Latest Acupuncture News
- Acupuncture Reduces Hypertension Over Drugs
- Acupuncture Revives Coma Patients - New Study
- Acupuncture Thwarts Lung Toxic Shock - New Study
- Weight Loss Herbs & Acupuncture New Report
- Acupuncture & Herbs Beat Drugs For Fallopian Tube Infertility
- Anti-inflammatory Acupuncture Halts Epileptic Seizures
- Acupuncture Anti-Inflammatory Effect Revealed
Acupuncture Continuing Education News
Acupuncture reduces high blood pressure for patients with hypertension. In a surprising result, acupuncture was found more effective than a pharmaceutical medication commonly used for the treatment of high blood pressure and heart failure. Additionally, acupuncture was clinically successful in controlling symptoms associated with high blood pressure including dizziness, aching of the waist and knees, and palpitations.
Researchers conducted a randomized controlled study and divided 60 patients with hypertension into two groups. Group 1 received acupuncture. Group 2 received the drug catopril, an antihypertensive and renal protective agent given the trade name Capoten. The drug is an ACE (angiotensin-converting enzyme) inhibitor. Common uses for catopril include the treatment of hypertension, congestive heart failure and protection of kidney function for diabetics.
All acupuncture patients in group 1 received a standardized, protocolized acupuncture point prescription. The acupuncture point selection was Hegu (LI4), Taichong (LR3), Quchi (LI11) and Xingjian (LR2). LI4 and LR3 are commonly paired in treatment protocols and this pairing is given the name Siguan, translated as four gates.
Both groups showed significant reductions in blood pressure. However, the acupuncture group showed greater improvement. Measurements of diastolic blood pressure at 14 days and 21 days into the treatment regime revealed that the acupuncture group showed greater diastolic reductions. The same was true for improvement of symptoms associated with hypertension. The acupuncture group demonstrated clinical superior patient outcomes for reductions in dizziness, aching of the waist and knees, and palpitations. Moreover, the acupuncture group demonstrated less adverse reactions than the drug group. This last result is not surprising since adverse events associated with catopril intake include light-headedness, fainting, dizziness, abnormal frequency of urination, bodily pain, fever, chills, abnormal bleeding (vagina, mouth, nose, rectum), difficulty concentrating and shortness of breath. Based on the findings, the researchers concluded that acupuncture is safer and more effective than catopril for the treatment of hypertension.
Acupuncture improves the time it takes to regain consciousness from a coma after a severe brain injury. In a new randomized controlled study, researchers discovered an acupuncture point that delivers superior positive patient clinical outcomes. Acupuncture point GV25 (Suliao) outperformed acupuncture point GV26 (Shuigou), a classically indicated acupuncture point for revival of consciousness.
GV25 treatments successfully revived patients within an average of 64.6 days after a severe craniocerebral injury. GV26 treatments were successful but took longer to revive patients, an average of 73.8 days. The total effective rate, a combination of cured and markedly effective, was 45.2% for the GV25 treatment group. The total effective rate for the GV26 group was 22.5%. The GV25 group was also more successful in evoking the sneezing reflex with an 85.7% success rate compared with 25% in the GV26 group. The research team notes, “The effect of acupuncture at Suliao (GV 25) on improving regain of consciousness from coma in severe craniocerebral injury is positive. It could specifically improve sneezing reflex and stimulate (the) respiratory center, which has (a) more obvious effect than acupuncture at Shuigou (GV 26).”
The GV25 and GV26 groups both received the same approach to acupuncture point selection at secondary points including: Neiguan (PC6), Sanyinjiao (SP6), Yifeng (SJ17) and Wangu (GB12), Laogong (PC8), Yongquan (KD1). Effective rates for treatment were measured at 45 days and 90 days using the Glasgow coma scale combined with clinical efficacy scores. The study provides evidence that GV25 is more effective for revival than GV26, an unexpected result to many licensed acupuncturists. Both acupuncture points are indicated for revival of consciousness, however, GV26 is more commonly used in clinical practice. Let’s take a closer look at the Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM) theory guiding classical usage of these acupuncture points.
GV26 (DU26) is above the midpoint of the philtrum, near the nostrils. GV26 is indicated within Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM) for the treatment of mental disorders, hysteria, seizures and epilepsy, coma, apoplexy, trismus, deviation of the eyes and mouth, facial edema and lower back pain. GV26 is noted for the TCM functions of clearing the senses, cooing the heat, calming the spirit and benefiting the lumbar spine. GV26 is also classified as a ghost point. It is one of the 13 points of Sun Si-miao that are ascribed the function of being a ghost point, which are all indicated for the treatment of mania and epilepsy. The other ghost points are: LU11, SP1, P7, UB62, DU16, ST6, CV24, PC8, DU23, CV1, LI11, Yintang.
