Acupuncture Continuing Education

Acupuncture News and Research

Acupuncture and herbs relieve sciatica, a condition characterized by lower back pain radiating through the hips, buttocks, and legs. Researchers from the Rizhao Hospital of TCM (Traditional Chinese Medicine) and the Shanghai University of TCM investigated the efficacy of acupuncture for the relief of sciatic pain. Sciatics induces lower back and hip pain. Both acupuncture and acupuncture plus herbal medicine were effective and produced significant positive patient outcomes. In addition, the researchers document that acupuncture and herbs stimulate important biochemical changes causing pain reduction.

Acupuncture as a standalone therapy had a total effective rate of 81.6% for the relief of pain due to sciatica and restoration of normal function. Acupuncture combined with herbal medicine achieved a 95% total effective rate. As a result, the researchers conclude that the combined therapy approach is more effective than using only acupuncture as a standalone therapy for the treatment of sciatica.

Han et al. note that acupuncture increases serum β-EP, which reduces transmission of nerve pain signals. Sciatica is also characterized by increased levels of IL-1,IL-6, and TNF-α. Hand et al. note that acupuncture successfully downregulates these biochemicals thereby contributing to reductions of pain and inflammation. The research of Li et al. from the Rizhao Hospital of TCM and the Shanghai University of TCM confirms the findings of acupuncture’s ability to regulate β-EP, IL-1, IL-6, and TNF-α. Li et al. note that both acupuncture and acupuncture plus herbs regulate the sciatica related biochemical expression but the combination therapy of acupuncture plus herbs outperforms standalone acupuncture therapy. 

Acupuncture relieves pain, stiffness, and improves knee function for patients with knee osteoarthritis. Researchers from the Chengdu University of TCM (Traditional Chinese Medicine) investigated the efficacy of acupuncture and Tui Na massage for the treatment of knee osteoarthritis. Patellar malfunction is corrected with acupoint stimulation. Two groups were compared. Group 1 received only acupuncture and group 2 received a combination of acupuncture and Tui Na massage. Both groups yielded significant positive patient outcomes. The group that received the combined acupuncture and Tui Na care outperformed the acupuncture standalone care group.

Knee osteoarthritis is known by the vernacular ‘wear and tear’ arthritis. It involves physical damage to protective tissues and can lead to joint deformities. Symptoms include pain and range of motion impairment. Biomedical treatments include drugs and surgery.

Chengdu University of TCM researchers randomized 96 patients with knee osteoarthritis into two groups of 48 patients each. In the acupuncture only group, 11 patients had greater than an 80% recovery. In the acupuncture combined with Tui Na group, 21 patients had greater than an 80% recovery. The 80% recovery rate was based on WOMAC (Western Ontario and McMaster Universities Osteoarthritis Index) scores of pain, stiffness, and functional improvements. Additional patients in each group demonstrated significant clinical improvements, also based on WOMAC scores. As a result of the findings, the researchers conclude that acupuncture combined with Tui Na is highly effective for the resolution of knee pain and stiffness. In addition, the combined therapy is effective in the restoration of knee functionality. 

MRI imaging and clinical research confirms that acupuncture relieves internet addiction disorder. Neuroimaging demonstrates that acupuncture normalizes brain activity levels while alleviating compulsive internet use, anxiety, and depression for patients with internet addiction disorder. Internet addiction affects adults and children. Internet addiction disorder, often referred to as Problematic Internet Use (PIU), is not listed in the DSM (Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders) but internet gaming disorder is listed.

Internet addition disorder is linked to brain pathology. Hou et al. measured significantly reduced dopamine transporter activity levels in the striatum for patients with internet addiction disorder. Additional research demonstrates that internet addiction is correlated with D2 dopamine autoreceptor regulatory imbalances and reductions of glucose metabolism in the frontal lobe, temporal lobe, and limbic system.

