Acupuncture Continuing Education

Acupuncture News and Research

Researchers conclude that acupuncture and herbs normalize liver and kidney function for patients with liver cirrhosis and ascites.

Independent clinical investigations concur that acupuncture and herbs are effective for the treatment of cirrhosis with ascites. One investigation used an integrated treatment protocol consisting of acupuncture, infrared radiation, dietetics, and herbal medicine to achieve positive patient outcomes for patients with end-stage cirrhosis with ascites. The research indicates that integration of Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM) protocols into the hospital setting benefits end-stage cirrhosis patients. 

CV4 Guanyuan Needling of Lower Abdominal Acupoint

Acupuncture and herbal medicine are effective for the treatment of end-stage liver cirrhosis and ascites. Researchers from Nanyang City First People's Hospital (Henan Province, China) tested a TCM protocol using acupuncture, far infrared, herbal intravenous injections, herbal soba noodle soup, and an oral herbal decoction. The combination therapy effectively reduced or eliminated ascites, improved urine volume and appetite, and normalized liver and kidney function. 

Acupuncture prevents depression relapses for patients completing progressive antidepressant medication cessation.

Researchers find acupuncture effective in both the short and long-term for improving positive patient outcomes for patients ceasing antidepressant medication intake. The total effective rate, short-term withdrawal syndrome rate, and long-term relapse rates improve significantly with the implementation of acupuncture into patient management.


Ear ShenmenAuricular Acupoint 

Acupuncture alleviates depression and prevents relapses for patients withdrawing from antidepressant drug use. Research conducted at the Anhui University of Chinese Medicine demonstrates that acupuncture minimizes risks associated with cessation of antidepressant drug use. The findings were published in the Shanghai Journal of Acupuncture and Moxibustion.

Two groups of patients underwent identical progressive medication reduction protocols. One group received acupuncture in addition to medication reduction. Results were tabulated based on the Hamilton Depression Scale (HAMD), measured at three time points: before treatment, one week after completion of medication cessation, one year after medication cessation. Let’s look at short and long-term results and then go over how the researchers achieved clinical successes. 

Research, including both subjective and objective measurements, finds acupuncture effective for improving eyesight.

Scientific measures show improvements across several key eyesight indices. Visual acuity and light sensitivity demonstrate significant improvements; visual defects reduced significantly. Researchers conclude, “acupuncture treatment contributed to the recovery of the visual function.”


Insertion of Yintang. Insertion of Yintang


Acupuncture benefits eyesight for patients with vision loss, according to Beijing University of Chinese Medicine researchers. Results from a controlled investigation by Yan et al., published in the Journal of Beijing University of Traditional Chinese Medicine, tested the efficacy of a four point acupuncture prescription for the treatment of vision loss. Based on the data, the researchers determined that acupuncture benefits vision.

Acupuncture measurably caused significant improvements in important visual indices. Acupuncture significantly improved mean sensitivity (MS) and decreased mean defect (MD) for patients participating in the study. In addition, acupuncture significantly increased the visually evoked potential (VEP). 

Acupuncture and herbs produce optimal positive patient outcomes for patients with peripheral neuropathy due to chemotherapy.

Research demonstrates that acupuncture and herbs alleviate pain and numbness of the arms and legs caused by the adverse effects of chemotherapy for patients with several types of cancer. The results demonstrate that a combined protocol of acupuncture and herbal medicine produces a 90% total effective rate for the relief of pain and numbness.


LI4 (Hegu)LI4 (Hegu) Needling


Acupuncture and Chinese herbal medicine alleviate extremity pain and numbness induced by chemotherapy neurotoxicity according to research published in the Shandong Medical Journal. Researchers investigated the efficacy of warm needle acupuncture combined with the oral intake of the herbal formula Huang Qi Gui Zhi Wu Wu Tang for the treatment of chemotherapy induced peripheral neuropathy. Based on the data, the researchers conclude that acupuncture combined with herbal medicine has a 90% total effective rate for the alleviation of chemotherapy induced peripheral neuropathy for patients with gastric, colorectal, lung, nasopharyngeal or breast cancer. 

