Acupuncture Continuing Education News

Acupuncture Beats Drugs For Rheumatoid Arthritis, New Study

on Tuesday, 22 April 2014 12:53.

Researchers conclude that acupuncture combined with a special herbal formula produces positive patient outcomes for rheumatoid arthritis sufferers. In a surprise finding, the acupuncture combined with herbal medicine group outperformed the drug control group. Members of the drug group received a combination of NSAIDs (non-steroidal anti-inflammatory medications) combined with a powerful anti-rheumatic drug, methotrexate. The acupuncture combined with herbal medicine group had an overall effective rate of 95.08% and the drug group had an effective rate of 68.85%. Acupuncture applied to the back reduces pain according to a new study. In addition, the adverse side effects associated with the drug group was significant at 18.0% whereas the acupuncture combined with herbal medicine group had a 3.2% adverse effect rate. The researchers concluded that acupuncture with herbs is safer and more effective than NSAIDs combined with methotrexate.

What Is Rheumatoid Arthritis?
Rheumatoid arthritis is a chronic inflammatory disorder that usually affects the small joints of the hands and feet. Other areas such as the skin, eyes, blood vessels and internal organs may be affected. It is an autoimmune disorder wherein the body attacks its own tissues. Rheumatoid arthritis (RA) affects the lining of the joints and often leads to bone erosion, severe pain and swelling, range of motion impingement and joint deformity.

Traditional Chinese Medicine
Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM) classifies rheumatoid arthritis according to its clinical presentation: numbness, wind, cold, dampness and heat. To understand these concepts from a TCM perspective, think of how symptoms appear in a clinical presentation. Wind poetically describes the character of the pain in that it may come and go suddenly from one area to another. Heat syndrome specifies the redness, soreness and heat felt at the affected regions whereas cold syndrome specifies joints that turn pale and ache, especially in cold weather. Dampness expresses the general concept of swelling and fluid retention in the affected regions. 

Acupuncture Placebo Sham Revealed

on Sunday, 20 April 2014 12:10.

New studies demonstrate that acupuncture is effective for the treatment of headaches, migraines, arthritis, neck pain, back pain and shoulder pain. In a meta-analysis of 20 sham-controlled studies and 18 non-sham controlled studies, acupuncture was found both safe and effective for these disorders. The investigation compared the type of control groups with the impact on patient outcomes. Sham control analysis included non-needle sham, penetrating needle sham and non-penetrating needle sham. Non-sham analysis included protocolized care and custom, non-specified care. The researchers concluded that, “Acupuncture is significantly superior to control irrespective of the subtype of control.” 

Filiform 34 gauge acupuncture needle.

A main focus of the study was to determine appropriate control interventions for acupuncture research. The researchers discovered that penetrating needle sham controls exert quantifiable physiologic activity. As a result, the research team recommends that this type of control be strictly avoided in most research methodologies. However, they add that penetrating acupuncture needle sham controls “may well have a place when addressing questions of point specificity in explanatory trials.” The findings reveal that “penetrating needles have important physiologic activity, even when inserted superficially away from true acupuncture points. Accordingly, we recommend that this type of sham be avoided.”

The researchers note, “Acupuncture is significantly superior to sham irrespective of the type of sham control, both in the main analysis and in a sensitivity analysis excluding outlying studies.” In addition, the research team found “no significant differences between non-penetrating needles and sham techniques that did not involve needling.”

The research team notes “Acupuncture was significantly superior to sham irrespective of the type of sham control and superior to non-sham control irrespective of whether that constituted routine or protocolled care.” The most common non-penetrating needle employed in most studies was the Streitberger needle. A detailed investigation revealed that participants could not distinguish between the Streitberger placebo needle and true acupuncture. The researchers note that the effectiveness of acupuncture has been validated against empirically credible placebo controls.

Acupuncture Prevents Hysterectomy Complications Trial

on Saturday, 19 April 2014 13:32.