Using fMRI techniques, Zhang et al. demonstrated that electroacupuncture reduces internet addiction and anxiety while enhancing brain resting states. Electroacupuncture successfully increased ALFF (Amplitude of Low Frequency Fluctuations) in the calcarine sulcus, posterior cingulate, lingual gyrus, cuneus, and parahippocampal gyrus for internet addiction disorder patients. ALFF measurements are neuroimaging techniques that measure responses in the resting brain. Neuroimaging by Chen et al. demonstrates that electroacupuncture regulates cerebral gray matter densities towards a physical state that benefits brain function and reduces depression for patients with internet addiction disorders. 

Acupuncture relieves nasal congestion due to rhinitis. Research published in the Shanghai Journal of Acupuncture and Moxibustion demonstrates that acupuncture combined with moxibustion alleviates nasal congestion, swelling, post-nasal drip, and a runny nose. Facial needling in the TCM syle. The research confirms that acupuncture exerts an anti-inflammatory action, enhances immunity, and is effective in the prevention of immunological related disease.

The research compared the effectiveness of acupuncture plus moxibustion with nasal drops containing nitrofurazone and ephedrine. The total effective rate of the nasal drop medication was 55%. Acupuncture combined with moxibustion achieved an 85% total effective rate for the alleviation of rhinitis signs and symptoms.

The Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM) principles chosen for the acupuncture point selection were to promote blood circulation, remove stasis, and open nasal passages. Acupuncture was applied to acupoints:

  • M-HN3, Yintang
  • DU20, Baihui
  • DU4, Mingmen
  • LI20, Yingxiang
  • GB20, Fengchi
  • LI4, Hegu

Manual stimulation using the bu-pushing technique was applied to the acupuncture needles to elicit a deqi response at the needle site. Total needle retention time was thirty minutes per acupuncture session. Moxibustion was applied to acupoints DU4, Yintang, and GB20 during needle retention. Additional moxibustion along the acupuncture meridians was applied for an additional one minute. Acupuncture and moxibustion were applied once per day for one week. 

Acupuncture relieves anxiety and depression experienced by stroke patients. Researchers from the Shanghai University of TCM (Traditional Chinese Medicine) investigated the efficacy of acupuncture and medications for the treatment of post-stroke anxiety and depression. Scalp acupuncture and face acupoints. The SSRI (serotonin reuptake inhibitor) drug sertraline demonstrated a 73.3% total efficacy rate. Conventional acupuncture achieved an 80% total effective rate. Another group received a treatment protocol of Sun Si-Miao’s ghost acupoints combined with sertraline. The combination group achieved a 93.3% total effective rate. The researchers concluded that the combination of acupuncture with drug therapy is safe and effective for the treatment of anxiety and depression due to post-stroke syndrome.

Sertraline is an antidepressant used for the treatment of depression, panic attacks, anxiety, and obsessive-compulsive disorder. Common side effects include drowsiness, dizziness, nausea, insomnia, decreased libido, inability to have an orgasm, constipation, and stomach pain. The group receiving sertraline received dosages ranging between 25 and 75 mg/day based on the condition and severity of side effects.

The conventional acupuncture group received needling at acupuncture points including:

  • DU20, Baihui
  • Taiyang (extra point)
  • SJ5, Waiguan
  • LI4, Hegu
  • GB30, Huantiao
  • GB20, Fengchi
  • GB34,Yanglingquan
  • GB39, Xuanzhong
  • BL60, Kunlun

Manual stimulation of the acupuncture needles was used to obtain deqi and the needles were retained for twenty minutes per each acupuncture session. For both the conventional acupuncture group and the ghost point acupuncture group, acupuncture was applied five times per week with a break on the weekends. Total treatment duration was four weeks. 

Acupuncture relieves neck pain and numbness and reduces levels of proinflammatory blood cytokines. Researchers conclude that warm needle acupuncture has a 92.05% total effective rate for the treatment of pain, numbness, and radiating discomfort due to cervical spondylosis with radiculopathy. This is a condition wherein there is spinal and soft tissue degeneration in the neck causing nerve impingement with subsequent pain or numbness. Acupoints for cervical radiculopathy. The symptoms often radiate from the neck to the shoulders, chest, back, and limbs. In addition, acupuncture successfully reduces blood levels of tumor necrosis factor-a (TNF-a) and the proinflammatory cytokines interleukin-1 beta (IL1β) and interleukin 6 (IL6).