Scientists have discovered that acupuncture prevents toxins from damaging the lungs. In an incredible investigation, microphotographs reveal that bilateral electroacupuncture at acupoints ST36 and BL13 successfully protect the lungs from endotoxic shock when exposed to injurious toxic exposure. Immunofluorescence analysis reveals an important secret power of electroacupuncture; it stimulates an increase of Nrf2 nucleoproteins that are responsible for increased expression of protective antioxidant enzymes.
The study was well designed, controlled and randomized. Sham acupuncture did not protect the lungs and did not increase Nrf2 nucleoproteins. True acupuncture repeatedly demonstrated the ability to protect the lungs from damage and to increase Nrf2 expression. Critics have often argued that needle stimulation at random points achieves similar therapeutic effects as acupuncture through the placebo effect. Not so. The researchers have clearly demonstrated that true acupuncture prevents endotoxic shock, not sham acupuncture. They have proven this using microphotography, histopathological grading, blood analysis and measures of serum GPx, CAT, MDA, SOD, TNF-alpha, IL-6 and BALF. Western blot and real-time PCR confirm the findings with improved regulatory expression of HO-1 mRNA, Nrf2 total protein and Nrf2 nucleoprotein in lung tissue.
Chinese herbal medicine and acupuncture demonstrate efficacy in promoting weight loss and body mass index (BMI) improvements. A new report on the endemic spread of obesity reveals significant evidence that acupuncture and herbs synergistically enhance fitness and dietary modification programs for the purposes of reducing excess body fat. The report highlights research demonstrating that a special herbal formula called RCM-104 promotes weight loss safely. We’ll take a look at the ingredients in RCM-104 in this article. First, let’s take a look at the acupuncture findings documented in this new report.
The report included a meta-analysis of randomised controlled studies of Chinese herbs and acupuncture for the treatment of obesity. Acupuncture, as a standalone treatment, reduces BMI but requires an integrated program of care including exercise and dietary modifications to reduce overall weight. Acupuncture did, however, significantly enhance the efficacy of integrated programs resulting in enhanced loss of body fat. Research suggests that acupuncture helps to suppress “an excessive desire for food” and regulates bodily metabolism.
Research reveals important synergistic actions. Adding acupuncture to exercise and dietary therapy significantly prevents weight rebounding. Adding acupuncture to aerobic exercise and dietary therapy also improves weight loss, abdominal adipose tissue reduction, BMI reduction and serum leptin level reduction. Studies also demonstrate that acupuncture is safe, effective and assists in cardiovascular disease treatment and prevention. The report notes that more research is needed to confirm these findings with long term clinical trials.
The report notes that Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM) studies demonstrate that acupuncture reduces BMI and abdominal adipose tissue by warming the spleen, a TCM principle. The report also notes that evidence demonstrates, “Acupuncture points along the Stomach meridian have a reducing effect on weight in obese patients with the TCM diagnosis of excess-heat syndrome.”
Acupuncture and herbal medicine outperformed drugs for the treatment of infertility due to fallopian tube obstructions. Researchers at the Maternal and Child Care Service Center of Puyang City (Henan) conducted a randomized controlled study of 200 patients with fallopian tube obstruction related infertility. Pregnancy rates were measured for the drug group and the acupuncture combined with herbal medicine group at 3, 6, 12 and 24 months after completion of treatments. The acupuncture and herbal medicine group had a significantly higher improvement in pregnancy rates than did the pharmaceutical medication group. The acupuncture combined with herbal medicine group achieved an 85% pregnancy rate and the medication group achieved a 38% pregnancy rate. As a result, the acupuncture continuing education researchers conclude that acupuncture combined with herbal medicine is a more effective approach for treating fallopian tube obstruction induced infertility than pharmaceutical drugs.
The drug group received administration of a powerful antibiotic, a synthetic corticosteroid and a digestive enzyme that breaks down proteins. The patients received 160,000 IU of gentamicin by injections. This antibiotic is commonly used for severe systemic infections. They also received 5 mg dexamethasone corticosteroid injections and 4,000 IU chymotrypsin enzyme injections. The drug treatment was applied every other day until ovulation, comprising one course. The entire care lasted for three courses.