Acupuncture improves blood flow and is an effective treatment for vertigo

Controlled studies find acupuncture an effective modality for the treatment of vertigo. Clinical data documents positive patient outcomes and scientific measurements demonstrate improved blood flow in the brain.

Acupuncture relieves vertigo using micro-acupuncture. Different types of acupuncture needles

Acupuncture alleviates vertigo. Researchers at Liaoning University of Traditional Chinese Medicine conclude that acupuncture is effective for the treatment of vertigo. Researchers from Jianghan University find electroacupuncture combined with ultrasound therapy is an effective treatment protocol for the treatment of vertigo. In addition, Shanghai University of Traditional Chinese Medicine (Yueyang Hospital) researchers conclude that acupuncture regulates cerebral blood flow thereby alleviating vertigo due to cerebral circulation insufficiency.

The investigation by Ren et al. at Liaoning University of Traditional Chinese Medicine investigated the effects of two micro-acupuncture systems for the relief of vertigo: scalp acupuncture, eye acupuncture. Scalp acupuncture primarily involves transverse needling techniques and is often used for the treatment of neurological disorders and many other conditions. Eye acupuncture is a micro-acupuncture system involving needling of the outer eye socket region. Qin et al. note that this micro-acupuncture system is used for the treatment of disorders including “cerebrovascular disease, pain, neurological disorders, and mental disease.” Ren et al. add that supportive research demonstrates that eye acupuncture improves blood circulation in the vertebrobasilar arterial system. 

Medi-Cal supports acupuncture for the treatment of pain to address problem of opioids

Five Branches University of Traditional Chinese Medicine completes a successful pilot program with the Central California Alliance for Health examining the efficacy of acupuncture & Traditional Chinese Medicine for pain management. Results allow Medi-Cal patients to use acupuncture instead of opioids and reimbursement rates to acupuncturists double.


Five Branches UniversityFive Branches University


The United States is experiencing an epidemic crisis and the worst opioid drug addiction problem in history. Opioid painkillers, such as codeine and morphine, are highly addictive substances. When individuals in chronic pain cannot receive prescription narcotics, many are forced to resort to illegal street drugs like heroin, which are often less expensive. Opioid drug related deaths reached the highest number in history in 2014, claiming the lives of more than 29,000 individuals.

On March 29, 2016 (Atlanta, Georgia), President Barack Obama spoke to roughly 2,000 attendees at the National Rx Drug Abuse & Heroin Summit and stated, “I think the public doesn’t fully appreciate yet the scope of the problem…the problem we have right now is treatment is underfunded.”

In a time when doctors, hospitals, healthcare organizations, medical universities, and patients are in desperate need of a different solution to pain management, the Central California Alliance for Health (CCAH) has taken pioneering steps in offering an alternative approach to supporting patients with chronic pain. Alan McKay, CEO of the CCAH, and Dr. Dale Bishop, Medical Director of the CCAH, wanted to help patients within Santa Cruz, Monterey, and Merced Counties that were suffering with severe and chronic pain to reduce their dependency on opioids. They turned to acupuncture and Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM).

Acupuncture relieves MSA, multiple system atrophy. Acupuncture increases drug efficacy for the treatment of multiple system atrophy (MSA). Formerly known as Shy-Drager Syndrome, MSA is an autonomic nervous system disorder affecting balance, coordination, and movement. Orthostatic hypotension is a key sign manifesting in dizziness upon standing. Additional symptoms include slowness of movement, rigidity, incontinence of urine, impaired speech, syncope, and tremors. Symptoms are manifestations of the progressive loss of function and death of brain and spinal cord nerve cells.

Researchers from Tianjin University of Traditional Chinese Medicine investigated the effects of acupuncture on patients receiving drug therapy for MSA. Patients receiving only drug therapy had a 45.5% total effective rate. However, patients receiving both acupuncture and drug therapy had a 90.9% total effective rate. The results of the acupuncture continuing education study were published in the Shanghai Journal of Acupuncture and Moxibustion.

Patients receiving drug therapy combined with acupuncture treatments experienced significantly less orthostatic hypotension. Consequently, there were significant reductions in dizziness and syncope associated with standing. Results were based on subject reports and stabilization of blood pressure. Other clinical improvements include improved hidrosis, eye movements, and bladder control. Patients also had significant reductions in tremors. 