New research finds acupuncture effective in reducing postoperative complications due to a radical hysterectomy. This surgery is often used to treat some types of cervical cancers. The procedure involves removal of the uterus and connecting ligaments, cervix and approximately 1-2 inches of the deep vagina. A radical hysterectomy may affect urination while the nerves in the region of the uterus recover from surgery. Acupuncture needles used to decrease complications after surgery. The new clinical trial measured significant improvements in bladder function and reductions in urinary tract infections (UTIs) for women receiving acupuncture after a radical hysterectomy.

The randomized, sham-controlled, single-blinded clinical trial was performed at Sun Yat-sen Memorial Hospital of Sun Yat-sen University. All participants were between the ages of 20-65 years of age, had no prior acupuncture experiences and willingly signed an informed consent. A total of 120 women were randomly divided equally into an acupuncture treatment group and a sham acupuncture control group. The patient outcomes were evaluated based on bladder function and postoperative complications.

The acupuncture treatment group showed significant improvements in bladder function including improved maximal flow rate, decreased bladder sensory loss, bladder compliance, first voiding desire, maximal cystometric capacity, decreased residual urine and a decrease in both urinary retention and incontinence. The acupuncture treatment group also had a significant decrease in the frequency of UTIs. The researchers note, “By improving postoperative bladder function, early intervention of acupuncture may provide a valuable alternative method to prevent bladder dysfunctional disorders and urinary tract infection after radical hysterectomy.” 

Acupuncture & Massage For Lumbar Disc Herniation – New Study

on Friday, 18 April 2014 10:06.

A new study finds acupuncture combined with massage is more effective for treating lumbar disc herniation (LDH) than coenzyme B12 injections combined with physiotherapy. Researchers from Guangxi Jiangbing Hospital randomly divided 60 patients with LDH into an acupuncture group and an injection group. The acupuncture group received acupuncture needling on myofascial pain related trigger points combined with massage. Needles applied to the lower back for pain management. The injection group received coenzyme B12 injections combined with traction and heat therapy. The acupuncture group achieved an overall effective rate of 96.7% and the injection therapy group had an 80.0% effective rate.

A lumbar disc herniation is a condition of the lower spine that frequently affects young and middle-aged patients. The discs are spongy cushions between vertebrae that act as shock absorbers. A rupture of a disc’s outer fibrous ring (anulus fibrosus) allows the soft jelly-like center to extrude through the tear. This may impinge nerve conduction and cause severe pain or may be asymptomatic. Inflammatory chemical mediators are often released as a result of a herniation and may lead to pain, numbness, weakness, an antalgic gait and impaired range of motion. The normal aging process is often accompanied by a loss of disc hydration and consequent disc collapse. This increases strain on the fibers of the annulus fibrosus surrounding the disc thereby facilitating a herniation of disc material. Sudden injuries to the spine also precipitate this condition.

In Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM) theory, lumbar disc herniation is often categorized as an illness of low back pain, numbness syndrome and/myofascial pain syndrome (MPS). The latter is characterized by trigger point and muscular tension. TCM trigger point treatment of MPS may involve stretching the affected muscle region following by stimulating trigger points in the damaged region. Both local and distal acupuncture point prescriptions are appropriate for the treatment of lumbar disc herniation. This investigation focused on the study of trigger point therapy. 

New: Acupuncture Relieves Heel Pain & Plantar Fasciitis

on Tuesday, 08 April 2014 15:37.

Recent research indicates acupuncture is an effective and safe treatment for heel pain. Heel pain is a common foot condition often characterized by intense pain, especially when placing weight onto the foot. Pain on the back of the heel often indicates achilles tendinitis and pain on the underside of the heel often indicates plantar fasciitis. Heel pain is often treated with Kidney Channel and Ashi points.

One of the most common causes of heel pain, plantar fasciitis involves pain and inflammation of the band of tissue running across the bottom of the foot. The new research indicates that acupuncture is effective for plantar fasciitis, achilles tendinitis and many other forms of heel pain. Treatments for heel pain are featured in the HealthCMi online acupuncture CEU and PDA course entitled Plantar Fasciitis.

