Acupuncture for arthritis

Acupuncture and arthritis

Acupuncture is an approach that some people use to treat their symptoms of arthritis. The information below will help you understand more about acupuncture, if it can help with your arthritis symptoms, and how to find an acupuncturist.

What is acupuncture?

Acupuncture is a practice that has been used for centuries. The principles are based in Traditional Chinese Medicine, with an emphasis on repairing and restoring the body’s energy flow, called qi [pronounced chee] to heal disease or illness.

Qi is believed to flow through the body along pathways called meridians. It is thought that when people experience disease, it is a disruption of this energy flow. Acupuncture is used to help restore qi by using long thin needles inserted along specific points of the meridian lines that help to restore the disruption of energy flow. 

How does acupuncture work?

Someone receiving acupuncture treatment on his/her backNeedles are placed in specific locations along the meridians based on how those pressure points are associated with organs or other areas of the body. For example, a pressure point between the index finger and thumb on the hand is often associated with headaches, and this point may be more tender when experiencing a headache. The needles draw the body’s attention to these points and activate increased blood circulation at these sites. 

Can acupuncture be used to treat arthritis symptoms?

Although there is limited reliable research data about the impact of acupuncture on arthritis pain, research does suggest that it can be used to help rheumatoid arthritis symptoms and could have an anti-inflammatory effect as well as help regulate immune function, though more research is needed. 

In addition to pain management, acupuncture has been found helpful in reducing side effects caused by arthritis medications, such as nausea or fatigue. 

How do I find a provider?

A professional practicing acupunture on someone's backSome areas of Canada have regulated the practice of acupuncture, including Alberta, British Columbia, Newfoundland & Labrador, Ontario and Québec. In these regions, only people who have met the training requirements can call themselves an “Acupuncturist”. A person must complete at least 3 years of full-time training to earn a Registered Acupuncturist (R.Ac.) credential.

Acupuncture can also be practiced by Registered Traditional Chinese Medicine Practitioners (R.TCMP) who complete an additional year of study after earning their R.Ac. title.

If you live in a region where it is unregulated, make sure to learn more about someone’s training and credentials before booking an appointment with them.