Accupuncture Visits for Rheumatoid Arthritis

I admit it, I’ve done a terrible job keeping up with posts on how acupuncture is going for me.  So rather than waiting to write a post where I tell you exactly how many visits I’ve had and what’s happened at each one, etc., I’m just going to take the easy road and make it simple.  I’ve gone to every Saturday appointment except for two and last Saturday I got a parking ticket….so much for letting that relaxed feeling linger……

I can tell you that whenever I do go in for acupuncture, I get a flare during the visit.  You might think that sounds terrible, but to me I think of it as progress.  Anything natural will make you flare up, it’s just part of the process.  And that’s the hardest part really, is how to tell the difference between something that is making you worse or something that is making you better when they both have the same reactions.  This excludes immune suppressive drugs because they work entirely differently.

Within an hour usually, my flare subsides and lately I feel fairly great for a few days before the inflammation comes back to its normal state.  I would definitely say the acupuncture is making a positive difference, however it’s very slight.  I’ve decided to keep going however, based on theory.  So here are my theories on why I should keep going to acupuncture:

1.  Acupuncture increases endorphins.  Endorphins help heal the body.  Therefore, I must be doing some, even if it’s small, amount of healing during the visit.

2.  Acupuncture increases circulation.  Over time, perhaps increasing the circulation will make a bigger decrease in the amount of inflammation in my body.

3.  Even if the decrease in inflammation is very slight, it is still something.  And perhaps that small amount will slow down the erosion and disability.

4.  The Placebo effect.  As long as I don’t get any more parking tickets, perhaps the placebo effect of thinking the acupuncture is helping somewhat, will help decrease the inflammation.

Michael has been using a Chinese technique that would make some people cringe where you prick near the fingernail with a needle in certain spots (on a few of the fingers on each hand) and cause your hands to bleed for a moment.  Maybe that doesn’t sound fun to you, and it isn’t really.  It’s nothing compared to RA pain.  I do, in all honesty feel like it is decreasing the inflammation more so than it was before he had tried this technique.  I was glad that he was open to asking me if I’d like to try it because most people would probably be against the idea.  To me it makes logical sense as well, that it would increase circulation.

So there you have it in a nutshell.  I’m going in tomorrow and this time I’ll circle around for 10 minutes if I have to so I can find a parking spot that doesn’t allow for any more cruel tickets.  I hope you all have a great weekend and thanks as always for visiting!

4 Responses

  1. Hi Wren!

    I totally understand what you mean about funds…I debate all the time on whether or not acupuncture is worth it. Still, I find myself driven to go for now. Remember too that when I originally went, (along while ago to a different acupuncturist), I never went back again…I went into a horrible flare that lasted for weeks. So I really think that acupuncture has so many factors. I think it has a lot to do with where in the course of your disease that you’re in. For me, I think it’s somewhat successful because I have my RA fairly managed. So flaring a little every single time isn’t much of a flare for me. I also think it has to do with medications. I truly believe that it’s possible that I have detoxed my body more so than say, if I were on methotrexate. And that acupuncture may only work decently if you’re not stirring up toxins in the body, so to speak…but who knows…I’m totally throwing out ideas on this one. My acupuncture had the same idea though, in fact he’s the one that said it first and I thought it made sense. I also think acupuncture of course has a lot to do with the person doing it. I’ve heard great things about the one that I go to and I get this sense about him that he’s a healer, or just knows intuitively where things hurt and what might help, etc. so I am placing a lot of hope that consistent acupuncture with him might go somewhere. But I think acupuncture is one of those things where no two situations are alike and it’s completely impossible to compare one result to another.

    I don’t know anything about TENS unit. Can you tell me more? I’m glad you found something that works for you, even if it’s only a little…every little bit counts!
    many hugs,

  2. Leslie,

    What’s the name of your blog? I’m so glad to hear that the gluten free diet is working for you. I applaud you for your will power! Minocycline will most likely put you in a flare at some point, but it’s worth it from all that I’ve read. Yes, LDN really helps me. It seems like it reached a peek of what it was capable of right away, but one of my most painful experiences was pleurisy and that is something LDN “cured” or whatever you would like to call it. As long as I am taking LDN, pleurisy has never come back and of course it decreases inflammation in a general sense. Well thanks so much for stopping by and please give me a link to your blog!
    many hugs,

  3. Hi Sarah —
    I’m glad the acupuncture is working for you, however slowly and vaguely it may be. Your attitude, I think, is a huge part of its potential success.

    I’ve had to stop going, myself, as funds have become too tight to afford it at the moment, even as inexpensive as community acupuncture is. And, I have to say that in this instance, I wasn’t feeling any particular relief from it; instead, my hands were hurting more after each session. While that may be normal and time might reverse that effect — and the acupuncturist assured me it frequently is and will — I don’t really want to do something that makes me feel worse than usual. So I’m using paraffin baths, the TENS unit, hot water and tramadol to soothe the pain. None are totally effective, but they all help a little for a while.

    I certainly continue to believe that it may be beneficial to some, and I’ll probably try it again in the future.

    I hope this finds you feeling good. Enjoy the holiday weekend!

  4. I believe that acupuncture can help many things. I’ve never personally tried it but I have researched it and it makes sense. I see that you take LDN….is it helping? I just started minocycline almost two weeks ago…along with a gluten-free diet and I was already feeling better the first few days. Stop by my blog sometime :)

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