Acupuncture Continuing Education

Acupuncture News and Research


Acupuncture relieves neck pain, numbness, and weakness caused by intervertebral disc degeneration.

Researchers demonstrate the efficacy of acupuncture point prescriptions for the treatment of pain, numbness, weakness, and electrical shooting sensations in the neck, upper back, and arms due to cervical spondylosis. This condition is caused by soft tissue and spinal degeneration in the neck, which impacts nerve conduction. The cervical spondylosis induced nerve impingement causes radiculopathy, wherein the nerves fail to function properly. This leads to pain, weakness, electric shooting sensations, or numbness. The researchers find acupuncture safe and effective for the restoration of nerve functioning and subsequent alleviation of symptoms.


Neck Jiaji points


Acupuncture alleviates radiculopathy due to cervical spondylosis. Guangzhou Haizhu District Ruibaojie Community Health Center researchers (Xiao et al.) conclude that conventional acupuncture and balance method acupuncture produce significant positive patient outcomes for the treatment of radiculopathy due to cervical spondylosis. Radiculopathy occurs in approximately 50% – 60% of cervical spondylosis cases.

Patients suffering from depression often have the added burden of coping with the adverse effects of antidepressant medications. A common antidepressant, paroxetine, may cause anxiety, sleep problems, loss of appetite, constipation, and dizziness. A recent study from the Beijing University of Chinese Medicine demonstrates that acupuncture treatments alleviate the adverse effects associated with paroxetine intake and improve the overall quality of life for patients with mild to moderate depression. The researchers conclude that the integrative approach to care, combining acupuncture with paroxetine in a unified treatment protocol, significantly improves the rate of positive patient outcomes.




Researchers (Wang et al.) from five medical research centers in China collaborated to study the relationship between acupuncture therapy and paroxetine intake for the treatment of depression and documented significant clinical results. Seventy-two patients with mild to moderate depression were divided into three groups. Group A consisted of 23 patients. These 23 received electro-acupuncture therapy and paroxetine. Group B, which included 32 depression patients, received manual acupuncture therapy and paroxetine. The acupuncture point prescriptions used for groups A and B were selected from the same list of acupoints. In addition, paroxetine dosages were identical and acupuncture treatments were administered every other day. Paroxetine was taken orally each day after breakfast. For the third group, 17 people in group C were prescribed paroxetine and received no acupuncture therapy. 

Researchers find acupuncture and herbal medicine effective for the reduction of abdominal fluid retention due to liver cirrhosis.

Researchers document that acupuncture combined with moxibustion and herbal medicine enhance the effectiveness of drug therapy for patients with cirrhotic ascites (CA). Patient benefits include reduced fluid retention, improved liver function, and lower relapse rates. In addition, hospitalization durations are significantly reduced. Let’s take a look at the results and how they are achieved.


 liver cirrhotic ascites2


Acupuncture plus moxibustion is a potent modality of therapeutic care for the alleviation of cirrhotic ascites. Researchers tested the efficacy of the Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM) approach to care and discovered that it significantly reduced hospitalization times, lowered relapse rates, and alleviated symptoms. In a study entitled Clinical Observation of 135 Cases of Cirrhotic Ascites Treated with Acupuncture and Medicine, Dr. Du documents an 80% total treatment effective rate for patients receiving acupuncture plus moxibustion in addition to conventional medications. Patients receiving TCM herbal medicine in addition to standard care had a 77.8% total effective rate and patients receiving only standard medications had a 66.7% total effective rate. 

Acupuncture reduces the frequency and intensity of angina, facilitates decreases in medication dosage levels, and prevents resistance to drug therapy efficaciousness.

A team of eight researchers conclude that acupuncture is safe and effective for the treatment of stable angina. Wading through the sea of medical research is challenging for anyone. It is understandable that effective traditional health practices may be overlooked for the treatment of common ailments. Here, investigators took up the challenge of determining acupuncture’s outcome measures and found a significant total effective rate.


