Latest Acupuncture News
- Tongue Piercings Cause GI Pain, Acupuncture Helps
- Laser Acupuncture Alleviates TMD Pain
- Pennsylvania Acupuncture Law And Insurance
- Acupuncture Helps Stanford Intensive Care Infants
- Acupuncture & Herbs Cut Childhood Emergency Asthma
- Acupuncture Boosts Heart Attack Survival Rates
- Acupuncture Stabilizes Dementia Patients
Acupuncture Continuing Education News
Tongue scars from jewelry piercings cause digestive disorders. Neural therapy and “acupuncture may be helpful” in treating the piercing related symptoms according to researchers from Cooper Medical School of Rowan University (Camden, New Jersey), Albert Einstein College of Medicine (New York), and the Perelman School of Medicine at the University of Pennsylvania (Philadelphia). The study was presented in The Journal of Science and Healing.
The research identified scars from tongue piercings as contributing to gastrointestinal distress. In addition, the research documented the beneficial clinical outcomes associated with an integrative medicine approach including acupuncture and neural therapy. The researchers note that there have been prior cases of abdominal pain associated with tongue piercings but that these cases were also linked to preexisting diabetes. An additional investigation linked abdominal pain to a tongue piercing wherein the patient contracted acute hepatitis from a herpes simplex virus. Other than that, the researchers note there has not been other research linking tongue piercings to abdominal pain and distress until now.
The researchers note an important finding. The tongue scars from piercing associated with gastrointestinal disorders “were located on the tongue in an area that in Traditional Chinese Medicine is believed to be associated with the stomach.” In Traditional Chinese Medicine theory, the center region of the tongue reflects issues related to the spleen and stomach. Other areas reflect syndromes associated with other internal organs. For example, the sides of the tongue are associated with the liver and gallbladder, the front proximal to the tip is associated with the lungs and the tip of the tongue is associated with the heart.
In one case history investigated during the study, the patient had a six month history of severe abdominal pain, diarrhea, nausea and vomiting. Procedures including colonoscopies, endoscopies, ultrasound, etc… were performed. The patient was unresponsive to drugs including Nexium®, Protonix®, and Percocet®. However, Carafate® (sucralfate) did provide “mild relief.” Carafate® binds to the mucosa and forms a physical barrier to block diffusion of hydrochloric acid in the gastrointestinal tract. Carafate® also stimulates bicarbonate output and therefore acts as an acid buffer.
Laser acupuncture alleviates pain for patients with temporomandibular disorders (TMD). Laser acupuncture employs the use of cold lasers and does not burn the skin or involve the use of needles. TMD disorders include structural abnormalities and muscular disorders of the temporomandibular joint region. TMD is a major cause of orofacial pain. Researchers demonstrate that noninvasive laser acupuncture therapy applied to acupuncture points on the face and hand significantly reduce pain levels.
The acupuncture laser therapy not only reduced pain levels but also improved range of motion. The maximal mouth opening demonstrated clinically significant improvements. There were no side effects. The researchers conclude that “TMD symptoms improved with LAT (laser acupuncture therapy).” The beneficial effects were in both acute and chronic patients with treatment-resistant temporomandibular disorders.
Researchers from China Medica University Hospital (Taiwan), Kaohsiung Medical University College of Medicine (Taiwan), et. al., note that laser acupuncture’s analgesic effects are “mediated by peripheral opioid receptors.” They add that low level cold laser therapy increases pain tolerances by inducing biological changes to cellular membranes. The researchers note other biological responses induced by low level laser therapy (LLLT) including vasodilation, increasing intracellular metabolism and decreasing edema. The researchers also cite important biomodulatory effects of LLLT; it “improves local microcirculation and oxygen supply to hypoxic cells in the painful areas…, tissue asphyxia is reduced…, it restores the normal physiological condition of the tissue.”