Biomedical approaches to heel pain treatment include behavioral therapy, nonsteroidal antiinflammatory drugs (NSAIDs), corticosteroid injections, small needle knife therapy, block therapy, shockwave therapy and surgery. Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM) historical records document success in the treatment of heel pain using acupuncture. This new scientific investigation confirms the historical data. 

Update: Acupuncture Reduces Depression and Insomnia

on Sunday, 06 April 2014 11:00.

Acupuncture successfully relieves insomnia caused by depression. Researchers document two effective and contrasting approaches to acupuncture for the treatment of insomnia caused by depression. The research finds acupuncture points Lieque (LU7), Zhaohai (KI6) and UB15 (Xinshu) more effective than the Si Guan (i.e., Four Gates, Four Bars) combination for the treatment of depression related insomnia. Si Guan consists of bilaterally needled acupuncture points LI4 (Hegu) and LV3 (Taichong). Depression image is represented here.

Both sets of points were combined with DU20 (Baihui) and Yintang in protocolized acupuncture point prescriptions. Although each prescription was effective, the data documents the LU7, KI6, UB15 combination a superior compliment to DU20 and Yintang for optimal patient outcomes. The researchers acknowledge that another study of a larger sample size is necessary to confirm these results.

Acupuncture treatments were administered two times per week for six weeks. Needles were retained for 30 minutes during each acupuncture treatment session. Filiform needles of size 0.30mm X 25mm were used to elicit deqi at LU7 and KI6 in the treatment group and LI4 and LV3 in the control group. Once deqi was achieved, DU20 and Yintang were added without manual stimulation. For the treatment group, UB15 was added using a transverse intradermal needling approach and was retained for up to three days.

No adverse events were reported. Both groups showed a decrease in insomnia with the treatment group showing superior clinical outcomes. As a result, the researchers conclude that the LU7, KI6, UB15 combination is a better choice than the LI4, LV3 combination for the treatment of depression related insomnia when applying DU20 and Yintang. 

Acupuncture Found Effective For Post-Surgical Shoulder Pain

on Saturday, 05 April 2014 14:05.

New research conducted at the department of surgery at the Bnai-Zion Medical Center, Israel finds acupuncture effective in reducing pain after shoulder surgery. Individualized acupuncture treatments according to Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM) principles were applied to patients with intractable pain following laparoscopic shoulder surgery. The researchers concluded that acupuncture is both effective and safe; no significant side-effects occurred. Shoulder acupoints LI15 and TB14 are depicted here.

The focus of the study was the integration of acupuncture into conventional post-surgical pain intervention protocols. Acupuncture point prescriptions were individualized for each patient according to TCM differential diagnostics. The researchers note that the conditions treated were complex “due to the physiological and biochemical effects of surgery and medications.” The investigators note that pre-surgical disharmonies and “acute manifestations that were a consequence of the surgery” were often difficult to differentiate within TCM diagnostics. As a result, patients were treated for both pre-surgical disharmonies and disorders caused by surgical intervention. This reflects a common approach taken by most licensed acupuncturists in a standard clinical setting.

The researchers tackled several major issues associated with integrating acupuncture into the conventional surgical setting. They differentiated between acupuncture and other pain reduction interventions by comparing patients taking analgesic medications and patients receiving only acupuncture treatments. They add that pragmatic trial methodologies such as this can be implemented to assess effectiveness. 

Scalp Acupuncture Effective For Stroke – New Study

on Friday, 04 April 2014 11:53.

Recent clinical research indicates that scalp acupuncture has a positive curative effect on patients suffering from stroke. The researchers document that several major approaches to scalp acupuncture for the treatment of stroke have co-evolved with advances in the biomedical understanding of the human brain. As a result, the field of scalp acupuncture has made tremendous progress in the treatment of stroke over the last two decades. Scalp needle locations are visible in this photo.

