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ACUPUNCTURE RESEARCH

Acupuncture Research from the Internet Health Library, is a great source of research on many health related topics. Listed below are just SOME of the many health problems for which Acupuncture has been shown, through clinical studies, to help. For full details, please click on the health problem. For a complete list of what acupuncture and Chinese medicine can treat, please refer to our Conditions Treated page.



Of all the alternative therapies, acupuncture has been shown in controlled scientific studies to be most effective in helping to treat hormonal disturbances. Acupuncture has, of course, traditionally been successfully employed in China to treat most illnesses but in recent years, there have been several interesting controlled scientific studies demonstrating the clinical value of acupuncture for acne sufferers.

For instance, one study concluded that auricular acupuncture (treatment through the ear) offered a valuable alternative therapy for hormone disorders and was more effective than hormone therapy with no side effects.

Traditional acupuncturists treat the whole person rather than a disease and therefore attempt to get to the root cause of the problem rather than treating the symptoms and, like other holistic practitioners, will consider all lifestyle and environmental factors before commencing treatment.

In another study, it was demonstrated that Electro-Acupuncture treatment (EAT) successfully helped regulate the hypothalamic-pituitary function and led to normal secretion of hormones in women with polycystitic ovaries and alleviation of their accompanying acne.

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One of the biggest obstacles facing alcoholics and drug addicts when trying to kick the habit is managing to overcome the withdrawal symptoms. However, one treatment that has been demonstrated to offer great help in the "drying out" process is acupuncture.

In a placebo controlled study at the Department of Medicine, University of Minnesota Medical School, Minneapolis, eighty severe recidivist alcoholics were randomly assigned to one of two groups. One group were given acupuncture at points specific for the treatment of substance abuse (treatment group) and the other group were given a placebo treatment at nonspecific points (control group).

Twenty one people in the acupuncture group successfully completed the programme compared to only one person in the control group. The results provide strong evidence to suggest that acupuncture could greatly enhance the success of alcoholic and drug abuse support programmes.

Read more about Acupuncture and Addictions

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A groundbreaking study on the effect of acupuncture in the treatment of allergy symptoms in children was published in the November 2004 issue of Pediatrics, the journal of the American Academy of Pediatrics (Ng, 2004). The researchers evaluated the effect of active acupuncture applied to three specific points compared to sham acupuncture. The active group received needle insertion to the proper depth with manipulation of the needles. The sham group received treatment at the same points, but with a very superficial insertion and no stimulation of the needles. Results of the study showed that acupuncture was significantly more effective in reducing symptom scores and increasing symptom-free days compared to the control group. The acupuncture points used were ST 36 (Zu San Li), Yin Tang (between the eyebrows), and Shang Ying Xiang (on the face adjacent to the nose). Both groups received 2 treatments per week for 8 weeks.

This study was conducted at a pediatric respiratory clinic in a Hong Kong hospital. It is the first of its kind to show the effectiveness of acupuncture in children's allergies. Another similar study also showed effectiveness of acupuncture for allergies in a single-blind protocol (Xue, 2002). That study recommended differentiation of treatment based on the patient's specific syndrome diagnosis according to the principles of traditional Chinese medicine. Treatments were performed 3 times per week for 4 consecutive weeks.

Read more about Acupuncture and Allergy

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Acupuncture has been traditionally used to treat a wide variety of cardio-vascular diseases , and recent controlled studies have demonstrated that it is particularly beneficial for angina (pain in the chest caused by insufficient blood supply to heart due to arterial disease) offering a proven option to drug therapy.

In one study at the Human College of Traditional Chinese Medicine, Chansha, forty patients with stable type of angina pectoris were assessed during and after acupuncture treatments and compared to a control group. After only one acupuncture treatment, 15 (37.5%) of the patients were already noticing a marked improvement in degree and area of pain, but after 7 treatments 25 (63%) of the patients recorded significant reductions both in extent and area of pain, and they also experienced a reduction in the number and the duration of attacks. Furthermore the patients in the acupuncture group who did get angina attacks recovered much faster than the patients in the control group.