The primary acupoints for acupuncture treatment were:
Ahshi tender points upon palpation were chosen near Zigong. Needles were 1.5 cun long filiform type acupuncture needles. Twirling needle insertion methods were applied until a deqi sensation arrived. For CV6 and CV3, the acupuncturist applied manual techniques to obtain a deqi sensation extending to the perineum. Even reinforcing-reducing methods were also applied. After the withdrawal of needles, cupping was applied to UB18 for 10 minutes. The acupuncture began three days after the cessation of menstruation. One course of care lasted for one menstrual cycle. The clinical outcomes were documented after three courses of care.
The primary herbal ingredients included:
Tao Ren 9g
Hong Hua 6g
Shan Ren 9g
E Zhu 9g
Chi Shao 12g
Huang Bai 30g
Chuan Xiong 9g
Dang Gui 15g
Lu Lu Tong 9g
Wu Gong 2 pieces
Chuan Niu Xi 12g
Dan Shen 15g
Yu Jin 12g
Huang Qi 30g
Gan Cao 6g
Acupuncture is effective in stopping epileptic seizures caused by inflammation. Researchers from China Medical University conducted a laboratory experiment administering two types of acupuncture that were each successful in halting epileptic seizures. Both auricular acupuncture and body style electroacupuncture effectively reduced neuron overexcitation while simultaneously stopping epileptic seizures. The acupuncture continuing education researchers were able to measure the biochemical responses induced by acupuncture responsible for the beneficial clinical effects.
Epilepsy is a neurological disorder characterized by unregulated brain cell activity often leading to seizures. Researchers note that an imbalance of sympathetic and parasympathetic signals within the autonomic nervous system are causative factors. Prior studies demonstrate that application of acupuncture points on the outer ear of humans, auricular acupuncture, reduces the frequency of epileptic seizures and increases parasympathetic nervous system tone.
Another prior study confirms that acupuncture is an effective modality for the treatment of epilepsy in humans. In the study, an acupuncture group demonstrated significantly superior patient outcomes over a medication only control group. The researchers concluded that acupuncture combined with sodium valproate has a synergistic clinical effect leading to improved patient outcomes for epileptics.
The most recent study that was conducted at China Medical University took a different approach. While prior studies focused on human subjects and clinical outcomes, this study investigation the effects of acupuncture on laboratory rats with epilepsy and the biochemical responses induced by acupuncture responsible for halting seizures. As a result, the researchers scientifically and repeatedly were able to quantify acupuncture’s ability to regulate the TRPA1 ion signalling channel located on the plasma membrane of cells.
Researchers have quantified mechanisms by which acupuncture exerts anti-inflammatory and pain reducing medical benefits. A new laboratory experiment proves that true electroacupuncture and not sham acupuncture causes biological reactions responsible for eliminating pain and inflammation. Researchers discovered that acupuncture inhibits ERK1/2-COX-2 pathway activation and ERK1/2-CREB-NK-1 pathway activation. Let’s take a look at why these biochemical pathways are so vitally important to pain management.
COX-2 is an enzyme responsible for pain and inflammation. NK-1 is also an integral mediator of pain and inflammation in the central nervous system. Both NK-1 and COX-2 regulate sensitivity to pain. ERK1/2 is a signaling protein that regulates expression of both NK-1 and COX-2. In this study, electroacupuncture has been proven to regulate expression of both the ERK1/2-COX-2 and ERK1/2-CREB-NK-1 pathways thereby causing reductions in both pain and inflammation.
Application of acupuncture needles to acupuncture points effectively regulated the pain pathways of NK-1 and COX-2. Superficial sham acupuncture was also tested. Superficial sham acupuncture did not significantly regulate changes in the NK-1 and COX-2 pathways whereas the true acupuncture repeatedly and consistently regulated the pathways.
Electroacupuncture was applied to laboratory rats at acupuncture points ST36 (Zusanli) and BL60 (Kunlun). Electroacupuncture was applied at 2-100 Hz at an intensity of 1-2 mA. A HANS acupuncture point nerve stimulator device by Huawei Co., Ltd. was used to supply the ipsilateral electroacupuncture with a constant square wave. ST36 is located on the lower leg between the tibia and fibula. UB60 is located proximal to the lateral aspect of the ankle, lateral malleolus.
Acupuncture reduces lower back pain and disc degeneration. A new study demonstrates that electroacupuncture applied to specific acupuncture points on the back stimulates beneficial biochemical bodily responses that benefit the spine. Researchers successfully measured scientifically repeatable chemical responses to acupuncture that suppress intervertebral disc degeneration.
The controlled acupuncture continuing education study compared true acupuncture with sham acupuncture to ensure that placebo responses to treatment were eliminated as variables. The laboratory experiment examined the effects of electroacupuncture at Jiaji (EX-B 2) points on the axially compressed lumbar discs of L4 and L5. Acupuncture was applied for a total of 20 minutes, once per day, for a total of 28 days. Electroacupuncture was administered at 2 - 15 Hz at 1 -2 mA bilaterally.