A stroke occurs when blood supply to the brain is interrupted. Brain tissue is deprived of nutrients and oxygen thereby causing brain cells to die. This is often caused by a blood clot or the rupture of a blood vessel in the brain. Speech, movement, sensory perception and memory are often affected. Symptoms include difficulty with walking, speaking and seeing. Headaches, syncope, numbness, paralysis and loss of awareness are also common. In Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM), stroke is categorized as an illness that involves sudden fainting, unconsciousness, numbness and paralysis. TCM theory ascribes the term internal wind to describe this category of illness. The semantics involve two main components. Internal refers to endogenous disorders and wind describes the abrupt onset.

The researchers note that scalp acupuncture is a technique which prevents and treats diseases by needling particular acupuncture lines, zones or points on the head. There are many schools of scalp acupuncture theory. The International Standard Scalp Acupuncture, Zhu’s Scalp Acupuncture, Jiao’s Scalp Acupuncture, Fang’s Scalp Acupuncture and Tang’s Scalp Acupuncture are prominent systems. Scalp acupuncture is used to treat a wide variety of diseases and is especially effective for the treatment of stroke. 

Acupuncture Relieves Knee Osteoarthritis – New Study

on Sunday, 30 March 2014 13:27.

Researchers conclude that acupuncture has a significant curative effect on patients with knee osteoarthritis. This condition often involves joint pain, swelling, stiffness, decreased range of motion and the formation of bone spurs. More than 27 million people in the U.S. have osteoarthritis with the knee being one of the most commonly affected areas. In this recent study, the researchers from a community hospital in Beijing treated 200 cases of knee osteoarthritis using acupuncture. The overall effective rate was 98%. Knee Osteoarthritis

Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM) categorizes knee osteoarthritis as a Bi syndrome, which is often caused by a combination of wind, cold and dampness. The 200 patients’ courses of illness ranged from 2 months to 30 years. The researchers divided the cases into three 3 (based on timing of the attack and the pain index) and shapes based on the characteristics of the affected joints. The three phases are the attack phase, recovery phase and stable phase. The five types are: normal type, narrow joint space on the inner side of the knee type, narrow joint space on the outer side of the knee type, bending type with an angle of less than 180 degrees while the knee joint is straightened at normal posture and mixed type with 2 or more aforementioned morphological changes.

For patients in the attack phase, electroacupuncture was combined with the bleeding technique and cupping. For the recovery phase, electroacupuncture was the major treatment aimed primarily at alleviating pain. Bleeding technique and cupping were applied is some cases dependent on the differential diagnosis. For the stable phase, the main task was to restore or improve the muscles of the knee joint and to restore or rebuild the normal functions of muscles and ligament tissues around the knee joint. A special focus on restoring muscle volume and muscle strength of the quadriceps femoris was employed. 

Acupuncture Treats Depression By Normalizing Genes - New Study

on Tuesday, 25 March 2014 11:00.

Acupuncture alleviates depression by normalizing gene expression. A new laboratory investigation demonstrates that acupuncture benefits brain biochemistry and regulates gene expression related to depression. The researchers conclude that electroacupuncture treats “depression by modifying or regulating the expression of various genes.” Depicted is acupoint Yintang shown to help gene expression in depression.

Acupuncture was applied to acupuncture points Baihui (DU20) and Yintang on depression model laboratory rats. Electroacupuncture was applied the needles at 2 Hz with an intensity of 1 mA. Needle depth was 2 mm. Needles were applied once per day for 21 days and were retained for 20 minutes during each acupuncture treatment.

At the Healthcare Medicine Institute, we provide many acupuncture continuing education courses for acupuncture CEU and PDA credit on the treatment of depression and emotional disorders. This new research conducted by Beijing University of Chinese Medicine and Chinese PLA General Hospital, however, adds the first ever examination of electroacupuncture on the whole-genome level in relation to the treatment of depression. All prior research and acupuncture continuing education focused on single gene level expression.