Heart and vasculature image 


Angina is chest pain that results from diminished blood flow to the heart. Stable angina is a type of chest pain or discomfort that usually occurs upon exertion or due to stress. New patients with angina are diagnosed every year. For these people, their way of life changes—often working to avoid alarming squeezing pains in the upper body with lifestyle modifications. The occurrence rate varies worldwide. In China, for example, the occurrence rate of angina has increased annually, and the age of onset has become younger, according to the authors of the meta-analysis. The prognosis varies, but risks for people diagnosed with angina pectoris include myocardial infarction or sudden death.

Researchers have successfully documented not only that acupuncture is safe and effective for the relief of migraines, but also how acupuncture achieves positive outcomes.

Acupuncture has been shown to induce important biological responses to prevent and alleviate migraines. Imaging studies of the brain using fMRI technology confirm that acupuncture causes specific cortical responses to achieve lasting analgesic effects. In addition, blood level measurements document specific responses to acupuncture that play an important role in preventing and eliminating pain. Let’s take a look at the data to see how scientists have mapped how acupuncture works to stop migraine headaches.


Back Shu Points


Researchers conclude that acupuncture is effective for the prevention and treatment of migraine headaches. A meta-analysis of controlled clinical and laboratory investigations is the basis for the conclusion. In one randomized-controlled trial on the effectiveness of acupuncture as a treatment for migraines, less migraine days and less pain intensity levels were recorded when acupuncture was administered. Furthermore, no severe adverse effects occurred. A follow-up of up to three months following acupuncture treatments maintained the same results and showed that acupuncture is effective for the treatment of migraines both on the short-term and long-term basis. 

Acupuncture improves esophageal function for patients with gastroesophageal reflux disease, even in cases where drugs are ineffective.

Researchers find acupuncture effective for alleviating gastroesophageal reflux disease (GERD). Patients unresponsive to drug therapy saw significant improvements after receiving acupuncture care. High resolution measurements of the esophagus confirm that acupuncture improves the activity of the valve whose proper functioning prevents acid reflux.


gastroesophageal area


Acupuncture is effective for the treatment of gastroesophageal reflux disease (GERD). Shanghai Jiaotong University School of Medicine researchers (Lin et al.) conclude that acupuncture greatly improves esophageal motility in refractory GERD patients. The results were confirmed with high resolution esophageal impedance manometry, a test measuring the function of the lower esophageal sphincter (LES) and esophageal muscles. 

Electroacupuncture halts accidental urinary leakage and restores bladder control.

Researchers demonstrate that electroacupuncture is safe and highly effective for the treatment of urinary incontinence in women. Electroacupuncture significantly reduced urgency and leakage. Electroacupuncture restored long-term bladder control and produced a 78.6% total effective rate.


Bladder and Kidney diagram 


Acupuncture is effective for the treatment of urinary incontinence in women. China Academy of Chinese Medical Science researchers (Jin et al.) conclude that electroacupuncture produces significant positive patient outcomes for women with mixed urinary incontinence (MUI). Electroacupuncture produced a total effective rate of 78.6%. All metrics demonstrated significant clinical improvements: International Consultation on Incontinence Questionnaire – Short Form (ICI-Q-SF), 3-day urinary diary, 24-hour urine collection test. The overall ICI-Q-SF total score of 16 prior to electroacupuncture improved to 8 after treatments. The mean occurrence of urinary incontinence over 24 hours was reduced by 66.67% after treatments with electroacupuncture. The mean quantity of urinary leakage over 24 hours was 39 g before treatments and 18.6 g after treatments with electroacupuncture. 

Acupuncture relieves dry eyes by increasing tear secretion and stability, reducing tear film break-up, and preventing ocular damage.

Researchers find acupuncture safe and effective for the treatment of dry eyes. In a controlled study, investigators demonstrate that acupuncture significantly enhances the rate of positive patient outcomes for patients using lubricant eye drops for dry eye syndrome. Patients receiving acupuncture plus eye drops had a 76.92% total effective rate. Patients receiving only eye drops had a 53.85% total effective rate.


