Acupuncture Continuing Education

Acupuncture Continuing Education News

Acupuncture News and Research

Acupuncture alleviates irritable bowel syndrome (IBS). Researchers from the Heilongjiang University of Chinese Medicine investigated the efficacy of electroacupuncture for the treatment of IBS. A comparison group in the clinical trial received oral administration of pinaverium bromide. The acupuncture treatment group demonstrated an 86.7% improvement rate. The drug group demonstrated a 50% improvement rate. Jiaji points of the back.

Sixty patients were randomized equally into two treatment groups. Group one received electroacupuncture and group two received pinaverium bromide. Electroacupuncture was applied to Huatoujiaji acupoints of the back at the level of T11, T12, and L1.

The researchers note that the acupuncture prescription was developed using a traditional approach to care. They note the Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM) principle that Huatoujiaji acupoints are located between the du and bladder taiyang channels and have the ability to regulate both of these bordering channels and respective acupoints at specific spinous process levels. For example, the spleen back-shu point of the bladder taiyang channel is located lateral to the lower border of the spinous process of T11. Likewise, the stomach-shu point is located lateral to the lower border of the spinous process of T12. In addition, the sanjiao-shu point is located lateral to the lower border of the spinous process of L1.

All three bladder taiyang channel acupoints have traditional functions for regulating the digestive system. At the same spinous process levels, the Huatoujiaji acupoints share similar medicinal actions. The same applies for du channel acupoints. They too share similar actions to Huatoujiaji points at corresponding spinous process levels. 

Acupuncture plus herbs alleviates depression. Funing County People’s Hospital researchers conducted a randomized clinical trial comparing the efficacy of acupuncture plus herbs with medication therapy. The Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM) therapy group receiving acupuncture plus herbal medicine had a 93.3% total effective rate. The pharmaceutical medication group achieved a 70% total effective rate. Taiyang bladder channel points of the back were selected and needled.

Sixty patients were randomly divided into a TCM group and a drug therapy group. The TCM group received manual acupuncture and the herbal formula Mei Gui Jie Yu Tang for oral intake. The drug therapy group received flupentixol-melitracen, a combination of an antipsychotic medication and a tricyclic antidepressant. Based on the data, the researchers note that acupuncture combined with Mei Gui Jie Yu Tang is a reliable and affordable treatment method for alleviating depression.

Acupuncture was manually applied with mild reinforcing and reducing techniques. Three acupuncture treatments were administered each week for eight weeks. Needle retention time was thirty minutes per acupuncture session and manual acupuncture techniques were applied once every fifteen minutes. Primary acupuncture point used in the study were: 

Acupuncture and electroacupuncture relieve lower back pain due to disc herniations. Heilongjiang University of TCM researchers investigated the analgesic effects of both manual acupuncture and electroacupuncture. Both types of acupuncture successfully relieved focal lower back pain and sciatica. Bladder Foot-Taiyang points of the back.

Electroacupuncture outperformed manual acupuncture in achieving the greatest number of positive patient outcomes. The total effective rate for the relief of pain was 97.5% for electroacupuncture and 89.5% for manual acupuncture in the randomized controlled trial. The total effective rate included patients with significant reductions or elimination of pain, improved lower limb reflexes, ability to resume work, and significant improvements in range of motion.

The researchers applied acupuncture to the following acupoints:

  • BL31, Shangliao
  • BL32, Ciliao
  • BL33, Zhongliao
  • BL34, Xialiao
  • BL54, Zhibian
  • BL40, Weizhong
  • BL60, Kunlun

A manual acupuncture group was compared with an electroacupuncture group whose BL31, BL40, BL34, and BL60 acupoints were stimulated with continuous wave stimulation at a comfortable intensity level. Electroacupuncture was only added after the arrival of deqi at the acupoints. Total needle retention time was 30 minutes per acupuncture session for both groups. All patients received acupuncture at a rate of once per day for ten days. The researchers concluded that both acupuncture and electroacupuncture are safe and effective for the treatment of lumbar disc herniation pain. 

Acupuncture and Chinese herbs eliminate pelvic inflammatory disease (PID). This disorder is often due to an infection in the uterus, fallopian tubes, or ovaries. PID may cause infertility due to residual scarring or congealed exudate. Chlamydia and gonorrhea are common etiologies but PID may be caused many other pathogenic influences.CV6 (Qihai) is needled in this picture.

Acute PID may require hospitalization and emergency use of antibiotics or surgery. Chronic PID may not resolve through the use of conventional therapies including antibiotics, anti-inflammatory medications, and multiple exploratory surgeries. Fortunately, researchers confirm that a combination of acupuncture and Chinese herbal medicine is effective for the resolution pelvic inflammatory disease.

