English literature student and parttime model Alice Friedl has been having pains in her joints since she was ten years old.

She was subsequently diagnosed with having rheumatoid arthritis.

Now 27, she uses wheelchair but has not let the condition ruin her life.

Alice is one of millions of people in the UK suffering from arthritis and health experts and researchers have spent years trying to find new treatments to deal with the condition.

Now, a new machine has come into the market that seems to be helping.

Joan Hollick had been suffering from arthritis in her knee for seven years and nothing she tried seemed to work.

Eventually, Mrs Hollick from Brighton found it almost impossible to walk.

She then read about the trials for the Arthritis Control Electrostimulator (Ace) machine and decided to give it a a go.

A few months later, Mrs Hollick said: "It has been brilliant and has made all the difference. There is hardly any pain and the knee is much less stiff."

The Ace is a microtreatment programme which improves pain control, reduces swelling and improves mobility for arthritis sufferers.

A survey among Ace users in the trial found 85 per cent reported a significant improvement in their quality of life, with many going on to either reduce their drug intake or stop their medication altogether.

The portable, batterypowered machine delivers minute electrical currents called microcurrents to the affected area. This restores the vital communication link between the damaged cells and the body's pain-fighting systems.

Applied once a day for 35 minutes, Ace has been shown to improve the supply of oxygen and nutrients, remove accumulated toxins and accelerate the rebuilding process resulting in prolonged pain relief without the side effects of medication.

Keen golfer Ches Clifton, from Hove, had been suffering problems with his hip and knee and was finding it very painful to walk.

He was sceptical of the machine at first but admits that, after using it, he has improved a great deal.

He said: "At one time, I could hardly bend down to tie my shoelaces but now I am out on the golf course three times a week."

More than eight million people in the UK have arthritis and it can affect anyone of any age.

Arthritis simply means "inflammation of the joints" and the word rheumatism describe aches and pains in joints, bones and muscles.

There are more than 200 kinds of arthritis with the most common being osteoarthritis and rheumatoid arthritis.

Osteoarthritis can affect anyone of any age although it is more common in older people and women. It can also develop after an injury to a joint sometimes many years later.

The cartilage in a joint becomes pitted, rough and brittle with the bone underneath thickening and broadening out.

The joint may become stiff and painful.

If the osteoarthritis worsens, part of the cartilage may break away from the bone.

The bone ends may then rub together and the ligaments become weakened.

This causes a lot of pain and changes the shape of the joint. About one in a hundred people gets rheumatoid arthritis most commonly between the ages of 30 and 50.

Rheumatoid arthritis makes joints inflamed, swollen and hot which can lead to damage.

The amount of damage the inflammation does varies greatly. Around a third of people recover almost completely after a few years but one in ten people will have severe damage which can cause considerable disability.

Because damage cannot be reversed, treatment for rheumatoid arthritis focuses on tackling inflammation as early as possible.

Difficulties include pain and loss of strength and movement in inflamed joints, feeling generally unwell and tired and stiffness.

Find out more about Ace on 01932 853000.