My first adventure into alternative medicine was acupuncture, which forever changed my medical direction. I saw firsthand how it helped all sorts of people, especially those in pain.
Unfortunately, conventional medicine was 20 years behind the times and did not accept acupuncture as a viable treatment option. So, by using it, my reputation took a major hit. Take, for instance, the first time I applied for private hospital privileges. It was 1983 at the Providence Hospital in Anchorage. My application included the use of acupuncture.
A blustery ego-centered, knife-happy orthopedic surgeon spoke on behalf of the stodgy credentials committee of doctors. He asked what the AMAs position on acupuncture was, knowing full well what the answer was.
I replied truthfully: The AMA considers it placebo. I got the privileges I requested, but was forbidden to use acupuncture. I always wondered how many patients were condemned to his knife as a result. Even at that time, it was known that back surgery has a 50% make you worse rate. But that was not important to this surgeon.
Acupuncture has since gone mainstream. Even prestigious universities, such as UCLA, teach it to physicians. And now, there is proof from a highly esteemed medical journal that acupuncture is a valuable medical treatment. In November 2004, the British Medical Journal published a report that acupuncture was more effective for osteoarthritis of the knee than placebo.
In the study, a total of 88 patients with osteoarthritis of the knee were divided into two groups. One group received acupuncture plus diclofenac (an anti-inflammatory drug). The other group received dummy (placebo) acupuncture plus diclofenac.
The researchers discovered the acupuncture actually enhanced the effectiveness of the drugs. The group using acupuncture saw greater reduction in pain and stiffness. This group also experienced improved physical functioning and quality of life.
While this study was done with drugs, there are supplements that reduce inflammation far better than NSAIDs. And because these supplements have a similar effect on the body (without the side effects), it is likely they will see similar enhancement when used with acupuncture.
Action to take: If you are one of the 10% of people over 55 with arthritis of the knees, use alternatives before you think drugs or surgery. NSAID drugs thin your cartilage. So you might get pain relief today, only to get joint destruction tomorrow. My favorite natural anti-inflammatories include curcumin, the yellow pigment of turmeric (300 mg, three times daily), omega-3 fish oils, Cats claw, oregano, ginger, Rhododendron Caucasicum, bromelain, and pancreatic enzymes (or Wobenzym).
You can find many of these in Healthy Resolves Advanced Joint Formula. If you are skeptical about acupuncture, just try it in conjunction with these other treatments. It wont hurt you. And I think you will be pleasantly surprised!