The multi-gene approach was discussed by the research team. They note that depression causes “abnormal gene expression” in “a large number of genes” and add that this deleteriously affects “multiple brain functions” and affects nerve cells. Depression causes deleterious biochemical changes and these changes cause more depression. The researchers note, this “vicious circle makes it difficult to cure conditions such as depression.” The researchers note that this educational investigation indicates “that electroacupuncture at Baihui and Yintang modulates depression by regulating the expression of particular genes.”

A total of 21 genes imbalanced by depression were normalized by the application of electroacupuncture. Depression abnormally upregulates some genes and downregulates other genes. Electroacupuncture homeostatically balanced both up and downregulation of gene expression to normal levels. Electroacupuncture also restored normal behaviors in the laboratory rats including actions in sucrose consumption, the swim test and the open field test. 

Acupuncture MRI Scan Shows Alzheimer’s Disease Benefit

on Sunday, 23 March 2014 13:59.

MRI imaging reveals that acupuncture enhances brain activity in Alzheimer disease (AD) patients. Researchers investigated the effects of two important acupuncture points on the human brains of Alzheimer disease patients using fMRI imaging with a SIEMENS verio 3-Tesla scanner. The researchers discovered that acupuncture “can enhance the hippocampal connectivity in AD patients.” Acupoint Hegu (LI4)

The hippocampus is an area of the brain involved in processing emotions, memory and the autonomic nervous system. The researchers note that the MRI scans demonstrate that acupuncture “increased connectivity” in the hippocampus in patients with AD. Alzheimer’s disease damages the hippocampus resulting in memory loss, cognitive dysfunction, dementia and disorientation. The study suggests that acupuncture may provide important clinical benefits to AD patients.

The controlled clinical investigation of human subjects measured multiple regions of disrupted connectivity in AD patients. After acupuncture, MRI imaging revealed that AD patients had significant improvements in connectivity for both frontal and lateral temporal regions of the hippocampus. The researchers note, “Due to the cognitive impairment associated with AD, acupuncture on specific acupoints can modulate the cerebral blood flow and strengthen the hippocampal connectivity in AD patients.” 

New - Infertility To Pregnancy With Acupuncture & Herbs

on Saturday, 22 March 2014 13:42.

A new clinical study concludes that acupuncture and Chinese herbal medicine have potent effects in reversing infertility. Several types of patients suffering from infertility participated in the study including those using IVF, IUI and those using no biomedical assistance. All types showed significantly improved successful pregnancy rates. Pregnancy

The researchers cited prior investigations measuring the biological mechanisms by which acupuncture enhances fertility. The researchers note that beta-endorphins and related neurotransmitters stimulated by acupuncture causes the secretion of gonadotropin-releasing hormone (GnRH). This exerts a regulatory effect on the menstrual cycle and ovulation. Acupuncture has been shown to enhance the micro-circulation of blood in the uterus through the inhibition of excess sympathetic nerve activity in the uterus. The researchers also note that their research is consistent with another investigation finding acupuncture successful in improving IVF outcomes.

The researchers note that the success rate of IVF is 24% (for 4 or more embryos transferred) as a standalone therapy. The combination of IVF with acupuncture has a significantly higher success rate of 42.5%. They note that the improved success rate is both indicates a safe and economical way to assist women undergoing fertility treatments. A total of 52.38% of women in the study conceived with acupuncture and/or herbal medicine without biomedical assistance. Another 9.52% conceived with acupuncture and/or herbs combined with IVF (in vitro fertilization) and 4.76% conceived with IUI (intrauterine insemination) combined with acupuncture.

Most women conceived within the first 12 months of the clinical trial. Measurements were made up to two years from the onset of acupuncture therapy. Several women did not complete the full 2 year course of the study. The study’s success rate may have been higher if all participants completed the full 2 year treatment regime. The women in the study consisted of 85.7% with primary infertility and 14.3% with secondary infertility. No adverse events were reported as a result of acupuncture and herbal medicine treatments. 

