Keith’s GoutPal Story 2020 Forums Please Help My Gout! Chinese medicine and acupuncture

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    Has anyone tried acupuncture and Chinese medicine to treat their gout? Did you have success with it?
    I rang the local herbalist and he seemed kind of keen to treat me and sell me pills and tea, I am skeptical…

    Keith Taylor

    I wish @odo was here to explain this better, but Traditional Chinese Medicine is very different from Typical Western Medicine. It seems to me that it is aimed more at creating wellness than fighting disease. If you are skeptical, then maybe it?s not for you.

    I?ve recently had brief correspondence with an Australian acupuncturist. He had good results where a full treatment plan was taken. Not so good with partial treatment. I?ll see if I can find the link to the messages.


    The discussion was Acupuncture and gout at

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    Well, it’s been a while…(Hi Keith)

    In short, I think you are right to be sceptical, Jason, which is not to say that Chinese Medicine cannot have a beneficial effect on your overall health, as it relates to gout & even on the specific inflammatory symptoms of an attack. But this is dependent on where a person is in the progression of the disease (in both the immediate situation & long term) as well as, most importantly, the skill & knowledge of the practitioner. Anyone selling patent remedies (pills in boxes) for gout should viewed, at best, as well-meaning, but ignorant of the limitations of their understanding of the disease & the medicine they practise.

    As a practitioner of Chinese Medicine, myself, this is the position I have held for the past 4yrs – when I began taking Allopurinol. During this time I have not experienced a single attack, whilst eating & drinking whatever I like & taking part in physical activities that I could only dream about before I took it. Prior to that, I spent 2 yrs having acupuncture & patent Chinese herbs, while on an extreme exclusion diet that more or less consisted of baked potatoes, cottage cheese & broccoli & no alcohol ? all of which had little or no effect on the increasing regularity of my gout attacks.

    In the interests of balance, I should concede that my herbal practitioner, at the time, was perhaps not of the highest order, so I don?t know what a more customised formula from an eminent clinician might have done for me. I mention this because I have recently been studying with a distinguished practitioner, with more than 30 yrs of clinical experience, who claims to have an amazing formula for gout that has resulted in none of her gout patients having had a flare up since ? the longest being 10 yrs. However, regardless of my respect for this teacher, I can only accept this as anecdotal evidence without access to full medical case histories – which is not going to happen. But I am going to ask her for the formula for future reference & personal analysis of whether it could possibly have a significant influence on permanently lowering SUA to safe levels (the only game in town, as far as gout is concerned), rather than a more temporary, local anti-inflammatory effect.

    I plan to follow up on this because I am interested in current research on the inhibitory effects that flavonoids have on xanthine oxidase & more generally on inflammatory processes. This could be a step closer to a scientific understanding of the actions of herbal remedies.

    The main problem with scientific tests done on traditional herbal formulas is that herbs are tested for evidence of their claimed healing properties in isolation rather than as precursors & catalysts in combination with each other, which then produces the clinical effect further down the line of metabolic processes. A curiously blinkered approach, considering that some conventional meds act in much the same way (Allopurinol, being one. Allo does not, itself, have a direct effect on uric acid; it inhibits the oxidation of hypoxanthine to xanthine, which in turn inhibits the catalytic oxidation of xanthine to uric acid). But before this post digresses even further into the murky motivations of Big Pharma, I?ll just reiterate:

    Don?t be afraid, take Allopurinol; it works & it’s safe.


    Thank you for the responses!
    I have been sitting on the couch for a week now and has become extremely frustrating! I am switching between colchicine, arthrexin and nurofen with little effect.
    Looking into Chinese medicine was just out of desperation and when I called the herbalist he seemed over eager to sell me his herbs which made skeptical thinking he just wanted to make a quick buck out of someone’s pain.
    I’ve been holding off the allopurinol as I’ve read somewhere that it may be linked to infertility which would be bad for me as I would like another addition to the family.
    Once I have completed my family I think will have to give in and take th allopurinol.
    But for now I’ll control my diet and take celery seed extract.


    hello there

    I tried wet cupping last week as an alternative therapy. I had 3 flare ups within 10 days. The first one caused discomfort and limping, 5 days later I had a full blown attack (very painful!) and 4 days after that had a 6 out of 10 attack (painful but could cope). The day after this I booked a cupping appointment locally (Manchester). The cupping was away from the painful toe joint so didn’t really hurt. I also had 4 cups on my back (there was actually a gout spot(!), the kidney area I think) although am not sure how scientific the gout identifier was… Anyway i felt a bit of relief straight away (which could have been a placebo) but since then its almost a week with no flareups and foot it progressively improving ( i can walk normally now).

    I think the theory is that it removes the toxins from your blood – wonder if it takes urate crystals as well?

    I’m not sure how much of a difference it actually makes but it definitely helped and I would definitely try again.
    I’m looking to start allopurinol but will have to wait a month or two of gout-freeness before hand.

    Keith Taylor

    Great to read some wisdom from odo. The reference to proper scientific analysis of complete, rather than immediate, effects is very interesting. I also look forward to some more information about the “amazing formula for gout”

    As we learn more about the science of gout attacks, it is becoming clear that controlling attacks, and controlling uric acid are two separate issues. Yes, you cannot have gout attacks if there are no uric acid crystals. However, the absence of gout attacks is not significant if it is accompanied by silent joint destruction. Indeed, it can be more dangerous if lack of pain symptoms lead to ignoring dangerous uric acid levels. I call that the hidden terror of pain-free gout.