A total of 169 patients participated in the hospital study. Most of the patients experienced pain upon stretching and all patients had a limited range of motion of the neck. Patients demonstrated significant reductions in neck, shoulder, and limb pain as a result of acupuncture treatments. Acupuncture also significantly relieved numbness in these areas.

Two groups were compared. One group received conventional acupuncture and the other group received warm needle acupuncture. The warm needle acupuncture group received a combination of moxibustion with acupuncture and had a 92.05% total effective rate. The conventional acupuncture group had an 81.48% total effective rate. 

Knee pain shown at the site of the bones.

Acupuncture combined with herbs is effective for the relief of knee osteoarthritis pain. Shanghai University of Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM) researchers conducted a controlled trial and concluded that acupuncture with herbs is both safe and effective. No harmful side effects resulted from the treatment regimen and patients demonstrated significant improvements. The researchers document significant reductions in knee pain with concommitant joint function improvement.

The researchers conducted a highly controlled experiment wherein acupuncture point prescriptions were standardized to a set of specific acupuncture points with predetermined manual acupuncture stimulation procedures. This protocolized approach to treatment eliminates variables from the clinical trial and is often employed in modern research. This varies somewhat from standards of clinical care in that licensed acupuncturists may customize an acupuncture point prescription based on differential diagnostics.

Two acupuncture protocols were compared between treatment groups. One group received acupuncture with herbs in what was termed the Shi treatment procedure. The other protocol of care employed only a standard set of acupuncture points without the use of herbal medicine. The researchers cited Li et al. noting that acupuncture and TCM approaches to patient care for knee osteoarthritis are increasing in common usage and produce significant positive patient outcomes. This experiments tests and confirms the patient outcome aspect of Li et al.

The researchers detailed the acupuncture point procedures and the TCM theory underlying the protocols of care. According to TCM principles, knee osteoarthritis is related to an imbalance in the tendons and bones. This is due, in part, to deficiencies of liver blood and kidney qi. In TCM, the liver is responsible for nourishing the tendons. The kidneys strengthen the bones. In biomedical terms, internal organ insufficiencies lead to the body’s inability to deliver nutrients necessary to maintain the tendons and bones.

The Shi acupuncture with herbs technique outperformed the acupuncture only group. The Shi approach to care focuses on pain relief through the regulation of acupuncture channels. The treatment principle is to produce long-term reductions in cartilage surface friction and soft tissue adhesions. Combined with the herbal formula Yi Shen Juan Bi, in pill form, the treatment is geared towards the reduction of symptoms and the root causes knee osteoarthritis. The researchers document that the Shi approach to care scored significant improvements both in pain reduction and knee joint motion restoration. 

Acupuncture insurance billing with ICD-10 diagnosis codes begins in October. The deadline is here. All insurance billing starting on that date must use the new ICD-10 system of diagnosis billing codes. Computer for insurance changes. At the Healthcare Medicine Institute, we have provided free resources to help with the transition plus an acupuncture CEU / PDA course on the topic.

The acting administrator of the Department of Health & Human Services notes, “If you don’t use a valid ICD-10 code starting on October 1, 2015, you will not be able to successfully bill for your services.” This includes billing private insurance companies and Medicare. In a fact document released by the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS), medical professionals are given the following instructions for denied insurance claims, “Submitters should follow existing procedures for correcting and resubmitting rejected claims and issues related to denied claims.”

Billing Medicare may be more flexible in the first 12 months than billing some private insurers. The CMS notes that “Medicare review contractors will not deny physician or other practitioner claims billed under the Part B physician fee schedule through either automated medical review or complex medical record review based solely on the specificity of the ICD-10 diagnosis code as long as the physician/practitioner used a valid code from the right family of codes.” They add, “Each commercial payer will have to determine whether it will offer similar audit flexibilities.”