Similar findings were reported in another study, this time in Sweden, where 21 patients with stable effort angina pectoris were treated with acupuncture. All of the patients had a history of at least five anginal attacks per week despite intensive conventional medical treatment. They were given three acupuncture treatments per week which led to a 40% reduction in the number of anginal attacks and the researchers also observed that the patients were able to exercise for longer before the onset of pain. All the patients completed a life quality questionnaire which confirmed that they all felt better as a result of the acupuncture treatment. The report concluded that acupuncture should be considered a beneficial treatment even for those patients with severe, intensively treated angina pectoris.

Other studies have come to the same conclusion in the treatment of angina. In one research project at the Nanjing Medical College involving 267 patients (all suffering from angina pectoris) acupuncture treatment was shown to have a 93.3% success rate with no harmful side effects.

Chinese herbal medicine has also been shown to be a valid alternative treatment for angina sufferers. In one very large study assessing over 400 angina patients, saponin of the herb Tribulus Terrestris, was found to have an extremely high success rate, alleviating the symptoms in over 80% of angina patients. And the Chinese herb, Kuo Guan Qu Yu Ling, has also been shown, after a 30 day trial to offer substantial relief to over 60% of angina patients.

There can therefore be little doubt that acupuncture, acupressure and Traditional Chinese herbal medicine should be seriously considered as alternatives and/or complements to other forms of treatment for angina sufferers.

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Acupuncture can be an effective treatment for chronic anxiety disorders. The purpose of this study was to assess the effectiveness of acupuncture in reducing anxiety in a volunteer population. If found effective, this modality could be introduced as a treatment of anxiety before surgery. Adult volunteers (n = 55), were randomized to three treatment groups: a) Shenmen group - bilateral auricular acupuncture at the "shenmen" point; b) Relaxation group - bilateral auricular acupuncture at a "relaxation" point; and c) Sham group - bilateral auricular acupuncture at a "sham" point. Press-acupuncture needles were inserted at the respective auricular areas for 48 h. State anxiety, blood pressure, heart rate, and electrodermal activity were assessed at 30 min, 24 h, and 48 h after insertion. Analyzing anxiety levels using repeated-measures analysis of variance has demonstrated a significant difference [F (2,51) =8.8, P = 0.001] between the three treatment groups. Post hoc analysis demonstrated that patients in the Relaxation group were significantly less anxious at 30 min (P = 0.007) and 24 h (P = 0.035) as compared with patients in both the Shenmen group and the Sham group, and less anxious at 48 h (P = 0.042) as compared with patients in Shenmen group. Repeated-measures analysis of variance performed for electrodermal activity, blood pressure, and heart rate demonstrated no group differences (P = ns). We conclude that auricular acupuncture at the "relaxation" point can decrease the anxiety level in a population of healthy volunteers.

Implications: Auricular acupuncture at the "relaxation" point can decrease anxiety in healthy volunteers.

Read more about Acupuncture and Anxiety

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Acupuncture has traditionally been successfully employed in China to treat most illnesses. There is little doubt that acupuncture is an excellent therapy for people suffering with this condition as it works through the nervous system and energy channels in the body. Treatment has been shown to cause the brain to release endorphines and encephalins (natural pain killers), boost the immune system and calm the nervous system.

There are several studies suggesting that acupuncture can be very helpful in the treatment of arthritis and more specifically Ankylosing Spondylitis. For instance, a recent study in Russia found that 73% of patients suffering from Ankylosing Spondylitis benefited from acupuncture treatment. When acupuncture was combined with UV light treatment the response rate increased to 93%.

In another study, 54 Rheumatoid Arthritis sufferers were given acupuncture (warm needling) with Zhuifengsu (Chinese herb).

A study of auriculo-electropuncture (AEP) - treatment of points on the ear - by a double blind method was conducted in Russia with 16 arthritis patients. Not only did they all feel better as a result of the treatment but they all showed "statistically significant" improvement in blood samples.

