Acupuncture Continuing Education News

Acupuncture Calms Arthritis Pain, Increases Mobility

on Friday, 19 September 2014 15:02.

Acupuncture reduces pain and improves functional mobility for patients with osteoarthritis. Researchers from the University of Manitoba, Canada, conducted a meta-analysis of 12 trials consisting of 1,763 patients with osteoarthritis. All trials compared true acupuncture with sham acupuncture, conventional treatments and no treatments. University of Manitoba in Canada. The study finds acupuncture effective in reducing pain intensity levels, increasing mobility and improving quality of life scores. A subgroup analysis reveals that patients receiving acupuncture treatments for intervention periods greater than 4 weeks have greater reductions in pain intensity levels than patients receiving acupuncture over a shorter duration of time.

Osteoarthritis is the most common form of arthritis and affects millions of people worldwide. It affects joints in the body including the hands, lower back, neck, knees and hips. This type of arthritis is often associated with ‘wear and tear’ degeneration of joint cartilage over time. Risk factors include aging, diabetes, injuries, gout, hypothyroid conditions and obesity. Symptoms and signs include pain, lack of flexibility and bone spurs.

Conventional treatments include medications to control pain and inflammation, physical therapy, occupational therapy, cortisone and hyaluronic acid derivative injections, and joint replacement surgery. The Mayo Clinic staff notes on their website that studies show acupuncture, Tai Chi and yoga may help reduce osteoarthritis pain and improve mobility. This University of Manitoba study confirms that acupuncture is effective in the treatment of osteoarthritis. 

Acupuncture Combats Erectile Dysfunction

on Monday, 15 September 2014 17:20.

Acupuncture successfully reverses erectile dysfunction. In a case study of a patient that was unresponsive to the medication sildenafil (Viagra, Revatio), a combination of manual acupuncture and electroacupuncture were successful in improving the quality of sexual intercourse. Acupuncture significantly improved the ability to maintain an erection during sexual intercourse. Erection hardness and sustainability improved and subjective reporting documents improvements in sexual satisfaction. Electroacupuncture device made by Lekon that also warms the needle.

Acupuncture demonstrated five major and significant improvements in erection quality. Confidence in the erection improved. Hardness of the erection improved. Maintenance of the erection during sex improved, maintenance of the erection to completion of sexual intercourse improved and overall satisfaction with the quality of sex improved.

PDE-5 inhibitors (e.g., sildenafil, Viagra; tadalafil, Cialis; vardenafil, Levitra) are the drugs of choice for erectile dysfunction (ED). PDE-5 inhibitors function by relaxing smooth muscle thereby allowing the penis to fill with blood. In this case study, the patient had initial success in treating ED with sildenafil. However, the beneficial effects of the medication diminished over time until the patient was no longer able to maintain an erection although he was taking the medication. PDE-5 inhibitors work in approximately 7 of 10 men but may lose their effectiveness if taken over a long period of time. Side effects of PDE-5 inhibitors include hives, hearing and vision loss, tachycardia, bradycardia, acid reflux, heartburn, diarrhea, headaches, musculoskeletal pain and rhinitis. 

Acupuncture Relieves Depression, Regulates Gene Expression

on Monday, 08 September 2014 12:19.

University of York researchers conclude that acupuncture effectively reduces the severity of mental depression. In a randomized controlled trial, researchers note that acupuncture causes a “significant reduction in symptoms of depression in the short to medium term, and are not associated with serious adverse events.” Facial acupuncture is demonstrated.

The acupuncture continuing education researchers cite the use of anti-depressant drugs as the “front-line treatment in primary care,” however, their investigation reveals that 60% of patients do not respond adequately. The study tested for acupuncture as a possible non-pharmacologic supplement to primary care for patients that are unresponsive to usual care, including medications. The results conclusively demonstrate that acupuncture is both safe and effective as an adjunct therapy to primary care for patients with depression.

Approximately 20 million people suffer from depression in the USA. Typical onset is between the ages of 15 and 30. Depression includes a variety of symptoms including excess sadness, exhaustion, suicidal tendencies, weight change, low self esteem, inability to experience pleasure or enthusiasm, and sleep disorders. Depression is caused by a variety of factors including seasonal affect disorder, postpartum deficiency, traumatic life events, hormonal imbalances, and brain chemistry issues. It may also be related to a genetic predisposition. Blood pressure medications, PTSD (post-traumatic stress disorder), alcohol and drug abuse, and personality disorders are significant risk factors. 

Acupuncture Protects Heart From Drug Side Effects

on Thursday, 04 September 2014 11:09.

