Acupuncture Continuing Education

Acupuncture Lowers Bone Marrow Biopsy Pain

Acupuncture is proven to reduce pain during bone marrow aspiration and biopsy (BMA/BMB). A new study explored the effects of electroacupuncture to help enhance conventional anesthesia techniques during bone marrow aspiration and biopsy. Acupuncture point Hegu (LI4) is needled here. This procedure is often painful, even when using drugs to control the pain. It is a common procedure often used to diagnose malignancies and infectious diseases. BMA/BMB provides accurate measures of red and white blood cells and platelets. The researchers concluded “that the electrical stimulation of acupoints significantly decreases the pain caused by BMA/BMB and some of the complications of the pain.”

The researchers note that their investigation was prompted by prior research demonstrating that acupuncture reduces colonoscopy related pain and oral surgery related pain. They also cited basic acupuncture continuing education research demonstrating that acupuncture point LI4 (Hegu) “induces central neural activation in the pain-modulation areas, like the periaqueduct gray matter and the median raphe nucleus.” 

The researchers employed the use of a randomized, double-blind controlled study to obtain accurate clinical data. Acupuncture points LI11 (Quchi) and LI4 (Hegu) were electrically stimulated in the treatment group. Both the treatment and control groups used in the study received anesthesia but only the acupuncture treatment group received electroacupuncture at LI11 and LI4. The control group’s electroacupuncture machine was kept in the off position. The procedure, including true electroacupuncture stimulation, was initiated 15 minutes prior to BMA/BMB for a total duration of 25 minutes of acupuncture needle retention time. Electroacupuncture was set to maximum tolerance levels. 

Bone Marrow Biopsy

Acupuncture significantly reduced pain due to BMA/BMB. Acupuncture also helped to control blood pressure and pulse rates during the procedure. Patients receiving acupuncture had lower systolic blood pressure and pulse rates during BMA/BMB. The placebo group had significantly greater increases of systolic blood pressure and pulse rates during BMA/BMB. As a result, the researchers recommend acupuncture for reducing pain during during BMA/BMB.


Shokrani, O., M. Saghaei, F. Ashrafi, and A. Sadeghi. "Electrical stimulation of acupuncture points for analgesia during bone marrow aspiration and biopsy: A randomized double-blind placebo-controlled trial." Advanced Biomedical Research 3, no. 1 (2014): 125.

Acupuncture Continuing Education Credits