Low level laser acupuncture therapy was applied to patients three times per week for four weeks in this investigation. Protective goggles were worn by the practitioner and patient. Yangming channel acupuncture points ST7 (Xiaguan), ST6 (Jiache), and LI4 (Hegu) plus local Ashi points were stimulated using pulsed waves. Five seconds of stimulation was applied to the stomach and large intestine Yangming points and forty seconds of LLLT stimulation was applied to each Ashi point. The researchers note that the treatment principle was based on the Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM) concept that “pain results from blood stasis due to qi stagnation.” The goal was to “restore internal homeostasis” by restoring the “flow of qi and blood.”
The Acupuncture Licensure Act in Pennsylvania has been amended. The governor signed SB990 into law and it is now officially Act 134. This makes two impactful changes to the state law. The first change affects wellness visits for patients and the second affects liability insurance for licensed acupuncturists.
Prior to this amendment to the Acupuncture Licensure Act, licensed acupuncturists were unable to treat patients past 60 days from the date of the first acupuncture visit without a physician, dentist or podiatrist making a patient diagnosis. The new law allows acupuncturists to treat patients for longer than 60 days without a physician, dentist or podiatrist’s diagnosis if patients are free of symptoms. As a result, patients may be able to seek long-term preventative care visits from acupuncturists without first making a trip to a doctor’s office to get a diagnosis.
A Stanford University study finds acupuncture effective for reducing the need for sedative medications for neonates and infants undergoing treatments in the intensive care unit. Dr. Golianu, MD (Department of Anesthesiology, Stanford University), Christina Almgren, PNP (Stanford Children’s Health, Stanford University), et. al., note that high doses of opioids and benzodiazepines are often required for neonates and infants for the purposes of pain management and sedation. Cessation from medications lead to withdrawal symptoms and irritability. The researchers cite acupuncture’s documented ability to reduce pain, irritability and withdrawal symptoms in adults.
The research team applied acupuncture in the pediatric setting to see if the therapeutic effects known to help adults also applies to neonates and infants. They concluded that the pediatric patients “tolerated acupuncture well and required a decreased amount of pain medication for treating agitation and withdrawal.” The study concludes, “Acupuncture may be a useful adjunct for managing agitation and withdrawal in neonates and infants in the intensive care unit, and may lead to a decreased need for sedative medications.” Acupuncture points used in the study were Yin Tang, ST36, and PC6 plus acupuncture point protocols developed by the National Acupuncture Detoxification Association.
In a related study, doctors from the University of Washington School of Medicine (Seattle, Washington) conclude, “Our experience suggests that acupuncture therapy is a safe, non-pharmacological option for prevention of emergence delirium in children undergoing general anesthesia.” The doctors note that delirium occurs in approximately 12 - 50% of pediatric patients receiving general anesthesia. They add that pharmaceutical drugs used to manage delirium often produce unwanted adverse effects including “sedation and longer recovery time from anesthesia.”
The study came up with some very interesting findings. All children in the study receiving intravenous anesthesia plus acupuncture required less quantities of propofol, an amnestic-hypnotic drug. A total of 83% of patients did not get delirium. An additional 17% had relatively mild cases of delirium and were able to “communicate the source of distress.” The acupuncture points used in the study were SP8, HT7, and LR3. Needle stimulation was applied to the three acupuncture points. Magnet therapy was applied to ear Shenmen. No complications occurred demonstrating that acupuncture is both safe and effective in the prevention of pediatric emergence delirium.
Children with asthma receiving a combination of acupuncture, herbal medicine and conventional medications have superior patient outcomes, less visits to emergency rooms, and fewer hospitalizations than children receiving only conventional medications. Researchers investigated 12,580 children receiving asthma medical care across 15 multi-hospitals in a five year study. Traditional Chinese Medicine (acupuncture, herbal medicine, Chinese Tuina massage, herbal pastes) was combined with pharmaceutical drugs including inhaled bronchodilators and steroids in the study protocol. The integrative medicine approach, TCM plus conventional drugs, produced an astonishing result. Not a single child receiving integrative medicine during the study required an emergency room (ER) visit or hospitalization. The superior clinical outcomes and reduction of medical emergencies suggests that integrating TCM into conventional protocols benefits children with asthma.