    Which leads me on to the latest contribution from Benedict:
    1) It’s a pity you don’t have before and after uric acid test results. I’ve a faint memory of a claim that cupping draws uric acid, but I think I ignored it at the time due to lack of accurate test results.
    2) I’d be very interested to know who told you “but will have to wait a month or two of gout-freeness before starting allopurinol.” That’s outdated now. Please tell me it wasn’t a doctor’s advice!


    Re uric acid levels it would be easier if there was a home test kit I could use. Have to go to local hospital to get blood tests and take a while to come back. Am going for another cupping session tomorrow evening. If it draws uric acid then that sounds excellent! There’s a few YouTube videos on cupping and gout (mainly Malaysian).

    2. Yes it was the doctor (re allopurinol). And to be honest everything I’ve ever read about it states that starting treatment during an attack can cause flare ups…

    Am fascinated by the FFA causing flare up. I tried searching the Web for FFA foods but came away confused. Would you mind sharing a few examples?

    Keith Taylor

    Benedict, I don’t think gout is a disease that can be managed without a little medical help. Some people need a lot of medical help, but the absolute minimum is regular, accurate, blood tests. As we know from you can certainly buy your own home test kit for uric acid. But, do you have the clinical expertise to produce consistent, accurate results? I consider myself borderline-OCD personality, but even my attention to detail did not give me the consistency I really felt I deserved for the amount of effort I put in. I’m also a cheapskate, and I live in a society where healthcare is paid through taxation.

    If your experience is different, then get yourself a meter, and ask some more questions here. I’ll guide you in using your meter in the best way, but please don’t consider it if you cannot impose strict routines on yourself.

    In the big picture, you have to decide on your approach to acupuncture for gout. I truly cannot advise on the complete benefits that might be gained from what the process is supposed to do. In it’s right place, the culture of acupuncture is fundamentally different from my Western view of controlling pain or controlling uric acid. I can only advise you from my own point of view.

    If you are only interested in reducing gout pain, then any benefits you get from acupuncture will be self-evident. You don’t need me to tell you if it hurts less. Just be wary of ignoring coincidence, as gout pain comes and goes naturally. Stopping attacks does not save your joints from the slow ravages of uric acid crystals, so that is why I believe uric acid control is vital.

    Whether you get monthly uric acid tests from your hospital, or conduct your own tests, you can log your uric acid test results and your acupuncture sessions. You will probably see many fluctuations, and be tempted to match test results with acupuncture sessions, That is not necessarily bad, but the most important thing is to see a downward average trend for uric acid. Ideally, it needs to trend below 5mg/dl, but below 6 might be acceptable.

    In order to keep this topic focused on acupuncture, it is better to create new topics for starting allopurinol, and for FFAs. Please can someone who is interested in those topics start new discussions? In the meantime, I’d appreciate you completing my new mini-survey at (about half way down the page).


    Hi again

    Thanks for the comprehensive reply!

    I’m in the UK so it’s less the cost of the healthcare and more convincing my doctor to arrange it! I was looking at the EasyTouch one (as mentioned on the site), but it does get mixed results – something you’ve alluded to in your article. I can be OCD at times so if it is possible to get accurate results from the kit then I would definitely purchase it.

    With regards to the cupping, I’m not looking at that as a long term solution, more a way to stabilize the attack in the short term. Unless there is a major breakthrough I think allopurinol is definitely the way forward. I’m 37 at the moment, my first major attack was at 25, and in between I’ve only had minor flare-ups.

    Its weird at the moment as i can feel slight pains and dull throbbing in both my feet (big toe mainly) but luckily no flare ups. I wonder if that’s the Colchicine that’s stopping the attack from happening (taking 2 * 500mcg daily, alongside 400mg ibuprofen)

    Keith Taylor

    I’m convinced that the irregular results are from inconsistent process rather than anything intrinsically wrong with the machine. Of course, it’s technology, and can go wrong, but with care, you can get accurate results. Remember, natural fluctuations will occur with doctors tests also, so it is best to focus on average trends rather than specific results. Much of the consistency relies on that rare commodity – common sense. Wash and dry thoroughly and hygienically. Test at same time of day and same time after eating. The hard part is keeping droplet size consistent, but that comes with practice.

    I’d say definitely the colchicine that’s stopping gout flares. It doesn’t help with pain: your ibuprofen will do that. But it does limit inflammation from spreading. Inflammation is an immune reaction, and colchicine poisons your immune system. Harsh, but true. Very effective, but no more than 2 colchicine per day, and never if your immune system is compromised by infection or deviant social practices.

    And because you are on that package, starting allopurinol now will not make gout flares happen. Delay just lengthens your exposure to uric acid crystal risk and your exposure to colchicine. If I were a meerkat I’d finish this better.

    By the way, Benedict, you’d make life easy for yourself by logging in before posting. You are under no obligation to do so, but a simple click of the Google button (top right) means you don’t have to wait for post approval after the first is approved.

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