Acupuncture after laparoscopy reduces the time to discharge for patients who have undergone the procedure plus anaesthetic. Research teams based in Germany and Switzerland, randomly allocated 75 women to receive either acupuncture with standard anaesthetics, acupressure, or standard anaesthetics alone.
In the acupuncture group, median time to discharge was 35% shorter than in the standard anaesthetics alone group. It was also shorter than in the acupressure group. Median time to removal of the endotracheal tube was 7 minutes shorter in the acupuncture and acupressure groups, compared with the standard anaesthetics alone group. The researchers point out that modern surgery management requires increasing operating theatre turnover and more ambulatory procedures. Post-anaesthetic recovery therefore needs to be optimised, and further work should be encouraged to consider a role for acupuncture.
(Acupuncture reduces the time from extubation to “ready for discharge” from the post anaesthesia care unit: results from the randomised controlled AcuARP trial. Scientific Reports, 24 October 2018.)
A team of researchers in Turkey looking at the possibilities of acupressure for nausea and vomiting after gynaecological surgery, have concluded it represents a viable alternative to drugs. They randomised 97 women to receive either standard drugs during and after surgery, or to receive acupressure to the point Neiguan using a wristband. The latter was left in place during the first 12 hours following surgery.
Acupressure was associated with preventing vomiting and a significant reduction in nausea. Patients’ general comfort level also improved. The study authors say that because of its effectiveness and feasibility, wristband acupressure is a great alternative to pharmacologic methods in the gynaecological surgery population.
(The Effect of Neiguan Point (P6) Acupressure With Wristband on Postoperative Nausea, Vomiting, and Comfort Level: A Randomized Controlled Study. Journal of PeriAnesthesia Nursing, December 2018.)
A systematic review by Korean authors looking at acupuncture for menstrual pain shows it is an effective intervention. The review examined 60 randomised controlled trials covering over 3000 patients; 49 trials were subject to meta-analysis. The studies compared acupuncture to no treatment, placebo or medication.
Compared with both no treatment and nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs, acupuncture was more effective at reducing menstrual pain. The benefits of acupuncture were also maintained during short-term follow-up.
(The efficacy & safety of acupuncture in women with primary dysmenorrhea. A systematic review & meta-analysis. Medicine (Baltimore), June 2018.)
A Cochrane Database systematic review by Australian authors, has concluded that acupuncture and acupressure may improve both physical and psychological symptoms of PMS. Five trial results, covering 277 women, were analysed. The results suggest acupuncture can improve overall mood and physical symptoms, compared with sham acupuncture. Quality of evidence was limited by small sample sizes.
(Acupuncture & acupressure for premenstrual syndrome. Cochrane Database of Systematic Reviews, 14 August 2018.)
A large American trial has shown that acupuncture can help postmenopausal women with breast cancer, who experience joint pain (arthralgia) as a side-effect of taking aromatase inhibitor drugs eg anastrozole/arimidex. Researchers randomised 226 such women, mean age 61, across 11 academic centres and clinics, to either true acupuncture, sham acupuncture or a waiting list control. Real or sham acupuncture was given twice a week for 6 weeks, then once a week for a further 6 weeks. All patients were followed up for a further 12 weeks.
Compared with the sham acupuncture and waiting list groups, the true acupuncture group at 6 weeks experienced a statistically significant reduction in their worst joint pain: 58% had at least a two-point pain reduction, compared with 33% in the sham group and 31% in the waiting list group. There were also improvements in average pain and joint stiffness in the true acupuncture group. Even at six month follow-up, average worst pain in the true acupuncture group was lower than in the other two groups.
(Effect of Acupuncture vs Sham Acupuncture or Waitlist Control on Joint Pain Related to Aromatase Inhibitors Among Women With Early-Stage Breast Cancer: A Randomized Clinical Trial. Journal of the American Medical Association, 10 July 2018.)