Acupuncture Continuing Education News

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. 

Acupuncture decreases the risk of stroke for patients with a traumatic brain injury (TBI). Stimulation of acupoints has been proven to reduce stroke risk and post-stroke depression. An investigation of 29,636 patients with TBI reveals that patients receiving acupuncture have a “lower probability of stroke than those without acupuncture treatment during the follow-up period.” Patients from 2000-2008 were reviewed from the Taiwan National Health Insurance Research Database. Follow-ups continued through the end of 2010. The study “showed significantly decreased risk of new-onset stroke events for patients with TBI who received acupuncture treatment. The present study is the first to report that acupuncture treatment was associated with reduced stroke risk for patients with TBI.”

The researchers note that acupuncture provides other medical benefits to patients with TBI. They noted, “Our previous study found that patients with TBI who received acupuncture treatment had less emergency care and hospitalization in the first year after injury compared with control.” Another study cited in the research “proved that acupuncture improves cognition and perception of sleep or sleep quality.” 

A recent study concludes that acupuncture relieves generalized anxiety disorder (GAD), a condition characterized by excessively intense and debilitating chronic anxiety. Special acupuncture points have been shown to relieve anxiety and produce tranquilizing clinical patient outcomes. GAD sufferers cannot relax, startle easily and have impaired concentration. Overall, GAD sufferers are chronically worried and anxious.

In this new study, researchers note that “a number of Meta analysis and system evaluations point out that acupuncture treatment has more advantages than drugs in the treatment of anxiety disorders….” The researchers also note that acupuncture has a fast effective action and high compliance. In addition, acupuncture has a relatively minimal risk of side effects compared with drug therapy.

At the Healthcare Medicine Institute (HealthCMi), we promote acupuncture continuing education with acupuncture CEU and acupuncture PDA courses online. Our news division reports the latest in acupuncture and herbal medicine research. Most news is based on modern scientific reports. This recent study stands out because its basis is both in Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM) classical theory and modern biomedical research.

The researchers note that acupuncture is both safe and effective. A trend towards increased usage of acupuncture for GAD is partially due to the risk of side effects from drug therapy. Benzodiazepines are major anti-anxiety medications but there is a risk vertigo, sleepiness and addiction. SSRIs (serotonin reuptake inhibitors) and norepinephrine reuptake inhibitors are also important drugs for anti-anxiety treatments. However, side effects including nausea, irritability, sexual dysfunction, headaches, high blood pressure, dizziness, sweating and digestive disturbances complicate use of these medications.

The researchers note that GAD affects approximately 2 - 4.7% of the population in China and approximately 3% in the USA. GAD impacts work productivity, studies and may lead to suicide. Furthermore, the incidence of GAD is increasing.

The researchers based their conclusion on meta-analyses and biomedically based studies. They also give a detailed Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM) theoretical and practical analysis of acupuncture for the treatment of anxiety disorders. The conventional scientific evidence demonstrates that acupuncture benefits brain biochemistry and produces significant positive patient outcomes. The TCM analysis details proven methods to achieve clinical results, however, the terminology is less accessible to mainstream doctors than the biomedical evidence. 

New research concludes that acupuncture is effective for the treatment of neck injuries. Researchers have laboratory proof that acupuncture restores curvature in the spine that was lost due to impact. Investigators find acupuncture effective in the restoration of cervical range of motion in cases of damage to the intervertebral discs. Additionally, X-ray findings confirm that acupuncture benefits the cervical spine. Acupuncture significantly restores normal curvature to the neck after injury.

In a controlled rabbit model laboratory experiment, acupuncture restores cervical range of motion that has been impinged by spondylosis, a painful condition of the spine due to disc degeneration. Spondylosis related spinal curvature issues were found to respond with positive results with acupuncture. The study demonstrated that acupuncture effectively restores normal cervical curvature in cases of spondylosis. In addition, some cases demonstrated successful widening of the intervertebral foramen as a result of acupuncture treatments.