Compression of the lumbar discs induces pain, inflammation and disc degeneration. Two important chemical processes are involved in the body’s response to compression. Pain and degeneration of the spine are created, in part, by an inflammatory cascade of two proteins in the lumbar discs: increased matrix metalloproteinase-13 (MMP-13), decreased tissue inhibitor of metalloproteinase-1 (TIMP-1) proteins. The sham acupuncture group did not influence protein expression. However, the true Jiaji (Huatoujiaji) acupuncture group successfully reduced MMP-13 and upregulated TIMP-1 levels. The changes were clinically significant and the researchers note that increases in TIMP-1 are “remarkably higher” when electroacupuncture is applied.
Qigong helps diabetics lose weight. New research conducted at the Bastyr University Research Institute (Kenmore, Washington) concludes that qigong “has a positive impact on body weight in people with type 2 diabetes mellitus (T2DM).” Measurements of body weight, body mass index (BMI), insulin resistance and fasting glucose confirm that medical qigong exercises benefit patients with diabetes.
Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM) includes several methods for the purposes of improving health including herbal medicine, acupuncture, Tui-Na massage, Qigong and Tai Chi (Taijichuan). Qigong is the art of movement exercises combined with breathing control. In this most recent study, the style of Yi Ren medical qigong was used. Participants practiced in a group setting for 60 minutes per week with instructors and practiced at home at a rate of twice per week for 30 minutes per session.
Researchers conclude that acupuncture combined with massage is effective for the treatment of cervical vertigo. This condition is a type of dizziness often caused by abnormalities in neck proprioceptors or by vascular compression. Patients experience a feeling of spinning. Cervical vertigo may be caused by head or neck trauma, neck arthritis, surgery to the neck, Meniere’s disease, inner ear disorders and other issues. Common treatments include physical therapy, medications including muscle relaxants, cervical blocks and surgery. In this new acupuncture continuing education study, the combination of acupuncture and massage is shown to produce significant positive patient outcomes with a total effective rate of 95%.
Cervical vertigo differs from other types of vertigo in that this diagnosis refers to cases wherein proprioception of the neck is disturbed. Proprioception is the ability to sense the body’s position, motion and equilibrium. For example, a blindfolded individual can sense if their leg is lifted or their hand is raised above their head. Disturbances in proprioception of the neck may lead to dizziness, cervical vertigo. Intensity may range from mild to severe. Associated symptoms include loss of balance, lightheadedness, blurry vision, nausea and vomiting.
Researchers from the Rehabilitation Department of No. 2 People’s Hospital of Linhai City (Zhenjiang) randomly divided 84 patients with cervical vertigo into two groups. Group #1 received standalone Chinese medicine massage treatments. Group #2 received a combination of acupuncture and massage treatments. After two weeks, patients in group #2 achieved an overall effective rate of 95% compared with 79.95% for group #1. Based on the clinical outcomes, the researchers conclude acupuncture combined with massage is a highly effective approach for the treatment of cervical vertigo.
A major technology university has scientifically measured unique brain responses to manual acupuncture stimulation. De qi, sensations induced by specific manual needle stimulation techniques, is posited as having therapeutic effects within the Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM) system and was the focus of the study. De qi is a combination of bodily sensations induced by acupuncture needling techniques combined with physiological responses to the stimulation. The researchers note that de qi sensation is often described as dull, heavy, deep pressure, pulling, numb, aching, spreading, radiating, electrical, refreshing, relieving and tingling.
In this new study conducted at the Huazhong University of Science and Technology, researchers measured de qi’s relationship to changes in blood flow, tissue displacement, myoelectricity and brain MRI signals. As a result, the research team notes that they have demonstrated measurable and repeatable “intrinsic change(s) of (the) human body” induced by de qi during acupuncture. The team added that the “study demonstrated that de qi elicited significant response(s) to acupuncture in the specific brain regions….”
In a related study, researchers note that achieving de qi at acupuncture points elicits distinctly different cortical responses than at non-acupuncture points. The researchers suggest that these findings point to de qi having a different effect on the central nervous system dependent on the acupuncture points chosen. Specific acupuncture points demonstrate a consistent and unique ability to stimulate specific brain regions upon de qi stimulation. By contrast, non-acupuncture points did not induce unique responses.