Acupuncture Emergency Room Hospital Care Gets A Yes

on Friday, 21 March 2014 17:45.

Acupuncture integrates into hospital emergency room care and helps relieve pain and nausea. Cost-effectiveness and relief from pain and nausea were evaluated in this study. A new study conducted at the Northern Hospital in Melbourne, Australia demonstrates that acupuncture is safe and effective for the treatment of pain and nausea in the emergency room setting. The research reveals that adding acupuncture to conventional biomedical care results in better patient medical outcomes.

The study was conducted between January and August of 2010. A total of 200 patients presenting to emergency room triage with pain and/or nausea were treated with both acupuncture and biomedical care. This integrative medicine group was compared with another group receiving only biomedical ‘western medicine’ care. The acupuncture group responded with an 84.8% response rate that they would consider repeating acupuncture care. Of that 84.8%, a total of 53.5% noted “definitely yes” to repeating acupuncture care in the emergency room setting. 

Acupuncture Point Signals Neurological Pathway

on Wednesday, 19 March 2014 21:24.

A new discovery demonstrates that acupuncture needle stimulation translates into neurological signaling with the help of a special protein receptor. TRPV1 is an important gene in converting mechanical to neurological signals. TRPV1The new research helps to explain how physical stimulation of an acupuncture point with a needle activates powerful biochemical responses relating to human health. Western blotting, immunoflourescence and other scientific procedures reveal that a special protein receptor, gene and cation channel are involved in the effective actions and signaling pathways of needling acupuncture point ST36 (Zusanli).

TRPV1, a transient receptor potential cation channel, is a gene and related receptor that forms a mechano-sensitive ion channel. The receptor is activated by changes in temperature and other forms of mechanical stimulation. TRPV1 is “highly expressed at ST36” according to the new research. Calcium wave propagation (CWP) components were also highly expressed in the TRPV1 related tissues at ST36. 

Acupuncture & Ginger Moxibustion Effective for Tinnitus - New Study

on Tuesday, 18 March 2014 11:39.

Researchers conclude that acupuncture combined with ginger moxibustion has a curative effect on patients with intractable tinnitus. Tinnitus is ringing in the ears. Patients with intractable tinnitus are primarily the elderly or middle-aged people who hear ringing in the ears, especially in the evening or in a quiet environment. Medications often do not work well for this condition. Researchers from a hospital in Hubei province treated 34 cases of intractable tinnitus using acupuncture and ginger moxibustion. They achieved an overall effective rate of 91.18%.

According to Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM) theory, most intractable tinnitus cases are comprised of patients with excess syndromes. In biomedical terms, excess syndromes can be measured as a form of hyperactivity of the sympathetic nervous system. The TCM related excess syndromes for tinnitus are often caused by depression, stagnation of Liver qi, excessive anger or fear and may lead to a blockage of the Shaoyang Meridian.

Deficiency syndromes also cause to tinnitus. Deficiency syndromes are mostly caused by a weak constitution due to chronic disease, deficiency of qi and blood, excessive work or excess sexuality that results in insufficient Kidney essence that is unable to nourish the ears. Therefore, acupuncture is usually applied to acupoints on the Hand and Foot Shaoyang channels circling ears. The blocking of channels is often severe for patients with intractable tinnitus and ginger, which warms and unblocks channels and tracts, can improve circulation in the ears especially when combined with moxibustion.

The researchers treated 34 patients whose courses of illness ranged from 4 months to 11 years. Prior to the study, physical examinations had ruled out the possibility that their tinnitus was caused by certain diseases such as illness in the auricle and middle ear, acoustic neuroma, sclerosis, head injuries, anemia, diabetes, thyroid hypofunction, low blood sugar, autoimmune disease and vascular spastic diseases. 

Acupuncture For Schizophrenia Treatment Reviewed

on Monday, 17 March 2014 15:04.