Traditional acupuncturists treat the whole person rather than a disease and therefore attempt to get to the root cause of the problem rather than treating the symptoms and, like other holistic practitioners, will consider all lifestyle and environmental factors before commencing treatment. Controlled medical tudies indicate that acupuncture is an appropriate therapy to adopt in holistic treatment of Ankylosing Spondylitis.

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In order to delve into the mechanism governing the treatment of apoplexy by acupuncture at yangming channel points as main points, we observed the changes in the endothelin (ET) level in plasma, TXB2 and 6-Keto-PGF1 alpha levels in urine in convalescent apoplexy patients during acupuncture treatment. The results showed that the ET level in plasma in convalescent apoplexy patients was significantly higher than that in healthy subjects (P < 0.05), and the ET level in plasma in patients was decreased after one course of acupuncture treatment. It was found that before treatment the TXB2 level in urine in apoplexy patients was significantly higher than in healthy subjects, and the 6-Keto-PGF1 alpha level in urine in the patients was significantly lower than that in healthy subjects, with an increased ratio of TXB2 to 6-Keto-PGF1 alpha. After acupuncture treatment, the TXB2 level in urine was lowered with a decrease in the ratio of TXB2 to 6-Keto-PGF1 alpha. All this indicated that one of the mechanisms governing acupuncture treatment of apoplexy acupuncture at yangming channel points as main points was that acupuncture could produce therapeutic effects by adjusting the imbalance of important vaso-active substances, ET, TXA2, and PGI2.

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There have been numerous controlled studies confirming that acupuncture is effective in treating cardiovascular disease patients. Acupuncture has been shown to exert significant effects on the cardiovascular system and provide effective treatment for a wide variety of cardiovascular diseases including arteriosclerosis (especially where coronary arteries are affected causing angina).

In one study at the Human College of Traditional Chinese Medicine , Chansha, 40 patients with arteriosclerosis induced angina pectoris were assessed during and after acupuncture treatments. After only one treatment, 15 patients' angina pectoris were significantly alleviated both in degree and area, and after 7 treatments 63% of the patients' angina pectoris were not only significantly alleviated both in extent and area, but also in frequency and duration of attack. Furthermore, the time from the beginning of exercise to the anginal attack in the patients receiving acupuncture was longer than that in non-acupuncture group. The time from the end of exercise to the disappearance of angina pectoris in acupuncture group was also shorter than that in the other group.

Other studies have also concluded that acupuncture provides "significant improvement" in CAD patients. Research at the Shanghai Medical University in China revealed that early treatment (ie. in the first three weeks) of acupuncture produces over 90% improvement whereas treatment commenced after three weeks gives 71% improvement rate. It is therefore important to seek early treatment whenever possible.

In another study,this time in Sweden, 21 patients were treated with acupuncture. The patients had all had at least five anginal attacks per week in spite of intensive conventional medical treatment. Acupuncture was given three times per week which led to a 40% reduction in the number of anginal attacks per week and the patients' performance before onset of pain during exercise test increased significantly. All the patients completed a life quality questionnaire which confirmed that they all felt better as a result of the acupuncture treatment and the report concluded that acupuncture was beneficial effect for patients with even severe, intensively treated angina pectoris

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Acupuncture may ease hip and joint pain from osteoarthritis, the most common type of arthritis, a German study shows. "Acupuncture should be considered as a treatment option for patients with knee or hip-associated chronic pain," write the researchers. They included Claudia Witt, MD, of the Institute for Social Medicine at Berlin's Charite University Medical Center.

Witt's team notes "marked clinical improvement" in pain and quality of life in patients with hip and knee osteoarthritis after three months of acupuncture treatment. In a journal editorial, two Chinese doctors support using acupuncture to help treat knee and hip osteoarthritis -- but they also note the German study's limits. The study and editorial appear in Arthritis & Rheumatism's November edition.

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Acupuncture has traditionally been successfully employed in China to treat most illnesses and research in the past decade has shown that acupuncture can be very effective for respiratory diseases including asthma. There are many studies relating to the success of acupuncture treatment for asthma which have been reported in the medical journals. In 1979 the World health Organisation listed 40 diseases for which acupuncture was considered to be beneficial and diseases of the respiratory tract including asthma and bronchitis were included in that list.