Eye treatment protocol


Research published in the Chinese Journal of Practical Ophthalmology finds acupuncture effective for the treatment of dry eye syndrome (keratoconjunctivitis sicca). Huang et al. compared patients receiving acupuncture and lubricant eye drops with patients receiving only lubricant eye drops. Patients receiving acupuncture treatments had significantly greater positive patient outcomes. Acupuncture increased lacrimal gland secretion, improved tear film stability, and slowed tear film breakdown. 

Acupuncture and acupoint herbal plaster therapy increase positive patient outcomes for patients with chronic coughing.

In a controlled investigation, acupuncture outperformed drug therapy for the treatment of chronic coughing following the acute stage of a respiratory infection. Another investigation finds acupoint herbal plaster therapy effective for improving patient outcomes for children with chronic coughing. In an integrative approach to patient care, acupoint herbal plaster therapy enhanced patient outcomes for children receiving standard drug therapy. 

 ST36 (Zusanli)Location of ST36 (Zusanli)


An investigation by Li and Shi finds acupuncture more effective for the treatment of chronic coughing than drug therapy. Li and Shi conducted their controlled trial in Tangshan (China). They tested the efficacy of acupuncture versus methoxyphenamine, a bronchodilator that is a β-sympathomimetic agent. The acupuncture points tested were limited to the Lung-Taiyin and Stomach-Yangming acupuncture channels. The results tabulated, acupuncture produced significantly greater patient outcomes. As a result, researchers conclude that acupuncture is more effective for the treatment of post-infectious chronic coughing than methoxyphenamine. Acupuncture produced a 90% total treatment effective rate and drug therapy produced an 80% total treatment effective rate. 

Acupuncture reduces medication requirements and post-surgical pain for gynecologic laparoscopy patients.

Researchers conclude that acupuncture for gynecologic laparoscopy patients reduces general anesthesia dosage requirements, decreases post-surgical pain, and improves the time to wake and time to fully alert after surgery. In a controlled investigation, acupuncture patients scored better in many other indices as well. Patients having received acupuncture during surgery had increased stability of the heart beat and improved blood pressure upon waking. The results were achieved by applying electroacupuncture to two acupuncture points located on hand and forearm.


Hegu (LI4) on female hand with copper handle filiform needle 

Acupuncture improves recovery rates and lowers medication dosages for patients receiving gynecologic laparoscopy, according to research conducted by Huang et al. at the Guangzhou University of Traditional Chinese Medicine. Acupuncture reduced the dosage requirements for general anesthesia. In addition, acupuncture improved time to wake and alertness coming out of general anesthesia. In an important finding, patients receiving acupuncture had significantly less post-surgical pain. Across all of the above indices, patients receiving acupuncture outperformed patients receiving no acupuncture (control group).

Clinical trials demonstrate that acupuncture relieves chronic constipation and produces greater long-term patient outcomes than drugs.

Chengdu University of Traditional Chinese Medicine researchers find true acupuncture more effective than sham acupuncture for the relief of constipation. In another study by Yang et al., acupuncture combined with herbal medicine relieves constipation in the elderly and demonstrates superior patient outcomes to pharmaceutical medications. Acupuncture plus herbs produced a high total effective rate and very low relapse rate. Let’s take a look at the results of the investigations.


CV12 and ST25 


Zheng et al. (Chengdu University of Traditional Chinese Medicine) conclude that acupuncture is safe and effective for the treatment of functional constipation, often referred to as chronic idiopathic constipation (CIC). This type of constipation does not have a known anatomical or physiological etiology in biomedicine. CIC often involves infrequent defecation, hard stools, straining during bowel movements, and incomplete evacuation of stools. Secondary symptoms include stomach cramping, pain, and abdominal bloating or distention. 

Researchers conclude that acupuncture reduces symptomatic presentations and benefits brain responses as measured by EEG for children with ADHD (Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder).

