Acupuncture Continuing Education

Acupuncture News and Research



Acupuncture improves fallopian tube patency and increases pregnancy rates. A combination of warm needle acupuncture and Chinese herbal medicine improves tubal patency and increases pregnancy rates in women with fallopian tube obstruction. These are the findings of a study conducted at the Obstetrics and Gynecology Department of Tongchuan Chinese Medicine Hospital (Shaanxi, China). [1]


Acupuncture decreases the risk of heart disease in rheumatoid arthritis patients. Based on a sample size of 9,932 patients from the Taiwanese National Health Insurance Research Database, researchers determined that rheumatoid arthritis patients had a significantly lower risk of developing coronary heart disease if they received acupuncture. [1] This applies to patients receiving manual acupuncture or electroacupuncture. In addition, beneficial additive effects were found when combining acupuncture with conventional therapies.

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Acupuncture and herbal medicine improve rheumatoid arthritis patient outcomes. Qingdao Integrated Medicine Hospital (Shandong) researchers conclude that a combination of acupuncture, Chinese herbal medicine, and drug therapy is more effective than drug monotherapy. [1] Two groups were compared in a clinical study. One group received a combination of the herbal formula Wen Shen Tong Bi Tang, warm needle acupuncture, diclofenac, and methotrexate. The other group received only diclofenac and methotrexate. At 12 and 18 month follow-up assessments, patients receiving acupuncture, herbs, and drugs had significantly greater patient outcomes than patients receiving only drugs.


Acupuncture alleviates cancer pain and reduces opioid use. Researchers conducted a meta-analysis of 14 randomized controlled trials and conclude that acupuncture reduces pain levels for patients with cancer. [1] In addition, the research indicates that opioid use may decrease significantly as a result of acupuncture analgesic treatments. The research was published in JAMA Oncology and includes contributions from Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center (New York), RMIT University (Australia), and Guangdong University (Guangzhou) researchers.

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Acupuncture reduces the frequency and severity of angina attacks. [i] A multi-center investigation finds acupuncture treatment on disease-affected acupuncture channels is more effective than treatment on non-affected channels or sham acupuncture. The results were published in JAMA Internal Medicine.

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Acupuncture combined with herbal medicine is effective for the alleviation of depression. Researchers from Shaoxing Seventh People’s Hospital conclude that a modified version of the herbal formula Chai Hu Shu Gan San plus acupuncture is effective for the treatment of depression. [1] Based on the Hamilton Depression Rating Scale, serum cytokine, and neurotransmitter levels, the total effective rate was 100% for patients receiving both acupuncture and herbal medicine. Patients receiving only acupuncture had an 85% total effective rate and patients receiving only herbal medicine had an 87.5% total effective rate.

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Acupuncture and Chinese herbal medicine alleviate cerebral infarctions (strokes). Using MRIs, Guangyuan City Third People’s Hospital researchers conclude that acupuncture plus Bu Yang Huang Wu Tang improves brain functional connectivity in cerebral infarction patients. Results were especially pronounced in the central-cerebellar and central-contralateral anterior gyrus regions. In addition, the acupuncture and herbal medicine combination reduced risk factors by lowering total cholesterol, triglyceride, and low-density lipoprotein cholesterol levels. In addition, CD62P and CD63 expression significantly reduced. These proteins are platelet activation markers indicative of cerebral infarction intensity levels.


Acupuncture aids compression fracture recovery. Fujian Provincial Geriatric Hospital (Fuzhou, China) research demonstrates that acupuncture improves recovery following percutaneous vertebroplasty for osteoporotic vertebral compression fractures. Percutaneous vertebroplasty is a type of surgery that involves injecting a medical grade acrylic cement into a fractured vertebra to promote stabilization. The study compared two groups, one received percutaneous vertebroplasty monotherapy and the other received percutaneous vertebroplasty plus acupuncture.


Acupuncture outperforms drug therapy for the treatment of dry eye syndrome. Researchers from the Affiliated Eye Hospital of Nanjing Medical University compared the efficaciousness of acupuncture with sodium hyaluronate eye drops for the treatment of dry eye syndrome. Sodium hyaluronate achieved a 30.0% total effective rate and acupuncture achieved a 68.3% total effective rate. Acupuncture outperformed drug therapy for the improvement of lacrimal gland secretion and tear film (liquid layer covering the corneal surface) stability.

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Acupuncture reduces the frequency and severity of xerostomia (dry mouth). University of Texas MD Anderson Cancer Center (Houston) and Fudan University Cancer Center (Shanghai) researchers conducted a randomized controlled clinical trial. The phase-three patient and assessor blinded investigation of acupuncture’s effects on head and neck cancer patients receiving radiation therapy demonstrated groundbreaking results. The researchers concluded that acupuncture “resulted in significantly fewer and less severe RIX [radiation-induced xerostomia] symptoms 1 year after treatment vs SCC [standard care control].” [1]


Acupuncture provides headache relief. Liaoning University of Traditional Chinese Medicine researchers (Shenyang, China) tested the efficacy of acupuncture in a randomized controlled clinical trial. The researchers determined that acupuncture is both safe and effective for the alleviation of headaches.