Dr Mike Whiteside in one report stated that: "This (Acupuncture) is excellent for a mild attack and remarkably well accepted even by children." This view is certainly supported through the international medical literature and the published controlled studies.

In a study conducted at the Department of Anaesthesia and Intensive Care in the University Hospital of Vienna revealed that over 70% of patients with long-standing asthma reported a significant improvement of their ailments after ten weeks of acupuncture treatment.

Please remember that traditional acupuncturists treat the whole person rather than a disease and therefore attempt to get to the root cause of the problem rather than treating the symptoms and, like other holistic practitioners, will consider all lifestyle and environmental factors before commencing treatment.

Scientists at the Department of Acupuncture, Second Municipal People's Hospital, Kaifeng City, Henan Province studied 192 patients suffering from bronchial asthma , all of whom were treated by acupuncture on Kongzui (Lu 6) and Yuji (Lu 10). The results revealed that there was an immediate total effective rate of 98.9%, and interestingly, the rate of clinical remission dropped and there was a marked improvement in 76.5% of the patients.

The efficacy of the treatment did not differ significantly in patients of varying ages and even the duration of the disease was not found to be significant. The effects for asthma patients of the cold type according to Traditional Chinese Medicine classification and of the allergic type according to western medicine were the most impressive, and the researchers also found that the long-term curative rate was linked to (a) the length of time of needle retention and (b) the speed with which a patient responded to treatment. (ie. those patients who received the most needling and those who responded fastest to the treatment experienced a better long-term curative rate.)

The study also found that 40 minutes of needle retention after the treatment took effect was the most desirable. Acupuncture treatment of bronchial asthma was considered very effective, and particularly useful for those patients who have a history of drug allergy.

The clinical observation revealed that the asthmatic symptoms in most of the patients began to be improved after several acupuncture treatments with the dosage of the drug gradually reduced.

Generally, the dose of cortisone per oz was decreased by 2 mg every 10 days, while that of aerosol was controlled by the patients themselves according to the condition of the disease.

The symptoms in most of the patients were markedly improved after 15 treatments, but the treatment should be continued for another 10 times to consolidate the curative effect. Thus, each asthmatic patient needs to receive approximately 30 sessions of acupuncture treatment, lasting about 3 months. Thereafter, in order to prevent its relapse, the treatment should be administered 10 times each year in the summer season. It is worthy to be mentioned that, in this series, there was a female patient who suffered from anaphylactic asthma induced by dog's hair. She received 10 sessions of acupuncture treatment with no improvement. In this case, the acupuncture treatment should not be given any longer. There were another two children patients aged 5 and 7 years respectively, for them the above method of acupuncture treatment was difficult to be used. Therefore, the auricular pressing method combined with cupping was adopted instead. The auricular points selected were Shenmen, Lung, Large Intestine, sensitive point, Pingchuan, Subcortex, and Kidney. 5 points were used each time, and pressed with the seeds of Vaccaria which were changed every 3 days. The patients were asked to press each of the points themselves 3 times a day (each time by 20 pressings). And Dazhui (Du 14), Feishu (UB 13), Pishu (UB 20) and Shenshu (UB 23) were cupped for 5 min. each time. The auricular pressing and cupping therapies may also be added for adult patients to strengthen the curative effect. The 25 cases of hormone dependent bronchial asthma were treated by acupuncture, yielding a markedly effective rate of 56% with a total effective rate of 96%, indicating that good therapeutic results can also be expected in the western countries for those cases who have already been treated with hormones.

Read more about Acupuncture and Asthma

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Acupuncture is a treatment of choice for sufferers of Bell's Palsy according to researchers at the First Affiliated Hospital, Hunan College of Traditional Chinese Medicine, Changsha. Using acupuncture with pressure on otopoints (a combination group of acupoints) to treat 86 patients with facial spasm the researchers found that the condition was successfully alleviated in over 95 percent of the patients. Simple acupuncture and simple pressure on otopoints were respectively applied in two other groups of patients as controls. The total effective rates in these two groups were 92.1 percent and 62.5 percent respectively. However, the cure rates were 38.4 per cent in the acupuncture with pressure on otopoints, 15.8 in acupuncture alone and 5 percent using pressure on otopoints alone respectively.