A new report tracks the success of acupuncture for the treatment of schizophrenia. The research shows that acupuncture reduces depression, pain and hallucinations associated with schizophrenia. This chronic mental disorder is characterized by mental fragmentation, illogic, disconnected emotional responses, delusions and a breakdown of the line between fantasy and reality. Researchers documented a case study wherein acupuncture improved daily functions, sleep and reduced pain, depression and mental disturbances due to hallucinations. This latest research is bolstered by additional research finding that acupuncture alleviates both schizophrenia and the side effects of psychiatric medication.

Taking a look a this most recent research, a 63 year old woman suffered from chronic hallucinations of a bird “pecking her back.” She experienced physical pain as a result of these hallucinations. The hallucinations persisted but the patient “felt less disturbed by them.” The pain and depression, however, reduced significantly. This was accomplished in 12 acupuncture treatments at a rate of once per week for 3 months. A 3 month post treatment follow-up documented lasting results.

Related research concludes “that patients diagnosed with schizophrenia would benefit from acupuncture treatment alongside conventional treatment.” Acupuncture was effective in alleviating schizophrenia and the side effects of psychiatric medication. Acupuncture also improved energy levels, sleep, physical disorders and motivation. 

Finally, Acupuncture Proven To Reduce Pain

on Sunday, 16 March 2014 23:28.

Acupuncture effectively reduces pain according to research published in The Journal of the American Medical Association (JAMA). Acupuncture is now a proven science for pain and inflammation reduction. Acupuncture groups had significantly greater reductions of pain than both non-treatment control groups and sham (imitation/placebo) control acupuncture groups in multiple high quality studies. Specifically, acupuncture was found effective for reducing pain associated with osteoarthritis, chronic headache, shoulder pain, nonspecific musculoskeletal pain, neck pain and back pain.

The researchers from Memorial Sloan-Kettering Cancer Center, New York and Technical University, Munich underscored the importance of this latest research. They note that prior meta-analyses and systematic reviews of acupuncture for the treatment of pain included research of “variable quality.” In this new study, the scope was “restricted to high-quality trials.”

The researchers started with 31 eligible studies with a total of 19,827 patients. Studies were accepted only from the United States of America, United Kingdom, Germany, Spain and Sweden. Only studies with controls were included. Controls included no-acupuncture and sham/placebo acupuncture. All studies were conducted between 1996 and 2008. The researchers refined the studies down to 29 from the original 31 to preserve the highest quality evidence profile.

The clinical results demonstrated acupuncture to provide a “good response” to pain reduction in 50% of all cases. Sham/placebo acupuncture groups demonstrated the ability to reduce pain in 42.5% of cases and no-acupuncture controls demonstrated pain reduction in 30% of all cases. Some concern was expressed by the researchers that the sham/placebo acupuncture groups received active true acupuncture because some of the sham/placebo techniques “involved skin penetration.” They note that the sham/placebo acupuncture may not be “physiologically inactive.” As a result, some of the successes with sham/placebo acupuncture may reflect true acupuncture results. The researchers note “trials that include sham acupuncture as a comparison may underestimate the effects of acupuncture on pain reduction.” Another consideration is that these controlled studies involve blinding and standardization.  As a result, the benefits of acupuncture may be underestimated because a true clinical setting involves customization of acupuncture procedures according to an individual patient’s differential diagnosis.

Acupuncture Regulates Sex Hormones in PCOS

on Sunday, 16 March 2014 11:01.

New research finds acupuncture benefits the ovaries by regulating sex hormones. PCOS is successfully regulated including androgen regulation with acupuncture. Investigators conducted a laboratory experiment and documented important medical benefits induced by the application of acupuncture. According to the research, acupuncture facilitated “the normal transformation of ovarian androgen to estrogen” and restored normal endocrine system functions.

Acupuncture demonstrated several remarkable effects on the PCOS (Polycystic Ovary Syndrome) rats in this laboratory experiment. The PCOS rats demonstrated pathological changes in ovarian tissue including abnormal thickening of the coating, thinning of the granular cell layer, mitochondrion swelling, enlargement of the endoplasmic reticulum and oocyte disappearance. After acupuncture, a significant and dramatic improvement of the ovarian physical structure was evident. Acupuncture effectively improved both morphology and ultrastructure of the ovaries.

