Acupuncture for Arthritis:  Natural Treatment for Stiffness and Pain in Joints

Discover the Advantages of Acupuncture for Hand and Knee Arthritis

Acupuncture, an ancient Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM) practice, has existed for thousands of years. This holistic approach provides natural, drug-free treatment to relieve various health issues, including arthritis. In this article, we will take a closer look at the extraordinary world of acupuncture, outlining its techniques, benefits, and preventive care applications for arthritis patients. You will discover numerous advantages it provides, from reducing pain and inflammation to improving joint (hand and knee) mobility and overall health. Furthermore, we will shed light on preventive acupuncture, showing how regular treatments can successfully treat the underlying causes of arthritis and potentially slow down its onset or decrease its severity. Join us on this illuminating journey as we discover the healing power of acupuncture to treat arthritis and improve your quality of life.

Effective Acupuncture Treatments for Arthritis in San Diego and Oceanside

Welcome to Makari Wellness acupuncture clinic, a trusted haven for holistic healing and relief from arthritis symptoms. Our extensively experienced and licensed acupuncturist Michael Woodworth M.S. L. Ac, Dipl., uses this non-invasive ancient method to treat arthritis patients effectively without using synthetic drugs. Our acupuncture treatment for hand and knee arthritis symptoms provide targeted relief and help restore optimal joint mobility. We are committed to helping people on their journey to better health and wellness at Makari Wellness. Our mission is to provide you and your loved ones with the best possible patient-centered integrative medical care.

Contact us at (888) 871-8889 to discover how we can help improve the quality of your life. You can submit all your inquiries here or book your appointment now. We will gather information regarding your medical history and current health state during the consultation. Subsequently, a personalized treatment plan will be developed to suit your individual needs.

What Is Acupuncture and How Does it Work?

Acupuncture is rooted in traditional Chinese medicine (TCM). It is based on the principle that health is governed by the flow of ‘Qi’ (pronounced “chi”) — a life-force energy — throughout the body. Disruptions in this flow are believed to be responsible for the disease. Acupuncture involves the insertion of fine, sterile needles at specific points along these energy pathways, aiming to restore balance and stimulate the body’s natural healing processes.

Is Acupuncture Safe?

Concerns about safety are entirely understandable, particularly when the treatment involves needles. When performed by a trained and certified practitioner, acupuncture is considered safe. The U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) regulates acupuncture needles as medical devices and requires them to be sterile, nontoxic, and labeled for single use by qualified practitioners.

Acupuncture’s potential benefits are broad-ranging. It has proven to be effective treatment for pain management, from back pain and migraines to arthritis and post-operative pain.

Acupuncture has received approval and recognition from the medical establishment. In the United States, there are approximately 28,000 licensed acupuncturists. Furthermore, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) classifies acupuncture needles as legitimate medical devices.

Acupuncture for Hand Arthritis

Acupuncture has become a reliable and effective treatment for hand arthritis. The therapy involves placing ultra-fine needles into specific acupoints along the meridian pathways of the affected hand. These strategically stimulated points help restore the flow of Qi energy throughout the hand, thereby relieving pain, inflammation, and stiffness. Meticulous application of needles helps your body heal itself by releasing endorphins, increasing blood flow, and stimulating tissue regeneration.

Acupuncture for hand arthritis provides a variety of benefits to patients. Pain levels tend to decrease, resulting in improved comfort and function. Swelling and inflammation reduce, allowing for improved joint mobility and flexibility. Furthermore, it improves fine motor skills and dexterity, allowing patients to regain their independence in everyday life. Some acupuncture points for hand arthritis include:

  • He Gu (LI4): This point is in the soft tissue between the thumb and the index finger and is known for its analgesic and anti-inflammatory properties.
  • Nei Guan (PC6): This point is located on the inside of the forearm, approximately two fingers away from the wrist crease. It is well-known for reducing pain and nausea and promoting relaxation.
  • Zhong Chong (PC9): Located on the tip of the middle finger, it is believed to strengthen hand energy and reduce pain and stiffness.

During the acupuncture session, you will lie comfortably while the practitioner inserts fine needles into the chosen points. The needles will remain in place for approximately 20-30 minutes, allowing you to relax and absorb the therapeutic benefits. The sensation of acupuncture is described as minimal to mild by many patients. Upon needle insertion, you may experience a slight prick or tingling sensation, followed by warmth or slight pressure around the acupuncture point. These sensations are indicative of the stimulation of Qi (energy) and the activation of the body’s self-healing processes.

Acupuncture for Knee Arthritis

Acupuncture treatment for knee arthritis involves the precise placement of fine needles into certain points along the meridian pathways of the knee. Knee arthritis is a disabling condition that can lead to pain, stiffness, and restricted movement. Some commonly targeted acupoints for knee arthritis include:

  • Xiyan (EX-LE5): This point is located just beneath the knee joint on the outside of the leg and is well-known for its role in reducing inflammation and alleviating knee pain.
  • Dubi (ST-35): This point, located below the kneecap, is commonly used to reduce knee pain, and swelling, and enhance joint function.
  • Liangqiu (ST-34): It’s located on the outside of your knee joint and is often used to relieve knee pain, reduce inflammation, and improve flexibility.

Acupuncture treatments are performed in a sterile and safe environment. During the treatment, the patient is positioned in a reclining position while the practitioner strategically places very fine needles on the patient’s body. The needles will remain in place for approximately 30 minutes while the patient rests. The practitioner will also supervise the patient’s body reaction.

The goal of expert acupuncture is to reduce the occurrence of knee pain, decrease inflammation, and enhance the overall function of the knee. Acupuncture will provide you with the transformative power to regain the ability to move freely and comfortably, allowing you to live an active, pain-free life.