The differences in results of the three groups show significant statistical differences, indicating that the therapeutic effectiveness of the combined method of acupuncture with pressure on otopoints is far better than the two therapeutic methods used alone.

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There have been several controlled studies confirming that acupuncture is effective in treating CHD and post stroke patients. One study carried out at the Lund University Hospital ,Sweden involved 78 patients with severe hemiparesis (paralysis of one side of the body) within 10 days of stroke onset. 40 patients received daily physiotherapy and occupational therapy, and 38 patients received acupuncture treatment twice a week for 10 weeks. Patients treated with acupuncture recovered faster than the others, with better balance and mobility, and fewer days spent at hospitals/nursing homes.

Other studies have also concluded that acupuncture provides "significant improvement" in stroke patients. Research at the Shanghai Medical University in China revealed that early treatment (ie. in the first three weeks) of acupuncture produces over 90% improvement whereas treatment commenced after three weeks gives 71% improvement rate. It is therefore important to seek early treatment whenever possible.

Researchers have found that the most frequently encountered causes of intractable pain and intractable medical problems, including headache, neuralgia, tinnitus, hearing difficulty, hypertension and hypotension, arrhythmia, stroke, osteo-arthritis and even cancer are often found to be due to the co-existence of :-

1) viral or bacterial infection,
2) localized microcirculatory disturbances,
3) localized deposits of heavy metals, such as lead or mercury, in affected areas of the body, with or without additional harmful environmental electro-magnetic or electric fields from household electrical devices in close vicinity, which create microcirculatory disturbances.

The researchers concluded that medications often prove ineffective with intractable medical problems because they cannot reach these affected areas of the brain in sufficient therapeutic doses. The drugs do, however, reach the normal parts of the body and often result in side effects. The researchers found that where western medicine fails in these instances, acupuncture can be seen to work(4).

Of all the alternative therapies, acupuncture has been shown in controlled scientific studies to be most effective in pain relief with even a recent BMA report acknowledging that acupuncture treatment stimulates the release of endorphines and encephalines (natural pain killers) in the brain. In 1979 the World Health Organisation listed 40 major diseases that could find relief by acupuncture treatment. Included in that list were migraine headaches and nervous disorders (eg. Bells Palsy and Neuralgia).

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The clinical observation revealed that the asthmatic symptoms in most of the patients began to be improved after several acupuncture treatments with the dosage of the drug gradually reduced. Generally, the dose of cortisone per os was decreased by 2 mg every 10 days, while that of aerosol was controlled by the patients themselves according to the condition of the disease.

The symptoms in most of the patients were markedly improved after 15 treatments, but the treatment should be continued for another 10 times to consolidate the curative effect. Thus, each asthmatic patient needs to receive approximately 30 sessions of acupuncture treatment, lasting about 3 months. Thereafter, in order to prevent its relapse, the treatment should be administered 10 times each year in the summer season. It is worthy to be mentioned that, in this series, there was a female patient who suffered from anaphylactic asthma induced by dog's hair. She received 10 sessions of acupuncture treatment with no any improvement. In this case, the acupuncture treatment should not be given any longer. There were another two children patients aged 5 and 7 years respectively, for them the above method of acupuncture treatment was difficult to be used. Therefore, the auricular pressing method combined with cupping was adopted instead. The auricular points selected were Shenmen, Lung, Large Intestine, sensitive point, Pingchuan, Subcortex, and Kidney. 5 points were used each time, and pressed with the seeds of Vaccaria which were changed every 3 days. The patients were asked to press each of the points themselves 3 times a day (each time by 20 pressings). And Dazhui (Du 14), Feishu (UB 13), Pishu (UB 20) and Shenshu (UB 23) were cupped for 5 min. each time.

