Acupuncture Continuing Education

Acupuncture News and Research



Researchers find acupuncture effective for the prevention and alleviation of migraine attacks. Migraines are the source of intense pain, lasting for hours or days. Chronic migraine sufferers may experience nausea, vomiting, and hypersensitivities—making them prone to anxiety and depression. Research conducted at the 254th Hospital of the Chinese People's Liberation Army demonstrates that electroacupuncture therapy in the projection zone and conventional acupuncture are both effective protocols for the elimination of migraine attacks.

CV4 (Guanyuan)

Acupuncture boosts the efficaciousness of fertility treatments. Three independent studies confirm that acupuncture increases positive patient outcome rates. Two studies find acupuncture effective for increasing the the efficacy of clomifene for the treatment of infertility due to ovulatory dysfunction. Another study finds acupuncture effective for reducing the adverse effects caused by bromocriptine treatments for hyperprolactinemia related infertility. The study also confirms that acupuncture balances hormone levels. 

sleep points

Acupuncture is effective for insomnia relief. Research published by Zhejiang Chinese Medical University finds acupuncture more effective than a powerful sleep drug for improving sleep duration, quality, latency, efficiency, and daytime functioning. Acupuncture achieved a 92.9% total effective rate and the drug zopiclone achieved a 67.9% total effective rate. [1] 

Huo Ma Ren

Recreational marijuana will be legal in California on January 1, joining states like Alaska, Colorado, Nevada, Oregon, and Washington. The plant is already legal for medical use in many states, and legalization has prompted much research in the field. Studies conducted by doctors from the New York University of Medicine and Brigham and Women’s Hospital in Boston find that marijuana may be effective for seizure control, noting that “marijuana use may be a beneficial adjunctive treatment in some patients with epilepsy.” [1] This augments earlier research on the benefits of marijuana, including findings published in the The National Academies Press (1982). [2] 

facial acupoints

Acupuncture reverses facial paralysis due to Bell’s Palsy. Researchers from the General Hospital of People's Liberation Army (Beijing) compared two types of acupuncture for the treatment of infranuclear facial paralysis affecting the facial nerve (cranial nerve VII). One treatment protocol achieved a 98% total effective rate and the other acupuncture protocol achieved a 90.7% total effective rate. [1] Based on the data, acupuncture is recommended for the treatment of facial paralysis due to Bell’s Palsy. 

Fibromyalgia points

Acupuncture alleviates fibromyalgia syndrome (FMS). Researchers from multiple independent investigations conclude that acupuncture is an effective treatment modality for fibromyalgia patients. One study finds acupuncture effective for enhancing the therapeutic benefits of medications and other studies find acupuncture, as a standalone therapy, more effective than medications for the treatment of fibromyalgia. 

Acupuncture points

Acupuncture is effective for the alleviation of musculoskeletal pain, headaches, shoulder pain, and arthritis related pain. Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center (New York, NY) researchers conclude that the analgesic effects of acupuncture are superior to sham controls and the pain relief persists over time. The research team concludes that acupuncture is an effective treatment modality for chronic pain and referral to an acupuncturist is a reasonable treatment option. 

IBS Back Shu Points 

Acupuncture and Chinese herbal medicine are found effective for the alleviation of IBS (irritable bowel syndrome). Two independent investigations confirm that acupuncture, as a standalone therapy, or acupuncture combined with the herbal formula Si Shen Wan (Four Miracle Pill) is safe and effective. Additionally, investigators confirm that acupuncture is more effective than loperamide, a synthetic opiate used to control diarrhea by inhibiting peristalsis (wavelike intestinal constriction and relaxation). 

kidney stones

Acupuncture combined with herbal medicine and medications assists in the elimination of kidney stones that have lodged in the ureters. Jiangxi Jiujiang Hospital of Traditional Chinese Medicine researchers made two important findings. First, a combination of herbs and the drug tamsulosin (Flomax) enables the passage of kidney stones. Second, adding acupuncture to the herbal medicine and drug protocol significantly increases positive patient outcome rates. [1] 

Plantar Fasciitis

Acupuncture combined with herbal medicine foot baths is a proven and effective therapeutic method for the elimination of plantar fasciitis. Guangxi People’s Hospital researchers compared using only Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM) foot baths as a standalone therapy with a combination of TCM foot baths and acupuncture. Compared with Chinese herbal medicine foot bath monotherapy, adding acupuncture treatments to the regimen of care significantly decreases pain and swelling while simultaneously reducing relapse rates. 

blood pressure chart

Researchers find acupuncture effective for the treatment of hypertension in middle-aged adults. In a groundbreaking eight week acupuncture trial, an international research team documents that acupuncture causes significant improvements in both brachial blood pressure and central aortic blood pressure in hypertensive middle-aged adults. [1] The scientific investigation was a collaboration between researchers from Larkin Community Hospital (Miami, Florida), Marymount University (Arlington, Virginia), Nosov Magnitogorsk State Technical University (Russia), and Moscow Financial and Law University (Russia). 