Acupuncture and moxibustion alleviate neck pain. Researchers from Xinjiang Medical University Hospital find acupuncture combined with moxibustion delivers consistent positive clinical outcomes for patients with cervical spondylosis, a degenerative disease of the spine. Acupuncture, as a standalone therapy, produced an 83.33% total effective rate. However, adding moxibustion increased the total effective rate to 96.67%. GB21 and neck points

Cervical spondylosis is a type of osteoarthritis of the neck involving the facet joints and intervertebral discs. Lack of proper biomechanical functioning of the cervical spine over time leads to degeneration of the neck’s bones and protective cartilage. Symptoms range from mild to severe and include pain of the neck and shoulders, stiff neck, muscle weakness, dizziness, and numbness.

The Xinjiang Medical University Hospital researchers document that acupuncture plus moxibustion significantly reduces pain and numbness of the shoulders and neck. In addition, acupuncture plus moxibustion demonstrated clinical efficacy in the restoration of muscle strength. Patients in the study received acupuncture plus moxibustion at a rate of once per day, five times per week for two weeks. The following primary acupuncture points were applied:

  • Fengchi, GB20
  • Dazhui, DU14
  • Tianzhu, ST25
  • Houxi, SI3
  • Jiaji, cervical acupoints
  • Shenshu, BL23
  • Mingmen, DU4

Additional acupoints were added based on specific indications. The following acupoints were added when the intensity level was severe:

  • Neck & shoulder pain: Jianjing (GB21), Tianzong (SI11)
  • Arm & finger numbness: Quchi (LI11), Hegu (LI4), Waiguan (SJ5)
  • Dizziness & headache: Baihui (DU20), Taiyang (extra)

Mild reinforcing or reducing manual acupuncture techniques were applied. After the arrival of deqi, the acupuncture needles were retained for twenty minutes per acupuncture session. During needle retention, electroacupuncture stimulation was added to the acupoints using a dense-disperse wave. The intensity was set to patient tolerance levels. One study group received only acupuncture and another group received the above acupuncture treatment plus moxibustion. During needle retention, moxibustion was used to warm DU14 and the Jiaji acupoints. 

Acupuncture and herbs alleviate hay fever (allergic rhinitis). Symptoms include postnasal drip, runny nose, sneezing, itchy or watery eyes, and ear or throat irritation. Lishui Hospital of Traditional Chinese Medicine researchers conducted a randomized controlled clinical trial. Their findings document that a treatment regimen of acupuncture combined with herbal medicine results in a 91.1% total effective rate for the alleviation of allergic rhinitis. Allergy treatment at Yintang near Yingxiang (LI20).

Using only herbal medicine achieved a 71.1% total effective rate. Acupuncture, as a standalone therapy, achieved a 66.7% total effective rate. Based on the data, the researchers conclude that acupuncture plus herbal medicine is a superior treatment protocol to using either approach as a standalone therapy. The researchers document the regimen of acupuncture points and herbal medicines used to achieve the significant positive patient outcomes. The primary acupoints were

  • Dazhui (DU14)
  • Fengchi (GB20)
  • Yintang (extra)
  • Yingxiang (LI20)
  • Hegu (LI4)
  • Lieque (LU7)

Filiform acupuncture needles (0.25 mm x 40 mm) were applied. Manual acupuncture techniques were employed to elicit deqi using both reinforcing and reducing stimulation methods. Acupuncture needle retention time was set to thirty minutes per acupuncture therapy session. Acupuncture was applied at a rate of once per day for ten days, comprising one course of care. A total of three courses of care were applied (30 acupuncture treatments) with a one day break between courses of care. 

Acupuncture combined with oral curcumin intake protects the liver from fibrosis. Curcumin is the chief curcuminoid in turmeric (Jiang Huang, Rhizoma Curcumae Longae). Curcumin is bright yellow, hence the name ginger yellow in Chinese. Jiang is translated as ginger and huang means yellow. Curcumin is a principle polyphenol in Jiang Huang, a member of the ginger family of herbs used for enhancing blood circulation in Traditional Chinese medicine (TCM). The researchers concluded that acupuncture plus curcumin “potently protected the liver” from injury and fibrogenesis. liver fibrosis

The controlled study was performed in a laboratory investigation on laboratory rats. Several study groups were compared: curcumin, true acupuncture, true acupuncture plus curcumin, sham acupuncture. The sham acupuncture group received needling of non-acupuncture points that were located 0.5 cm to the left of each acupoint used in the true acupuncture group. Sham acupuncture did not protect the liver from damage as measured by histological and ultrastructural examinations. The true acupuncture group showed significant hepatoprotective findings; rats in the true acupuncture group had significantly healthier livers.

