Gout is one of the most painful rheumatic diseases. It results from deposits of needle-like crystals of uric acid in connective tissue, in the joint space between two bones, or in both. These deposits lead to inflammatory arthritis, which causes swelling, redness, heat, pain, and stiffness in the joints. The term arthritis refers to more than 100 different rheumatic diseases that affect the joints, muscles, and bones, as well as other tissues and structures. Gout accounts for approximately 5 percent of all cases of arthritis.
Acupuncture has traditionally been successfully employed in China to treat most illnesses. There is little doubt that acupuncture is an excellent therapy for people suffering with this condition as it works through the nervous system and energy channels in the body. Treatment has been shown to cause the brain to release endorphines and encephalins (natural pain killers), boost the immune system and calm the nervous system.
There are several studies suggesting that acupuncture can be very helpful in the treatment of arthritic conditions. For instance, in one study, 54 arthritic sufferers were given acupuncture (warm needling) with Zhuifengsu (Chinese herb) The success rate was found to be 100%.
A study of auriculo-electropuncture (AEP) - treatment of points on the ear - by a double blind method was conducted in Russia with 16 arthritic patients. Not only did they all feel better as a result of the treatment but they all showed "statistically significant" improvement in blood samples.
Traditional acupuncturists treat the whole person rather than a disease and therefore attempt to get to the root cause of the problem rather than treating the symptoms and, like other holistic practitioners, will consider all lifestyle and environmental factors before commencing treatment. Apart from the numerous clinical studies on acupuncture and gout patients, there are many emperical accounts of gout sufferers being helped with acupuncture and it would therefore appear to be an appropriate therapy to adopt in holistic treatment of gout.