Summary of Research Supporting the Effectiveness of Acupuncture
A comprehensive study commissioned by the Department of Veterans Affairs found acupuncture to have a positive effect in the treatment chronic pain, migraine and tension headache. The same study found a potentially positive effect in dysmenorrhea, cancer pain, labor pain, insomnia, post-operative nausea and vomit, depression, and smoking cessation.1
Acupuncture outperforms placebo in relieving the most common types of chronic pain: headache, low back, neck, shoulder and knee pain.2
Acupuncture significantly outperforms standard care in headache, low back, neck, and knee pain.3
Acupuncture is superior to most forms of physical therapy in the treatment of knee osteoarthritis.4
The American College of Physicians and American Pain Society recommend acupuncture as a second-line therapy for chronic low back pain.5
The American College of Chest Physicians recommends acupuncture for cancer patients when pain, nausea, vomiting, or other side effects of chemotherapy are poorly controlled.6
1 Hempel S, Taylor SL, Solloway M, et al. Evidence Map of Acupuncgture. VAE-ESP Project #05-226; 2013.
2 Vickers AJ, Cronin AM, Mascino AC, et al. Acupuncture for Chronic Pain: Individual Patient Data Meta-analysis. Arch Intern Med. 2012 Sep 10:1-10.
4 Corbett MS, Rice SJC, Madurasinghe, et al. Acupuncture and Other Physical Treatments for the Relief of Pain Due to Osteoarthritis of the Knee: Network Meta-analysis. Osteoarthritis Cartilage. 2013 Sep;21(9):1290-8.
5 Chou R, Qaseem A, Snow V, et al. Diagnosis and Treatment of Low Back Pain: A Joint Clinical Practice Guideline from the American College of Physicians and the American Pain Society. Ann Intern Med. 2007;147 (7): 478-491.
6 Cassileth BR, Deng GE, Gomez JE, Johnstone PA, Kumar N, Vickers AJ; American College of Chest Physicians. Complementary therapies and integrative oncology in lung cancer: ACCP evidence-based clinical practice guidelines (2nd edition). Chest. 2007 Sep;132(3 Suppl):340S-354S.
New research demonstrates that acupuncture is an effective treatment for hot flashes in breast cancer survivors. The research demonstrates that acupuncture reduces both the frequency and intensity of hot flashes while at the same time improving the overall quality of sleep. The researchers examined feedback and found that the acupuncture treatments were described as relaxing by most participants. The researchers also noted that the results show that acupuncture is cost effective, safe and does not exhibit the adverse affects caused by medications
Data from the research discovered that acupuncture improved the overall quality of life score over venlafaxine. Acupuncture improved symptoms but did not induce unwanted side effects. The medication venlafaxine, however, caused a 72% incidence of adverse affects. The researchers noted that in one study venlafaxine side effects caused 21% of study participants to withdraw due to the severity of the adverse effects. Acupuncture, by…
Researchers have discovered that acupuncture successfully relieves the adverse effects of antidepressant medications on sex drive and function. Men showed overall improvement in sexual function across a broad spectrum of health concerns. Acupuncture also enhanced relief from both anxiety and depression in the male group. Women benefitted from a more targeted response to acupuncture therapy rather than the broad spectrum of relief experienced by the men. Specifically, women benefitted from increased libido and vaginal lubrication as a result of acupuncture treatments.
Patient taking SSRIs (serotonin reuptake inhibitors) and SNRIs (serotonin noradrenaline reuptake inhibitors) for the treatment of depression may experience sexual dysfunction as an adverse effect from the medication(s). It is estimated that SSRIs and SNRIs have a 50% to 90% chance of inducing sexual dysfunction. The researchers sought to determine whether acupuncture may help in the management and resolution of these unwanted side-effects…
Influence of I-ching (Yijing, or The Book Of Changes) on Chinese medicine, philosophy and science.
Acupunct Electrother Res. 2013;38(1-2):77-133
Authors: Lu DP
I-Ching or Yi-Jing ([see text] also known as The Book of Changes) is the earliest classic in China. It simply explained the formation of the universe and the relationship of man to the universe. Most, if not all, branches of various knowledge, including traditional Chinese medicine, can be traced back its origin to this Book in which Fu Shi ([see text] 2852 B.C.) theorized how the universe was formed, through his keen observation of environment and orbits of sun, moon and stars. He used symbols to represent his views. The essence of I-Ching is basically the expression and function of Yang symbolized as “–” (from <—->) and Yin symbolized “- -” (from –><–), and [see text] Yin and Yang as interaction and circulation of Yang and Yin. Both Yin and Yang were derived from the same origin, Tai-Chi. Fu Shi believed Yin and Yang were the two opposite background force and energy that make the universe as what it is. Yang and Yin manifest in great variety of phenomena such as mind and body, masculine and feminine, sun and moon, hot and cold, heaven and earth, positive and negative electricity etc. The entire theory of Chinese medicine is based on the theories of Yin and Yang as well as that of 5 Element Cycles which are also related to the orderly arrangement of 8 trigrams ([see text]) by King Wen ([see text]1099-1050 B.C.). The 5 Elements Theory explains the “check and balance” mechanism created by the background force of Yin and Yang Qi and illustrated the relationships that are either strengthened or weakened by “acting and controlling” among the 5 elements. I-Ching has exerted profound influences on some well- known European philosophers and scientists, notably Leibnitz and Hegel. Between I-Ching and modern cosmology and the physics of sub-atomic particles, there are some basic theories in common.