The researchers discovered a beneficial synergistic effect when curcumin and acupuncture were combined into a treatment protocol. There was an increased protection against liver fibrosis. This is important because liver fibrosis potentially degrades into dangerous complications. Bataller et al. note, “Liver fibrosis is the excessive accumulation of extracellular matrix proteins including collagen that occurs in most types of chronic liver diseases. Advanced liver fibrosis results in cirrhosis, liver failure, and portal hypertension and often requires liver transplantation.”1

Groups that received acupuncture or sham acupuncture were needled three times per week for three weeks followed by two times per week for an additional three weeks. The acupuncture points used in the study were:

  • LV3 (Taichong)
  • LV14 (Qimen)
  • BL18 (Ganshu)
  • ST36 (Zusanli)

Acupuncture relieves gastritis and is more effective than the drug ranitidine, an antihistamine. Researchers from Chenzhou First People’s Hospital investigated the efficacy of acupuncture and ranitidine for the treatment of chronic gastritis, a digestive disorder characterized by inflammation of the stomach lining. Gastritis causes indigestion with burning pain of the abdomen, nausea, vomiting, bloating, hiccups, or tarry stools. The results of the investigation reveal that acupuncture produces significantly greater positive patient outcomes than the antihistamine medication. ST25 Tianshu and CV6 Qihai

Acupuncture is more effective than ranitidine for reducing or eliminating gastric mucosal lesions and inflammation for patients with chronic gastritis. Gastroscopy confirms that acupuncture produced a 96.4% total effective rate and ranitidine produced a 69.9% total effective rate. Let’s take a look at the drug and acupuncture therapies tested in the clinical trial and its relationship to Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM) theory and acupuncture continuing education.

The researchers compared two groups of patients with gastritis in a clinical investigation. Group one received oral ranitidine (150 mg) two times per day. Ranitidine is a histamine-2 blocker that reduces stomach acid production. It is indicated for the treatment and prevention of ulcers in the stomach and intestines. It is also listed for the treatment of gastroesophageal reflux disease (GERD). Ranitidine may increase the risk of pneumonia, crosses the placenta, and may be transferred to babies through breast milk. 

Acupuncture alleviates carpal tunnel syndrome and heals injured peripheral nerves. Electromyography, nerve conductions studies, and ultrasonic imaging confirms that acupuncture combined with moxibustion improves electrophysiological peripheral nerve responses and repairs peripheral nerve tissues for patients with carpal tunnel syndrome (CTS). In addition, the researchers (Ding et al.) recorded significant pain relief in clinical observations using a numerical rating scale. Ding et al. conclude that objective and subjective testing demonstrates that acupuncture plus moxibustion is effective for the treatment of carpal tunnel syndrome. The detailed research was published in the Journal of Clinical and Experimental MedicineTreatment of carpal tunnel syndrome with filiform needles.

Carpal tunnel syndrome is due to median nerve compression. This nerve entrapment may cause pain, numbness, and weakness of the forearm, wrist, and hand. Some patients experience difficulty in discerning hot from cold sensations and others experience deterioration of local tendons, muscles, ligaments, and sinew. Ding et al. demonstrate that acupuncture plus moxibustion alleviates pain and heals damaged tissues for patients with carpal tunnel syndrome. Let’s review the acupuncture and moxibustion procedures that achieved these important results. First, a quick look at the some of the testing procedures.

Ding et al. reveal a multiplicity of findings. Acupuncture combined with moxibustion healed median nerve transection areas (MNTA). Distal motor latency (DML) of the median nerve and thumb-to-wrist sensory conduction velocity (SCV) improved significantly. Improvements in nerve transmissions were confirmed with motor conduction velocity (MCV), compound muscle action potential (CMAP), sensory nerve action potential (SNAP), sensory conduction velocity (SCV), and distal motor latency (DML) electrodiagnostic tests. High-resolution ultrasound imaging demonstrated significant improvements in the transverse carpal ligament (TTCL) and median nerve transection areas.

