Acupuncture for Arthritis: Benefits and Treatments

acupuncture for arthritis


Arthritis getting you down? You can try a new solution and consider undergoing acupuncture for arthritis pain relief. It can be a great option for those who want to try a medication-free way to manage pain, or those who are looking for natural complements to their usual treatment regimen.


The Santa Barbara Herb Clinic can help you manage pain and other issues related to arthritis. Arthritis is something of a common disease, though it can also be quite complicated. There are more types of arthritis than one might expect, and the disease can also affect different people in different ways.


What’s common in the different types of arthritis is that they all cause swelling, stiffness, and pain. Acupuncture can help patients manage these symptoms in a natural, medication-free way that has benefits beyond pain relief.



Arthritis: An overview

Arthritis affects 53 million adults, as well as 300,000 children, in the US alone. It is also one of the leading disabilities in the US. Though it is more common in women and the elderly, it can affect people of any age, sex, or race.



Common symptoms

In general, arthritis hits the joints. People with arthritis may experience swelling, stiffness, and pain in their back and neck, shoulders, elbows, wrists, hands, fingers, hips, knees, ankles, feet, heels, or toes. The symptoms can range from mild to severe, and they can also get worse as the years pass. Arthritis can also cause permanent changes to the affected joints, including permanent stiffness and swelling, which can cause difficulties in mobility.


Primary physicians are typically the ones to make a diagnosis for arthritis. They make the diagnosis by performing physical examinations as well as blood tests and imaging scans to figure out what specific type of arthritis they’re dealing with.



Types of arthritis

There are over a hundred distinct types of arthritis known today, from Adult-Onset Still’s Disease to Wegener’s Granulomatosis. The most common type is osteoarthritis, which affects about 31 million people in the US. Arthritis is also a symptom in diseases such as gout, lupus, fibromyalgia, Calcium Pyrophosphate Deposition Disease (CPPD), Kawasaki disease, and Lyme disease.


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Acupuncture for arthritis

It seems that scientific research hasn’t yet come to a consensus about how acupuncture can benefit those with arthritis. Some studies have found that acupuncture can relieve pain due to arthritis to a limited degree, but not enough to recommend acupuncture as treatment for arthritis pain.


However, this doesn’t mean that acupuncture is conclusively not that effective. There is still a dearth of high-quality research into the subject, which means that the information we may have is still incomplete. There are also suggestions that acupuncture may have a placebo effect. Even so, some doctors say, it still means that it can help stop pain signals from reaching the brain.


There seems to be little to no risk if you undergo acupuncture for arthritis as a way to alleviate some of the symptoms of the condition. Thus, it’s definitely worth trying.



How does it work?

Acupuncture has been an important feature of traditional Chinese medicine (TCM) for thousands of years. According to TCM, an individual’s wellness and health are governed by his or her life force, or qi (pronounced “chee”). Qi flows through 20 meridians in the body, and when this flow is blocked or disrupted, it results in pain, illness, or other problems. Acupuncture seeks to help treat these issues by restoring the proper flow of the individual’s qi.


So how does acupuncture work? Simply put, it involves the insertion of fine needles into your skin. The needles are inserted at specific acupuncture points and are meant to restore the proper balance of qi in the patient’s body. It’s also possible that acupuncture is able to divert pain signals, as well as induce the production of endorphins and other pain-relieving hormones.


At the Santa Barbara Herb Clinic, we have Tram Pham as our owner and Licensed Acupuncturist. She has a Master’s in Chinese Medicine from Yo San University and has a wide scope of experience.



Does it hurt?

The needles used in acupuncture are very fine, and it’s rare for them to cause pain. However, you can expect to feel a tingling sensation or a sensation of heaviness in the spots where the needles are inserted. This isn’t a cause for alarm; in fact, it’s taken as a good sign that the acupuncture is taking effect. Undergoing acupuncture for arthritis is actually quite low-risk, but the payoff can be more than worth it.



Is acupuncture right for you?

Before you book an appointment at the Santa Barbara Herb Clinic, you should first consult with your doctor. It’s also best if you have the details of your medical history as well as the medication you take on hand. Acupuncture is tailored to the individual, not the specific condition. This means that our Licensed Acupuncturist will need details of your medical history to be able to tailor a regimen to your needs.


Nearly anyone can undergo acupuncture for arthritis. However, if you have blood disorders or are taking blood thinners, you should avoid acupuncture. Acupuncture is also generally safe to undergo during pregnancy, though there are certain acupuncture points that your Licensed Acupuncturist should avoid. Thus, if you are pregnant, you should definitely make it known to the clinic.


If you are unable to take medication for your arthritis, acupuncture is a good alternative that can help you alleviate the symptoms of arthritis.


acupuncture in Santa Barbara


Acupuncture at the Santa Barbara Herb Clinic

Dr. Jean Yu founded the Santa Barbara Herb Clinic in 1986. Since then, the clinic has been serving Santa Barbara’s acupuncture and all-natural healing needs. Our Licensed Acupuncturist, Tram, has years of experience in addressing various health issues, not just arthritis.


Get in touch with us to make an appointment and experience acupuncture for arthritis in Santa Barbara. You can call us at 805-563-0222 or email us at If you’re not in the Santa Barbara or Goleta area, that’s not a problem! You can also call us to schedule a video or phone consultation with Tram.