Acupuncture and gout

by Nathan Wei, MD, FACP, FACR

Nathan Wei is a nationally known board-certified rheumatologist and author of the Second Opinion Arthritis Treatment Kit. It's available exclusively at this website... not available in stores.

Click here: Second Opinion Arthritis Treatment Kit

Acupuncture has been used for centuries in China to treat many diseases. The current theory is that acupuncture causes the brain to release endorphins and encephalins (natural pain killers).

There are studies indicating that acupuncture can be very helpful in the treatment of arthritis. In one study, 54 arthritic sufferers were given acupuncture (warm needling) with Zhuifengsu (Chinese herb) The success rate was found to be 100%. (Effect of acupuncture and point-injection treatment on immunologic function in rheumatoid arthritis. Liu X; Sun L; Xiao J; Yin S; Liu C; Li Q; Li H; Jin B General Hospital of PLA, Beijing. J Tradit Chin Med (CHINA) Sep 1993, 13 (3) p174-8)

A double-blinded study of auriculo-electropuncture (AEP) - treatment of points on the ear was conducted in Russia with 16 arthritic patients. Not only did they all feel better as a result of the treatment but they all showed "statistically significant" improvement in blood samples. ([Auriculo-electropuncture in rheumatoid arthritis (a double-blind study)] Aurikuloelektropunktura pri revmatoidnom artrite (dvoinoe slepoe ispytanie). Ruchkin IN; Burdeinyi AP Ter Arkh 1987, 59 (12) p26-30

There are anecdotal reports of gout sufferers being helped with acupuncture.

Acupuncture in MedicineJune 2000 VOL 18(1) Page 29-31

Treatment of Gout with Acupuncture

Pang Jun, Huang Bo-ling, Li Yu-shun, Zhou Yu-yan, Han Zhi-yong, Faye Richardson

Gout is a disorder of purine metabolism in which a high serum level of uric acid is found and there is deposit of monosodium urate crystals within joints causing pain and tenderness. The pharmacological treatment relies upon non- steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs in the acute stage, and prophylactic drugs in the chronic state to control the level of circulating uric acid.

In traditional Chinese medicine an over-rich diet is thought to cause a build-up of damp and heat internally that causes phlegm to stagnate. There is also disturbance of the spleen and kidney. Treatment thus involves Spleen and Stomach acupuncture points (SP.3 and 6, and ST.36 and 40) to control heat and damp and reduce phlegm. Other local points are used according to the joint involved.

A case history is discussed illustrating the treatment and a series of 10 patients is reported in which there is a 70% success in reducing the chronic level of serum uric acid and the frequency of acute attacks.

J Tradit Chin Med. 2004 Sep;24(3):185-7.

Clinical analysis for the acupuncture treatment in 42 cases of gouty renal damage.

Ma X.Hai'an County Hospital of Traditional Chinese Medicine, Jiangsu Province 226600.

OBJECTIVE: To observe the therapeutic effects of acupuncture on gouty renal damage. METHOD: 72 cases of gouty renal damage were randomly divided into a treatment group of 42 cases and a control group of 30 cases to observe the therapeutic effects and the changes in 24-hour urinary protein content, blood creatinine, uric acid and urea nitrogen in blood before treatment and one month after treatment. RESULTS: The total effective rate in the treatment group reached 95.24%, which was remarkably higher than 63.33% in the control group. After one month of treatment, the indexes were found reduced in both groups, but the reduction rate in the treatment group was obviously superior to that in the control group. CONCLUSION: The patients with repeated attacks of gout may have a higher possibility to suffer from renal damage. Therefore, attention should be paid to its early diagnosis and treatment. Acupuncture may exert good therapeutic effects on early gout complicated with renal damage by adjusting the metabolism and improving the renal function.

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