Acupuncture relieves menstrual pain and cramping. Researchers from the Xianning Hospital of Traditional Chinese Medicine investigated the efficacy of triple acupuncture with moxibustion for the treatment of dysmenorrhea. The research team concludes that triple acupuncture is significantly more effective than conventional acupuncture for the relief of menstrual pain and cramping. Lower abdominal application of acupuncture needle.

Triple acupuncture achieved a 96.7% total effective rate. Conventional acupuncture achieved a 90% total effective rate. The total effective rate included patient improvements ranging from significant pain relief to complete resolution of all pain.

Two treatment groups receiving acupuncture plus moxibustion were compared. The groups differed in that triple acupuncture was applied to acupuncture point Zhongji (CV3) in only one of the groups. The following acupuncture points were applied to all patients:

  • Zhongji, CV3
  • Sanyinjiao, SP6
  • Diji, SP8
  • Shiqizhuixia, MBW25

Additional acupuncture points were applied based on varying presentations of diagnostic patterns. For qi and blood related diminished circulation with excess blood clotting, acupoints were added including:

  • Hegu, LI4
  • Taichong, LV3

For patients with chills and excess dampness, moxibustion was added to acupoint Shuidao (ST28). For patients with liver deficiency combined with heat and dampness, Yanglingquan (GB34) was added. For patients with qi and blood deficiency, the following acupoints were added:

  • Xuehai, SP10
  • Piyu, BL20
  • Zusanli, ST36

Prior to treatments, all patients were asked to urinate. Next, patients rested in a supine position and the acupoint sites were disinfected. Filiform acupuncture needles (0.30 mm x 50 mm) were used on all acupoints. Total needle retention time was thirty minutes and manual acupuncture needle stimulation was applied every ten minutes. Acupuncture began five days prior to menstruation at a rate of once per day. Acupuncture ceased after the fifth treatment at the onset of menstruation. This process was repeated for four courses of care for a total of twenty acupuncture sessions. 

Acupuncture prevents atrial fibrillation (AF) and associated cardiac damage. Research published by Zhu et al. finds acupuncture applied to acupoint Neiguan (PC6) has an anti-arrhythmia effect and prevents atrial fibrillation through restoration and remodeling of the right atrial appendage. This is consistent with findings presented by the Heart Rhythm Society and published in the Heart Rhythm JournalThe heart and circulatory system

The Heart Rhythm Journal research article covered an extensive forum on the treatment and prevention of atrial fibrillation. The publication reads, “Recent small studies suggest that neuromodulation through skin or subcutaneous tissues may also help to control AF using either a transcutaneous approach or acupuncture.” Authors include Dr. Robert M. Califf (US FDA Commissioner) and other doctors from a multiplicity of prestigious institutions including Harvard Medical School (Boston), Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine (Baltimore), Duke University (Durham), and University of California (Davis). The Heart Rhythm Society is dedicated towards advancements in cardiac pacing and electrophysiology.

The Heart Rhythm Journal publication cites a highly relevant study published in the Journal of Cardiovascular Electrophysiology (Lomuscio et al.). The study concludes, “Our data indicate that acupuncture treatment prevents arrhythmic recurrences after cardioversion in patients with persistent AF. This minimally invasive procedure was safe and well tolerated.”

The same acupuncture point (PC6) was used in both the Journal of Cardiovascular Electrophysiology research and that of Zhu et al. In addition, regulation of the heart with PC6 is consistent with Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM) therapeutic principles. TCM principles designate Neiguan (PC6) as the Luo-Connecting acupoint of the pericardium and stipulate that the therapeutic actions of PC6 include regulating the heart including its rate and rhythm.

The modern laboratory and clinical findings of Zhu et al. and Lomuscio et al. are consistent with ancient TCM acupuncture principles. Lomuscio et al. used acupoints Neiguan (PC6), Shenmen (HT7), and Xinshu (BL15) in their human clinical research. The aforementioned acupoints are important heart related acupoints in TCM.