A new study finds acupuncture and herbal medicine effective for treating children with bedwetting and other forms of involuntary urination. In a comparison of treatment modalities, the researchers discovered that combining acupuncture with herbal medicine creates a synergistic medicinal effect. The study group receiving both acupuncture and herbal medicine treatments demonstrated superior patient outcomes over the groups that received either acupuncture or herbal medicine only. As a result, the researchers conclude that combining acupuncture with herbal medicine is more clinically effective than either treatment as a standalone procedure.
Researchers from the Department of Pediatrics of the Affiliated Hospital of Traditional Chinese Medicine of Capital University of Medical Sciences (Beijing) compared three study groups with a total sample size of 330 children with enuresis, involuntary urination. Group #1 consisted of 112 patients receiving herbal medicine treatments. Group #2 consisted of 108 patients receiving acupuncture treatments. Group #3 consisted of 110 patients receiving both herbal and acupuncture treatments. Treatments were administered for two months and a six month follow-up visit was used to gather and tabulate the data. Patients in all three groups demonstrated significantly positive patient outcomes. The combination group outperformed the other two groups with a clinically significant gain in the cure rate.
Enuresis is characterized by the involuntary loss of urine, especially during sleep, and is a common condition among children. All patients in this acupuncture continuing education study were children suffering from enuresis. Inclusion parameters restricted participants to those with a Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM) differential diagnostic pattern of deficiency, cold and essence insufficiency. This pattern is characterized by excessive production of clear urine, soreness of the waist, lusterless complexion, listlessness and fatigue, aversion to cold, cold limbs, pale tongue with white tongue coating and a deep, slippery and weak pulse.
According to TCM theory, enuresis may be due to deficient kidney qi and yang and/or cold-deficiency in the urination bladder. The treatment principle is to benefit the kidney qi and yang and to astringe the essence. The herbal formula used in the medication group contained the following ingredients:
Yi Zhi Ren 6g
Bu Gu Zhi 6g
Sang Piao Xiao 10g
Fen Xin Mu 10g
Lu Jiao Shuang 10g
Gou Qi Zi 10g
Tu Si Zi 10g
Fu Pen Zi 10g
Jin Ying Zi 10g
Rou Cong Rong 10g
Zhi Ma Huang 5g
Bai Guo 6g
The decoction was taken at one dose per day for a course of two months. The dosage was age adjusted. The first stage of acupuncture points applied to patients were:
Acupuncture is found equally effective as taking a pharmaceutical medication for the treatment of overactive bladder. This condition is a dysfunction of urination bladder storage leading to sudden urges to urinate. In many cases, this may lead to the inability to control the loss of urine, incontinence. Symptoms include sudden urges to urinate, frequent urination, nocturia (frequent nightime urination) and urge incontinence (loss of urine caused by an urge to urinate).
Researchers confirm that acupuncture is 90% effective in treating overactive bladder. The drug solifenacin, also known as Vesicare®, is 86.9% effective. Adverse effects that may be caused by the pharmaceutical medication include dry mouth, dry eyes, constipation, stomach pain, burning urination, extreme thirst, nausea, vomiting, painful urination, difficulty breathing, blurry vision and extreme exhaustion. Acupuncture does not involve the risk of these side effects and may therefore be preferable for some patients. Solifenacin is contraindicated for patients with pernicious glaucoma, myasthenia gravis, severe liver disease and for those undergoing kidney dialysis. The new research proves that acupuncture provides an effective treatment option for patients unable to take solifenacin.
The acupuncture continuing education study was conducted at the Department of Urology in the Second Affiliated Hospital of Guiyang College of Traditional Chinese Medicine. A total of 60 patients with overactive bladder (OAB) were randomly divided into two groups. Group #1 took solifenacin via oral administration. Group #2 received acupuncture treatments. After the completion of a four week long treatment regime, both groups achieved significant progress. Notably, acupuncture did not cause any side effects and was found both safe and effective.
Patients in group #1 took 4 mg of solifenacin via oral administration once daily after breakfast. One course of treatment consisted of 4 weeks for both groups. Patients in both groups were forbidden from receiving any other treatments to eliminate variables from the investigation.
The Acupuncture Treatment
Group #2 received acupuncture with filiform needles that ranged between 1.5 - 4 cm in length and diameters ranging from 0.32 - 0.38 mm. During the procedure, patients rested in the prone or supine position. The acupuncture points applied were:
A new controlled study finds acupuncture effective for improving balance in stroke patients. Researchers from Taipei Medical University (Shuang Ho Hospital, Taiwan) and three additional hospitals compared a control group with an acupuncture group. The acupuncture group demonstrated clinically superior clinical outcomes for hemiplegic stroke patients.