Researchers conclude that acupuncture increases the efficacy of biofeedback treatments and is also effective as a standalone therapy for children with ADHD. EEG results and symptomatic presentations significantly improved with the implementation of acupuncture therapy protocols. Acupuncture produced an 84.45% total effective rate as a standalone therapy and outperformed Chinese herbal medicine, which achieved a 78.77% total effective rate. Acupuncture combined with biofeedback achieved a 91.5% total effective rate. Take a look at the results in two groundbreaking studies.


Japanese and Chinese needles compared with coins for size comarisonJapanese and Chinese Acupuncture Needles 

Zhang et al. conducted a clinical trial on the efficacy of acupuncture versus Chinese herbal treatments on young children for the treatment of ADHD (Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder). ADHD involves inattention or hyperactivity and impulsiveness that complicates daily functioning and may contribute to developmental difficulties. According to the National Institute of Mental Health, ADHD is a brain disorder characterized by inattention, hyperactivity, and impulsivity. 

Acupuncture alleviates cerebral palsy related hearing disorders and excess drooling.

Hospital researchers find acupuncture effective for relieving excessive drooling and for improving hearing in cerebral palsy patients. In a surprise finding, the optimal acupuncture needle retention time for benefitting hearing was not the longest retention time. A shorter duration produced superior patient outcomes. Take a look at the findings and protocols to learn what the researchers discovered.


  Four filiform needles against size of a penny


Acupuncture is an effective treatment for cerebral palsy related complications, including drooling and hearing disorders. In a clinical study conducted at Neijiang Second People’s Hospital, researchers Xie and Lu determined that acupuncture and massotherapy significantly alleviate drooling and improve quality of life scores for cerebral palsy patients. Evidence suggests that cerebral palsy (CP) related drooling is correlated with motor impairments affecting swallowing (Senner et al.). This condition affects the overall quality of life and may impede speech and increase risk of infectious diseases.

Researchers find acupuncture and moxibustion effective for clearing acne in patients with the Traditional Chinese Medicine diagnosis of yin deficiency.

Acupuncture and moxibustion clear acne, however, moxibustion demonstrated superior patient outcomes. Using a protocol implemented by Zhang et al., moxibustion produced a 90% total effective rate and acupuncture produced an 83.3% total effective rate. Participants demonstrating significant improvements did not relapse, measured at four weeks after completion of treatments.


 Individual needle on skin


Acupuncture and moxibustion are effective treatment modalities for acne sufferers. Zhang et al. conducted a clinical trial to determine the efficaciousness of acupuncture and moxibustion for the treatment of acne due to yin deficiency with internal heat. While both modalities produced positive patient outcomes, moxibustion was slightly more effective than acupuncture for the treatment of this particular class of acne.

Scientific evidence demonstrates that acupuncture alleviates allergic rhinitis and regulates antibodies.

Acupuncture alleviates nasal and eye itching, sneezing, and runny nose for patients with allergic rhinitis. Researchers confirm that acupuncture successfully downregulates IgE (immunoglobulin E), an antibody active in hypersensitivity reactions, while simultaneously reducing symptoms of allergic rhinitis. In a highly controlled investigation published in the Annals of Allergy, Asthma & Immunology, university researchers present the first study to prove that acupuncture downregulates allergen specific IgE for dust mites.


Yintang needled with filiform needle on female model 


Researchers from Stanford, RMIT, Griffith, and Western Sydney Universities conclude that acupuncture alleviates persistent allergic rhinitis. Important subjective and objective measures support the conclusion. Allergy symptoms and overall quality of life scores significantly improved as a result of acupuncture therapy. Moreover, symptoms and quality of life scores continued to improve, measured four weeks after completion of acupuncture treatments.

In objective measures, acupuncture significantly decreased IgE levels for patients with allergic rhinitis. Total IgE and allergen specific IgE for dust mites were significantly downregulated, including measurements taken four weeks after completion of acupuncture therapy. Sham acupuncture did not downregulate either of the IgE levels.

Special acupuncture needles enhance filiform acupuncture to encourage hair regrowth for patients with alopecia (baldness).