The Bureau of National Health Insurance (BNHI) of Taiwan established a single-payer healthcare system in 1995 called the Taiwan National Health Insurance (NHI). Under this system, an examination of 1 million patient records yielded a sample size of 12,580 asthmatic children for investigation. The BNHI paid for all of the medical visits and examined the cost-effectiveness of combining TCM therapies (acupuncture, herbs, Tuina massage) and conventional pharmaceutical care. It was found that there is an additional upfront cost to provide TCM therapies but there is a savings on the backend in reduced emergency room visits and hospitalizations. The findings demonstrate that adding acupuncture, herbal medicine and other TCM procedures to conventional protocols provides a cost-effective approach for asthmatic children while producing superior patient outcomes.
Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM) treatment combined with conventional treatment provided additional benefits. There was a reduction in school absenteeism. The children’s parents had less disruption of their work schedules. There was less of a burden on families to provide caregivers. The government shouldered lower overall costs and responsibilities associated with asthmatic care. The study demonstrates that combining TCM with conventional medicine for asthmatic children “may have a substantial impact” in reducing the severity of asthma, frequency of emergency services, hospitalizations and costs of providing care by parents.
Acupuncture pretreatment increases survival rates in cases of heart attacks. Needling acupuncture point PC6 (Neiguan) protects the heart. The benefit is measurable through gene expression, histology and enzyme sections. Researchers conducted a placebo controlled experiment comparing real acupuncture with sham acupuncture. Preventative acupuncture care reduces damage to the heart from myocardial ischemia reperfusion, a condition that occurs during heart attacks causing tissue damage. Two key physiological findings were that acupuncture reduces arrhythmias and infarction size.
Reperfusion damage is caused by the return of blood circulation after a period of ischemia, restricted blood supply. The sudden return of blood to oxygen and circulation deprived tissues causes inflammation and oxidative stress. In this study, acupuncture prevented damage to the heart caused by reperfusion. The laboratory findings measured that acupuncture prevents this damage by regulating enzyme secretions and gene expression. Lab results also demonstrate that acupuncture prevents proinflammatory responses by regulating oxidative stress, calcium channels and many other biological pathways in a broad cascade of healthy effects.
The laboratory experiment revealed that acupuncture successfully downregulated serum concentrations of CK, LDH, CK-Mb, and plasma levels of cTnT. These enzymes are proteins that significantly increase in concentration after myocardial ischemia reperfusion. Electroacupuncture at PC6 successfully reversed this pathological response.
Hundreds of genes are known to increase and decrease in concentration following myocardial ischemia reperfusion. Electroacupuncture uniquely affected genes through several pathways when compared with sham acupuncture. An RNA evaluation revealed that acupuncture successfully regulated gene expression in multiple pathways including MAPK signaling, cytokine, oxidative stress, cardiac muscle contraction, B-cell receptor and leukocyte pathways.
The research team cited one of these pathways as essential to protecting the heart. Myocardial ischemia reperfusion upregulates genes (Myh7b, My13…) relating to pathology in cardiac muscle contraction. This leads to poor functioning of the left ventricle. The research team notes that electroacupuncture pretreatment successfully “reversed” this pathological gene expression.
Research finds acupuncture effective for improving memory, cognition and walking for patients with dementia. First up, we take a look at acupuncture points that improve walking and movement for patients with vascular dementia. Neurologic exams often reveal gait disorders. The inability to walk properly may severely inhibit the lifestyle of patients with dementia while increasing the risk of falling. Researchers have identified several key acupuncture points that significantly improve the gait of dementia patients. In addition, acupuncture produced significantly superior patient outcomes over a control group receiving conventional pharmaceutical medications.
