Can acupuncture cure bursitis

The first question we'd have to ask is 'where?'. Many patients present at acupuncture clinics with bursitis of the major joints like the hip, knee, shoulder or elbow, and to a degree the outcome depends on exactly which joint is affected. The same would apply in western medicine; some joints are easier to treat than others, and some easier to immobilise while healing takes place.

 

However, Chinese medicine is very different in its approach to an understanding of the body and the way it works. The theory of Chinese medicine is based on a flow of energy called 'qi' of which the body consists in different forms, and the understanding of how its balance and flow can be affected by illness, lifestyle and constitution. When people suffer from bursitis in a joint, the practitioner will want to establish first whether this is a local problem, caused by an injury or from over-use, or whether it is a consequence of a systemic problem affecting all of the joints to a degree, or a bit of both, as is often the case. Treatment will then be aimed at the appropriate cause, but will almost certainly involve some needles close to where the bursitis is.

 

Because this is quite a broad question, we can't be more specific. There are a number of web-based research resources which will identify relevant papers if you google 'acupuncture, bursitis and the joint concerned', but we strongly suspect that they will tend to say, as many do, that the signs are positive but not conclusive. Not a great deal of research meets rigorous western standards, and the conclusions drawn from it are often cautious. This is not to say that things aren't well researched. Many thousands of studies are conducted in China each year, but they are often premised on the fact that acupuncture works and researching what works better. In the West the policy makers are still troubled by whether acupuncture works or not. We believe that it does, of course!

 

Your best bet is to visit a BAcC member local to you to discuss your specific problem. We trust that they will give you the best advice possible about whether they can help, and if not, what other alternatives there may be.  
 
 

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