Specificity requirements may cause some initial payment reimbursement issues for licensed acupuncturists. For example, if an acupuncturist bills M79.603, which is the code for unspecified arm pain, the insurer may deny the claim and request a code specifying laterality. As a result, the acupuncturist must resubmit with either the M79.601 right arm pain code or the M79.602 left arm pain code. The specificity requirements are determined by each insurer. At the Healthcare Medicine Institute, we provide a list of usable codes for acupuncturists and go over the basics of what to expect in the acupuncture continuing education CEU course entitled Acupuncture Insurance Billing #1

Acupuncture boosts antidepressant medication effectiveness and balances biochemistry. Researchers from Tianjin University of TCM (Traditional Chinese Medicine) found that adding acupuncture to a fluoxetine drug therapy regimen of care increases the total effective rate by over 10%. Scalp and facial points. In addition, the onset of clinical benefits was quicker for patients receiving acupuncture combined with paroxetine than for patients only receiving paroxetine, also known by the trade name Paxil.

Fluoxetine is a serotonin reuptake inhibitor (SSRI) used for the treatment of depression, anxiety, panic attacks, and obsessive-compulsive disorders. Two randomized groups were compared. The fluoxetine group had a 77.05% total effective rate for the treatment of depression. The acupuncture plus paroxetine group had a total effective rate of 88.85%.

The experiment reveals an important effect on blood chemistry for patients with depression. Acupuncture successfully regulated (interferon) IFN-gamma and (interleukin) IL-4 levels. The Tianjin University of TCM research is consistent with the findings of Zheng et al. finding patients suffering from depression have increased IFN-gamma levels and low IL-4 levels. The addition of acupuncture to the regimen of drug care successfully decreased IFN-gamma levels while increasing IL-4 levels. This regulatory function demonstrated by acupuncture’s effect on biochemistry demonstrates a homeostatic effect.

The findings suggest that depression presents challenges to the immune system and that acupuncture mediates immune system responses. S. R. Paludan from the Department of Medical Microbiology and Immunology at the University of Aarhus in Denmark notes, “The two cytokines interleukin (IL)-4 and interferon (IFN)-gamma play major roles in the generation and regulation of immune responses.” Paludan adds that the “functions of IL-4 and IFN-gamma place the two cytokines at cardinal positions in the regulation of immune reactions.” 

Acupuncture doubles the fertility rate of women with infertility due to hyperprolactinemia. The condition involves excess production of the hormone prolactin. Pregnancy is increased with CV6 (Qihai), CV4 (Guanyuan), and other points. Indications include infertility, breast milk secretion, amenorrhea, and low sex drive. The researchers discovered that treatment with the drug bromocriptine resulted in a 20% pregnancy rate. When acupuncture was added to the treatment regimen, the fertility rate increased to 43.3%.

Acupuncture demonstrated several other benefits. Acupuncture shortened the period of time needed to lower levels of prolactin. Acupuncture also helped to regulate estrogen, progestin, and follicle stimulating hormone (FSH) levels. In addition, acupuncture reduced the side effects caused by bromocriptine intake.

Bromocriptine is used for the treatment of hyperprolactinemia, acromegaly, and Parkinson’s disease. It is an ergot alkaloid that blocks prolactin release from the pituitary gland. Side effects include dizziness, nausea, confusion, hallucinations, and uncontrolled bodily movements. The researchers discovered that acupuncture increases the positive patient outcomes associated with bromocriptine intake while mitigating its adverse effects.

Researchers from the Hunan Mawangdui Hospital compared bromocriptine intake with an integrated approach to care involving acupuncture combined with bromocriptine intake. A total of sixty patients were randomized into the drug group and the drug combined with acupuncture group. Bromocriptine was administered at 1.25 mg, twice per day after meals. After the eighth day, the dosage was increased to 2.5 mg.

Acupuncture was administered starting on the eighth day after menstruation. The primary acupoints were:

  • CV6, Qihai
  • CV4, Guanyuan
  • ST36, Zusanli
  • SP6, Sanyinjiao
  • LV3, Taichong
  • KD3, Taixi
  • LV5, Ligou

Acupuncture and herbs are effective for the treatment of ankle injuries. Researchers from the Nanning Hospital of TCM (Traditional Chinese Medicine) investigated the efficacy of warm needle acupuncture combined with external herbal compresses for the treatment of sports related ankle injuries. Ankle injuries treated with KD10 and Ahshi acupoints. The research team also investigated the efficacy of electroacupuncture for the treatment of ankle injuries. Warm needle acupuncture combined with herbal compresses achieved a 95% total effective rate and electroacupuncture achieved a 76.7% total effective rate for the treatment of ankle injuries.