Based on clinical research, researchers from the Chongqing Institute of Chinese Medicine conclude that acupuncture and herbs achieve significant positive patient outcomes for patients with chronic PID. Chinese herbal medicine, as a standalone therapy, achieved a 77.5% total effective rate in their clinical trial. Acupuncture, as a standalone therapy, achieved a 75% total effective rate. A therapeutic protocol combining acupuncture and Chinese herbal medicine achieved a 92.5% total effective rate. The data confirms that an integration of both acupuncture and herbs into a treatment protocol achieves optimal positive patient outcome rates.

The total effective rate was based on improvements of both objective and subjective outcomes. Improvements include the reduction or elimination of abdominal pain, lower abdominal bloating, vaginal discharge (leukorrhea), menstrual pain, irregular menstruation, fatigue, and pelvic compression test pain. The total effective rate also includes significant improvements or elimination of endometrial hyperplasia, pelvic masses, vaginal secretion leukocyte count, and the serum leukocyte and neutrophil count. Six, nine, and twelve month follow-up medical examinations confirm that acupuncture and herbal medicine maintain lasting results and prevent relapses of PID. 

Acupuncture is an effective treatment for the relief of insomnia. Two independent research teams from the Heilongjiang University of Chinese Medicine found acupuncture over 90% effective for the treatment of insomnia. In addition, Li et al. found an important biochemical basis for the efficaciousness of acupuncture in the treatment of insomnia. GB14 and Yintang are needled on a woman's forehead in this picture.

Li et al. conducted an investigation and determined that acupuncture increases biochemical concentrations that benefit sleep. Acupuncture increases the concentration of gama-aminobutyric acid (GABA) in cerebrospinal fluid and increases bodily serotonin (5-HT) levels. Serotonin is involved in the regulation of many bodily functions including appetite, cognitive function, mood, and sleep. GABA is a neurotransmitter that produces inhibitory responses to postsynaptic neurons in the adult brain.

In one of two recent investigations at the Heilongjiang University of Chinese Medicine, researchers tested two acupuncture insomnia treatment protocols. One protocol, called Tiao Shen, achieved a 93.3% total effective rate for the treatment of insomnia. The second treatment protocol, a standardized form of body style acupuncture, achieved a 73.3% total effective rate. Sixty patients were randomized into two equal groups in a semi-protocolized trial.

Group one received the Tiao Shen protocol. Primary body style acupuncture points included:

DU24, Shenting
HT7, Shenmen
ST36, Zusanli
SP6, Sanyinjiao
DU16, Fengfu
GB13, Benshen

Supplementary acupuncture points were added based on differential diagnostics -
Spleen and heart deficiency: add BL15 (Xinshu), BL20 (Pishu)
Heart and kidney deficiency: add HT8 (Shaofu), KD3 (Taixi)
Liver disharmony: add LV3 (Taichong), LI4 (Hegu)
Heart deficiency: add BL15 (Xinshu), BL19 (Danshu)
Excess phlegm: add PC6 (Neiguan), ST40 (Fenglong) 

Dr. Tu Youyou (Chinese Academy of Chinese Medical Sciences, Beijing) received both the Nobel Prize in Medicine and the Lasker~DeBakey Clinical Medical Research Award for developing an herbal based cure for malaria. Dr. Tu headed Project 523, a top secret Chinese military project seeking the cure for malaria in the late 1960s. Dr. Tu YouyouThe Vietnam War was raging and the troops were suffering from malaria. By 1972, Dr. Tu’s team extracted Qinghaosu (artemisinin) from Qing Hao (Artemisia annua) and had successfully isolated a cure for malaria. Qinghaosu is safe for human consumption but is lethal to Plasmodia, the parasitic protozoans responsible for malaria.

Dr. Tu investigated the efficacy of Qing Hao for the treatment of malaria because it was already in use for that purpose amoung Traditional Chinese medicine (TCM) herbalist-acupuncturists. As early as 340 CE, Ge Hong included Qing Hao as a cure for malaria in the classic work the Handbook of Prescriptions for Emergencies. Dr. Tu was familiar with this seminal classic of TCM. She then applied modern extraction techniques to concentrate the efficacy of the herb Qing Hao.

Instead of using a traditional high temperature water concentration method, Dr. Tu used a low temperature ether extraction method to preserve the active ingredients. Dr. Tu made several other important findings. She identified that the leaves contained the most significant amount of the active ingredients. She also determined the optimal time to harvest the plant to sustain maximum yields. In the process, she also removed acidic portions of the concentrate that did not provide anti-malarial benefits. As a result, the final concentrate was safe, potent, and effective. Qinghaosu rapidly reduces fevers and eliminates blood bourne parasites in patients with malaria. 