The study was conducted at the medical university hospital ward. A total of 66 patients were randomly assigned to each group for a total of 132 participants. The results show that acupuncture improves static balance when added to the rehabilitation phase of treatment for hemiplegic stroke patients with a low Brunnstrom (Br) stage. The Br stages, developed by a Swedish physical therapist, measures levels of motor activity and account for flaccidity, synergy, voluntary movements, spasticity, complex movements, individual joint movements and the restoration of normal function.
The study design reflects common practice for licensed acupuncturists. Physiotherapy was combined with acupuncture for the acupuncture treatment group and physiotherapy was administered as a standalone treatment modality for the control group. Postural assessment scales were measured for both static and dynamic balance values. Definitive positive clinical results demonstrate that acupuncture causes a significant increase in static balance measures for hemiplegic stroke patients when combined with physiotherapy.
Large Scale Investigation
This recent acupuncture continuing education study confirms additional investigations demonstrating that acupuncture is an effective medical modality for the treatment and prevention of strokes. One recent study finds acupuncture effective for reducing the risk of stroke for patients with traumatic brain injuries. An investigation of approximately 30,000 patients reveals that patients receiving acupuncture have a “lower probability of stroke than those without acupuncture treatment during the follow-up period.” The study “showed significantly decreased risk of new-onset stroke events for patients with TBI (Traumatic Brain Injury) 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.”
Investigators at Heilongjiang University of TCM note that clinical outcomes are improved for stroke patients when scalp acupuncture is combined with body style acupuncture and/or physical therapy. Several studies were examined in this meta-analysis. In one study under the auspices of Zhen Yongqiang, body style acupuncture was 75% effective and scalp acupuncture 76% was effective. However, combining the modalities increased the total effective rate to 87%. Zhuang Jie’s study measured a combination of scalp acupuncture and physical rehabilitation. Scalp acupuncture as a standalone procedure achieved a 77% total effective rate but the combination of scalp acupuncture with physical rehabilitation increased the total effective rate to 97%. An additional study examined by the Heilongjiang University of TCM researchers measured significant improvements in patient outcomes for stroke patients when acupuncture is combined with the herbal formula Bu Yang Huang Wu Tang (Tonifying Yang Decoction for Recuperation). The total effective rate using acupuncture combined with the herbal formula was 96%.
Acupuncture prevents and reverses dangerous cellular accumulations of fatty materials in cases of high cholesterol thereby preventing atherosclerotic plaques and heart disease. New laboratory research confirms that needling a specific acupuncture point located on the lower leg prevents and reverses the formation of foam cells. This type of cell forms at the site of fatty streaks and is the beginning of atherosclerotic plaque formation in blood vessels. The presence of foam cells is indicative of an increased risk of heart attacks and strokes. Based on the research, the investigators note that acupuncture could “play an essential role in treating hyperlipidemia (high cholesterol and triglycerides) and stopping it from developing into a further level.”
Oxidized LDL cholesterol creates inflammation within blood vessels. As a result, immune system cells called macrophages are attracted to the site of inflammation and consume the LDL cholesterol. Ordinarily, macrophages defend against bacteria and other pathogens. However, macrophages can become engulfed in fatty materials when attempting to eliminate excess cholesterol. Under a microscope, one can see that the macrophages become overrun with cholesterol and other fatty materials. The damaged macrophages take on a foamy appearance, hence the name foam cell. Foam cells indicate that dangerous plaques are beginning to form within the vessels. The researchers conclude that electroacupuncture at acupuncture point ST40 (Fenglong) “prevents and reverse(s) the formation of foam cell(s).” In this way, acupuncture helps to fight hyperlipidemia and prevent heart disease.
The research proves that ST40 electroacupuncture “significantly prohibits the transformation of macrophage(s) into foam cell(s).” The research measured sharp reductions in foam cells through the application of acupuncture. Stimulation of acupoint ST40 was shown to decrease the cholesterol content of macrophages. Cells can accomplish this in two ways. The first way is to convert cholesterol into cholesterol esters. This method is limited because it may overrun cells with esters and consequent toxicity.
Needling acupuncture point ST40 accomplishes cholesterol reduction by another method that is completely non-toxic. ST40 stimulation increases the rate of cholesterol efflux from macrophages. Cholesterol efflux is a process of eliminating cholesterol from cells that is regulated by intracellular transporters including ATP proteins A1, G1 and B1. Unlike the cholesterol ester process, the efflux process has a virtually unlimited capacity to reduce cholesterol because there is no danger of building up excess cellular cholesterol esters. Needling ST40 with electroacupuncture activates an important, safe and powerful method for cells to reduce excess cholesterol content.