Researchers from the Department of Anesthesiology at the Affiliated Hospital of Nanjing have discovered that acupuncture prevents dangerous side effects caused by an important anti-nausea drug. Droperidol is a potent antiemetic and antipsychotic medication. This medication runs the risk of causing QTc prolongation, a heart rhythm disorder. The investigative team found that the application of electroacupuncture at acupuncture point PC6 successfully prevented QTc interval prolongation caused by the use of droperidol. Needles are shown on a dark background.

The researchers concur with the Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM) tenet that PC6 regulates the heart beat and reduces arrhythmias. The laboratory experiment demonstrated a repeatable phenomena wherein electroacupuncture at PC6 prevented QTc interval prolongation due to droperidol injection. The researchers successfully measured pathways by which PC6 acupuncture exerts its protective action on the heart. The researchers note that Cx43 mRNA and protein significantly “increased in ventricular muscle” in the electroacupuncture group but not in the medication only or control group.

Droperidol is used for the treatment of postoperative and chemotherapy related nausea and vomiting but may cause heart dysfunction. Researchers speculate that the cardioprotective mechanisms of electroacupuncture at PC6 and its success in preventing droperidol side effects may be due, in part, to acupuncture’s ability to regulate the balance of sympathetic and parasympathetic tone. In the experiment, PC6 was administered as a pretreatment prior to the injection of droperidol. The researchers added, “Pretreatment of P6 EA (PC6 electroacupuncture) significantly reduced QTc prolongation induced by droperidol, and this property may be related to the up-regulation of Cx43 mRNA and protein, which may contribute to the transmural heterogeneity of repolarization and abbreviate the prolonged QT intervals in droperidol treated hearts.” This experiment demonstrates that acupuncture is an effective non-pharmaceutical approach to avoiding adverse events caused by medication therapy.

In related research, acupuncture reduces chemotherapy side effects for colorectal cancer patients. Blood samples demonstrate that acupuncture enhances the immune system’s NK (natural killer) cells for colorectal cancer patients. Subjective testing showed improved mental health scores. The researchers concluded that acupuncture is both “feasible and safe for CRC (colorectal cancer) patients….” 

New Acupuncture MRI Brain Sleep Discovery

on Saturday, 30 August 2014 08:45.

A new MRI study demonstrates that acupuncture affects the brain very differently for sleep deprived patients than patients with normal sleep. The fMRI (functional magnetic resonance imaging) images show distinctly different patterns in the cerebellum. This is a close up of acupoint SP6 needled on a male human's leg. The brain’s cerebellum is an area of the brain active in motor control, balance, mood, fear, pleasure, heart rate, blood pressure changes, language use and cognition. These results mark a clear difference in how acupuncture affects the brain under different circumstances.

Acupuncture was applied under two separate conditions. Patients received stimulation of acupuncture point SP6 (Sanyinjiao), located on the leg, after normal sleep and after sleep deprivation. The MRI images demonstrate that the cerebellum is activated differently for sleep deprived and normal sleep patients. The activated regions for sleep deprived patients were wider, larger and with greater intensity. 

Acupuncture Ups Memory For Dementia Patients

on Friday, 29 August 2014 10:38.

New research demonstrates that acupuncture is effective for the treatment of vascular dementia. Published in the Chinese Journal of Gerontology, clinical and laboratory research finds acupuncture significantly effective in improving cognition and memory. Laboratory results and objective measurements confirm these findings; acupuncture successfully increases glucose metabolism in the brain areas related to cognition and memory. In addition, cerebral blood flow improves with acupuncture. As a result, the researchers note that acupuncture is effective in alleviating vascular dementia. Application of acupoints depicted here.

The research team investigated Professor Jingyuan Han’s approach to clinical care for patients with vascular dementia. His treatment protocols employ three main Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM) protocols for the application of acupuncture: tonify qi, regulate blood, essence nurturing. The approach is based in the three jiao vaporization protocol. This technique focuses on unblocking obstructions as the primary mode of care followed by tonification as the secondary mode of care. From a biomedical perspective, this translates into an approach to care that primarily focuses on enhancing the micro-circulation of blood and nutrients to affected regions of the brain. Secondarily, stimulation of nutrient production for strengthening purposes is then accelerated with acupuncture techniques.

Prof. Han commented on the research. He notes that the pathogenesis of vascular dementia within the TCM system involves three main components: kidney deficiency, phlegm stasis and turbid toxins. He adds that many internal organs, both zang and fu, are involved in all three jiaos. As a result, his approach focuses on stimulating invigorating and restorative functions throughout the body. Prof. Han uses a variety of TCM acupuncture points based on classic differential diagnositcs including Danzhong (CV17), Zhongwan (CV12), Qihai (CV6), Zusanli (ST36), Xuehai (SP10), and Waiguan (SJ5). 

