Category Archives: Latest Research
A systematic review by Australian authors has shown the effectiveness of ear acupuncture delivered for the purpose of pain relief in a hospital emergency department setting. The treatment was helpful when given either on its own, or as an adjunct to other pain relief measures. Six randomised trials and two observational studies, involving a total of 458 patients, were included in the analysis, which suggested that ear acupuncture can provide clinically meaningful analgesia for acute pain conditions in the emergency department. The treatment was also assessed to have other potential benefits, such as low risk and cost, reasonable application time, improved patient satisfaction, and non-interference with other necessary procedures.
The authors conclude that while study numbers were limited, ear acupuncture significantly reduces pain scores and has potential benefits for use in the emergency department. Further studies will define acupuncture’s role and if it reduces use of analgesic medications.
(Does Ear Acupuncture Have a Role for Pain Relief in the Emergency Setting? A Systematic Review & Meta-Analysis. Medical Acupuncture, October 2017.)
A systematic review by Korean authors investigating acupuncture for Parkinson’s disease, suggests it may hold promise as a useful and safe adjunctive treatment. The review examined 42 studies involving 2625 patients. Subjects treated using acupuncture alongside conventional medicine showed significant clinical improvements compared with those treated with conventional medicine alone. Electro-acupuncture appeared particularly useful. The authors state that more rigorous and well-designed placebo-controlled trials should be conducted.
(Effectiveness and safety of acupuncture in the treatment of Parkinson’s disease: A systematic review and meta-analysis of randomized controlled trials. Complementary Therapies in Medicine, October 2017.)
A small qualitative study in the US of older adults with several co-existing medical conditions, has found that they value acupuncture as a means of reducing medication use, and maintaining physical and mental health. Fifteen patients aged 60 or older, and with at least two chronic medical conditions, were recruited from a no-cost, college-affiliated San Diego acupuncture clinic for low-income older adults. Patients had been having acupuncture treatment for at least one year, usually on a weekly basis.
A substantial number of patients cited medication reduction as a benefit of attending the clinic. Changes in mood, energy levels, digestive disorders, skin rashes and well-being were attributed by patients to acupuncture. Patients viewed regular treatments as a way of dealing with new complaints, and encouraging a healthier lifestyle. They developed a strong trust in the ability of the clinic to support the totality of their health as individuals, and contrasted this with their more impersonal experiences of conventional healthcare.
(Long-Term Acupuncture Therapy for Low-Income Older Adults with Multimorbidity: A Qualitative Study of Patient Perceptions. Journal of Alternative & Complementary Medicine, 23 October 2017.)
Researchers in the Medical School of the University of Sao Paulo, looking at the use of acupuncture for trigeminal neuralgia, have found that it can reduce levels of pain and medication use. In the longitudinal case-control study, they compared 30 healthy subjects with 60 patients diagnosed with idiopathic trigeminal neuralgia. The latter group were randomly assigned to receive either true acupuncture, sham acupuncture or treatment with the drug carbamazepine. The true acupuncture group received ten weekly sessions. The sham group received the same, except that they were only needled superficially at all acupuncture points.
Mean pain intensity decreased only in the true acupuncture group, while patients in the sham group required an increase in medication. Both acupuncture groups exhibited a reduction in secondary myofascial pain and mandibular limitation, but only the true acupuncture group maintained these improvements at six month follow-up. The authors conclude that true acupuncture benefits both the primary and secondary causes of idiopathic trigeminal neuralgia pain.
(Acupuncture treatment for idiopathic trigeminal neuralgia: A longitudinal case-control double blinded study. Chinese Journal of Integrative Medicine, November 2017.)
Indian researchers studying the effectiveness of acupuncture for dental pain, have found it offers better pain relief than analgesics for inflamed dental pulp. A total of 157 patients aged 18 to 49, were randomly allocated to receive either real acupuncture plus placebo drug, sham acupuncture plus placebo drug, or sham acupuncture plus ibuprofen. All participants had been diagnosed with symptomatic irreversible pulpitis at the SRM Dental College, Tamil Nadu, and were in moderate to severe pain.
Patients treated with real acupuncture reported faster, more sustained pain relief compared with the other treatment arms. The authors conclude that acupuncture is a safer and more effective alternative to analgesics for management of pain in patients with symptomatic irreversible pulpitis.
(Comparison of Acupuncture with Ibuprofen for Pain Management in Patients with Symptomatic Irreversible Pulpitis: A Randomized Double-Blind Clinical Trial. Journal of Acupuncture & Meridian Studies, December 2017.)