Acupuncture is effective for the treatment of osteoporotic compression fractures of the spine. Researchers tested the efficacy of a specialized form of acupuncture and found it effective for enhancing pain reduction for patients with spinal compression fractures due to osteoporosis. CV6 (Qihai) and ST25 are combined during the abdominal procedure. Acupuncture combined with medications produced significantly greater positive patient outcomes including pain reduction and improvements in activities of daily living over medications only as a standalone therapy.

Kim et al. from The Boston Spine Group at Tufts University Medical School (Boston, Massachusetts) and the Department of Orthopaedic Surgery at Thomas Jefferson University (Philadelphia, Pennsylvanianote, “Vertebral compression fractures affect at least one-fourth of all postmenopausal women. The most significant risk factor is osteoporosis, most commonly seen among Caucasian women a decade or so after menopause.” Kim et al. document that osteoporotic metabolic disorders are often treated with calcium, vitamin D, bisphosphonates, or calcitonin. They add, “Routine hormone replacement therapy has fallen out of favor because of concerns regarding adverse effects….” Kim et al. also note, “Open surgical management with decompression and stabilization should be reserved for the rare patient with neural compression and progressive deformity with neurologic deficits.”

Zhang et al. from the Suining Municipal Hospital of TCM (Traditional Chinese Medicine) conducted a clinical trial comparing the efficacy of acupuncture combined with drug therapy versus drug therapy as a standalone protocol. They document that adding abdominal acupuncture to the regimen of care significantly reduces pain levels and improves the quality of life for patients with osteoporotic compression fractures of the spine. 

Acupuncture is an effective treatment for hypertension. Researchers demonstrate that acupuncture alleviates hypertension and its signs and symptoms. Acupuncture reduces blood pressure elevations. Zhao et al. conclude that acupuncture reduces levels of high blood pressure and relieves associated headaches, dizziness, tinnitus, and anxiety. In addition, acupuncture successfully alleviates palpitations due to hypertension.

Zhao et al. document an important biological response to acupuncture. The researchers show that acupuncture regulates TNF-α and TNF-α-stimulated endothelin (ET) in patients with hypertension. High blood pressure stimulates higher than normal concentrations of TNF-α and ET. The researches demonstrate that acupuncture successfully downregulates TNF-α and ET for patients with hypertension while simultaneously reducing blood pressure levels and related signs and symptoms.

Zhao et al. note that the work of Liang et al. supports their findings. Liang et al. find acupuncture effective for the relief of peripheral vasospasms. In addition, the work of Liang et al. demonstrates that acupuncture significantly promotes cardiac output. 

Acupuncture and herbal medicine relieve rheumatoid arthritis symptoms. Data also reveals that acupuncture plus herbs reduces inflammatory markers. Back point are applied. In a randomized controlled study, researchers from Anhui University of TCM (Traditional Chinese Medicine) compared the efficacy of acupuncture plus herbs in one study group with drugs in another study group. Acupuncture combined with herbal medicine achieved an 85% total effective rate and drugs achieved a 70% total effective rate. The researchers conclude that acupuncture plus herbs for rheumatoid arthritis is effective, has negligible side effects, lowers inflammatory markers, and significantly relieves symptoms.

Rheumatoid arthritis is a chronic autoimmune inflammatory disorder often affecting the small joints of the hands and feet. Many other areas may be affected including the skin, eyes, vessels, and internal organs. Rheumatoid arthritis affects the lining of the joints and may lead to osseous erosion, severe pain and swelling, range of motion impairment, and joint deformities.

Zhu et al., from the Anhui University of TCM, cited an earlier investigation by Wang et al. finding acupuncture plus external application herbs effective for the alleviation of rheumatoid arthritis. Wang et al. noted that external application herbs are absorbed through the skin and can target specific areas affected by rheumatoid arthritis. Wang et al. note that this enhances treatment efficacy by promoting blood circulation in areas most affected by rheumatoid arthritis.

Acupuncture plus external application herbs were compared with the use of an NSAID (nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drug), diclofenac. Acupuncture plus herbs produced significantly greater positive patient outcomes than diclofenac in 75 mg sustained released tablet form, once per day for thirty days. The acupuncture plus herbs group received needling chosen from amoung the following acupoints:

  • Fengchi, GB20
  • Quchi, LI11
  • Yangchi, SJ4
  • Yangxi, LI5
  • Xuehai, SP10
  • Heding, M-LE-27
  • Yanglingquan, GB34
  • Xi Yan, MN-LE-16
  • Ashi

Local points were given preference when choosing 10 acupoints for treatment per patient. Mild reinforcing and reducing techniques were applied using lifting, thrusting, and twisting techniques to obtain deqi. Upon arrival of deqi, needles were retained for thirty minutes per session. Acupuncture was administered once per day at a rate of six per week. On the seventh day, no treatment was administered. A total of thirty days comprised one course of care. 

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