In the United States, arthritis is the number one cause of disability each year.  It is a complex condition that can affect anyone at any age and can come in more than a hundred different types.  Rheumatoid arthritis and osteoarthritis are the two most common among the hundred or more type of arthritis that affects people.  The efficacy of massage therapies and acupuncture has made these two modalities one of the most popular treatments for arthritis in the United States.

Rheumatoid Arthritis

Rheumatoid arthritis is a joint problem wherein patients may experience this condition in parts of the body such as the tissue of the skin, the lungs and even the heart.  Considered a long-term condition, rheumatoid arthritis is basically due to inflammation of the joints known as synovium.  This type of arthritis leads to redness, stiffness and swelling in the joints. These problematic joints may become disfigured and so they may lose the ability for normal movement.


This type of arthritis is the most common type of arthritic condition in the United States.  Osteoarthritis is so prevalent in the US that it affects about 21 million US citizens each year. Osteoarthritis is due to a systematic shutdown of the cartilage of the joints that eventually leads to stiffness and extreme pain. The spine, fingers and knees are body parts that are usually stricken with this condition while the ankles, shoulders, elbows and wrists are likewise affected but in a less frequent manner. Sometimes osteoarthritis can also affect parts of the body that are rarely affected and this is always due to a pre-existing injury. Osteoarthritis can develop due to work related injuries. People working in occupations that entail frequent squatting, kneeling and bending are at high risk to develop osteoarthritis of the knee.

Arthritis Treatment Involving Acupuncture and Massage Therapies

The past few years have shown the superiority of massage therapies and acupuncture for treating arthritis over that of conventional medicines. Besides sharing the same potent quality of addressing arthritis and various kinds of conditions, acupuncture and massage therapies are natural modalities whose roots are deeply entrenched in the holistic world of ancient medicine.

Massage Therapy for Arthritis

Massage therapy and acupuncture are ancient treatments that have been widely used in Asia for thousands of years. Hippocrates who is considered the father of medicine was the first person in record who stated that rubbing the body at certain parts can be used to loosen a problematic joint. This was over two millennia ago. In treating arthritis, massage therapy is known to work in a few ways:

It improves blood flow to the skin
It relaxes and soothes tight muscles
It betters joint movement

There are a number and different types of massage therapy and so if the one that you’re using doesn’t do anything for you, no problem because you have many choices of massage therapies to select from. These different forms of massage therapy include:

Trigger Point Therapy
Deep Tissue Massage
Swedish Massage

Acupuncture for Arthritis Treatment

For over 5,000 years, acupuncture has been used with a very high success rate in treating the inflammation and pain associated with many forms of arthritis. Traditional ancient Chinese medicine customizes its acupuncture therapy based on the arthritis symptoms of the patient with a combination of lifestyle changes, body work, Chinese herbal formulas and, of course, acupuncture treatment. The regular doing of energetic exercises and dietary changes are some of the major factors that can make acupuncture treatment for arthritis more effective.

Many times the acupuncture needles inserted into certain points of the body to treat arthritis will not be inserted into the painful sites itself.  They may be inserted in the head, the ear or even in your small toes.  The needles are really small and thin and definitely do not cause any pain at all when they are manipulated into the skin. Acupuncture can make a person feel so relaxed and pleasant that he may just go for a round of acupuncture just to get quality sleep at night. A treatment session can be as short as 5 minutes and as long as an hour. For arthritis, the sufferer may need to go for multiple sessions depending on the seriousness of his condition.

During follow-up visits, your acupuncturist may prescribe herbal formulas that are specifically created to remedy arthritis symptoms. These herbs used include:

Anjelica Pubescens
Cinnamon Twig
Juan Bi Tang

A Swedish research involving 32 subjects who have undergone hip replacement surgery has shown that about 25% of the patients who were given acupuncture experienced substantial improvement of their functionality that they seriously think that their surgery was not really needed after all.