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Acupuncture Continuing Education News

Researchers at Xinjiang Medical University conclude that Shan Yao (Dioscorea opposita, wild yam) shows antihypertensive properties. Shan Yao reduced both systolic and diastolic blood pressure in laboratory rats with high blood pressure. Shan Yao They were fed a water based solution of Shan Yao for 6 weeks. The researchers measured Shan Yao’s ability to inhibit endothelin converting enzyme and improve antioxidant activity. They suggest that Shan Yao’s ability to lower blood pressure may be due to these biochemical changes.

The research suggests that Shan Yao’s medicinal benefits are due, in part, to its effects on the kidneys. The researchers measured reductions of blood urea nitrogen (BUN) and serum creatinine (Scr) in the Shan Yao group over the control group. Based on these findings, the investigators conclude that Shan Yao improves renal function. Shan Yao demonstrated antioxidant properties. Lower MDA (malondialdehyde) and higher SOD (superoxide dismutase) levels were measured in the Shan Yao group. 

Research published in the American Journal of Traditional Chinese Veterinary Medicine documented that herbal medicine helped a bottlenose dolphin overcome ulcerative stomatitis. This study shows that dolphins benefit from herbal medicine.  A differential diagnosis was made of excess stomach heat and blood heat. An herbal formula was then powdered and put in fish that were fed to the dolphin. The dolphin showed significant improvements and no adverse effects occurred. 

The bottlenose dolphin had multiple ulcerative lesions in both the gingiva and hard palate. A combination of antibiotics and anti-fungal medications did not affect the condition. Based on the Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM) diagnosis, an herbal formula consisting of Mu Dan Pi, Mai Men Dong, Xuan Shen, Di Fu Zi, Huang Bai, Sheng Di Huang, Chi Shao, Dan Shen and Yu Jin was prepared. The dose was 4 grams of powdered herbs placed in fish and fed to the dolphin at a rate of 2 times per day for 6 months.  

Acupuncture is widely used in the treatment for peripheral facial paralysis (FP). Electroacupuncture combined with physiotherapy was found especially effective in the treatment of facial paralysis. In a recent study, researchers concluded that electroacupuncture and rehabilitation training combined with conventional acupuncture and physiotherapy can significantly improve facial paralysis symptoms in the early stage. The study involved a four week long trial in which patients receiving electroacupuncture and rehabilitation training statistically outperformed those receiving only conventional acupuncture and physiotherapy.

Peripheral facial paralysis is a common condition. The cosmetic drawback for the patient is obvious; the inability to perform normal communication is impaired. Patients are typically under great psychological stress in addition to their physical limitations due to this condition. FP is caused by the inflammation of facial nerves and treatments should be carried out in the early stage aiming at restoring the strength of facial mimetic muscles. Facial mimetic muscles are skeletal muscles of the face innervated by the facial nerve, cranial nerve VII. Early rehabilitation training can help maintain and restore the shape and function of mimetic muscles on the affected side and the appropriate stimulation of electroacupuncture improves excitability, flexibility and reactivity of the nerve system.

Researchers at Shehong County (Sichuan Province) TCM Hospital selected 102 patients from the Rehabilitation Outpatient Department and randomly divided them into the non-electroacupuncture control group and the electroacupuncture treatment group. These patients’ onset of the disease was within three days. 

The control group consisted of 52 patients receiving treatments of moxibustion, acupoint application, massage, TDP and conventional medication. The acupuncture group’s acupoints were: Yangbai (GB14), Sibai (ST2), Quanliao (SI18), Cuanzhu (BL2), Jiache (ST6), Dicang (ST4), Hegu (LI4), (two) Yifeng (SJ17), and (two) Yixiang (LI20). Symptomatic and specialized point selections were added: Fengchi (GB20) for wind cold, Quchi (LI11) for wind heat, Fengchi (GB20) and Waiguan (SJ5) for pain in the mastoidea, Lianquan (RN23) for disappearance of taste or numbness in tongue and Zusanli (ST36) for use during the recovery period. All acupoints were retained for 30 minutes per day. 

Acupuncture and herbal medicine are used in the treatment of HIV (human immunodeficiency virus) patients to alleviate suffering. HIV shows on the tongue body and coating according to New York University researchers. Licensed acupuncturists commonly use tongue diagnosis. A recent study of 159 patients by New York University researchers reveals that HIV patients demonstrate common tongue diagnosis signs. Tongue diagnosis is used in Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM) to evaluate a patient’s health. 

Tongue diagnosis involves the inspection of the color, shape, size, texture and coating of the tongue. In TCM, this is used during differential diagnostic procedures. Tongue diagnoses help to determine the health of the internal organs. Tongue diagnoses are also helpful in determining if there are pathogenic factors affecting patients. 

The New York University study of tongue diagnostics was part of a randomized, double-blinded, controlled clinical trial investigating the treatment of chronic nausea. The study was conducted in New York City (NYC) at a large academic health facility and consisted of 159 patients with HIV infections and chronic nausea. 

The new ICD-10 acupuncture insurance billing diagnosis codes will go live on October 1, 2014. Learn how to quickly use ICD-10 codes before the deadline. The Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Service (CMS) gave the official word this week that there will be no more extensions except for rare hardship exemptionss. All acupuncturists must update their HCFA 1500 billing forms and/or insurance billing software for the launch. Insurance companies will not reimburse for acupuncture services if ICD-9 codes are used after the official launch date.

