Can Acupuncture Help Treat Gout?

Breeze Academy June 29, 2023
Acupuncture demonstration on feet

Gout is a condition that can cause a lot of pain and discomfort for individuals who suffer from it. But how effective is Acupuncture as a treatment? In this blog, we discuss the effectiveness of Acupuncture for gout, along with the Acupuncture points commonly used.

So can Acupuncture help gout? Acupuncture for gout is thought to be a very effective treatment. It releases pain relieving endorphins and reduces the amount of heat and dampness related to gout. Acupuncture also offers a range of other benefits including stress relief and improving a person’s overall quality of life.

Read on to find out more about Acupuncture for gout, including the best Acupuncture points for gout. 

Is Acupuncture a Good Treatment for Gout?

Gout (gouty arthritis) is a condition that causes pain and swelling in joints, most often seen in toe joints. Although it can occur in anyone, it is commonly related to underlying health conditions such as diabetes, obesity or kidney disease. Another common cause of gout is a person’s diet and lifestyle. Acupuncture has been identified as a good immediate relief for the symptoms of gout. 

Acupuncture for gout can provide instant pain relief by helping the body produce endorphins and other natural substances that relieve pain. When it comes to gout attacks, there is often a lot of heat and dampness which can be reduced with Acupuncture. 

There is currently minimal research around whether Acupuncture can prevent gout, however, it is thought that attending regular Acupuncture sessions is likely to improve overall quality of life. Not only does Acupuncture alleviate gout symptoms, it may also provide many other health benefits including stress relief, improved circulation and improved range of motion.

What Are the Best Acupuncture Points for Gout?

Gout can occur on several places of the body including the feet, knees and elbows. These are the different Acupuncture points for gout:

  • SP6 (Sanyinjiao) - located 4 fingers above the ankle 
  • TB6 (Zhigou) - located 4 fingers from the dorsal wrist crease
  • ST36 (Zusanli) - located below the knee, on the stomach meridian
  • ST44 (Neiting) - located on the foot, proximal to the 2nd and 3rd toes
  • SP9 (Yinlingquan) - located in the depression posterior and inferior to the medial condyle of the tibia
  • ST43 (Xiangu) - located in between the 2nd and 3rd metatarsals
  • Ashi points - located close to the area of inflammation

If your patient suffers from gout in the elbow, there are the recommended Acupuncture points:

  • LI4 (Hegu) - located on the back of the hand, between the thumb and index finger
  • LI11 (Quchi) - located close to the the inner elbow crease

If gout is in the knee joints, there are the recommended Acupuncture points:

  • GB34 (Yanglingquan) - located below the knee, near the head of the fibula
  • SP10 (Xuehai) - located near the flexed knee 
  • EX-LE5 (Xiyan) - located under the flexed knee

The best Acupuncture points for gout in toes are:

  • LV3 (Taichong) - located on the dorsum of the foot, between the 1st and 2nd metatarsal bones

If the gout is in the wrist, these are the best Acupuncture points:

  • TB5 (Waiguan) - located above the dorsal wrist joint, between the radius and ulna
  • TB4 (Yangchi) - located on the dorsal wrist joint
  • LI4 (Hegu) - located in the fleshy depression under the thumb

Are There Any Risks with Acupuncture for Gout?

Most studies suggest that Acupuncture is an effective and safe treatment for gout. In fact, Acupuncture for gout has been shown to significantly reduce the adverse events associated with gout when compared to standard western treatments. The drugs commonly prescribed for treating gout, such as colchicine, can bring many side effects including nausea and stomach pain. 

However, you should still be aware of the overall potential risks that Acupuncture can present for certain groups of people:

  • Pregnant women
  • Those with unstable medical conditions
  • Those with blood disorders
  • Those taking anticoagulant medication

If your patient falls into one of these groups, encourage them to consult their GP to check suitability for Acupuncture. You should also ask patients to pre-warn you of any contraindications before and during the appointment. The side effects are very rare and mild in the majority of cases. If you are not part of one of the aforementioned groups, the following side effects should not be a major cause for concern unless they are on the more severe side:

  • Dizziness, 
  • Bleeding,
  • Mild pain,
  • Bruising.

If you would like to learn more about the potential risks of Acupuncture, check out our recent blog Is Acupuncture Safe?

What Else Can Acupuncture Be Used For?

Acupuncture can be used as an effective treatment for a wide range of both physical and mental health problems to some success. These include:

Final Thoughts

Acupuncture has been found to be an effective treatment for gout with very minimal and rare side effects. Although there is little information on whether Acupuncture can prevent gout, the many benefits of Acupuncture are worth it for an improved quality of life. 

If you’re a healthcare professional interested in offering Acupuncture for individuals with gout or other painful conditions, take a look at our Acupuncture courses online today. Our foundation-level Acupuncture courses are available throughout the UK, giving you all the knowledge you need to safely practise Acupuncture. There are also a number of more advanced CPD Acupuncture courses available to take your skills to the next level. Take a look at our range of courses online today, or get in touch for more information.

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