Research: TUKMACHI and co-workers,

Listed in Issue 113


TUKMACHI and co-workers, Selly Oak Hospital, Birmingham, UK, have conducted a randomized controlled study of acupuncture for arthritis of the knee.


The aim of the study was to evaluate the effectiveness of manual and electro-acupuncture for osteoarthritis of the knee.


30 patients with osteoarthritis of the knee were randomized to receive either acupuncture alone, acupuncture plus their usual medication, or their usual medication for the first five weeks followed by an added course of acupuncture. Acupuncture treatment was twice weekly over five weeks. Acupuncture points were selected according to traditional acupuncture theory for treating Bi syndrome. Patients were assessed by a blinded observer pre- and post-treatment and at one month follow-up. The outcome measures were pain VAS and the Western Ontario MacMaster (WOMAC) questionnaire for the knee.


Statistical analysis revealed a highly significant improvement in pain VAS in the groups receiving acupuncture (p = 0.012 and p = 0.001, respectively). There was no change in the control group until after the acupuncture treatment course when they experienced a significant improvement (p = 0.001). Similar results were found with the WOMAC scores for pain and stiffness. The improvement was sustained during the follow-up period.


Acupuncture, with either manual or electrical stimulation of points, and either performed on its own or in conjunction with standard medication, produces a significant improvement of the symptoms of osteoarthritis of the knee. The improvement is sustained at one month.


Tukmachi E, Jubb R, Dempsey E, Jones P. The effect of acupuncture on the symptoms of knee osteoarthritis – an open randomised controlled study. Acupuncture in Medicine 22 (1): 14-22, Mar 2004.

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