A total of 120 patients with sports related ankle injuries participated in the randomized controlled study. Both electroacupuncture and warm needle acupuncture patients were treated five days per week. Assessments were made after week one and week four of the treatment regimen.

Warm needle acupuncture was applied to the following acupoints:

  • Ah Shi
  • SP6 (Sanyinjiao, 3 Yin Intersection)
  • SP5 (Shangqiu, Shang Mound)
  • KD2 (Rangu, Blazing Valley)
  • GB34 (Yanglingquan, Yang Mound Spring)
  • GB41 (Zulinqi, Foot Governor of Tears)
  • BL62 (Shenmai, Extending Vessel)
  • LV3 (Taichong, Great Rushing)

Additional acupoints were added based on the type of injury. For ankle sprains on the medial side, the following acupoints were added:

  • BL60 (Kunlun, Kunlun Mountains)
  • GB40 (Qiuxu, Mound of Ruins)

For ankle sprains on the lateral side, the following acupoints were added:

  • KD3 (Taixi, Supreme Stream)
  • KD6 (Zhaohai, Shining Sea)

For the procedure, patients relaxed in a supine position. Acupuncture needles of a 1.5” or 1” length were initially inserted into acupoints located in areas of the greatest pain due to the ankle injury. Lifting, thrusting, and twisting techniques were applied. The acupuncture needles were lifted to the superficial level and reinserted for additional lifting, thrusting, and twisting technique applications until all four directions received the manual acupuncture stimulation. Manual acupuncture techniques were applied to elicit the deqi response.

Acupuncture with herbs outperforms ibuprofen for the relief of acute lower back pain due to lumbar sprain. Researchers from the Nanyang Institute of Technology conducted a randomized controlled trial to investigate the efficacy of Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM). Lower back pain depicted here. A six day follow-up measured a 96.97% total effective rate for the TCM acupuncture and herbs group. The ibuprofen group achieved a 72.73% total effective rate for the relief of lumbar sprain and associated pain.

An acupuncture point prescription of distal acupuncture points and an herbal compress was applied to all patients in the TCM group. The drug group received 300 mg of sustained release ibuprofen capsules orally. They were taken in the morning and at night. The ibuprofen group also received pain relieving musk plasters applied topically to the region of pain, once per day.

The acupuncture points were applied at the same time the patients received the herbal compress treatments. The acupuncture points were:

  • SI3 (Houxi, Back Stream)
  • LI4 (Hegu, Joining Valley)
  • Yaotongxue (N-UE-19, Lumbar Pain Point)

Yaotongxue is also known as Yaotongdian (Lumbar Pain Spot). It is a set of two acupoints on the dorsum of the hand. Each point of the Yaotongxue set may be referred to by a specific name. The acupoint between the second and third metacarpal bones is called Weiling and the point between the fourth and fifth metacarpals is Jingling. SI3, LI4, and Yaotongxue were needled bilaterally for a total of eight acupuncture points. After insertion, a slight lifting and thrusting technique was combined with twisting at a rate of once every ten minutes. Total needle retention time was thirty minutes. Acupuncture was administered once per day for a total of three acupuncture treatments.

Acupuncture reduces anxiety levels. Researchers from Heilongjiang University of Chinese Medicine investigated the efficacy of electroacupuncture at Huatuojiaji acupoints combined with scalp acupoints for the treatment of generalized anxiety disorder (GAD). Anxiety and fear are alleviated with auricular, scalp, and Jiaji points. The results were compared with a traditional acupuncture group and a drug therapy group. The electroacupuncture group had a total effective rate of 96.7% and the traditional acupuncture group achieved an 83.3% total effective rate. The drug therapy group, receiving paroxetine, achieved a 73.3% total effective rate. Based on the findings, the researchers conclude that electroacupuncture at Huatuojiaji and scalp acupuncture points is effective for the treatment of GAD.