The researchers discovered important biological mechanisms responsible for the improvements. Acupuncture effectively regulated hormones and restored normal levels of many endocrine secretions. Excess androgens are responsible for acne, excess hair growth and the cessation of ovulation. Acupuncture successfully restored conversion of these excess androgens to estrogens. Acupuncture also regulated cytochrome P450 (CYP), an oxidative enzyme. In abnormal concentrations, CYP causes dysfunction relating to oxidation and metabolism. In this study, acupuncture successfully and significantly regulated CYP expression. 

Acupuncture & Herbs Effective For Cerebral Vasospasm - New Study

on Tuesday, 11 March 2014 10:25.

A recent study reveals that acupuncture has a curative effect on patients with cerebral vasospasm. Acupoint Yintang is helpful in relieving vasospasm and may help to save lives. Acupoint Yintang This is a severe vasoconstriction of arteries and is located in the subarachnoid cavity covering the brain. The vasospasm decreases blood flow to the area and may cause ischemia, infarction, stroke and death. This new research demonstrates that combining acupuncture, herbal medicine and pharmaceutical medication together is significantly more effective than using only drugs.

During a randomized controlled trial, researchers divided 60 patients equally into a control group and an acupuncture treatment group. Patients in the control group received conventional medication. Patients in the acupuncture treatment group received the same medication as the control group plus acupuncture and the Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM) herbal formula Xue Fu Zhu Yu Tang (Decoction for Driving Out Blood Stasis in the Blood Mansion). After 4 weeks of treatment, the outcome of the acupuncture treatment group was better than that of the control group and the difference was statistically significant (P<0.05).

TCM Perspective
Generally, cerebral vasospasm is commonly a response to an aneurysmal hemorrhage. Symptomatic cerebral vasospasm often occurs when an atherosclerotic plaque in the internal carotid or vertebral arteries narrows the lumen. This leads to the dysfunction of cerebral vessels. According to Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM), symptomatic cerebral vasospasm is often listed in the headache category and is usually caused by a weak constitution plus the influence of exogenous pathogenic factors. The vasospasm leads to yang qi deficiency that causes blood to flow outside normal pathways eventually leading to blood stasis in cerebral channels.

The Experiment
In this study conducted by the neurosurgery department of Shanxi People's Hospital, the patients' courses of disease ranged from 48 hours to 2 weeks. TCM diagnostics confirmed these patients' symptoms belong to the category of stasis blocked tracts. Both the control group and the acupuncture group took comprehensive therapeutic measures addressing dehydration, hemostasis and prevention of gastrointestinal bleeding. Patients of the control group received nimodipine via intravenous pump at the rate of 2-4 ml per hour for 2 weeks. Next, they received oral administration of nimodipine for 2 weeks. Nimodipine is a calcium channel blocker used to prevent complications from a subarachnoid hemorrhage related vasospasm. 

Acupuncture For Heart Failure Recovery - New Research

on Monday, 10 March 2014 21:27.

Acupuncture improves the functional and physical health of the heart in cases of chronic heart failure (CHF). Research published in the American Journal of Physiology, Heart and Circulatory Physiology demonstrates several major clinical benefits provided by acupuncture in cases of CHF. One of the most important discoveries is that acupuncture reduces the physical size of damage to the heart, infarct size, due to heart failure.

The researchers note that CHF is associated with significant neurohumoral responses including excess sympathetic nervous system activity. In this laboratory experiment, acupuncture demonstrated significant homeostatic regulatory effects on sympathetic nervous system responses. Excess cardiac sympathetic afferent reflexes resulting in overactive sympathetic tone combined with deficient parasympathetic activity is contributory towards heart failure and the risk of sudden death. Acupuncture successfully demonstrated regulatory responses on these systems to improve overall cardiac health. 

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