To observe the difference in the therapeutic effects on rheumatoid arthritis (RA) between the combined shu-deep needling and bloodletting technique and the regular needling technique.
A total of 70 patients were randomized into an observation group (35 cases) and a control group (35 cases, 4 cases dropped-out). Dazhui (GV 14), Shenzhu (GV 12), Zhiyang (GV 9), Jinsuo (GV 8), Ganshu (BL 18), Shenshu (BL 23), Zhibian (BL 54), Weizhong (BL 40), Taixi (KI 3) and Tianzong (SI 11), etc. were selected in the two groups. Additionally, in the observation group the shu-deep needling technique was adopted at Tianzong (SI 11) and Zhibian (BL 54), the bloodletting technique at the local swollen area and the even-needling technique at the rest acupoints. In the control group, the even-needling technique was applied to all of the acupoints. Acupuncture treatment was given once every two days, 3 times a week and for 12 weeks totally. The numbers of tender points at the knee joint, the numbers of swollen sites at the knee joint, the visual analogue scale (VAS) score and the American health assessment questionnaire (HAQ) score were observed in the two groups before and after treatment, as well as the changes in erythrocyte sedimentation rate (ESR) and C-reactive protein (CRP). The American College of Rheumatology (ACR) criteria was adopted to evaluate the therapeutic effects of the two groups.
After treatment, the numbers of tender points, the numbers of swollen sites, VAS score and HAQ score were all improved as compared with those before treatment in the two groups (all P<0.01), and the results in the observation group were better than those in the control group (all P<0.05). After treatment, ESR and CRP levels were all reduced as compared with those before treatment in the two groups (all P<0.01), but there was no significant differences between the two groups (both P>0.05). The standard-reaching rates of ACR 20 and ACR 50 in the observation group were 94.3% (33/35) and 31.4% (11/35) respectively, which were better than 67.7% (21/31) and 6.5% (2/31) in the control group (P<0.01, P<0.05).
The acupuncture with the shu-deep and bloodletting techniques and the acupuncture with regular needling technique are all effective on RA. The therapeutic effects of the acupuncture treatment with the shu-deep and bloodletting techniques are better than that with regular needling technique.