The auricular pressing and cupping therapies may also be added for adult patients to strengthen the curative effect. The 25 cases of hormone dependent bronchial asthma were treated by acupuncture, yielding a markedly effective rate of 56% with a total effective rate of 96%, indicating that good therapeutic results can also be expected in the western countries for those cases who have already been treated with hormones.

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Acupuncture has traditionally been successfully employed in China to treat most illnesses and there is little doubt that acupuncture is an excellent therapy for people suffering with this condition. There are several studies suggesting that acupuncture and Traditional Chinese Medicine can be very helpful in the treatment of cataract.

In one study, acupuncture treatment was given to 50 patients suffering from eye disorders including cataract. All the patients reported improvements of visual acuity.

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In order to evaluate the clinical value of the describes in the Standard Nomenclature of Scalp Acupuncture Lines, 105 patients suffering from cerebral infarction (dead tissue in the brain resulting from a brain haemorrhage or stroke) have been treated by needling along the anterior and posterior oblique lines of vertex-temple, and the line 1 and line 2 lateral to vertex. The markedly effective rate was 71.43%, and the total effective rate 88.57%. After treatment, such symptoms as hemiplegia, lingual dysfunction, facial and tongue paralysis, and the laboratory indexes of blood fat, fibrinogen and hemorrheology were obviously improved. The therapeutic effect of scalp acupuncture was obviously better than that of Western medicine.

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Researchers at the children's hospital, Zhejiang Medical University in China spent over a year researching the effect of acupuncture and acupressure treatment for children suffering from infantile cerebral palsy (ICP).

75 children took part in the study which involved comprehensive meridian therapy including scalp and body acupuncture supplemented with acupressure and massage. The number of treatments each child received ranged from a minimum of 10 to a maximum of 120, the exact number being assessed according to the child's needs.

The effect of the treatment was measured by evaluating the children's performance of physical exercise, social adaptability and their intelligence quotient (IQ) both before and after the treatment period. The results revealed " a very positive improvement in the children's physical capability and an increase of their intelligence."

In another study seventy five children with Cerebral Palsy were treated with a comprehensive meridian therapy including scalp and body acupuncture, acu-point injection and auriculo-point stimulation, supplemented with acu-pressure (shiatsu) and massage, and functional training.

Each child received a minimum of ten treatments in a twenty day period, and a maximum of 120 times within a year. The effect of the treatment was evaluated by analysing the children's performance of physical exercise and their social adaptability, and the intelligence quotient (IQ) of 30 children who each received 6 courses of treatments was compared prior to and after treatment.

The results showed that the treatment produced a "very positive improvement in the children's physical capability and an increase of their intelligence".

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OBJECTIVE: To evaluate the effectiveness of acupuncture, as compared with physiotherapy, in the management of chronic neck pain.

DESIGN: Seventy adult patients with non-inflammatory neck pain of >6 weeks duration and with no abnormal neurology were randomly assigned to receive either of the treatments. Thirty-five patients were included in each group.

OUTCOME MEASURES: Pain by visual analogue scale and neck pain questionnaire, improvement in range of movement of neck relative to baseline, and well-being (general health questionnaire). Measurements were recorded at the start of treatment, at 6 weeks and at 6 months.

RESULTS: Both treatment groups improved in all criteria. Acupuncture was slightly more effective in patients who had higher baseline pain scores.

Br J Rheumatol 1998 Oct;37(10):1118-22 David J, Modi S, Aluko AA, Robertshaw C, Farebrother J Royal Berkshire Hospital NHS Trust and University of Reading.

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Scientists at the Beijing College of Acupuncture & Orthopedics have demonstrated that acupuncture can be extremely beneficial for patients suffering from acute respiratory infections. Fifty seven patients suffering from the common cold, influenza, acute tonsillitis and acute bronchitis were rapid needling with filiform needles at the acupuncture points Dazhui (Du 14), Fengchi (GB 13), and Quchi (LI 11). The results showed that in nineteen of the patients (33%) the treatment was regarded as " markedly effective", in a further 27 patients the treatment was regarded as "effective" (48%) and only eleven patients (19%) failed to respond to the treatment . The total effective rate was therefore 80%.

