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IMPORTANT NOTE: kneeVitality does not endorse the use of acupuncture for knee pain. More importantly, KNEEVITALTY IS NOT an acupuncture treatment!

However, kneeVitality would like to act as your partner in your health care and try to inform you of all possible solutions to your health issues. There have not been any conclusive studies that have shown acupuncture actually helps knee pain from arthritis. Feel free to read the following descriptions for your own education. Again, kneeVitality is not an acupuncture type treatment, it is a proven traditional medicine remedy performed by a physician. kneeVitality has knee pain clinics in Denver, Colorado and Los Angeles, California.

Read about the PROVEN kneeVitality procedure.

Acupuncture is the application of fine needles inserted into the skin at "precise" points. Acupuncture originated in China thousands of years ago and is based on the theory that "an essential life energy called qi (pronounced chee) flows through the body along invisible channels, called meridians." When the flow of chee is "blocked" or out of balance, "illness or pain results." According to Chinese theory, "stimulation of specific points along the meridians can correct the flow of qi to restore or optimize health, or to block pain." There have been very few studies to support these claims.

Typically acupunctures use the following methods to try to relieve knee pain:

Electro-acupuncture: The most commonly used technique is the insertion of a few electricity-conducting needles to several needles varying from 4 - 10 needles each of which is very small (see dimensions below) through the skin of a person receiving acupuncture. The insertion of each needle almost always cause little discomfort or pain to no pain and no discomfort during the process of the insertion. After cleaning the skin, the needles are inserted into the selected acupuncture points along the meridians overlying muscles and various other tissues but never into the spinal cord, brain, chest, abdomen, various abdominal organs and blood vessels such as vein and artery. After all the needles are in place, a small, minute quantity of direct current usually supplied by a 9-volt battery from a small box stimulator is delivered to the electricity-conducting needles by small electrical cords with alligator clips at one end of each cord to attach to the needle. The patient usually feels the twitching of the muscles as the muscles are electrically stimulated. Some patients may feel different sensations such as warmth at the site being stimulated or adjacent sites to the stimulation sites. After about 5 - 20 minutes of stimulation, the entire contraption is removed from the patient. This is the most pleasant of all the techniques of acupuncture.

Manual Acupuncture: Follows similar insertion technique as electro-acupuncture except that no electrical stimulation is delivered and each needle is manually manipulated like twirling by the hands of the acupuncture practitioner. Twirling can cause pain and discomfort to patient.

Auricular Acupuncture is the insertion of needles into the earlobes and uses the above methods of stimulation. It is reported and shown that there are about 168 acupuncture points on a human ear.

Other methods of acupuncture include scalp needling in which acupuncture needles are inserted into acupuncture points on the scalp. Face and hand acupuncturists use the acupuncture points on the meridians on the face and hand, respectively.

Moxibustion - a ball or cigar-like roll of herbs lit to deliver heat to the needle. Cupping is the application of cups heated by a small flame to create a vacuum on the skin when applied to the skin. Bloodletting uses a sharp lancet or needle to bleed a small quantity of blood from the skin. Laser is used to stimulate the acupuncture points on the skin. Magnets, staples or taped metal pellets are placed on the acupuncture points on the body, face, earlobes and tongue of the person. Acu-pressure uses fingers to deeply press on acupuncture points. Application of various types of electrical stimulation on the acupuncture points such as TENS (Transcutaneous Electrical Nerve Stimulator).

No one knows exactly how, or if, acupuncture works. Some acupoints correspond to areas, called trigger points, that are known to be abundant in nerve endings, and studies show stimulating acupoints causes multiple biologic responses. Such stimulation can prompt a cascade of chemicals in the muscles, spinal cord and brain that releases the body's natural pain-killing endorphins, and can also affect circulation and other body systems.

Acupuncture has been described in thousands of writings throughout the centuries. Among the many recent studies are several that show it relieves osteoarthritis symptoms - so well in one Scandinavian study that 25 percent of patients previously scheduled for knee surgery canceled their plans. That same study showed booster treatments once a month sustained the pain relief.

Other studies have shown that acupuncture helps relieve pain from fibromyalgia and osteoarthritis; can decrease the number and severity of Raynaud's phenomenon attacks; helps ease conditions that can accompany arthritis such as depression and irritable bowel syndrome; and enhance conventional treatments for gout, when used in a combined therapy.

The downside is this...many studies are not published in English and few acupuncture studies meet rigorous scientific standards. There's enough research to suggest acupuncture relieves pain for some, and that it is safe when performed by a trained professional using sterile or disposable needles.

Acupuncture appears to work best on fibromyalgia and soft-tissue pain, and to be least effective for rheumatoid arthritis or other systemic inflammatory conditions.

Other advocates believe acupuncture's effects may go beyond temporary pain relief. One thing experts concur on is that acupuncture will not cure arthritis. Acupuncture is generally safe, but as with any therapy - conventional or alternative - you should observe some precautions.

  • Choose a therapist who is licensed and/or a graduate of a respected school of acupuncture, and who is willing to work with your doctor. Some 10,000 acupuncturists currently practice in the United States and most are regulated by the state in which they reside. About 4,000 medical doctors have completed a recognized acupuncture training program
  • Get a diagnosis from a medical doctor (MD or DO) before undergoing acupuncture, to make sure you don't have a condition requiring prompt medical attention.
  • Don't stop your medications without consulting your doctor. Acupuncture works with, not instead of, conventional medicine.
  • Tell the acupuncturist about all health conditions, including pregnancy; and list all medications (including herbs and non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs that could cause you to bleed, for example).
  • Be sure the acupuncturist uses sterilized or disposable needles.
  • Don't take muscle relaxants, tranquilizers or painkillers right before acupuncture, as acupuncture may intensify the effects of these drugs.
  • Tell the practitioner right away if you experience pain or bleeding. Acupuncture shouldn't hurt after the initial sting of the needle's insertion; you should not bleed more than a few drops.
  • Don't automatically take herbs offered by traditional Chinese practitioners. They could interact with prescription drugs. Again, make sure you consult with your MD or DO.
  • Keep notes about your response to the treatment, and tell your doctor and acupuncturist about any changes.
  • Track your progress. If you have no response at all after four to six sessions, this therapy may not work for you.

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*This knee pain and other medical information is for educational purposes and does not create a physicial patient relationship in any way. Consult with your physician for more information on kneeVitality treatments.