Gait disorders associated with dementia often involve circular rotations of the hip, foot drag, reduced knee movement, stooped posture, reduced arm swing, shuffling, small steps, a broad stance, unsteadiness, or difficulty initiating movement. Researchers have discovered that the application of Huatuojiaji (EX-B2) acupuncture points from L2 to L5 combined with scalp acupuncture at Baihui (DU20) and Sishencong produced a total effective rate of 90.5%. Use of the drug Almitrine (Duxil) had a total effectiveness rate of 61.9%. As a result, the researchers conclude, “The efficacy of treating vascular dementia gait disorder with electro-acupuncture (EA) on EX-B2 along lumbar vertebra combined with scalp acupuncture was superior to orally administered Duxil.”
Huatuojiaji points were needled bilaterally from L2 to L5 along with DU20 and Sishencong. Electroacupuncture was connected bilaterally to the Huatuojiaji points. Treatments were administered once per day for 30 days. A significant achievement, the research data clearly shows that this protocol significantly and positively impacts the daily lives of patients with dementia.
Memory and Thinking
Acupuncture helps to reduce dysfunction of reasoning, memory and general cognition according to research by G. Shi, et al. Vascular dementia is caused by damage to the brain from impaired blood flow. Stroke or conditions leading to damaged blood vessels or poor circulation that cause deprivation of oxygen and nutrients to the brain plus hypertension, high cholesterol, smoking and heart disease are all risk factors. Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM) differential diagnostics revealed that patients improving the most suffered from excess syndromes, particularly Liver Yang hyperactivity and phlegm obstruction of the orifices. Patients with deficiency syndromes, including Kidney Jing-essence deficiency, demonstrated the least improvements.
Luo, et al., discovered that acupuncture successfully increases glucose metabolism in the brain areas related to cognition and memory. They also found that acupuncture improves cerebral blood flow. Objective measurements reveal that acupuncture protects against oxidative damage by improving antioxidant enzyme (SOD, GSH) activity in the brain. Acupuncture also successfully downregulates inducible nitric oxide synthase (iNOS). Acupuncture was also shown to increase the expression of GLUT1 (glucose transporter 1). GLUT1 is involved in cellular respiration, regulation of glucose levels and vitamin C uptake. Upregulation of GLUT1 promotes intercellular transport and benefits brain glucose metabolism. The laboratory results indicate that upregulation of GLUT1 by acupuncture alleviates ischemia and anoxia related cognitive impairment. As a result, the researchers conclude that acupuncture is effective in alleviating vascular dementia.
Acupuncture and moxibustion successfully alleviate Crohn’s disease, an inflammatory bowel disease. Research published in the World Journal of Gastroenterology finds acupuncture combined with moxibustion effective in the treatment of Crohn’s disease. Subjective and objective findings confirm the results; both laboratory results and patient symptoms demonstrate significant improvements.
Crohn’s disease, also known as regional enteritis, is an inflammatory disease of the intestines affecting the gastrointestinal tract from the mouth to the anus. Symptoms include abdominal bloating and pain, nausea, vomiting, mouth ulcers, weight loss, eye disorders, arthritis, fever, loss of appetite, chronic bloody or watery diarrhea, dermatological disorders, iron deficiency anemia and fatigue.
Crohn’s disease is considered an autoimmune system disorder. Genetics may play a role in its etiology; those with Scandinavian or Ashkenazim Jewish heritage have an increased risk of developing Crohn’s disease. Environmental factors may also contribute to this pathology. Smokers are twice as likely to develop Crohn’s disease than non-smokers. Other risk factors include low exposure to sunlight, obesity, diets high in sugar and saturated fat but low in fruits and vegetables, and urban living.
No biomedical cure exists for Crohn’s disease. Medical doctors use colonoscopies, sigmoidoscopies, capsule endoscopies, barium enemas and CT scans to confirm the diagnosis. Doctors focus on controlling symptoms by suggesting dietary and lifestyle changes plus pharmaceutical medications to suppress symptoms. The acupuncture and moxibustion research is hopeful in that it provides evidence that these treatment modalities are effective tools against the spread of Crohn’s disease.