PMID: 23724698 [PubMed – in process]
Research demonstrates that acupuncture stimulates brain cell proliferation in the cerebrum. The researchers note that electroacupuncture “exerts a neuroprotective effect in ischemic stroke.” The researchers also successfully measured the biochemical pathway by which acupuncture exerts this medical benefit to the brain. Stimulation of two acupuncture points was shown to activate the extracellular signal-related kinase (ERK) pathway, an important protein communication pathway involved in cell proliferation.
The experiment measured the biochemical responses to electro-acupuncture delivered to acupuncture points LI11 (Quchi) and ST36 (Zusanli), bilaterally. LI11 is located at the lateral end of the transverse cubital crease, a point located somewhat near the elbow. ST36 is located near the anterior crest of the tibia on the lower leg. According to Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM) theory, both acupuncture points are related by their location on the hand and leg Yangming channels respectively. The traditional uses of these acupuncture…
Acupuncture and Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM) therapeutic techniques are effective treatments for lower back pain due to lumbar disc herniations. A new randomized, controlled clinical trial demonstrates that acupuncture and TCM therapy reduces back pain and restores motor functionality for patients with herniated lumbar discs. A sample size of 408 patients receiving a traditional combination of TCM therapies were examined in comparison to a control group receiving health education, pain medications and physical therapy. The acupuncture-TCM group showed significantly greater improvement than that of the control group.
Low Back Acupuncture: The patients in the TCM group received electro-acupuncture, a Chinese herbal medicine injection of Dan Shen (Salvia miltiorrhiza) and an external herbal medicated plaster during the acute stage. During the subacute stage, patients received Tuina massage, Chinese…
New research demonstrates that acupuncture is effective for the treatment of chronic lower back pain. Researchers studied back pain patients in an inpatient rehabilitation clinic in Germany. Two groups of patients were compared. Group 1 received acupuncture plus conventional rehabilitation services. Group 2 received only rehabilitation services. The researchers discovered that patients willingly accepted acupuncture as a means of care and showed significant improvements in physical functioning, overall health and energy levels and improvements in emotional well-being over the conventional care only group. Notably, the acupuncture group also demonstrated significant improvements over the conventional care only group in the area of pain reduction.
Low Back AcupunctureAcupuncture significantly reduced pain levels and reduced radiculopathy experienced as a prickling sensation in the hands and feet. The acupuncture patients…
New research has just been released demonstrating that acupuncture is effective for the treatment of PMS, anxiety and depression. Researchers from the Harvard Medical School (Boston, Massachusetts) and the Advanced Integrative Rehabilitation and Pain Center (Washington, DC) conclude that “there is high-level evidence to support the use of acupuncture for treating major depressive disorder in pregnancy.” In an additional study, researchers from the School of Acupuncture-Moxibustion and Tuina (Beijing University of Chinese Medicine) conclude that acupuncture shows effectiveness in treating PMS (Premenstrual Syndrome).
In the first study, the researchers note that both anxiety and depression are highly prevalent in society. The researchers note that both anxiety and depression are “difficult to treat and have high relapse rates and medication side-effects. There is evidence to suggest that acupuncture may be an effective treatment modality.” The conclusions were drawn based on randomized controlled trials. The meta-analysis filtered for…
A new study concludes that acupuncture needling combined with moxibustion improves the condition of patients with refractory interstitial cystitis, a urination bladder disorder. Interstitial cystitis involves chronic bladder region pain that is often accompanied by urinary urgency, frequency and the need to wake at night to urination. Moxa needles were applied to acupuncture points over the sacrum and patients experienced significant improvement in the condition.
The preselection for the study sorted for difficult cases of interstitial cystitis that did not respond to conventional biomedical procedures. The patients had already been treated with conventional treatments including pharmaceutical medications, hydrodistension, and intravesical instillation of dimethly sulfoxide without relief of symptoms. Once the refractory cases were identified and screened, acupuncture was applied to acupoints UB32 (Ciliao), UB34 (Xialiao) and UB33 (Zhongliao). Moxibustion was applied to the needles at UB32 and UB34. Electroacupuncture was applied to UB33 at 3 Hz….