A related study of 78 humans concluded that a combination of acupuncture, massage and Chinese herbal medicine “has a significant curative effect on cervical spondylosis, and deserves clinical promotion and application.” This type of combination therapy is common in Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM) hospitals and clinics. TCM consists of several major clinical application components including acupuncture, herbal medicine, Qi Gong, Tui-Na massage and dietetics. 

A recent related study published in China Medicine and Pharmacy posted similar findings. Researchers concluded that acupuncture combined with herbs is effective for the treatment of spondylotic related radiculopathy. Group 1 was tested with acupuncture combined with the herbal decoction Huang Qi jia Gui Zhi Fu Ling Wan. Group 2 received only acupuncture. Both groups improved with clinical reductions of numbness and pain. The acupuncture only group had 15 cured, 18 markedly effective and 11 improved patients. The acupuncture plus herbal medicine group had 22 cured, 20 markedly effective and 7 improved patients. 

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. 

New research concludes that acupuncture is effective for the treatment of IBS, irritable bowel syndrome. Local and distal needling for IBS is effective for pain reduction and reducing digestion disorders. IBS is characterized by chronic episodes of abdominal cramping and pain with diarrhea and/or constipation. The meta-analysis concludes, “Acupuncture exhibits clinically and statistically significant control of IBS symptoms.”

Published in the World Journal of Gastroenterology, the study investigated all types of IBS: diarrhea predominant, constipation predominant and alternating. A total of 64 research papers were found on acupuncture for the treatment of IBS. The researchers used strict controls and study designs and sorted for “randomization, concealment of allocation, double blinding, and dropouts.” A total of 6 studies met the methodological quality required for trial inclusion. The researchers noted “our meta-analysis of six randomized controlled trials suggests that acupuncture improves the symptoms of IBS, including abdominal pain and distension, sensation of incomplete defecation, times of defecation per day, and state of stool.” 

Researchers at the Department of Surgery, Rutgers New Jersey Medical School have discovered that a form of acupuncture called electroacupuncture controls inflammation and may help to save lives. Electroacupuncture needling is now proven to have powerful anti-inflammatory effects. The researchers proved that electroacupuncture fights infections including polymicrobial peritonitis. In addition, they found that electroacupuncture reduces severe systemic inflammation due to infections, sepsis.

The researchers discovered that the anti-inflammatory effects of electroacupuncture “are voltage dependent.” Non-acupuncture points (sham points) did not exert anti-inflammatory responses. Additionally, “electroacupuncture with a wooden toothpick” did not reduce inflammation. Only true acupuncture (verum acupuncture) was effective in regulating cytokine levels, producing anti-inflammatory effects and preventing death.

The researchers discovered important biochemical changes stimulated by electroacupuncture. Electroacupuncture was found to significantly boost dopamine levels. Using this evidence, the researchers used the drug fenoldopam in their experiments because it has similar effective actions as dopamine. This drug was also effective in reducing sepsis. 

Newly published research confirms that acupuncture reduces hypertension, high blood pressure. Researchers now know that acupuncture is effective for lowering blood pressure and reduces side effects of medication. Real acupuncture was found more effective than both a non-acupuncture control and a sham acupuncture control in this new laboratory experiment. As a result of this controlled experiment, the researchers concluded that acupuncture has a “stable antihypertensive effect.”

The researchers investigated the effects of needling acupuncture point KI3 (KD3, K3, Taixi). Interest for this study was based on other recent published research. The researchers note, “Many animal and clinical studies have reported the efficacy of acupuncture in reducing hypertension.”

Standard acupuncture treatments usually involved the application of acupuncture point prescriptions with more than one acupuncture point. This study isolated the effects of a single acupuncture point on laboratory rats with hypertension. The researchers conclude acupuncture at KI3 has an “antihypertensive effect for essential hypertension.”