Acupuncture produces greater positive patient outcomes than drug therapy for patients with alopecia areata. Specialized acupuncture needle protocols deliver superior patient outcomes over standard acupuncture with herbs. The addition of Qi Xing acupuncture to filiform acupuncture plus herbs significantly increases hair regrowth. Filiform acupuncture combined with Mei Hua acupuncture produces superior patient outcomes over topical minoxidil combined with oral multivitamins. Take a look at two important studies in today’s update, one on generalized baldness and the other on circular patch baldness.


Qi Xing Seven Star Needle 


Acupuncture reduces hair loss and promotes hair regrowth for patients with alopecia (baldness). A protocolized investigation by Lin et al. at the Shanghai University of Traditional Chinese Medicine determined that administering acupuncture with the Qi Xing (seven star) needle increases the rate of positive patient outcomes. Patients receiving only standard acupuncture and Chinese herbal medicine had an 84.4% total effective rate. However, adding the Qi Xing needle protocol increased the total effective rate to 90.9%. Moreover, patients receiving Qi Xing acupuncture had a 2.62 ℃ increase in temperature of the scalp. The results were measured at the end of the full treatment course. The researchers note that the application of acupuncture and herbs “can efficiently control hair loss and promote hair growth.” 

Researchers find acupuncture effective for raising positive patient outcome rates for the treatment of chronic PID.

Researchers added acupuncture and moxibustion to standard drug therapy and increased positive patient outcome rates by 35% for patients with chronic pelvic inflammatory disease. In addition, researchers combined acupuncture with herbal medicine and increased positive patient outcome rates. Based on subjective and objective findings, researchers conclude that acupuncture is an important and effective treatment modality for patients with chronic pelvic inflammatory disease (PID).


CV6 (Qihai)


Acupuncture is effective for the treatment of PID (pelvic inflammatory disease). Zhao et al. conclude that abdominal acupuncture combined with moxibustion produces significant positive patient outcomes for patients with chronic PID. Chronic pelvic inflammatory disease (CPID) involves inflammation of female reproductive organs, surrounding connective tissues, or pelvic peritoneum. Symptoms include lower abdominal pain and leukorrhea. PID is often caused by pathogens infecting the uterus, fallopian tubes, or ovaries. Infections may involve a single organism or may be polymicrobial. Exposure to chlamydia, gonorrhea, or a history of abdominal surgery are common factors of susceptibility. Infertility due to residual scarring or congealed exudate may occur.

At the Healthcare Medicine Institute, we offer many online continuing education courses focusing on the treatment of acute and chronic PID with Chinese medicinal herbs and acupuncture. In this research by Zhao et al., CPID patients who received abdominal acupuncture and moxibustion in addition to medications reported a 100% total effective rate. The control group that received only medications reported a 65% total effective rate. The results indicate that acupuncture significantly improves the efficaciousness of drug therapy treatment.

Researchers demonstrate that acupuncture is effective for the alleviation of GERD and associated gastrointestinal diseases.

Researchers conclude that acupuncture significantly reduces instances of heartburn, acid regurgitation, chest pain, and indigestion. Additionaly, the acupuncture and electroacupuncture techniques used to achieve the positive patient outcomes are easily implemented in both outpatient and inpatient settings.


CV12 (Zhongwan)


Acupuncture alleviates gastroesophageal reflux disease (GERD). Based on research, investigators conclude that acupuncture produces positive patient outcomes for patients with a special type of GERD, called non-erosive reflux disease (NERD). The researchers determined that acupuncture is successful in the treatment of NERD and associated esophageal dysmotility (Liu et al.). Acupuncture significantly improved scoring indices for esophageal dysmotility, GERD symptoms, and lower esophageal sphincter pressure. Acupuncture successful reduced the frequency and intensity of heartburn, regurgitation, chest pain, and dysphagia (difficulty or discomfort with swallowing). 

Acupuncture with physical rehabilitation improves patient outcomes for patients with infantile cerebral palsy.