Zhu et al. conducted an animal laboratory experiment and limited acupuncture to only one acupoint (PC6). Zhu et al. note, “These results suggest that the anti-arrhythmia effect of acupuncture may be mediated through the restoration and modification of remodeling of right atrial appendage.” Zhu et al. add that acupuncture at PC6 “could effectively prevent the onset of arrhythmia and restore the sinus rhythm in AF rats.” Results were confirmed with electrocardiograms, histological examinations, ultrastructure analyses, and statistical analysis. Zhu et al. concluded, “Considering that acupuncture was safe, effective, without any pro-arrhythmic effect compared with the classical pharmacological therapy, this traditional Chinese medicine had a potential to become a more mainstream complementary intervention in the treatment of atrial fibrillation.” 

Acupuncture is more effective than conventional drug therapy for the treatment of sudden sensorineural hearing loss. Research published in the Journal of Clinical Acupuncture and Moxibustion finds acupuncture more effective than several types of drug therapies. The research demonstrates that acupuncture has a higher total effective rate and a higher cure rate than drug therapy for the treatment of sudden sensorineural hearing loss. However, a combination of acupuncture plus drug therapy yields the highest rate of positive patient outcomes. Ear ponts on acudoll.

Sudden sensorineural hearing loss (SSHL), commonly known as sudden deafness, is considered a medical emergency. It occurs as an unexplained, rapid loss of hearing, either at once or over several days. In nine out of ten cases, hearing loss is limited to only one ear. Schreiber et al. note, "Many treatments are used, including corticosteroids, antiviral drugs, and vasoactive and oxygen-based treatments."

A total of 102 participants were randomly allocated to three different groups in the research. The first group received traditional Chinese acupuncture combined with pharmaceutical medications. The second group was treated with drugs as a standalone procedure. The third group was treated with traditional Chinese acupuncture as a standalone procedure. Both the integrated treatment group and the acupuncture group had significantly better cure rates than the drug therapy group. The integrated treatment group achieved the highest level of clinical success. 

Acupuncture with moxibustion is more effective than drugs for the alleviation of knee pain. Research published in the Anhui Medical and Pharmaceutical Journal demonstrates that acupuncture combined with moxibustion outperforms nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory medications (NSAIDs) for the treatment of knee osteoarthritis. NSAIDs provided a faster onset of initial effective therapeutic actions. However, acupuncture provided superior long-term relief from pain and improvements in range of motion. Knee pain

Two study groups were compared. Group one received acupuncture plus moxibustion at a rate of once per day, five times per week, for a total of four weeks. Group two received the NSAID diclofenac in 75 mg time-release enteric coated capsules, once per day, for twenty days. The NSAID group had a 33.33% total effective rate. The acupuncture plus moxibustion group had a 63.33% total effective rate.

The primary acupuncture point prescription included the following acupoints:

  • Xiyan, (M-NLE-16)
  • Heding, (M-LE-27)

A secondary set of acupuncture points was added dependent upon differential diagnostics in the Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM) system. For stomach yangming channel related knee osteoarthritis, the following acupoints were added:

  • Liangqiu, ST34
  • Zusanli, ST36
  • Futu, ST32

For gallbladder shaoyang related disorders, the following were added:

  • Yanglinquan, GB34
  • Xiyangguan, GB33
  • Waiqiu, GB36
  • Juegu, GB39

For bladder taiyang related disorders, the following acupoints were added:

  • Weizhong, BL40
  • Weiyang, BL39
  • Chengshan, BL57
  • Kunlun, BL60

For spleen taiyin related disorders, the following acupuncture points were added:

  • Xuehai, SP10
  • Yinlingquan, SP9
  • Taibai, SP3

For liver jueyin related conditions, the following acupoints were included:

  • Xiguan, LV7
  • Taichong, LV3
  • Yinbao, LV9

For wind-cold channel blockages, the following acupoints were added:

  • Quchi, LI11
  • Dazhui, DU14
  • Fengchi, GB20

For blood stasis, the following were added:

  • Taichong, LV3
  • Geshu, BL17
  • Xuehai, SP10

For liver and kidney related conditions, the following acupoints were added:

  • Ganshu, BL18
  • Shenshu, BL23
  • Qihai, CV6

Rapid needle insertion was performed. Twisting, lifting, and thrusting manual acupuncture techniques were applied to elicit deqi. After the arrival of deqi, the needle retention time was thirty minutes. 