A detailed analysis of the patients revealed that the peripheral blood leucocyte and lymphocyte counts differed insignificantly after needling, while the body temperature, rate of respiration, pulse, blood pressure and acupoint temperature all dropped, with a simultaneous increase in the percentage of T-lymphocytes showing an activated immune system. The immediate beneficial effects of the acupuncture treatment were especially high in those patients who suffered from fevers due to exogenous wind and cold.

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Acupuncture has traditionally been successfully employed in China to treat most illnesses. There is little doubt that acupuncture is an excellent therapy for people suffering with this condition; in 1979 the World Health organisation listed 40 major diseases that could find relief by acupuncture treatment and diseases of the intestinal tract were included in that number.

This is not surprising since acupuncture works through the nervous system and energy channels in the body and has also been shown to cause the brain to release endorphines and encephalins (natural pain killers), boost the immune system and calm the nervous system. It has also been established that all psycho-physiological health problems (of which constipation is an associated symptom) are particularly suitable for acupuncture treatment

One study conducted at the China Academy of Traditional Medicine in Beijing revealed that acupuncture was "very effective in the treatment of diseases of the digestive system" with most patients benefitting from the treatment.

Read more about Acupuncture and Constipation

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Acupuncture has traditionally been successfully employed in China to treat most illnesses. There is little doubt that acupuncture is an excellent therapy for people suffering with this condition; in 1979 the World Health organisation listed 40 major diseases that could find relief by acupuncture treatment and diseases of the intestinal tract were included in that number.

This is not surprising since acupuncture works through the nervous system and energy channels in the body and has also been shown to cause the brain to release endorphines and encephalins (natural pain killers), boost the immune system and calm the nervous system. It has also been established that all psycho-physiological health problems (of which Crohn's disease is included) are particularly suitable for acupuncture treatment

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Acupuncture is increasingly being used by the general population and investigated by conventional medicine; however, studies of its effects on pain have been criticised for inadequate control procedures.

Researchers at the Department of Family Medicine, School of Medicine, University of Maryland at Baltimore evaluated (1) the efficacy of Chinese acupuncture in treating postoperative oral surgery pain, (2) the validity of a placebo-controlled procedure, and (3) effects of psychological factors on outcomes.

In a randomized, double-blind, placebo-controlled trial conducted at the Dental School Outpatient Clinic, University of Maryland at Baltimore, thirty-nine healthy subjects, aged 18 to 40 years, assigned to treatment (n=19) and control (n=20) groups.

Scores were assessed through the patients' self-reports of time until moderate pain, time until medication use, total pain relief, pain half gone, and total pain medication consumption.

The results revealed that the average (mean) pain-free postoperative time was significantly longer in the acupuncture group (172.9 minutes) than in the placebo group (93.8 minutes) (P=.01), as was time until moderate pain (P=.008). Mean number of minutes before requesting pain rescue medication was significantly longer in the treatment group (242.1 minutes) than in the placebo group (166.2 minutes) (P=.01), as was time until medication use (P=.01). Average pain medication consumption was significantly less in the treatment group (1.1 tablets) than in the placebo group (1.65 tablets) (P=.05). There were no significant between-groups differences on total-pain-relief scores or pain-half-gone scores (P>.05). Nearly half or more of all patients were uncertain of or incorrect about their group assignment. Outcomes were not associated with psychological factors in multivariate models.

CONCLUSIONS: Acupuncture is superior to the placebo in preventing postoperative dental pain; noninsertion placebo procedure is valid as a control.

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1 - Acupuncture has traditionally been successfully employed in China to treat most illnesses. There are several controlled medical studies confirming that acupuncture is an excellent therapy in the treatment of depression.

In one study in Italy involving 50 patients, auricular acupuncture (acupuncture treatment to the ear) was found to be effective in reducing anxiety and depression levels. In another study at the Wayne County General Hospital in Michigan, USA, acupuncture treatment was given to 85 patients all suffering from psychological disorders (including depression). The treatment was shown to be beneficial in over 78% of the patients. There is therefore little doubt that acupuncture is a prime therapy to consider in helping overcome depression.

