Acupuncture Continuing Education

Acupuncture Continuing Education News

Acupuncture News and Research

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. 

Acupuncture and Chinese herbs prevent infertility after emergency ectopic pregnancy surgery. Ectopic pregnancies occur when a fertilized egg does not implant in the uterus. Qihai (CV5) and Tianshu (ST25) are depicted in this photograph. A common form of ectopic pregnancy is a tubal pregnancy wherein the fertilized egg remains in one of the fallopian tubes. The fertilized egg cannot survive. It is a life-threatening condition that may require emergency surgery or an injection of methotrexate to stop cell growth. Unfortunately, this may lead to residual blockage of the fallopian tubes and subsequent infertility.

Researchers from the Fudan University Obstetrics and Gynecology Hospital tested the benefits of acupuncture for patients receiving emergency ectopic pregnancy surgery. A ruptured fallopian tube or heavy bleeding necessitates surgical intervention. Laparoscopic surgery often involves a salpingectomy, which is surgical removal of a fallopian tube. The fallopian tube may be left intact after repair but salpingostomy procedures to restore tubal patency may not be adequate to prevent blockages and consequent infertility. After careful clinical trials, the Fudan University Obstetrics and Gynecology Hospital University researchers conclude that acupuncture combined with herbal medicine improves tubal patency and reduces the mass of fallopian tube obstructions.

Acupuncture and moxibustion are effective for the treatment of diabetes. Researchers from the Nanjing University of Chinese Medicine conclude that acupuncture combined with moxibustion has a total effective rate of 84.78% for the treatment of type 2 diabetes. Moxibustion increases efficacy for diabetes treatments. The researchers also investigated the implementation of acupuncture as a standalone therapy. Without moxibustion, acupuncture had a total effective rate of 69.57%. As are result, the researchers conclude that the combined therapy produces superior patient outcomes.

Acupuncture and acupuncture plus moxibustion caused significant improvements in enteroinsular axis indicators and lipids for type 2 diabetics. Specifically, the total effective rate was determined by measurements of several clinical factors including changes in the following:

  • Insulin Sensitivity Index (ISI)
  • Fasting Insulin (FINS)
  • Fasting Leptin (FLP)
  • Fasting Plasma Glucose (FPG)
  • Homa Insulin Resistance Index (Home-IR)
  • Insulin Secretion Index (Homa-β)
  • Body Mass Index (BMI)
  • HDL increases
  • LDL decreases
  • Total cholesterol
  • Triglycerides

The acupuncture points used in the study included the following primary acupoint selections:

  • BL29, Pishu
  • LV13, Zhangmen
  • BL21, Weishu
  • CV12j, Zhongwan
  • LV14, Qimen
  • BL23, Shenshu
  • GB25, Jingmen
  • SP6, Sanyinjiao
  • CV6, Qihai
  • CV4, Guanyuan
  • ST36, Zusanli
  • DU4, Mingmen

Moxibustion was applied to acupoints CV6, CV4, ST36, and DU4. Two groups were tested with acupuncture, one with moxibustion and one without. Both groups were given acupuncture treatments at a rate of once every other day for three months. Total needle retention time for each acupuncture session was 30 minutes. Acupuncture with moxibustion achieved an 84.78% total success rate and standalone acupuncture achieved a 69.57% total effective rate. 

Acupuncture relieves failed back surgery syndrome (FBSS) pain. Published in the Journal of Emergency in Traditional Chinese Medicine, Zheng et al. conclude that two types of acupuncture successfully relieve pain due to failed back surgery syndrome (FBSS). FBSS involves back pain. One acupuncture point prescription achieved a 94.87% total effective rate and another achieved a 76.32% total effective rate.

A total of 80 patients with FBSS were randomly divided into two groups that received different acupuncture point protocols. The total effective rate was determined by acupuncture’s ability to reduce lumbar pain, leg pain and numbness, sensory and motor impairment, limits on daily life activities, and bladder dysfunction. Effectiveness was also measured in relation to improvements in the ability to walk, lift a straightened leg, roll while lying down, stand, lean forward, sit for an extended period of time, and lift.