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Acupuncture alleviates diabetic neurogenic bladder. Jiaozuo Hospital (Henan, China) researchers conducted a controlled investigation and concluded that acupuncture significantly improves bladder function and regulates blood glucose levels in patients with diabetic neurogenic bladder. This condition is a type of diabetic neuropathy that causes a variety of issues dependent upon the type of nerve damage involved. Dysfunction ranges from an overactive bladder to impairment of bladder contractility.

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Acupuncture alleviates allergic rhinitis and is more effective than a corticosteroid nasal spray and oral antihistamine. Lianyungang Hospital of Traditional Chinese Medicine (Kangda College of Nanjing Medical University) researchers conducted a clinical investigation and determined that acupuncture produces superior long-term patient outcomes. Allergic rhinitis (often referred to as hay fever) is an inflammatory reaction affecting the nose after exposure to airborne allergens including pollen, dander, dust, and mold or after consumption of foods that trigger an allergenic response.


Acupuncture increases the effectiveness of medications for the treatment of congestive heart failure (CHF), with results confirmed by color doppler echocardiography, changes in blood urea nitrogen and creatinine levels, and exercise tolerance tests. Affiliated Hospital of Yanbian University (Yanji, China) researchers compared two groups: control and acupuncture. One received standard pharmacologic medications and Sheng Mai San herbal injections and the other received the same treatment regimen plus the addition of acupuncture treatments. The group that did not receive acupuncture had an 86.7% total effective rate. The group receiving acupuncture had a 93.3% total effective rate. [1] Based on the findings, the researchers conclude that the addition of acupuncture to treatment protocols is worthy of clinical promotion.


Acupuncture and herbal medicine rival drug therapy for the alleviation of restless legs syndrome (RLS). Second Affiliated Hospital of Zhejiang Traditional Chinese Medicine University researchers compared the therapeutic effects of acupuncture plus herbs with that of a pharmaceutical medication. One study group received acupuncture plus a modified version of the herbal formula Gui Zhi Long Gu Mu Li Tang. Another group received gabapentin tablets. Based on the data, the researchers conclude that acupuncture plus herbs is equally effective as gabapentin for the treatment of restless legs syndrome. However, acupuncture plus herbs produced significantly less adverse effects. [1]


Acupuncture provides tinnitus relief. Luoding City Hospital of Traditional Chinese Medicine (Guangdong, China) researchers determined that acupuncture combined with the herbal formula Liu Wei Di Huang Wan relieves symptoms and improves quality of life for tinnitus sufferers. The study compared acupuncture and herbs with hyperbaric oxygen treatment. Acupuncture plus herbs produced a 77.5% effective rate compared with 50% in the hyperbaric oxygen control group. [1] Study outcome measures included symptom severity, duration, and the impact of tinnitus on sleep, mood, and attention.

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Acupuncture improves sleep for insomnia sufferers, especially when combined with tuina massage. Hospital researchers examined 80 insomnia patients in two groups. All patients admitted to the study had insomnia and the traditional Chinese medicine (TCM) differential diagnosis of spleen and stomach disharmony. Patients receiving acupuncture monotherapy had a 72.5% total effective rate and patients receiving both tuina massage and acupuncture had a 92.5% total effective rate (p<0.05).

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Researchers conclude that acupuncture increases the total effective rate of mannitol and oxiracetam for the relief of limb paralysis due to traumatic brain injury. Researchers from South Medical University combined acupuncture with drug therapy. Patients receiving both drug injections and acupuncture in a combined treatment protocol had superior patient outcomes compared with patients receiving only drug injections. The researchers conclude that the addition of acupuncture to the standard drug treatment regimen improves limb motor function and daily life activity capabilities. They add that acupuncture decreases volume of focal brain lesions and inflammatory mediators in the blood. [1] Let’s take a look at the results.

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Acupuncture alleviates schizophrenia. Harbin First Specialized Hospital (China) researchers determined that acupuncture enhances the effects of the antipsychotic medication clozapine in the relief of refractory schizophrenia. [1] The study compared clozapine combined with acupuncture with clozapine monotherapy. The total effective rate in the acupuncture integrative medicine group was 94.3% compared with 73.3% in the drug monotherapy group. Patients in the acupuncture group experienced fewer adverse effects with a rate of 8.6% compared with 36.7% in the drug monotherapy group. The researchers conclude that acupuncture combined with clozapine is safe, reliable, and worthy of recommendation.


Researchers find acupuncture more effective than the selective acetylcholinesterase inhibitor donepezil hydrochloride for the treatment of cognitive impairment. Researchers from the First Affiliated Hospital of Tianjin University of Traditional Chinese Medicine determined that a particular method of acupuncture, Xing Nao Kai Qiao (Waking the Brain and Opening the Orifices), is more effective than standard medications in treating vascular cognitive impairment. Results were measured at 4 and 8 weeks after treatment. Patients receiving Xing Nao Kai Qiao acupuncture reported a 74.51% (4 weeks after treatment) and 91.11% (8 weeks after treatment) total treatment effective rate, whereas those in the control group reported 54.05% and 72.72% rates respectively. [1]