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Acupuncture and electro-acupuncture were tested for their efficacy in the treatment of rheumatoid arthritis. Researchers measured key blood factors responsible for rheumatoid arthritis. The study measured that both acupuncture and electro-acupuncture significantly reduced both blood and synovial joint levels of tumor necrosis factor-a (TNF-a) and vascular endothelial growth factor (VEGF). Electro-acupuncture was shown to have a greater effect in lowering VEGF than non-electrical acupuncture.

In this randomized controlled study, 63 patients with rheumatoid arthritis were split into two groups. One group received electro-acupuncture and the other received non-electrical acupuncture. Acupuncture points were selected on pain related points (Ashi points) and related Yang acupuncture channels. The patients were treated every other day for a total of ten treatments per course. Each patient received three courses of treatment. The researchers concluded that electroacupuncture “could effectively lower the contents of TNF-α and VEGF in peripheral blood and joint synovia to improve the internal environment for genesis and development of RA, so as to enhance the clinical therapeutic effectiveness.”

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Reference:
Ouyang, Ba-si; Gao, Jie; Che, Jian-li; Zhang, Yin; Li, Jun; Yang, Hai-zhou; Hu, Tian-yan; Yang, Man; Wu, Yuan-jian; Ji, Ling-ling. Effect of electro-acupuncture on tumor necrosis factor-α and vascular endothelial growth factor in peripheral blood and joint synovia of patients with rheumatoid arthritis. Chinese Journal of Integrative Medicine. 2011-07-01. Chinese Association of Traditional and Western Medicine, China Academy of Chinese Medical Sciences. 672-0415, 505- 509 v17 issue 7.