GAD is characterized by excessive worry and a feeling of anxiousness. Symptoms include the inability to relax, difficulty concentrating, startling easily, insomnia, headaches, exhaustion, muscle tension, nausea, and irritability. There may be concomitant excessive sweating, difficulty swallowing, twitching, frequent urination, palpitations, and lightheadedness.

All three approaches investigated delivered significant positive patient outcomes. Interestingly, both forms of acupuncture that were studied outperformed the drug therapy. The medication used was paroxetine hydrochloride tablets, 20 mg, taken twice per day. Brand names for paroxetine hydrochloride include Paxil, Brisdelle, and Pexeva. Paroxetine is a selective serotonin reuptake inhibitor (SSRI) often prescribed for depression, anxiety, and PTSD. For the electroacupuncture group, 1.5” filiform needles of gauge 30 were applied to Huatuojiaji points slanted medially to a 0.5” to 1” depth. For scalp acupuncture, needles were applied to the emotional area as described by Wang et al. 

Acupuncture is effective for relieving slow transit constipation (STC). Slow transit refers to the slow passage of feces through the large intestine. Acupoint ST25, Tianshu, and CV12, Zhongwan. STC is a type of functional constipation that is present in approximately 15 to 30% of constipated individuals and is characterized by strained bowel movements with lumpy or hard stools. STC involves fewer than three bowel movements per week and is accompanied by a sensation of incomplete evacuation. There may be concomitant abdominal pain, nausea, and low appetite. The incidence of STC increases with age.

In a meta-analysis, researchers document that acupuncture, electroacupuncture, and moxibustion are effective treatment modalities for STC. The single most frequently used acupuncture point for the treatment of STC across all of the studies demonstrating that acupuncture is effective is Tianshu (ST25, Heaven’s Pivot). This acupoint is located bilaterally on the abdomen, 2 cun lateral to the navel. According to Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM) principles, this is the Front-Mu acupoint of the large intestine. Traditional functions for this acupoint include regulating the intestines, spleen, and stomach. In addition, ST25 resolves dampness, damp-heat, qi stagnation, and blood stasis. Given the traditional functions, it is no surprise to find ST25 is in common use for the resolution of STC.

Traditional indications for the use of ST25 lend insight as to why many researchers investigated its efficacy for the treatment of STC. Indications include the treatment of diarrhea, constipation, undigested food, edema, dysuria, intestinal abscesses, abdominal pain, abdominal distention, and dysmenorrhea. The overall TCM principle garnered by the researchers was that ST25 dredges Qi in the large intestine to restore transit functionality. 

Acupuncture helps women with stress urinary incontinence (SUI). This condition is characterized by leakage of urine during physical activity, standing, sexual intercourse, sneezing, or coughing. Five filiform needles uses in treatment sessions. Stress incontinence is due to pelvic floor muscle weakness leading to increased pressure on the bladder upon stress. Risk factors include pelvic surgery, hormonal deficiencies, and delayed second stage of labor. Forceps delivery may also be associated with this condition. The researchers discovered that a special acupuncture procedure produces a total effective rate of 93.3%.

Standard care treatments include pelvic floor muscle exercises, retiming of fluid consumption, urethral inserts, injectable bulking agents, and several surgical procedures. In this study of 60 female patients with SUI, a control group practicing pelvic muscle floor exercises was compared with a treatment group receiving acupuncture combined with pelvic floor muscle exercises. The average symptom duration for all patients was between 9.7 and 10 years.

The pelvic floor muscle exercises were practiced every day for 30 days. Acupuncture was applied to a series of acupoints known as Baliao, translated as eight crevices. This series of 4 points are individually known as Shang Liao (BL31), Ci Liao (BL32), Zhong Liao (BL33), and Xia Liao (BL34). The acupoints are located over the first through fourth sacral foramen.

Deep needling was applied at angles between 30 and 45 degrees. Needle retention time was 20 minutes per session. Moxibustion was applied to warm the needles. Acupuncture treatments were applied 5 times per week for a total of 6 weeks. The control group had a total effective rate of 70% and the acupuncture treatment group had a total effective rate of 93.3%.