Crohn’s disease differs from ulcerative colitis. Crohn’s disease commonly affects the colon, anus and the terminal ileum, the most distal aspect of the small intestine that connects to the cecum. Ulcerative colitis rarely affects the terminal ileum and anus but always affects the colon. Crohn’s disease causes patchy or serpiginous (snake-like) intestinal ulcerations whereas ulcerative colitis causes a continuous area of ulceration. Shallow ulcerations are typical with ulcerative colitis. Deep and penetrating ulcerations often occur with Crohn’s disease and may cause stenosis, a narrowing of the intestinal passage. Crohn’s disease may cause growth failure in children and increases the risk of cancer in the affected regions of the intestines.
Acupuncture successfully alleviates chronic fatigue syndrome (CFS). Researchers discovered that the application of manual acupuncture or acupuncture with warming needle moxibustion significantly reduces “physical and mental fatigue.” As a result of the investigation, the research team concludes that acupuncture provides a significant “therapeutic effect in the treatment of CFS.”
Chronic fatigue syndrome is a debilitating disorder characterized by extreme fatigue that does not improve with rest and is exacerbated by physical and mental activity. Symptoms include exhaustion, weakness, musculoskeletal pain, poor memory and concentration, and insomnia.
Biomedicine does not identify a specific cause or cure for CFS and treatment focuses on alleviating symptoms. Lab tests and biomarkers specific to CFS are nonexistent. Several types of infections are considered risk factors for CFS including Epstein-Barr virus, human herpes virus 6, enterovirus, rubella, candida albicans, bornaviruses, mycoplasma, Ross River virus, coxiella burnetti and HIV. Sleep, antidepressant and pain relieving medications are often prescribed to patients to alleviate suffering.
Differential diagnostics within Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM) categorizes CFS into several treatable patterns. The researchers chose acupuncture points best suited for the treatment of CFS based on TCM theory. The manual acupuncture group received needling at acupoints:
The warm needle acupuncture with moxibustion group received acupoint needling at:
Additionally, acupuncture treatment was administered to a third group to test for acupuncture point specificity. Nearby points were chosen between 1 - 2 cm from the real acupuncture points. This type of approach varies from high quality sham acupuncture testing for the placebo effect wherein needles only appear to penetrate the skin. In the nearby point group, the researchers applied true acupuncture needling but not in the classic, exact locations as indicated in TCM:
Needling was applied to the points for all three groups at a rate of once per day for a total of twenty days. CFS was evaluated based on the Chalder Fatigue Scale, a fourteen item breakdown of symptoms. The nearby point group did show improvements in the physical score but only the manual acupuncture and warm needle moxibustion groups significantly improved in the physical and mental fatigue scores. The physical score was overwhelmingly better in the warm needle acupuncture group than the other groups.
The nearby point needling group scored the lowest with a patient satisfaction rate of 35.7%. The acupuncture with warm needle moxibustion group scored the highest with a 72.7% patient satisfaction rate. This group achieved very high scores in both physical and mental improvements. The manual acupuncture group achieved a 36.2% effective rate.
These results point to the superiority of warm needle moxibustion for the treatment of CFS for the point selections in the study design. Interestingly, CFS responds to nearby point stimulation for physical issues as long as the points are within 1 - 2 cm of the true acupuncture point, however, the results are nowhere near as effective as true acupuncture with moxibustion.
This type of testing has come under great scrutiny because TCM theory states that the so-called nearby points may be either Ah Shi acupuncture points or acupoints that stimulate relevant acupuncture channels. Nonetheless, this is an intriguing study that was able to get clinical results with three different clinical protocols. The significant success of warm needle moxibustion in achieving positive patient outcomes suggests that additional research into this approach to care is warranted.