Laser Acupuncture Metabolic Weight Loss - New Study

on Thursday, 28 August 2014 10:56.

Laser acupuncture helps metabolic syndromes patients lose weight, achieving reductions in hip and waist circumferences. This type of needle-free acupuncture also reduces cholesterol and insulin levels. These results were documented in a study of obese post-menopausal women with metabolic syndrome. Acupoints CV9, ST25, CV6, and CV12 on an acupuncture model. Laser acupuncture and control groups were randomly divided to avoid bias and the results were confirmed with objective measurements: anthropometric, fasting blood glucose and insulin levels, homeostatic insulin resistance, lipid profile.

Laser Acupuncture
Laser acupuncture evolved from the study of photobiology, how light affects living beings. Low level lasers, known as cold lasers, are used for this type of acupuncture in most applications. Cold lasers are used in 635 nM red, 450 nM blue and 532 nM green laser acupuncture. They do not produce heat and do not burn the skin. The use of 700-1000 nM heat producing infrared lasers may also be employed but are less common.

This latest research demonstrates that laser acupuncture significantly enhances the therapeutic value of diet and exercise interventions for obese post-menopausal women with metabolic syndrome. Weight loss is very difficult with metabolic syndrome because the insulin-glucagon pathway does not function properly. Laser acupuncture helps to correct this imbalance and facilitates weight loss.

Metabolic Syndrome
Metabolic syndrome is a group of risk factors. Central obesity, excess body fat on the upper and middle parts of the body, is one of the primary symptoms. Insulin resistance is also present and results in increased blood sugar and fat levels. High cholesterol, triglycerides and blood pressure are indicators of metabolic syndrome. This disorder may lead to excessive blood clotting, systemic inflammation, diabetes, stroke, heart and kidney disease, and poor blood circulation in the legs. Conventional therapeutic approaches include pharmaceutical drugs, dietary modifications and exercise programs. 

Acupuncture Reduces Hypertension Over Drugs

on Wednesday, 20 August 2014 12:40.

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. Acupoint LI4 is depicted in this image and was combined with LR3, the Siguan combination.

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 Revives Coma Patients - New Study

on Monday, 18 August 2014 17:11.

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 and GV26 plus other points are shown on this doll.

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).”

Acupuncture Points
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. 

Acupuncture Thwarts Lung Toxic Shock - New Study

on Sunday, 17 August 2014 22:40.

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. Back shu points are shown in this image.

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. 

Weight Loss Herbs & Acupuncture New Report

on Saturday, 16 August 2014 13:38.

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. This needle is applied to reduce stress.

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 & Herbs Beat Drugs For Fallopian Tube Infertility

on Thursday, 14 August 2014 20:07.

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. A pregnant women is smiling in this picture while looking at her belly. 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.

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.

Acupuncture
The primary acupoints for acupuncture treatment were:

Qihai (CV6)
Zhongji (CV3)
Zigong (EX-CA1)
Sanyinjiao (SP6)
Xuehai (SP10)
Ganshu (UB18)
Shenshu (UB23)

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.

Herbs
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

Anti-inflammatory Acupuncture Halts Epileptic Seizures

on Monday, 11 August 2014 08:00.

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 photo shows a woman receiving acupuncture needles on the ear at shenmen and other acupoints. 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. 

Acupuncture Anti-Inflammatory Effect Revealed

on Saturday, 09 August 2014 10:37.

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. This image of an acupuncture point model shows many acupoints located on the chest and head. 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 Biochemical Discovery For Low Back Pain & Discs

on Friday, 08 August 2014 23:27.

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. Hua Tou Jiajia points of the lower back are shown in this photograph.

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 Weight Loss For Diabetics - New Research

on Friday, 08 August 2014 18:50.

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).” The Yin Yang symbol, shown here, depicts balance and harmony. 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.  

Acupuncture Plus Massage Stops Vertigo - New Study

on Thursday, 07 August 2014 08:38.

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. This photo shows neck discomfort on a young woman. 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. 

Acupuncture De Qi Sensations Now Quantifiable

on Wednesday, 06 August 2014 11:47.

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. Application of P6 is shown in this photo with a filiform needle.

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.

Acupuncture And Herbs Halt Bedwetting

on Tuesday, 05 August 2014 00:15.

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. This photo depicts acupuncture points of the scalp on an model. 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 Bests Drug For Overactive Bladder

on Saturday, 26 July 2014 05:57.

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). This photo shows acupuncture being applied with filiform needles to the back.

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 Investigation
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.

Drug Dose
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:  

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