Do you or a loved one find that it is challenging to complete everyday activities like walking or putting on a button shirt due to joint pain? 

Or perhaps you enjoy getting out and hiking or another sport…. Is joint pain getting in the way of experiencing such things? 

You are not alone. 

According to the CDC, over 15 million people are affected by chronic pain caused by arthritis, 

Would you like to find relief for arthritis symptoms outside of medications? 

Can acupuncture help you and be a part of your treatment plan for arthritis? 

In this article, we will look at what arthritis is, what research there is for Arthritis for Acupuncture, how it works, how many sessions to expect, costs, FAQ, acupuncture points for arthritis, and so much more. 

Let’s get started . . . 

What is Arthritis?

Arthritis can be summed up in two words: Joint pain. 

There are over 100 types of arthritis as it applies to health conditions joints. The most common symptoms are pain, swelling, and stiffness. 

How It Works

How acupuncture works is not fully understood. In an acupuncture treatment, the acupuncturist inserts and manipulates fine needles at specific points or combinations of points on your body that relate to the energy flow in your body based on the traditional East Asian meridians and energy channels. 

This energy is also known as chi or qi. There is a relationship between these points and channels with your organs and health, and with the symptoms of disease and dysfunction you may experience, including pain or arthritis. 

According to a review of 143 studies on the effects of Acupuncture for arthritis, there are three possible mechanisms of acupuncture that help with the symptoms of arthritis: 

  1. Anti-inflammatory effect
  2. Antioxidative effect
  3. Regulation of immune system function 

So, is acupuncture effective in helping with arthritis? Let’s take a closer look next. . . 

Does it Work? 

In 2018, the effectiveness of Acupuncture for Arthritis was evaluated through a review of 143 studies. It found that “Acupuncture is effective for arthritis. we concluded that acupuncture alone or combined with other treatment modalities is beneficial to the clinical conditions of RA without adverse effects reported and can improve function and quality of life and is worth trying.”

How Many Sessions?

The most frequent question people ask is: how many sessions of acupuncture will I need for arthritis? 

Research studies suggest a minimum of 14 treatments over six weeks to show significant improvement for the treatment of arthritis. 

For pain, on-going treatment may be needed, as symptoms may lessen for a time after the acupuncture treatment but may return later.


Acupuncture costs vary by area and practitioner. With an average cost of $75 per treatment, you may expect to pay up to $300 a month for weekly acupuncture treatments. Utilizing community acupuncture may lessen the cost and improve your ability to experience acupuncture on a regular basis.

Frequently asked questions

Does acupuncture work for arthritis?

Yes, acupuncturecan be effective for arthritis. 

Does Medicare cover arthritis?

No, Medicare doesn’t cover Acupuncture for Arthritis. The only condition Medicare will cover acupuncture for is chronic low back pain.

How often should I get Acupuncture for Arthritis?

It is advisable to discuss the frequency of your acupuncture treatments for arthritis with a professional acupuncturist in your area. 

Acupuncture Points for Arthritis 

It is important to remember that acupuncture treatment is often an individualized and personalized treatment based on your needs. The points selected by an acupuncturist to treat arthritis for one patient may be different than another.

Through studies, though, different acupuncture points have been shown through research to be effective and helpful for arthritis: 

The 143 studies in the review, that evaluated the effectiveness of acupuncture listed over 60 acupuncture points that were used when treating arthritis, depending on the study. The acupuncturist that you go see to treat arthritis may use two to ten or more of the points. . . 

Here are 61 acupuncture points that are helpful for Arthritis:

  1. BL20
  2. RN6
  3. RN4
  4. DU14
  5. ST5
  6. GB31
  7. GB33
  8. EX-LE4
  9. SI11
  10. SI9
  11. LI15
  12. SJ14
  13. BL36
  14. GB30
  15. BL54
  16. GB40
  17. ST25
  18. SI3
  19. SI4
  20. GB25
  21. HT7
  22. BL23
  23. LR3
  24. SJ4
  25. EX-UE9
  26. EX-UE4
  27. EX-LE5
  28. EX-L E2
  29. ST34
  30. BL62
  31. BL60
  32. KI6
  33. Ashi
  34. LI5
  35. SJ5
  36. SP10
  37. SP9
  38. ST41
  39. BL18
  40. BL 23
  41. GB 39
  42. LR 3
  43. LI 4
  44. CV4
  45. CV6
  46. TE5
  47. LI 11
  48. DU 14
  49. LIV3
  50. GB34
  51. ST36
  52. GV20
  53. LI4
  54. LI11
  55. BL11
  56. GB4
  57. SP6
  58. KI3
  59. ST44
  60. EX28
  61. EX36

Other Alternatives 

There are many complementary and alternative therapies that may help with arthritis, including:

Getting Started

Before getting started with Acupuncture for Arthritis, be sure to talk with your physician or medical professional about getting a proper medical diagnosis and what treatment recommendations are appropriate for your condition. 

Work with a professional acupuncturist in your area to determine how acupuncture may best help you and the frequency of treatment that’s right for you.


Chou, P. C., & Chu, H. Y. (2018). Clinical Efficacy of Acupuncture on Rheumatoid Arthritis and Associated Mechanisms: A Systemic Review. Evidence-based complementary and alternative medicine : eCAM, 2018, 8596918. 

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs) about Arthritis. (2019, January 10). Retrieved November 20, 2020, from 

Lin, X., Huang, K., Zhu, G., Huang, Z., Qin, A., & Fan, S. (2016). The Effects of Acupuncture on Chronic Knee Pain Due to Osteoarthritis: A Meta-Analysis. The Journal of bone and joint surgery. American volume, 98(18), 1578–1585. 

Lin, LL., Tu, JF., Shao, JK. et al. acupuncture of different treatment frequency in knee osteoarthritis: a protocol for a pilot randomized clinical trial. Trials 20, 423 (2019). 

Joint Pain and Arthritis. (2020, May 22). Retrieved November 19, 2020, from 

Vickers, A. J., Cronin, A. M., Maschino, A. C., Lewith, G., MacPherson, H., Foster, N. E., Sherman, K. J., Witt, C. M., Linde, K., & Acupuncture Trialists’ Collaboration (2012). Acupuncture for chronic pain: individual patient data meta-analysis. Archives of internal medicine, 172(19), 1444–1453. 

U.S. Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services. Acupuncture. (n.d.). Retrieved October 20, 2020, from