Category Archives: Latest Research

A selection of modern research into the health benefits of acupuncture, on conditions not covered under other categories listed above & below.

Acupuncture for Prostatitis

Acupuncture in Exeter: acupuncture for prostatitis. A Cochrane Database systematic review by Italian authors looking at acupuncture for prostatitis/chronic pelvic pain syndrome, has concluded that based on short term follow up, acupuncture reduces prostatitis symptoms in an appreciable number of participants compared with sham procedure. In an appreciable number of patients, it probably also decreases prostatitis symptoms when compared with standard medical therapy. In all, the authors examined 38 studies covering 3300 men, which made 23 comparisons between different treatment and lifestyle interventions.

(Non-pharmacological interventions for treating chronic prostatitis/chronic pelvic pain syndrome. Cochrane Database of Systematic Reviews, 12 May 2018.)

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Acupuncture and Constipation

Acupuncture in Exeter: Acupuncture and constipation. A pilot study undertaken in Korea suggests acupuncture can offer clinically meaningful improvements in functional constipation (constipation not due to IBS or other diseases). Thirty patients with the condition, mean age 50, were randomised to receive either real acupuncture or sham acupuncture in a university hospital setting. The sham sessions consisted of 12 shallow needle insertions at non-acupuncture points. Patients received twelve treatment sessions over four weeks.

Real acupuncture, but not sham, resulted in clinically meaningful improvements in frequency of bowel movements, and these were maintained at follow-up four weeks after completion of treatment. The researchers conclude that a full-sized randomised controlled trial with long-term follow-up should be conducted to confirm their promising efficacy and safety findings.

(Efficacy & safety of acupuncture for functional constipation: a randomised, sham-controlled pilot trial. BMC Complementary & Alternative Medicine, 15 June 2018.)

Chinese authors of a network meta-analysis have concluded acupuncture ranks as one of the best non-pharmacological treatments for chronic functional constipation. They looked at 33 randomised trials covering over 4300 participants, which compared eight non-pharmacological treatments with placebo, sham and conventional interventions. Compared with laxatives, acupuncture had a significantly greater effect on stool frequency, with a lower incidence of adverse events.

(Non-pharmacological conservative treatments for chronic functional constipation: A systemic review & network meta-analysis. Neurogastroenterology & Motility, 20 August 2018.)

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Acupuncture helps Chemotherapy-Induced Peripheral Neuropathy

Acupuncture in Exeter: Acupuncture helps chemotherapy-induced peripheral neuropathy. An American research team has found preliminary evidence for the effectiveness of acupuncture in reducing the incidence of high grade chemotherapy-induced peripheral neuropathy, in women being treated for breast cancer. A total of 104 stage I-III breast cancer patients receiving weekly paclitaxel (Taxol) treatment, were screened for symptoms of peripheral neuropathy (usually manifesting as numbness and tingling in the hands and feet). Of these, 37 developed symptoms, and 27 were then given acupuncture. Of the latter, 26 completed chemotherapy treatment without a significant worsening of neuropathy symptoms.

The researchers conclude acupuncture is safe and shows preliminary evidence of effectiveness in reducing the incidence of high grade peripheral neuropathy. A follow-up randomised controlled trial is needed to establish definitive efficacy for patients at risk.

(A phase IIA trial of acupuncture to reduce chemotherapy-induced peripheral neuropathy severity during neoadjuvant or adjuvant weekly paclitaxel chemotherapy in breast cancer patients. European Journal of Cancer, September 2018.)

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Acupuncture and Glaucoma

Researchers in the Department of Ophthalmology, University Hospital Dresden, Germany looking at acupuncture and glaucoma, have found that blood flow to the eyes can be improved by giving acupuncture to patients with primary open-angle glaucoma. Disturbances in ocular blood flow have been coming under scrutiny as a cause of visual field damage in glaucoma patients.

In the randomised study, 56 patients aged 32 to 69, were assigned to receive either a single acupuncture treatment using acupuncture points traditionally used to benefit eye health, or to a single treatment using points which are not specific to eye health. Ocular blood flow parameters were measured before treatment, and again ten minutes afterwards. Pulsatile ocular blood flow was seen to increase significantly after only the eye-specific acupuncture treatment.

(The short-term effect of acupuncture on different ocular blood flow parameters in patients with primary open-angle glaucoma: a randomized, clinical study. Clinical Ophthalmology, 19 July 2018.)

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Acupuncture benefits Prostatitis

Acupuncture in Exeter: acupuncture benefits prostatitis. A Chinese research team looking at whether acupuncture benefits prostatitis, has concluded it offers long-lasting and clinically significant improvements for chronic prostatitis/chronic pelvic pain syndrome. A total of 68 men aged 18 to 50, were randomised to receive either eight weeks of acupuncture or eight weeks of non-insertive sham needling. Both groups were followed up for a further 24 weeks.

At weeks 8, 20 and 32, pain scores differed significantly between the two groups, with the acupuncture group exhibiting significant improvements. Most secondary outcome measures were also better in the acupuncture group.

(Acupuncture for Chronic Prostatitis/Chronic Pelvic Pain Syndrome: A Randomized, Sham Acupuncture Controlled Trial. Journal of Urology, October 2018.)

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