Acupuncture, herbs, moxibustion and cupping have been proven effective for the treatment of asthma. Acupuncture continuing education researchers from Hebei’s People’s Hospital of Xinglong County and Chengde Municipal Sanitary Agency investigated two separate approaches to patient care. One group received only acupuncture and the other study group received a combination of acupuncture, cupping, moxibustion and herbal medicine. Cupping is the use of suction cups on the surface of the skin applied to achieve medical benefits. Moxibustion, also known as moxa, is the burning of herbs near the skin to produce a medicinal warming effect. Both groups showed significant improvements, however, the group receiving a combination of Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM) therapies demonstrated clinically superior patient outcomes. As a result, the researchers conclude that combining acupuncture with cupping, moxibustion and herbal medicine is more effective than using only acupuncture.
A total patient sample size of 110 patients with chronic asthma was randomly divided into two equal sized groups. Group #1 received only acupuncture therapy. Group #2 received acupuncture plus the addition of cupping, moxibustion and herbal medicine. The acupuncture only group had a total effective rate of 58% and the acupuncture combined with herbs, moxibustion and cupping group had a total effective rate of 98%.
Group #1 received acupuncture stimulation at acupoints Dazhu (BL11), Fengmen (BL12), Feishu (BL13), Huatoujiaji points and Zusanli (ST36). Acupuncture needling was applied once daily with even reinforcing and reducing manual manipulation techniques. The retention of needling was 30 minutes. One course of treatment consisted of 10 days and there was a two day break after each course of care. The patient outcomes were analyzed after the completion of three courses of care.
A new study concludes that acupuncture combined with herbal medicine is more effective than drugs for the treatment of headaches. This confirms similar results found in a prior study wherein acupuncture was found comparable to drugs for the treatment of migraine headaches. The new study finds acupuncture combined with herbal medicine is effective for the treatment of vascular headaches whereas the prior study found acupuncture, as a standalone procedure, effective for the treatment of migraines. The results agree that acupuncture and/or acupuncture combined with herbs produce positive patient outcomes for headaches.
The prior study concluded that acupuncture is “of comparable efficiency to several proven drug therapies for the treatment and prevention of migraine(s).” The meta-analysis examined 25 randomized controlled trials involving a sample size of 3,004 patients. True acupuncture significantly outperformed simulated sham-acupuncture. In addition, true acupuncture was comparable to drug therapy for the treatment and prevention of migraines.
The new acupuncture continuing education research increased the strength of clinical care by adding herbal medicine to the Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM) protocol. By combining acupuncture with the modified herbal medicine formula Huo Xue Qu Feng Tong Luo Tang (Blood Activating Wind Dispelling Meridian Unblocking Decoction), the TCM treatment was significantly more effective than nimodipine. Also referred to by its brand names Nimotop and Nymalize, this drug is a calcium channel blocker that increases blood flow to the brain by widening blood vessels. Originally developed to reduce high blood pressure, this drug is commonly used to prevent complications due to cerebral vasospasm.
Acupuncture combined with modified Huo Xue Qu Feng Tong Luo Tang is more effective than nimodipine for relieving vascular headaches. These headaches include cluster headaches, migraines and toxic headaches. Migraines involve unilateral or bilateral head pain and may combine with nausea, vomiting, sensitivity to light and sound, and visual auras. Toxic headaches occur during fevers. Cluster headaches are focal and recur in severe episodes.
The researchers conducted a randomized acupuncture continuing education investigation of 92 patients with vascular headaches at the College of Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM) in Chongqing Medical University (Sichuan). Group #1 received oral administration of nimodipine at 40 mg per dose, three times per day. Group #2 received acupuncture and a TCM herbal formula based on Huo Xue Qu Feng Tong Luo Tang. A course of treatment for both groups consisted of two weeks and the entire treatment lasted for two courses. After the two courses of treatment, patients in both groups made considerable progress. However, patients in the acupuncture group significantly outperformed those in the drug group.
New research proves that acupuncture combined with neuromuscular electrical stimulation (NMES) is effective for restoring hand function in hemiplegic patients. Researchers measured significant improvements in both wrist and finger functionality. Hemiplegia is paralysis of one side of the body caused by disease or injury to the brain’s motor centers. Hemiplegia may be caused by an illness, injury, stroke or may be congenital. This study, conducted at the Affiliated Hospital of Chengdu University (Sichuan), documents two specific acupuncture protocols that achieved significant positive patient outcomes in the restoration of hand motor activities including holding, grasping, moving and pinching.
Treatment group #1 received acupuncture combined with moxibustion. Treatment group #2 received the same acupuncture and moxibustion therapy plus the addition of NMES. Both groups demonstrated significant positive patient outcomes, however, group #2 demonstrated clinically superior outcomes.