Acupuncture and moxibustion alleviate rheumatoid arthritis. Research published in the Jilin Journal of Traditional Chinese Medicine finds an 83.3% total effective rate for acupuncture combined with moxibustion for the treatment of rheumatoid arthritis. Lower levels of clinical success were achieved by using acupuncture and moxibustion independently as standalone treatment modalities. However, once the researchers combined acupuncture and moxibustion into one treatment protocol, the positive patient outcome rate increased significantly. Weizhong (BL40)

Rheumatoid arthritis (RA) is an autoimmune disorder characterized by joint inflammation and pain. X-rays, MRIs, ultrasonography, and blood tests are useful diagnostic tools. Joint deformities due to cartilage and bone destruction demonstrate common patterns that indicate RA. For example, rheumatoid arthritis of the hands typically affects the metacarpophalangeal and proximal interphalangeal joints. The distal interphalangeal joints are often unaffected. The presence of rheumatoid factor, antibodies to cyclic citrullinated peptides, and an elevated erythrocyte sedimentation rate are common in patients with rheumatoid arthritis.

Three separate groups received therapies at a rate of five times per week for four weeks at Shunyi Hospital of Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM). The standalone acupuncture and moxibustion study groups achieved positive patient outcomes, however, the acupuncture plus moxibustion study group demonstrated optimal clinical outcomes. Acupuncture was applied to the following acupoints:

  • Mingmen, DU4
  • Zusanli, ST36
  • Shenshu, BL23
  • Pishu, BL20
  • Ganyu, BL18
  • Quchi, LI11
  • Taixi, KD3
  • Hegu, LI4
  • Waiguan, SJ5
  • Yangchi, SJ4
  • Wangu, GB12
  • Shenmai, BL62
  • Kunlun, BL60
  • Yanglingquan, GB34

Lifting, thrusting, and rotating manual acupuncture techniques were applied to elicit deqi at the acupoints. Moxibustion was applied to the following acupoints: Mingmen, Pishu, Shenshu, Zusanli, and Wangu. Total needle retention time was thirty minutes per acupuncture treatment session. This acupuncture plus moxibustion protocol achieved an 83.3% total effective rate. 

Acupuncture alleviates tinnitus. Researchers from the Central Hospital of Otolaryngology and Head and Neck Surgery in Chaoyang City investigated the efficacy of acupuncture for the treatment of tinnitus associated with cervical disorders. The data demonstrates that one standard acupuncture point prescription is 50% effective and a specialized acupuncture point prescription has an 80% total effective rate. Yiming and GB12 with SI19 are needled here.

Cervical related tinnitus is ear ringing associated with instability of the craniocervical junction, intervertebral disc disorders, or other neck related pathologies (Montazem, 2000). This may involve temporomandibular joint dysfunction and stimulation of the somatosensory system (Shore et al., 2007). Cervical related tinnitus is a form of somatic tinnitus, which is due to head, neck, or dental disorders.

The research shows an enormous discrepancy between the efficaciousness of two acupuncture point prescriptions. The following acupoints resulted in an 80% total effective rate:

  • Yiming (extra)
  • Tianyou (SJ16)
  • Fengchi (GB20)
  • Wangu (GB12)
  • Tinggong (SI19)
  • Zhongzhu (KD15)
  • Shangyang (LI1)
  • Kunlun (BL60)
  • Juegu (GB39)
  • Ashi

The following set of acupuncture points only achieved a 50% total effective rate:

  • Ermen (SJ21)
  • Tinggong (SI19)
  • Tinghui (GB2)
  • Yifeng (SJ17)
  • Zhongzhu (KD15)
  • Xiaxi (GB43)

Two separate groups were tested with the acupuncture point prescriptions. Both groups had an acupuncture needle retention time of thirty minutes. Acupuncture was conducted once per day for a grand total of eighteen acupuncture treatments. The first set of acupuncture points outperformed the second set by 30% with a total effective rate of 80%. 