Researchers conclude that acupuncture benefits the immune system. In a controlled laboratory experiment, Hubei University of Chinese Medicine researchers discovered that electroacupuncture stimulation of acupuncture point ST36 (Zusanli) “enhanced the level of immune cytokines and splenic CD4+ T cells through TRPV channels.” [1] In addition, the researchers document that electroacupuncture applied to ST36 enhances serum interferon-γ (IFN-γ) levels, interleukin (IL)-2, and IL-17. Results were confirmed using immunohistochemical analysis. 

Acupuncture on the forehead and glabella

Acupuncture enhances positive patient outcome rates for patients suffering from headaches. In separate and independent investigations, researchers have determined that acupuncture significantly boosts the effectiveness of occipital nerve stimulation (ONS) and levo-tetrahydropalmatine (l-THP) drug therapy. Since the late 1970s, neurosurgeons have implanted ONS devices at the base of the skull for the treatment of headaches. An electrical signal is generated by ONS devices to override pain. Researchers from Jilin University Hospital and Changchun Traditional Chinese Medicine University find that administering acupuncture together with ONS is significantly more effective than using only ONS as a standalone therapeutic modality. Independently, Sichuan Disabled Veterans Hospital researchers have determined that acupuncture combined with levo-tetrahydropalmatine therapy is significantly more effective for the treatment of headaches than using only levo-tetrahydropalmatine as a standalone treatment modality. 

Acupoints applied to the backAcupuncture applied to the back


Heilongjiang Woniutuzhen Hospital researchers find acupuncture effective for the treatment of essential hypertension. In a controlled study, patients received acupuncture treatments for six weeks and achieved significantly lower ambulatory blood pressure (ABP), sitting blood pressure, and overall heart rates after treatment with acupuncture. ABP was measured with an ABP monitor and sitting blood pressure was measured with a sphygmomanometer. 


Herbal medicine


Researchers from Nanjing Traditional Chinese Medicine University and Haian Traditional Chinese Medicine Hospital find acupuncture combined with herbs effective for the alleviation of endometriosis. Two patient groups were compared in a six month clinical trial. One group received Traditional Chinese Medicine (acupuncture and herbs) and the other group received mifepristone (RU-486®, a synthetic steroid that inhibits progesterone action, used for the treatment endometriosis or as an abortifacient). Ultrasonography for detection of endometriomas and growths in addition to blood tests (cancer antigen 125, anti-endometrial antibody) were used to determine treatment efficacy. The bloodwork was equivalent and ultrasonography finds both TCM and mifepristone drug therapy equal in effectiveness for the reduction of endometriomas or other growths. 

Herbal medicine

Hunan Hengyang Traditional Chinese Medicine Hospital researchers find acupuncture combined with herbal medicine more effective than calcium channel blockers and beta-blockers for the treatment of cardiac arrhythmias. Results were confirmed by ECG (electrocardiogram). Patients receiving only pharmaceutical medications in one group and acupuncture plus herbs in another group were compared in a four week clinical trial. Twenty-four hour ECG tests confirm that acupuncture plus herbs produces superior patient medical outcomes. 


PC6 Neiguan

Photo: Healthcare Medicine Institute

Acupuncture is effective for pain relief after surgery of the cervical spine. Researchers find electroacupuncture applied to acupoints Hegu (LI4) and Neiguan (PC6) safe and effective for achieving significant pain relief. Surgery on the anterior cervical spine is a complex procedure. Analgesics including fentanyl and sufentanil may be used to alleviate postoperative pain. However, due to concerns regarding respiratory depression, they are often prescribed at low dosages leading to only a partial painkilling effect. The results of the perioperative research finds acupuncture effective for pain relief and for stabilizing hemodynamics during surgery. 


Scalp acupunctureAcupuncture points of the scalp


Acupuncture benefits stroke patients. Pei et al. conducted a randomized controlled clinical trial and concluded that electroacupuncture reduces both impairment and disability, according to the Chinese Stroke Scale. A total of 86 patients participated in the trial. The Brunnstrom-Fugl-Meyer and Barthel Index scores demarcate significant improvements, measured at the three month data point after completion of a four week regimen of acupuncture therapy. Overall motor function and activities of daily living improved significantly and neurological deficits decreased significantly compared with a control group. [1] 


Acupoints of the kneeAcupoints of the knee

Photo: Healthcare Medicine Institute 

Stanford University researchers conclude that acupuncture reduces and delays the need for opioids after total knee replacement surgery. Over 4.7 million people in the United States have had knee replacement surgery. Conventional post-surgical treatment often includes prescription opioids. [1] The drugs often provide pain relief for patients but are ineffective for some. Further, there is a growing concern that the extended use of prescription opioids leads to addiction, further exacerbating epidemic levels of opiate abuse. As a result, finding drug-free interventions that effectively relieve pain and decrease opiate use has become a public health imperative. 


Lower back acupuncture pointsLower back acupuncture points


Controlled studies find acupuncture effective for the treatment of premature ovarian failure (primary ovarian insufficiency). This condition is characterized by the loss of normal ovarian function prior to the age of 40. The average age of onset is 27. Research measures the efficacy of acupuncture in the regulation of hormone levels, reduction of anxiety and other forms of mental stress, and the ability of acupuncture to alleviate menopausal related symptoms. Importantly, the research demonstrates that acupuncture is effective in restoring endogenous estrogen production. 

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