviews where it has been confirmed that the non-pharmacological modality of acupuncture treatments had some efficacy for the relief of pain in those suffering from osteoarthritis.
For more information on how acupuncture may work to relieve symptoms of Osteoarthritis, please follow the links below:
The Cochrane Review 2010 – http://www.cochrane.org/CD001977/MUSKEL_acupuncture-for-osteoarthritis