Acupuncture therapy for rheumatoid arthritis

Tal Zan-Bar, Anabel Aron, Yehuda Shoenfeld*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review

4 Scopus citations


The current literature on the effects of acupuncture treatment on patients with rheumatoid arthritis (RA) is reviewed. The MEDLINE and Biological Abstracts databases were searched. Studies in which different substances were injected into acupuncture point location were excluded. Improvement of clinical symptoms has been observed in nine studies. In one study, no change was found. Immune responses (values of IL-2, eythrocyte sedimentation rate, rheumatoid factor, immunoglobulins, leucocyte, natural killer cells, β-endorphin, CD4, CD8, CD3, and phagocytosis) have been elevated in 14 studies. Due to the small number of studies (seven studies of RA and acupuncture; six studies of acupuncture and side-effects of RA treatments; eight studies of acupuncture effect on the immune system), it is recommended that further studies should be conducted, taking into consideration conventional criteria such as sample size and placebo-controlled groups, as well as complementary criteria, such as Chinese differentiation diagnosis of patients and number of acupoints treated.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)207-214
Number of pages8
JournalAPLAR Journal of Rheumatology
Issue number3
StatePublished - Nov 2004


  • Acupuncture
  • Autoimmune
  • Chinese medicine
  • Complementary medicine
  • Rheumatoid arthritis


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