Rheumatoid arthritis (RA) is an autoimmune disease that causes chronic
inflammation of the joints, adjacent soft tissue and organs. Commonly affects
women in middle age.
RA attacks joints on both sides of the body equally. The common areas are the
wrists, fingers, knees, feet, and ankles. Symptoms are morning stiffness, joint
pain, sometimes numbness, tingling or burning in the hands and feet. Gradually
nodules appear under the skin with destruction of the joints leading to
deformity and disability. Other symptoms include chest pain when taking a breath
(pleurisy), dry eyes and mouth, eye burning, itching, and discharge.
RA usually requires lifelong treatment and early treatment could decrease pain
and damage, traditionally includes medications (most common is Methotrexate),
physical therapy, exercise, education, and possibly surgery; however acupuncture
has been found effective in treating RA as evidenced in the World Health
Organization 2002 - Acupuncture: Review and Analysis of Reports on Controlled
I, myself suffered from RA since 2005 and was on Methotrexate for a few years.
Being aware of the potential detrimental side effects to the body, I stopped the
medicine and started acupuncture treatment. Within few months, the joint
swelling and pain subsided. Since then I have been having acupuncture treatment
on a weekly basis as a preventive measure.