Researchers from Heilongjiang University of TCM find acupuncture effective for treating infantile cerebral palsy. Combining acupuncture with physical rehabilitation increases positive patient outcomes. Cerebral palsy patients benefit from receiving both types of therapy as standalone treatment modalities but the combination protocol produces superior clinical outcomes.


channels meridians points


Acupuncture with physical rehabilitation therapy synergistically combines to benefit infants with cerebral palsy. Based on a controlled clinical trial, researchers from Heilongjiang University of Traditional Chinese Medicine conclude that acupuncture combined plus rehabilitation is a beneficial treatment protocol for infantile cerebral palsy patients. Infantile cerebral palsy is a non-progressive condition arising from brain damage of varying causes. It may occur at any point of time before birth to one month after birth (Wang, Du and Xiong, 2011).

Major symptoms of infantile cerebral palsy include congenital motor dysfunction, abnormal posture, mental retardation, and speech impairment. Currently, patients undergo physical rehabilitation as the main form of treatment. Previous clinical research has deemed acupuncture to be influential in the treatment of infantile cerebral palsy. As a result, the researchers initiated their investigation to determine the accuracy of prior findings.

Acupuncture for infantile cerebral palsy involves scalp acupuncture and other individually determined acupoints. Scalp acupuncture dredges meridians and stimulates neural cells, which helps to restore reflex functioning. Scalp acupuncture assists in regaining limb motor functioning and improves speech abilities. Overall, acupuncture decreases the severity of cerebral palsy and improves quality of life scores. Key elements in ensuring successful outcomes are early diagnosis and treatment. Equally important, parents’ cooperation in the treatment process is needed.

Acupuncture is effective for the treatment of facial paralysis and improves patient outcomes for patients taking medications.

Hospital researchers find acupuncture effective for the treatment of facial paralysis. Across multiple hospital investigations, researchers document effective acupuncture protocols that yield significant positive patient outcomes for facial paralysis patients. In addition, acupuncture, infrared therapy, and moxibustion demonstrate the ability to significantly improve positive patient outcome rates for patients taking pharmaceutical medications.

 Facial needlingFacial Acupuncture Needling


Acupuncture and infrared heat therapy are effective for the treatment of facial paralysis. Researchers from the Third People’s Hospital in Chongqing determined that combining acupuncture and infrared heat therapy with conventional facial paralysis medications improves the rate of positive patient outcomes for the the treatment of this condition. Facial paralysis is a disorder in which the facial muscles are dysfunctional, causing immobility, and it may occur in any age demographic. In the Third People’s Hospital investigation, facial paralysis patients who received supplementary infrared heat therapy and acupuncture reported a 91.67% total treatment effective rate while those in the control group reported a 60.42% total treatment effective rate. The addition of acupuncture and infrared therapy increased the effectiveness by 31.25%.

The study involved 96 patients with facial paralysis. Onset was within 6 days of treatment. Of the 96 patients, there were 46 males and 50 females. Patient ages ranged from 46 to 65 years old. The patients were randomly divided into 2 groups: the treatment group and the control group with 48 patients in each group. The control group was given conventional facial paralysis medications: vitamins, hormones, brain glycosides, carnosine and antiviral drugs. The treatment group underwent acupuncture therapy and infrared heat therapy in addition to receiving the same conventional medications as the control group. The total treatment duration was 2 weeks.

For acupuncture, the principles for the treatment of facial paralysis focused on restoring nerve function via improving local blood circulation, eliminating edema, and reducing facial nerve inflammation. The selection of acupoints for facial paralysis treatment largely involves the Yangming and Taiyang meridians. The acupoints include: Zusanli, Hegu, Fengchi, Yifeng, Taiyang, Jiache, Dicang, Zanzhu, and Xiaguan. The Zusanli and Hegu acupoints improve qi and blood circulation and eliminate excess wind (feng). The Fengchi, Yifeng and Taiyang acupoints eliminate wind (feng) and pernicious influences (Xie). The Jiache, Dicang, Zanzhu and Xiaguan acupoints are selected based on the symptoms presented by the individual patient.