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 Gastro-Oesophageal Reflux Disease

A systematic review conducted by researchers in the US and China, suggests acupuncture for gastro-oesophageal reflux disease is a safe and effective treatment option. A total of 12 studies involving 1235 patients were included in the analysis. Patients given acupuncture combined with standard western medication, demonstrated superior overall symptom improvement compared with those receiving standard medication alone. When it came to patients who had only received either acupuncture alone or medication alone, overall symptom improvements was similar for both groups, but recurrence rates were lower in the acupuncture group. The authors add that descriptive analyses suggest acupuncture also improves patients’ quality of life, but that further studies are needed.

(Acupuncture for the treatment of gastro-oesophageal reflux disease: a systematic review and meta-analysis. Acupuncture in Medicine, 2017.)

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Acupuncture Comparable with Analgesics for Acute Pain

Acupuncture for pain
Authors of an American systematic review have found acupuncture to be effective for acute pain in the hospital emergency department setting. Meta-analyses were performed on data from 14 randomised controlled trials covering a total of 1210 patients. The trials compared acupuncture with sham, acupuncture with standard analgesia, and also examined acupuncture as an adjunct to standard care.

Acupuncture was more clinically effective than sham, and comparable with conventional drug therapy for acute pain. It was also associated with improved patient satisfaction, lower costs and fewer adverse effects. There was limited evidence suggesting superior results may be achieved when adding adjunctive acupuncture to standard analgesia.

(Does acupuncture have a role in providing analgesia in the emergency setting? A systematic review and meta-analysis. Emergency Medicine Australasia, 26 July 2017 epub ahead of print.)

The largest ever pragmatic, randomised trial looking at acupuncture undertaken in hospital emergency departments, has found it is a safe and effective alternative to conventional drugs for acute pain. A total of 1964 patients presenting at four Melbourne hospitals with back pain, migraine and ankle sprain, were randomised to receive acupuncture, acupuncture plus analgesics, or analgesics alone. All patients had to complain of pain rated a minimum of 4 on a 10-point verbal scale. Although neither drugs nor acupuncture offered clinically relevant pain reduction within an hour, patients found either treatment acceptable. The effectiveness of acupuncture was comparable with that of drugs.

(Acupuncture for analgesia in the emergency department: a multicentre, randomised, equivalence and non-inferiority trial. Medical Journal of Australia, 2017.)

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Acupuncture improves Walking in Multiple Sclerosis

Researchers in Portugal have found that acupuncture can improve walking gait in patients with relapsing-remitting multiple sclerosis. Gait impairment was firstly evaluated in 20 patients using the 25-foot walk test. Individuals were then randomised to receive either acupuncture or sham acupuncture. True acupuncture was associated with a significant decrease in the time taken to walk 25 feet, with 95% of subjects showing an improvement. By contrast, changes in the sham group were not statistically significant, with only 45% of subjects showing an improvement.

(Effects of Acupuncture on Gait of Patients with Multiple Sclerosis . Journal of Alternative & Complementary Medicine, 14 April 2017.)

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Acupuncture improves Renal Function in Chronic Kidney Disease

Acupuncture improves renal function in chronic kidney disease.
Research from Taiwan suggests that acupuncture improves markers of renal function in patients with chronic kidney disease. A total of 59 such patients were randomised to receive either acupuncture or sham treatment. Sessions were given once a week for 12 weeks.

At the end of the treatment period, levels of serum creatinine and estimated glomerular filtration rate were found to have improved significantly in the acupuncture group compared with the sham control group. The authors of this feasibility study say that further investigation is now warranted.

(Acupuncture on Renal Function in Patients with Chronic Kidney Disease: A Single-Blinded, Randomized, Preliminary Controlled Study. Journal of Alternative & Complementary Medicine, 1 August 2017.)

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Acupuncture Relieves Pain in Intensive Care Unit

American researchers have reported that acupuncture is a feasible treatment to relieve pain in the hospital intensive care unit (ICU). Forty-six patients in ICU who were experiencing pain and/or nausea, received three 20 minute acupuncture treatments in addition to usual care.

Self-reported pain levels decreased by a mean 2.4 points on a 10-point scale, a reduction which exceeds the commonly accepted threshold for clinically relevant analgesia. A significant decrease in morphine usage was observed after each treatment. Additionally, 49% of patients spontaneously reported a reduction in anxiety. No major adverse effects were reported.

(Acupuncture for Pain and Nausea in the Intensive Care Unit: A Feasibility Study in a Public Safety Net Hospital. Journal of Alternative & Complementary Medicine, April 2017.)

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