The researchers note that use of the acupuncture point prescription used in the study is consistent with Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM) theory. Many urinary disorders are related to kidney deficiency and qi deficiency. Baliao points are traditionally used to nourish kidney qi and regulate urination. Baliao points regulate the bladder and stimulate local muscles. As a result, the acupuncture point prescription is consistent with TCM principles of treatment. 

Acupuncture alleviates shoulder-hand syndrome (SHS), a complex regional pain syndrome of the upper limbs often caused by a stroke. SHS involves sudden swelling and extreme pain as a complication after the onset of hemiplegia. Needles applied to the shoulder are shown. The condition may also be referred to as reflex dystrophy syndrome. Researchers conducted a controlled experiment finding acupuncture effective in reducing pain and swelling of the shoulder and hand due to SHS. The total effective rate of acupuncture combined with infrared therapy was 97.10%.

A total of 126 patients with SHS were randomly divided into an acupuncture group and a control group. The control group underwent physical therapy and the acupuncture group received acupuncture combined with infrared laser therapy. Physical therapy sessions were conducted for the control group at a rate of twice per day. Each physical therapy session was 40 minutes in length. Physical therapy sessions were conducted over a 4 week period. For the acupuncture group, filiform needles were applied to the following acupoints:

  • Nei Guan, PC6
  • Yang Xi, LI5
  • Ren Ying, ST9
  • Chi Ze, LU5
  • Ji Quan, HE1

Acupuncture increases the effectiveness of paroxetine (Paxil, Aropax) for the treatment of depression. Researchers from the Beijing University of Chinese Medicine conducted a controlled investigation and found that both manual and electroacupuncture significantly increase the total effective rate of paroxetine. Acupoints used in holistic medicine. Prior research by Qu et al. finds acupuncture effective for enhancing the effects of paroxetine for the treatment of major depression. The Beijing University of Chinese Medicine researchers build on these findings by demonstrating that acupuncture enhances the effects of paroxetine for the treatment of mild and moderate level depression.

The researchers discovered a great advantage to adding acupuncture therapy to paroxetine therapy. Not only did acupuncture enhance antidepressant actions, it also significantly reduced adverse effects caused by the medication. Acupuncture reduced levels of paroxetine induced urinary disorders, sexual dysfunction, headaches, dizziness, constipation, and insomnia.

Patients with mild to moderate depression were selected according to inclusion and exclusion criteria from the Peking University Sixth Hospital, First Affiliated Hospital of Nanjing University of Traditional Chinese Medicine, Southern Medical University, and the Baotou City Mental Health Center. A total of 72 patients were randomly divided into three groups. One group received electroacupuncture and paroxetine. Another group received manual acupuncture and paroxetine. A third control group received only paroxetine.

The electroacupuncture plus paroxetine group had an effective rate of 95%. The manual acupuncture plus paroxetine group had an 81.48% effective rate. The paroxetine only group had a 50% effective rate.

Acupuncture and Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM) improves patient outcomes for patients with Duchenne muscular dystrophy (DMD). Researchers from Zhengzhou Children’s hospital combined acupuncture, far infrared therapy, TCM tuina massage, herbal medicine, and drug therapy into a protocolized regimen of care. Head acupoints used for treating Wei syndrome. The combined therapy delivered significant results including reduced physical impairments and improvements in both walking and staircase climbing. In addition, significant reductions in inflammatory related muscle enzyme secretions were achieved.

The researchers admitted 60 pediatric DMD patients into the Neurology and Rehabilitation Department at Zhengzhou Children’s hospital for a two year randomized controlled trial. The participants were randomly divided into two groups. One group received the full compliment of care including acupuncture, far infrared, massage, herbs, and drugs. The second group received the identical drug therapy but no other modalities of care were included in the treatment regimen. The group receiving the full compliment of care had significantly greater physical improvements and better muscle enzyme results.

The drugs only group had negligible enzyme improvements. The group receiving drugs plus acupuncture and other TCM modalities demonstrated significant downregulation of creatine phosphokinase (CPK), lactate dehydrogenase (LDH), and aspartate transaminase (AST). Elevation of these enzymes is a marker for muscle disease, including in the heart. The combined therapeutic regimen of care successfully reduced CPK, LDH, and AST levels.

