In a Chinese study, a programme of acupuncture, herbs and qigong for knee osteoarthritis, outperformed conventional pain management interventions. A total of 722 patients recruited from 38 community clinics, were randomly allocated to one of two treatment arms. In the first, health education was combined with a programme of acupuncture, herbal washes and qigong exercises. Acupuncture was given three times a week for four weeks. In the second treatment arm, conventional rehabilitation therapy was administered, including physical therapy, joint movement training and muscle strength training.
A total of 696 patients completed the programmes. At all five time points, the acupuncture treatment group demonstrated significantly better outcomes than the conventional rehabilitation group, including for pain, lower limb muscle strength, knee swelling and quality of life measures.
(Chinese Medicine Involving Triple Rehabilitation Therapy for Knee Osteoarthritis in 696 Outpatients: A Multi-Center, Randomized Controlled Trial. Chinese Journal of Integrated Medicine, October 2021.)