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 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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Acupuncture is a Useful Addition to Asthma Treatment

Acupuncture for allergic asthma.
In the largest randomised trial of acupuncture for allergic asthma to date, German researchers have shown that adding acupuncture to standard care, is associated with improved quality of life compared with standard care alone. A total of 1445 patients (mean age 44) were randomly allocated to receive either routine care or routine care plus up to 15 acupuncture treatments over three months. The overall study comprised three months of treatment plus three months of follow-up.

Acupuncture was associated with a clinically significant improvement in asthma-related quality of life, as well as general mental and physical health. These improvements persisted to at least the end of the six month study period.

(Acupuncture in Patients with Allergic Asthma: A Randomized Pragmatic Trial. Journal of Alternative & Complementary Medicine, April 2017.)

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Acupuncture helps COPD

Researchers have found that acupuncture can be used as an adjunctive therapy to reduce breathlessness in patients with chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD). A total of 72 patients with COPD, mean age 67, were randomised to receive either real or sham control acupuncture in thirty minute sessions three times per week for eight weeks. Acupuncture was given in addition to patients’ usual daily medication.

At the end of the trial, six-minute walking distance and health-related quality of life measures had all improved significantly more in the acupuncture group compared with the sham group.

(Acupuncture for chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD): A multicenter, randomized, sham-controlled trial. Medicine (Baltimore), October 2016.)

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Acupuncture Offers Long-Term Relief for Chronic Pain

Acupuncture Offers Long-Term Relief for Chronic Pain.
A meta-analysis of 20 high-quality randomised trials of acupuncture for chronic pain, shows the beneficial effects of acupuncture persist for at least 12 months. The studies covered data on 6376 patients for conditions such as lower back, neck, and shoulder pain, plus osteoarthritis of the knee, and headache/migraine. The researchers found that in studies comparing acupuncture with a non-acupuncture control such as usual care etc, about 90% of the benefit of acupuncture relative to controls, was sustained 12 months after treatment. In trials comparing acupuncture with sham, the corresponding figure was 50%.

The authors conclude that patients can be reassured that acupuncture offers long-term relief for chronic pain, and that this should be taken into account when assessing the cost-effectiveness of acupuncture.

(The persistence of the effects of acupuncture after a course of treatment: A meta-analysis of patients with chronic pain. Pain, online 17 October 2016.)

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Scalp Acupuncture Reduces Tinnitus Intensity by Half

Scalp acupuncture reduces tinnitus intensity by half.
A study by hospital and university researchers in Londrina, Brazil has shown scalp electro-acupuncture can reduce tinnitus intensity by half, and improve quality of life for affected individuals. Fifty subjects, aged 50 to 85, were randomised to receive either acupuncture or no treatment. Those in the treatment group received electro-acupuncture on the vestibulocochlear scalp line, two times a week for five weeks. The results showed a reduction in tinnitus intensity of 50% in the treatment group, and no change in the control group. Acupuncture was also associated with a decrease in the influence of tinnitus on quality of life, from a classification of “severe interference” to “mild interference”. Again there was no change in the control group.

The team concludes that the significant levels of improvement justify the use of acupuncture. Their study shows that the technique is safe and does not cause any side effects for patients. However, more studies are required to establish other possible effects of Chinese scalp acupuncture on the auditory system.

(Effectiveness of acupuncture therapy as treatment for tinnitus: a randomized controlled trial. Brazilian Journal of Otorhinolaryngology, July-August 2016.)

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