The total effective rate improved by 20% with the combined regimen of care over drugs only care. The total effective rate was calculated by three parameters of improvement: full recovery, significant recovery, effective. A full recovery was defined as symptoms and bodily physical signs were restored to relatively normal levels for a child, including time needed to walk 10 meters and climb a 2 meter staircase. Enzymes CPK, LDH, and AST decreased by more than 50%. 

Acupuncture and herbs restore motility for patients with motor impairments due to sports injuries. Researchers from the Physical Education Institute at Zhengzhou University investigated the effects of Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM) style acupuncture and herbs on amateur and professional athletes suffering from motor impairments due to the demands of physical training. Areas of the neck, back, and limbs were investigated. The researchers concluded that restoration of motility is significant as a result of applying acupuncture and herbs. However, an additive effect was discovered by combining acupuncture and herbs into a therapeutic regimen. The combination therapy produced superior patient outcomes.

Participants in the study suffered from physical motility limitations. Head and neck impairments accounted for 42% of the patients. Upper limb impairments comprised 24.6% and lower limb impairments accounted for 85.4% of participants. Acute physical limitations accounted for 85.4% of participants and 14.6% were patients with chronic motility impairments.

The total effective rate was calculated from a combination of patients in three categories of improvement: cured, effective, and improved. Patients rated as cured had freer movements of the limbs without any limitations and were able to participate in normal physical training. Patients in the effective category had complete resolution of soreness at the affected regions and movement was free and without limitation at lower levels of physically demanding activity. Improved patients had reduced pain levels and patients were able to perform simple exercises.

The total effective rate for the acupuncture only group was 70%. The herbal medicine group achieved a 62% total effective rate. A group receiving both acupuncture and herbal medicine achieved a total effective rate of 84.4%. The researchers concluded that acupuncture combined with herbs is highly effective for the treatment of physical activity induced motility impairments. The combined therapeutic approach is more effective than either treatment modality as a standalone procedure.

Many of the herbs used in the study were selected for their ability to nourish the liver, kidneys, spleen, and stomach. Another major treatment principle was promoting blood circulation. The herbal medicine given to the participants included Gou Qi Zi, Shan Yao, Di Long, DangGui, and related herbs. A decoction was taken once per day by participants for a total of 30 times. 

Acupuncture combined with Chinese herbal medicine cures pelvic inflammatory disease (PID). This disorder is an infection of the female reproductive organs and may present as an acute emergency or a chronic illness. Lower abdominal acupoints are used for PID treatments. PID commonly involves infection of the uterus, fallopian tubes, or ovaries. In many cases, bacteria from the vagina or cervix transmits to these regions leading to PID. Gonorrhea and chlamydia are major causes of this disorder but there are many other causes including infections following abdominal surgery. Congealed exudate from the infection may cause salpingitis and subsequent infertility.

In China, approximately 2 million new cases of PID are reported every year. In the US, is it estimated that over 1 million women experience PID every year. The major symptoms are abdominal pain accompanied by leukorrhea, vaginal discharge.

Researchers published their findings in the Medical Innovation of China journal. The study involved 90 patients with chronic pelvic inflammatory disease. A comparison was made between using only herbal medicine and another group receiving herbal medicine combined with acupuncture. The average age of the patients was 35 and the average symptoms duration was 1.7 years.

The herbal medicine given to patients in both groups contained:

  • Dang gui 10g
  • Gan Jiang 5g
  • Xiao Hui Xiang 10g
  • Wu Ling Zhi 5g
  • Wu Zhu Yu 10g

A decoction was made and was consumed twice per day, morning and night. For patients with severe PID, the consumption rate was increased to 3 times per day. The group receiving acupuncture combined with herbal medicine received 20 minute needle retention time acupuncture sessions. The acupuncture points used for the patients were: 

  • Zhong Ji (CV3)
  • Guan Yuan (CV4)
  • Qi Hai (CV6)
  • San Yin Jiao (SP6)
  • Zu San Li (ST36)
  • Zi Gong (extra point)

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