The new CMS ICD-10 codes do not open the door for Medicare reimbursement for acupuncture services. They pertain to a new ICD-10 seven character diagnosis coding system that replaces the current ICD-9 five character coding system. The Healthcare Medicine Institute (HealthCMi) publishes acupuncture continuing education online for acupuncture CEU and PDA credit. The HealthCMi news and blogging system has provided up-to-date information to streamline the process of transitioning to the ICD-10 system. Learn more by visiting the web page: Acupuncture ICD-10 Insurance Billing Codes Made Easy. 

A new meta-analysis finds evidence that acupuncture is effective in controlling cancer related symptoms. Acupuncture has now been proven to relieve cancer related pain, nausea and depression. Studies support the use of acupuncture for the treatment of cancer related pain, nausea, fatigue, hot flashes, insomnia, vomiting, anxiety, depression and dry mouth. Based on these findings, the researchers suggest expanding studies into the beneficial clinical effects of acupuncture for cancer patients. Further, the researchers note that acupuncture used in the field of oncology requires a “constant dialog” between acupuncturists and other treating physicians for improved clinical outcomes.

The researchers note that acupuncture promotes several biological changes. Acupuncture activates neural, endocrine and immunological regulation. Citing modern evidence that acupuncture regulates the parasympathetic and sympathetic nervous systems, the researchers suggest that this may be a biomedical correlate for the ancient Chinese theory that acupuncture balances yin and yang. They added that electro-acupuncture induces “serotonin release from the upper brain stem region and hypothalamus and stimulates endogenous opiate release (b‑endorphin, enkephalin, endomorphin, and dynorphin) which then alleviates cancer pain.” The research team also notes that acupuncture regulates the immune system in part by stimulating leukocytes, both granulocytes and lymphocytes. This is accomplished by acupuncture’s ability to stimulate the hypothalamus-pituitary-adrenal axis. Additional research presented demonstrated that acupuncture benefits both T-lymphocyte and Natural Killer cell (NK cell) function. 

New immunohistochemical electron microscopy reveals that acupuncture protects brain cells in cases of heroin addiction. Acupuncture reduces heroin related withdrawal symptoms and restores brain chemistry. In controlled laboratory experiments of heroin addiction related brain damage, acupuncture restored nerve cells, endoplasmic reticulum and mitochondria in the brain’s hippocampus and frontal lobe. The research team noted that they produced evidence demonstrating that acupuncture can partially reverse the effects of heroin related brain injuries. 

Re-addiction is the process in which addicts become addicted, withdraw and detoxify and then become addicted again in a repeated cycle. This may lead to extensive and sometimes irreversible damage to the brain by causing excessive apoptosis and nerve demyelination. The researchers studied the effects of needling acupuncture points GV20 (Baihui) and GV14 (Dazhui) based on prior research demonstrating that this point combination “reduces neuronal loss and attenuates ultrastructural damage in cerebral ischemic rats.”

The National Institute on Drug Abuse states that 4.2 million people in the USA have used heroin at least once. It is estimated that 23% of these individuals become addicted. The majority of heroin users are under the age of 26. Overdoses, unregulated purity and potency and chronic pathological damage are common consequences of illicit heroin use. 

New X-ray images of acupuncture points show that unique structures exist. New technology makes acupuncture point structures visible to CT scans. This and other incredible acupuncture research marks the start of the Year of the Horse. Additionally, new research confirms that acupuncture is effective for the treatment of depression, anxiety and hypertension. Moreover, the anti-inflammatory effects of acupuncture can avert sepsis and save lives. Let’s take a look at these discoveries.

Scholars were amazed at the new CT (computerized tomography) scans of acupuncture points. The CT X-rays, published in the Journal of Electron Spectroscopy and Related Phenomena, reveal clear distinctions between non-acupuncture point and acupuncture point anatomical structures. New in-line phase contrast synchrotron radiation CT techniques reveal that acupuncture points have a uniquely high density of micro-vessels and contain a large amount of involuted microvascular structures that are not present in non-acupuncture points.

Acupuncture points have microvascular densities with bifurcations that “can be clearly seen around thick blood vessels” but non-acupuncture points show few thick blood vessels and none show fine, high density structures found in true acupuncture points. The researchers note that “the high brightness, wide spectrum, high collimation, polarization and pulsed structure of synchrotron radiation” facilitated the discovery. The research team concluded, “Our results demonstrated again the existence of acupoints, and also show that the acupoints are special points in mammals.” 

Tongue acupuncture is effective for the treatment of depression. Tongue acupuncture points shown here are effective for treating depression and anxiety. Tongue PointsResearchers measured the synergistic effects of tongue acupuncture combined with traditional body style acupuncture. They concluded that tongue acupuncture is an effective application modality for the treatment of depression and demonstrated significantly reduced anxiety levels and improved heart rate scores. Electrocardiographic (ECG) biosignal recordings also confirmed improvements in HRV, heart rate variability.

Tongue acupuncture is a rare form of Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM). Recent research by Sun J.G. et al. has identified 40 acupuncture points on the tongue that directly correspond to internal organs and body parts. Wong V.C. et al. cites numerous studies demonstrating that both tongue acupuncture and body style acupuncture improve central and peripheral vision in pediatric patients. Research by Li et al. concludes that tongue acupuncture has a significant therapeutic effect for stroke patients. This latest research finds tongue acupuncture effective in enhancing the beneficial effects of body style acupuncture for the treatment of depression.