In a study involving 44 patients with rheumatoid arthritis, treatment with acupuncture (auricular electroacupuncture), once a week for a period of 6 weeks, was found to be more effective than autogenic training (relaxation technique involving visualizations) in reducing pain and reducing erythrocyte sedimentation rate. Patients received either auricular electroacupuncture or autogenic training once a week for six weeks. Statistically significant and clinically meaningful improvements were found among subjects in both groups, both immediately following the 6 week treatment period and at 3 months follow-up. The beneficial effects appeared earlier among patients receiving acupuncture (after the 2nd treatment), and were in general more pronounced. By the 4th treatment, patients receiving acupuncture reported significantly less pain than those undergoing autogenic training. Furthermore, erythrocyte sedimentation rate (ESR) was significantly less and serum tumor necrosis factor-alpha was significantly increased among patients receiving acupuncture, as compared to autogenic training. At the end of the treatment period, patients who received acupuncture assessed their outcome as significantly more improved than those who received autogenic training. Given the safety of such treatments, the results of this study suggest that acupuncture, as well as autogenic training, may be effective in reducing pain and inflammation in patients with rheumatoid arthritis.