"More than 46 million Americans have some form of arthritis or related condition," said the Arthritis Foundation. Rheumatoid arthritis, which is also known as RA, affects more than 1.3 million people annually between the ages of 25-50.
RA strikes women at a 2.5 to 1 ration to men. Interestingly enough, women comprise more than 60 percent of all arthritis cases.
A recent study by the Memorial Sloan-Kettering Cancer Center, which was published in the Archives of Internal Medicine, stated that acupuncture helps some types of chronic pain.
The study of more than 18,000 patients found that acupuncture was effective in relieving shoulder, neck and back pain, chronic headaches and osteoarthritis.
According to the National Institute of Health’s National Center for Complementary and Alternative Medicine, more than 40 percent of American adults use some form of alternative medicine.
Currently there are not enough medical studies to prove that alternative medicine benefits RA patients. However, alternative medicine may reduce certain symptoms in RA patients.
For example, an attorney recently told me she was suffering from RA and was in pretty bad shape for eight months. She was in such bad shape, she was using a walker to get around her office and home.
Her daughter recommended acupuncture. She hesitated for months and decide that she had nothing to lose.
She made an appointment with a Chinese acupuncturist and she said after 24 hours she felt better. After several treatments her inflammation has been reduced and she no longer uses a walker.
Granted this isn't a scientific study, but as she stated in our recent conversation, “I am now a firm believer in acupuncture.”
Three supplements that have been known to reduce RA symptoms are thunder god vine, gamma-linolenic acid and fish oil.
Thunder god vine (Tripterygium wilfordii) can have serious side effects on a woman's reproductive system, as well as cause hair loss, headaches and diarrhea. But data showed thunder god vine may reduce RA symptoms inflammation.