Group one received acupuncture at the following primary acupuncture points:

  • CV6, Qihai
  • CV9, Shuifen
  • CV4, Guanyuan

Supplementary points included:

  • KD14, Siman
  • KD13, Qixue
  • ST26, Wailing
  • Xia Feng Dian (2.5 cun below CV6)
  • Xia Feng Shi Xia Dian (2 cun below CV5)
  • Qipang (navel triangle points, 0.5 cun lateral to CV6)

Acupuncture and moxibustion relieve irritable bowel syndrome (IBS), a disorder of the large intestine often involving abdominal pain, cramping, diarrhea, constipation, bloating, and gas. Researchers from the Shandong University of Traditional Chinese Medicine conducted a randomized study of patients with IBS using acupuncture and moxibustion as treatment modalities. Zusanli, ST36, was found effective for the treatment of IBS. Patients receiving both acupuncture and moxibustion had a total effective rate of 93.3%.

The study made a comparison of acupuncture plus moxibustion with acupuncture as a standalone procedure and a drug group. All three approaches were applied in three randomized groups of patients with IBS-D, a type of IBS involving diarrhea. The drug group received oral pinaverium bromide, 50 mg, three times per day. Pinaverium bromide is a spasmolytic medication used for the treatment of gastrointestinal disorders including IBS that acts as a calcium channel blocker. Known side effects of the drug include stomach pain, nausea, constipation, diarrhea, dizziness, skin rash, headaches, heartburn, and dry mouth.

Acupuncture plus moxibustion outperformed the other treatment regimens. Acupuncture plus moxibustion achieved a 93.3% total effective rate. Acupuncture as a standalone therapy achieved an 87.9% total effective rate. Pinaverium bromide achieved an 82.1% total effective rate. Acupuncture as a standalone therapy and acupuncture plus moxibustion outperformed the medication group in several areas including superior positive patient outcomes for reductions in stomach bloating and pain, diarrhea, and mucus in the stool.

The acupuncture procedure incorporated the following acupuncture points:

  • DU20, Baihui
  • CV12, Zhongwan
  • ST25, Tianshu
  • ST36, Zusanli
  • SP9, Yinlingquan
  • ST39, Xiajuxu
  • LV3, Taichong

Acupuncture was applied once per day for four weeks. Total needle retention time was thirty minutes per acupuncture session. DU20 was needled transversely and posteriorly to a depth of 0.5 to 0.8 inches. LV3 was needled to the same depth and angled perpendicularly-obliquely towards KD1 (Yongquan). Acupoints CV12, ST25, ST36, SP9, and ST39 were needled perpendicularly to a depth of 0.8 to 1.3 inches. 

A Master Tung acupuncture point relieves pain and swelling due to ankle sprains. Researchers from Fangxian People’s Hospital (Hubei, China) investigated the therapeutic effects of acupuncture point Xiaojie for the treatment of ankle sprains. A Master Tung acupoint is found effective. Translated as small joint, the Xiaojie acupoint is well known for its use in the Master Tung system of acupuncture. Xiaojie is located on the thenar eminence of the hand proximal to the head of the first metacarpal bone on the lung meridian.

The total effective rate of needling Xiaojie combined with therapeutic tendon massage for acute ankle sprain was 45% compared with a group receiving only therapeutic tendon massage that achieved a 41% total effective rate. This modest yet significant increase in clinical effectiveness measured by Zhang et al. is consistent with the findings of another study conducted by Du et al.

In a study entitled Impacts on analgesia and detumescence in ankle sprain treated with acupuncture at Xiaojie point combined with tendon-regulation manipulation, Du et al. conclude that “Acupuncture at Xiaojie point combined with tendon-regulation manipulation achieve(s) an apparent effect of analgesia and detumescence on ankle sprain.” A group receiving tendon massage plus Xiaojie acupuncture achieved a curative rate of 85% and a total effective rate of 100%. Another group receiving only Xiaojie acupuncture achieved a 65% curative rate and also achieved a 100% total effective rate. The total effective rate was calculated as a combination of good and excellent therapeutic results according to outcome assessments in the Mazur ankle score. Parameters included assessments of pain, ability to perform life activities, walking distance, need for crutch or support device, hiking, walking downhill, walking up or down a staircase, running, and range of motion changes. 

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. 

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