A related study finds acupuncture 80.0% effective for the treatment of CFS. However, adding interferential current therapy to the treatment protocol raises the total effective rate to 93.3%. The complete recovery rate also benefitted from interferential therapy. Standard acupuncture protocols achieved a 20.0% total recovery rate within 20 acupuncture treatments for CFS patients in this acupuncture continuing education investigation. Adding interferential current therapy (ICT) increased the total recovery rate to 43.3%. The researchers conclude, “Electroacupuncture plus ICT can produce a remarkable efficacy in treating CFS.”
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. 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 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.
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.
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.”
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.
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.
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….”
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. 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.
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.
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 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. 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 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 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 high blood pressure for patients with hypertension. In a surprising result, acupuncture was found more effective than a pharmaceutical medication commonly used for the treatment of high blood pressure and heart failure. Additionally, acupuncture was clinically successful in controlling symptoms associated with high blood pressure including dizziness, aching of the waist and knees, and palpitations.
Researchers conducted a randomized controlled study and divided 60 patients with hypertension into two groups. Group 1 received acupuncture. Group 2 received the drug catopril, an antihypertensive and renal protective agent given the trade name Capoten. The drug is an ACE (angiotensin-converting enzyme) inhibitor. Common uses for catopril include the treatment of hypertension, congestive heart failure and protection of kidney function for diabetics.
All acupuncture patients in group 1 received a standardized, protocolized acupuncture point prescription. The acupuncture point selection was Hegu (LI4), Taichong (LR3), Quchi (LI11) and Xingjian (LR2). LI4 and LR3 are commonly paired in treatment protocols and this pairing is given the name Siguan, translated as four gates.
Both groups showed significant reductions in blood pressure. However, the acupuncture group showed greater improvement. Measurements of diastolic blood pressure at 14 days and 21 days into the treatment regime revealed that the acupuncture group showed greater diastolic reductions. The same was true for improvement of symptoms associated with hypertension. The acupuncture group demonstrated clinical superior patient outcomes for reductions in dizziness, aching of the waist and knees, and palpitations. Moreover, the acupuncture group demonstrated less adverse reactions than the drug group. This last result is not surprising since adverse events associated with catopril intake include light-headedness, fainting, dizziness, abnormal frequency of urination, bodily pain, fever, chills, abnormal bleeding (vagina, mouth, nose, rectum), difficulty concentrating and shortness of breath. Based on the findings, the researchers concluded that acupuncture is safer and more effective than catopril for the treatment of hypertension.
Acupuncture improves the time it takes to regain consciousness from a coma after a severe brain injury. In a new randomized controlled study, researchers discovered an acupuncture point that delivers superior positive patient clinical outcomes. Acupuncture point GV25 (Suliao) outperformed acupuncture point GV26 (Shuigou), a classically indicated acupuncture point for revival of consciousness.
GV25 treatments successfully revived patients within an average of 64.6 days after a severe craniocerebral injury. GV26 treatments were successful but took longer to revive patients, an average of 73.8 days. The total effective rate, a combination of cured and markedly effective, was 45.2% for the GV25 treatment group. The total effective rate for the GV26 group was 22.5%. The GV25 group was also more successful in evoking the sneezing reflex with an 85.7% success rate compared with 25% in the GV26 group. The research team notes, “The effect of acupuncture at Suliao (GV 25) on improving regain of consciousness from coma in severe craniocerebral injury is positive. It could specifically improve sneezing reflex and stimulate (the) respiratory center, which has (a) more obvious effect than acupuncture at Shuigou (GV 26).”
The GV25 and GV26 groups both received the same approach to acupuncture point selection at secondary points including: Neiguan (PC6), Sanyinjiao (SP6), Yifeng (SJ17) and Wangu (GB12), Laogong (PC8), Yongquan (KD1). Effective rates for treatment were measured at 45 days and 90 days using the Glasgow coma scale combined with clinical efficacy scores. The study provides evidence that GV25 is more effective for revival than GV26, an unexpected result to many licensed acupuncturists. Both acupuncture points are indicated for revival of consciousness, however, GV26 is more commonly used in clinical practice. Let’s take a closer look at the Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM) theory guiding classical usage of these acupuncture points.