Acupuncture alleviates depression and insomnia. Research published in the Shanghai Journal of Acupuncture and Moxibustion (Ye et al.) finds acupuncture 90% effective in improving total sleep duration and sleep quality for patients with depression. Alleviation of insomnia directly correlated to improvements in the mental and physical health of study participants. Acupuncture treatments lowered relapse rates and produced similar clinical results as antidepressants. Notably, acupuncture did not produce any adverse effects. Yintang at the glabella for depressive insomnia.

Two groups were compared. Group one received acupuncture and group two received oral tablets of mirtazapine, an antidepressant drug. Acupuncture therapy achieved a 90% total effective rate and mirtazapine therapy achieved a 92.5% total effective rate. Common mirtazapine adverse effects include dizziness, drowsiness, vision changes, weight gain, increased appetite, and constipation. No adverse effects occurred in study participants receiving acupuncture.

Insomnia due to depression, termed depressive insomnia in Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM), is characterized by difficulty falling asleep, dream disturbed sleep, generalized insomnia, and severe emotional fluctuations. Additional symptoms include major depression, loss of appetite, exhaustion, chest tightness, manic states, pain of the hypochondriac region, and excessive pessimism.

Hamilton Depression Rating Scale (HAM-D) results measured demonstrative improvements in both the acupuncture and drug therapy patients. The acupuncture group demonstrated a 9.7% HAM-D score improvement within one month of treatment. The HAM-D score improved by 36.2% within three months. The drug group demonstrated a HAM-D score improvement of 15.9% within one month and 32.5% within three months. 

Acupuncture relieves lower back pain and restores range of motion. Independent research teams find acupuncture effective for treating lumbar disc herniations, lower back muscle spasms and sprains, and chronic pain of the lower back. Researchers detail specific acupuncture point prescriptions found effective for the relief of these conditions. Lumbar vertebrae

Research published in China Health Standard Management by Huang et al. finds acupuncture plus moxibustion effective for the treatment of lumbar disc herniations. Research published in the Shanghai Journal of Acupuncture and Moxibustion by Liu et al. finds acupuncture effective for the treatment of chronic lower back pain. Research published in the Clinical Journal of Chinese Medicine by Yan et al. and by a separate team from the Heilongjiang University of Chinese Medicine independently confirm that acupuncture relieves lumbar sprains. In addition, the Journal of Cervicodynia And Lumbodynia has published research from the Wulumuqi Central Hospital of Lanzhou by Xu et al. finding acupuncture effective for the alleviation of lower back muscle spasms. Let’s take a look at how these teams achieved successful positive patient outcomes.

Researchers from the People's Hospital of Han Nan District in Wuhan (Huang et al.) document a 90% total effective rate for the treatment of lumbar disc herniations with acupuncture plus moxibustion treatments. Acupuncture as a standalone therapy without moxibustion had an 85% total effective rate. The total effective rate includes a significant reduction or elimination of lower back, waist, and leg pain. In addition, significant lumbar motor functional improvements and improved results with the straight leg test were calculated as part of the total effective rate. The researchers document that acupuncture plus moxibustion improves range of motion and reduces pain, inflammation, and edema. The primary acupuncture points used in the study were

  • Huatuojiaji
  • Shenshu (BL23)
  • Mingmen (DU4)
  • Yaoyangguan (DU3)
  • Huantiao (GB30)

Rotating and thrusting manual acupuncture techniques were applied to Shenshu, Mingmen, and Yaoyangguan for 2 – 3 minutes to elicit deqi. Huatuojiaji points were needled until patients reported sensations consistent with the arrival of deqi. Secondarily, acupuncture points were added for specific conditions:

  • Yanglingquan (GB34) for L4 – L5 disc herniation
  • Weizhong (BL40) for L5 – S1 disc herniation

Moxibustion was performed by cutting 2 cm moxa pieces from a moxa stick. The moxa was implemented at the handle of Shenshu, Yaoyangguan, and Mingmen. Moxibustion was performed once per day for six days followed by a one day break from treatment. Next, an additional six days of acupuncture plus moxibustion was applied. A 90% total effective rate was achieved using acupuncture plus moxibustion whereas an 85% total effective rate was achieved using acupuncture as a standalone procedure. 

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