Ehlers-Danlos syndrome (EDS) refers to a group of connective tissue disorders that affect the tissues working to provide structure to joints, skin, blood vessels, and other tissues and organs. EDS usually affects many systems in the body.
Patients often experience chronic pain caused by frequent joint dislocations or other complications.
No cure exists for any type of EDS, but there are treatments available that can ease symptoms and help to prevent complications. A number of experimental treatments now in development may better help people with this disease in the future.
What is acupuncture?
Acupuncture is the insertion of very fine needles into the body at strategic points. In Eastern medicine, this is believed to change the flow of energy (chi) throughout the body to treat medical conditions. In Western medical practices, the use of acupuncture is thought to stimulate muscles, nerves, and connective tissues.
Acupuncturists are often doctors who have taken additional courses in this technique, but not necessarily. People who passed a formal exam for certification can also practice acupuncture.
What is acupressure?
Acupressure relies on the same key points as acupuncture, but uses massage techniques rather than needles to stimulate these points. Acupressure is similar to traditional massage. The regulation of acupressurist is set at the state level in the U.S., which means that regulation, oversight, and training vary widely from place to place.
Acupuncture, acupressure, and EDS
Acupuncture and acupressure are not a cure for EDS. No randomized clinical trials have been conducted to assess whether either treatment can help EDS patients. However, the World Health Organization (WHO) has indicated that acupuncture is an effective approach for treating acute pain in emergency rooms. Similarly, a metadata analysis of patients with chronic pain has indicated that acupuncture can be helpful in managing chronic pain conditions.
It is important to note that many EDS patients have very fragile skin. Extra care should be taken when using any massage or other technique that might cause the skin to tear or break. Individuals should consult with their doctor before considering either acupuncture or acupressure.
Last updated: Feb. 24, 2020
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