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Is it safe to treat osteoarthritis with acupuncture if the patient has a pacemaker?

A:  The short answer is 'yes' as long as the practitioner is not using any form of electroacupuncture. There is nothing in the use of the 'normal' tools of the trade - needles, moxa, etc - which is a cause for concern.

There are some authorities who suggest that electroacupuncture applied locally a long way from the heart and from where the device is situated is relatively safe. One such pair of studies can be found here:

http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/18818558

http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/21386114

However, there are one or two case reports of people whose demand pacemakers have been affected by electroacupuncture, and we do not recommend that our practitioners test the theory by using EA.

Our view is that ordinary acupuncture has been used to great effect for at least 2500 years, and there is nothing which EA offers which cannot be replicated by the use of needle which are perfectly safe for the situation you describe.

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