GV26 (DU26) is above the midpoint of the philtrum, near the nostrils. GV26 is indicated within Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM) for the treatment of mental disorders, hysteria, seizures and epilepsy, coma, apoplexy, trismus, deviation of the eyes and mouth, facial edema and lower back pain. GV26 is noted for the TCM functions of clearing the senses, cooing the heat, calming the spirit and benefiting the lumbar spine. GV26 is also classified as a ghost point. It is one of the 13 points of Sun Si-miao that are ascribed the function of being a ghost point, which are all indicated for the treatment of mania and epilepsy. The other ghost points are: LU11, SP1, P7, UB62, DU16, ST6, CV24, PC8, DU23, CV1, LI11, Yintang.
Scientists have discovered that acupuncture prevents toxins from damaging the lungs. In an incredible investigation, microphotographs reveal that bilateral electroacupuncture at acupoints ST36 and BL13 successfully protect the lungs from endotoxic shock when exposed to injurious toxic exposure. Immunofluorescence analysis reveals an important secret power of electroacupuncture; it stimulates an increase of Nrf2 nucleoproteins that are responsible for increased expression of protective antioxidant enzymes.
The study was well designed, controlled and randomized. Sham acupuncture did not protect the lungs and did not increase Nrf2 nucleoproteins. True acupuncture repeatedly demonstrated the ability to protect the lungs from damage and to increase Nrf2 expression. Critics have often argued that needle stimulation at random points achieves similar therapeutic effects as acupuncture through the placebo effect. Not so. The researchers have clearly demonstrated that true acupuncture prevents endotoxic shock, not sham acupuncture. They have proven this using microphotography, histopathological grading, blood analysis and measures of serum GPx, CAT, MDA, SOD, TNF-alpha, IL-6 and BALF. Western blot and real-time PCR confirm the findings with improved regulatory expression of HO-1 mRNA, Nrf2 total protein and Nrf2 nucleoprotein in lung tissue.
Chinese herbal medicine and acupuncture demonstrate efficacy in promoting weight loss and body mass index (BMI) improvements. A new report on the endemic spread of obesity reveals significant evidence that acupuncture and herbs synergistically enhance fitness and dietary modification programs for the purposes of reducing excess body fat. The report highlights research demonstrating that a special herbal formula called RCM-104 promotes weight loss safely. We’ll take a look at the ingredients in RCM-104 in this article. First, let’s take a look at the acupuncture findings documented in this new report.
The report included a meta-analysis of randomised controlled studies of Chinese herbs and acupuncture for the treatment of obesity. Acupuncture, as a standalone treatment, reduces BMI but requires an integrated program of care including exercise and dietary modifications to reduce overall weight. Acupuncture did, however, significantly enhance the efficacy of integrated programs resulting in enhanced loss of body fat. Research suggests that acupuncture helps to suppress “an excessive desire for food” and regulates bodily metabolism.
Research reveals important synergistic actions. Adding acupuncture to exercise and dietary therapy significantly prevents weight rebounding. Adding acupuncture to aerobic exercise and dietary therapy also improves weight loss, abdominal adipose tissue reduction, BMI reduction and serum leptin level reduction. Studies also demonstrate that acupuncture is safe, effective and assists in cardiovascular disease treatment and prevention. The report notes that more research is needed to confirm these findings with long term clinical trials.
The report notes that Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM) studies demonstrate that acupuncture reduces BMI and abdominal adipose tissue by warming the spleen, a TCM principle. The report also notes that evidence demonstrates, “Acupuncture points along the Stomach meridian have a reducing effect on weight in obese patients with the TCM diagnosis of excess-heat syndrome.”
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