The basic care given to both groups consisted of standard body style acupuncture, scalp acupuncture and moxibustion. Standard acupuncture was applied to patients with 1-1.5” filiform acupuncture needles applied to the hand and foot yangming channels on the hemiplegic side. Secondary acupuncture needling was applied to the taiyang and shaoyang channels. Additional points were added to the upper limb of the hemiplegic side:
Manual acupuncture needle stimulation was applied along the channels with an even reinforcing-reducing method. After the arrival of the deqi sensation, strong stimulation was applied to:
The retention of needling was 20-30 minutes. Acupuncture was applied once daily with 10 days comprising one course.
During scalp acupuncture, the acupuncturist used 1” disposable filiform needles. The motor cortex are was needled with a quick insertion technique at a 30 degree angle. Quick twirling at a rate of approximately 200 times per minute was applied for one minute. Five minutes of needle insertion time followed the quick twirling time. Next, another one minute of quick twirling was applied. Scalp acupuncture sessions lasted for 20 minutes each acupuncture treatment. One acupuncture treatment was applied each day and 10 days comprised one course of care.
Researchers have discovered that acupuncture is effective for controlling overactive bladder syndrome. The research team, a combination of Whipps Cross University Hospital and University College of London Hospital investigators, document that 79% of patients in the study showed clinically significant improvements. The researchers conclude that acupuncture is an effective treatment modality for patients with overactive bladder syndrome (OAB) and “is well tolerated with no side effects or complications.” As a result, the research team notes that acupuncture “should be considered as a potential alternative to our current therapeutic regimes” for patients with OAB.
Overactive bladder syndrome is a dysfunction of the bladder’s storage abilities that lead to a sudden urge to urinate. Symptoms include a sudden urge to urinate that is often difficult to control, involuntary loss of urine (urge incontinence), frequent urination (greater than 8 times per day) and waking at night 2 or more times to urinate (nocturia). Etiology varies and may include dysfunction of the kidneys, bladder nerve signals and muscle activity. Contributing and exacerbating factors of OAB include multiple sclerosis (MS), Parkinson’s disease, increased fluid intake, kidney and bladder organic disorders, diabetes, pharmaceutical medications and illicit drugs, urinary infections, enlarged prostate and increased consumption of caffeinated beverages.
The researchers note that acupuncture is safe and effective. All patients in the study had already tried conventional approaches to care: behavioral modifications and pharmaceutical medications including anticholinergics and beta agonists. Although surgical procedures are often part of conventional treatment regimes of care for OAB sufferers, all candidates were pre-surgical. The research team notes, “The aim of the study is to assess if acupuncture is effective in the treatment of patients with OAB in whom conservative measures and oral medications have failed, but are unwilling or unsuitable for invasive therapies.”
Researchers have discovered that acupuncture causes a special biochemical reaction that reduces inflammation and muscle pain. The study, published in Molecular Neurobiology, investigated the effects of needling one acupuncture point on the leg. The research team measured a remarkable effect. Manual acupuncture stimulation downregulated M1 macrophages (pro-inflammatory cells) and upregulated M2 macrophages (anti-inflammatory cells). As a result, acupuncture reduced pain and swelling.
This neurobiological acupuncture continuing education study solves a great mystery, how does acupuncture work? The secret is in the biochemistry. M2 macrophages are an important source of IL-10 (interleukin-10), an anti-inflammatory cytokine that plays an important role in immune responses. Cytokines are proteins released by cells that regulate reactions between cells. Manual acupuncture successfully downregulates M1 macrophages and upregulates M2 macrophages thereby promoting the release of greater IL-10 concentrations. As a result of IL-10 release, pain and inflammation significantly reduce.
This study measured responses in muscle tissues and confirmed that M1 to M2 macrophage phenotype switching is triggered by acupuncture stimulation. Acupuncture literally flips a switch wherein initial inflammatory responses are reduced and the secondary healing responses are promoted. M1 macrophage downregulation and M2 macrophage upregulation triggered by acupuncture was positively associated with reductions in muscle pain and inflammation.
The researchers tested the biochemical process by adding an IL-10 blocking agent in the laboratory experiment. When IL-10 was chemically blocked, acupuncture did not reduce pain and swelling. However, when no blocking agent was applied, acupuncture successfully reduced both pain and swelling. The M2 macrophage upregulation by manual acupuncture successfully created a greater source of IL-10. The researchers note, “These findings provide new evidence that MA (manual acupuncture) produces a phenotypic switch in macrophages and increases IL-10 concentrations in muscle to reduce pain and inflammation.”
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