Benefits of Acupuncture for Arthritis

Acupuncture has become a widely used and successful form of alternative treatment for the treatment of arthritis. By concentrating on the body’s meridian pathways, acupuncture can provide a range of advantages to those seeking relief from arthritis-related symptoms. The following are some of the primary benefits of acupuncture for arthritis.

Pain relief

Acupuncture is renowned for its powerful analgesic effects. By targeting specific areas of the body, acupuncture stimulates the release of endorphins, the body’s natural pain relievers. This has significantly reduced hand and knee arthritis pain, resulting in a greater sense of well-being and an enhanced quality of life.

Reduced Inflammation

Acupuncture has been demonstrated to reduce inflammation and swelling in the affected joints of arthritis. This is because acupuncture modulates the body’s immune response, which can help to reduce joint inflammation and discomfort.

Improved Joint Mobility

Arthritis of the hands and knees can limit joint movement and result in stiffness. Acupuncture stimulates blood flow to the affected areas to improve joint mobility and flexibility, thereby restoring the equilibrium of energy throughout the body. This leads to smoother joint movement and increased range of motion.

Stress Reduction

Chronic pain and reduced mobility can result in heightened stress and anxiety levels. Acupuncture treatments can offer a calming and restorative experience, resulting in profound relaxation and a reduction in stress. This can have a positive effect on overall health and well-being and can help to foster a more positive attitude towards managing arthritis symptoms.  

Holistic Approach

Acupuncture is a form of holistic health care that focuses on the interdependence of the body, the mind, and the soul. Its purpose is to treat not only the symptoms of arthritis, but also the imbalances that cause them.

Potential Side Effects of Acupuncture

Before undergoing acupuncture treatment, it is recommended to consult with your primary care physician. The potential side effects, which are typically mild and transient, may include:

  • Needle Shock: Needle shock is a term used to describe a feeling of lightheadedness or faintness during or immediately after an acupuncture session. This is relatively rare and often resolves quickly with rest and hydration.
  • Bruising is minor, generally harmless, and fades away within a few days.
  • Soreness: Some individuals might feel tenderness or soreness post-treatment at the needle insertion sites. This discomfort usually subsides within a day or two.

How Much is Acupuncture Session and How Many Sessions Do I Need?

The cost of an initial acupuncture examination typically hovers around $200. As for the price of each session and the number of sessions required, these are influenced by various factors. This includes the acupuncturist’s level of expertise, your specific health concerns, among other things. Discussing these aspects with your practitioner to plan a suitable and cost-effective treatment is crucial. Many practitioners offer discounts if you apply for packages/pre-paid treatment plans. Also, gather information about billing and acceptance of insurance plans or HAS/FSA accounts. If you live in San Diego County contact Makari Wellness or check FAQ/FEES page for more info.

Arthritis Overview: Types, Symptoms, Causes & Treatment

Arthritis is defined as chronic inflammatory diseases of the joints that cause swelling, stiffness and pain. It is believed that more than 50 million Americans have some form of arthritis, which means that either you or someone you care about suffers from this disease. It is a condition that primarily impacts the joints of the body but can also considerably impact the overall quality of life.

With chronic pain and limited mobility, you may find it difficult to perform everyday activities like walking, going up and down the stairs, buttoning your shirt, or even more intricate tasks like gripping things or typing. In extreme cases, it can lead to joint damage and long-term disability.

Arthritis is typically diagnosed through a comprehensive analysis of medical history, a physical exam, imaging tests, X-rays or MRI, and, in some cases, blood tests to exclude other conditions and identify the type of arthritis.


There are over 100 types of arthritis, with the two most prominent forms being Osteoarthritis and Rheumatoid arthritis.

Joint degeneration is one of the most common causes of osteoarthritis. It is a condition that occurs when the cartilage that supports the ends of the bones gradually degenerates, resulting in pain, stiffness, and limited mobility. Various factors, including age, genetics, or injury can cause osteoarthritis.

Rheumatoid Arthritis is an autoimmune disease. This disease is caused by the immune system mistakenly attacking the joints’ lining, resulting in inflammation. Although the exact mechanism of onset is unknown, it is thought to be a combination of genetics and environmental factors.


Arthritis can manifest in a variety of ways, depending on the nature and severity of the disease. Common signs and symptoms include joint discomfort, swelling, rigidity, redness, heat, and in some cases, systemic symptoms like fever or weight loss.

Risk Groups

Risk factors that can increase the chances of developing arthritis include family history, obesity, joint injuries, infections, hormonal factors and occupation.

Treatment Options by Western and Traditonal Medicine

As there is no known cure for arthritis, the primary focus is alleviating symptoms and enhancing joint function. Multiple treatments or combinations may be necessary to determine the most suitable treatment for you.

Conventional medicine therapy includes antirheumatic drugs, corticosteroids, joint immobilization, hot & cold packs, physical therapy, lifestyle changes, TENS stimulation, and in some cases, surgery.

In many instances, alternative treatments can be combined with traditional medical treatments, offering further relief from joint pain and stiffness and aiding you in maintaining and restoring flexibility. Alternative therapies include acupuncture, Tai chi, Yoga, herbal supplements, and progressive muscle relaxation therapy.

Final Words

The goal of acupuncture is to help you on your path to natural healing and relief from pain and stiffness. Focusing on specific acupuncture points stimulates your body’s natural healing mechanisms to reduce pain and inflammation, improve joint mobility and overall health.

Acupuncture is a comprehensive approach to healthcare that considers how our bodies, minds, and souls are connected. Addressing the root causes of arthritis goes beyond treating the symptoms only and restores balance and harmony. By choosing acupuncture, you will experience the transformative power of natural healing and unlock the life of better joint health and quality of life. Make the first move towards natural healing and accept your new future, where arthritis will no longer define your daily activities.

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