A recent study published in the Journal of Research in Medical Sciences concludes that acupuncture is effective for the treatment of carpal tunnel syndrome. There were 72 subjects in this randomized controlled study. The acupuncture treatment group received 8 acupuncture treatments over a period of 4 weeks and night splinting was used as an additional component to the medical are. The control group received night splinting, sham acupuncture (use of non-relevant acupoints in relation to carpal tunnel syndrome), vitamin B1 and vitamin B6. A follow up after the treatment regime measured a clinically significant nerve conduction velocity difference between the groups. The acupuncture group measured significantly better according to the nerve conduction study’s electrophysiological measurements. The researchers also conclude that acupuncture is effective in relieving the subjective symptoms of carpal tunnel syndrome.1
This new acupuncture and carpal tunnel syndrome research from 2012 is not alone. Looking back to a less recent study from 2006 published in the Journal of the International Association for the Study of Pain, researchers measured the effectiveness of acupuncture for the treatment of carpal tunnel syndrome and discovered a brain pathway by which acupuncture exerts its therapeutic results. The researchers measured brain responses using fMRI technology to measure brain processing related to acupuncture stimuli in relation to neuropathic pain. The controlled study discovered that acupuncture caused greater activation of the hypothalamus and greater deactivation of the amygdala- both important brain centers. The researchers concluded that acupuncture benefits chronic pain sufferers “through a coordinated limbic network including the hypothalamus and amygdala.”2
1. Acupuncture in treatment of carpal tunnel syndrome: A randomized controlled trial study. Saeid Khosrawi, Alireza Moghtaderi, Shila Haghighat. Journal of Research in Medical Sciences, Vol 17, No 1 (2012).
2. PAIN. Volume 130, Issue 3 , Pages 254-266, August 2007. Hypothalamus and amygdala response to acupuncture stimuli in carpal tunnel syndrome. V. Napadow, N. Kettner, J. Liu, M. Li, K.K. Kwong, M. Vangel, N. Makris, J. Audette, K.K.S. Hui. July 2006.