Traditional acupuncturists treat the whole person rather than a disease and therefore attempt to get to the root cause of the problem rather than treating the symptoms and, like other holistic practitioners, will consider all lifestyle and environmental factors before commencing treatment.

Acupuncture is not commonly associated with mental depression, but researchers at Institute of Acupuncture and Moxibustion, China Academy of Traditional Chinese Medicine, Beijing recently demonstrated that acupuncture may offer a therapeutic option for depressive patients.

2 - Twenty patients suffering from mental depression were treated by needling at the extra channel points for a period of six weeks and the effective rate of the treatment was found to be 90%. At the same time, the researchers monitored a control group of an additional twenty one depressive patients who were treated with amitriptyline. Anxiety, cognitive disturbance, retardation, sleep disturbance and feelings of despair were all measured with Hamilton's scale and then analysed.

The results showed that there was no statistical difference in the response rate in the two groups. Both the acupuncture and control groups showed an obvious decrease in the mean value, and the change in anxiety somatization was considerably greater in the acupuncture group as compared with that in the control group. Analysis of brain wave patterns demonstrated that the acupuncture treatment had a positive influence on the patients' brain waves.

The researchers concluded that six weeks of acupuncture resulted in s decrease of slow wave delta and increased the fast wave alpha , all significantly different as compared with that before and during the treatment.

It would have been helpful in interpreting the results if the researchers had used a third control group so that a placebo treatment could be included. However, despite this omission, and the obvious small numbers of participants, the study does demonstrate that acupuncture treatment may be a useful treatment to be considered to help treat patients suffering from depression, and will initiate further research in this area of medicine.

3 - Recent research has found that cerebral serotonin has anti-depressant and analgesic effects and there have ben reports that cerebral serotonin can be released by the stimulation of certain acupuncture points. Researchers at the Department of Anesthesiology, Wayne County General Hospital, Westland, Michigan, USA investigated these claims, observing the effects of sequential electric acupuncture treatment on eighty five (85) patients diagnosed with chronic physical disorders (e.g. intractable pain, headache) with most disorders complicated by reactive depression. Some of the patients' problems were thought to be psychosomatic. However, the researchers found that the percentage of improvement from slight to remarkable in the physical disorders was 77.1% and the improvement seen in mental disorders was found to be even higher at 78.8%. The researchers concluded that sequential electrical stimulation to certain acupuncture points was found to be effective in the treatment of stress related physical and mental disorders.

Read more about Acupuncture and Depression

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Acupuncture has traditionally been successfully employed in China to treat most illnesses. There is little doubt that acupuncture is an excellent therapy for people suffering with this condition as it works through the nervous system and energy channels in the body. Treatment has been shown to cause the brain to release endorphines and encephalins (natural pain killers), boost the immune system and calm the nervous system.

There are several studies suggesting that acupuncture can be very helpful in the treatment of dermatitis and eczema. One study in New York, USA revealed that within an average of nine treatments, 50% of patients had complete or almost complete clearance of skin lesions and a further 25% experienced two-thirds clearance of skin lesions.

Traditional Chinese Herbal Medicine which is practised by many acupuncturists, has also been shown to help eczema. Research has shown that even severe widespread atopic dermatitis responds well to chinese herbal treatment and produces significant clinical improvement(2).

Traditional acupuncturists treat the whole person rather than a disease and therefore attempt to get to the root cause of the problem rather than treating the symptoms and, like other holistic practitioners, will consider all lifestyle and environmental factors before commencing treatment.

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Acupuncture has traditionally been successfully employed in China to treat most illnesses. There is little doubt that acupuncture is an excellent therapy for people suffering with this condition; in 1979 the World Health organisation listed 40 major diseases that could find relief by acupuncture treatment and diseases of the intestinal tract were included in that number.

This is not surprising since acupuncture works through the nervous system and energy channels in the body and has also been shown to cause the brain to release endorphines and encephalins (natural pain killers), boost the immune system and calm the nervous system. It has also been established that all psycho-physiological health problems (of which diarrhoea is an associated symptom) are particularly suitable for acupuncture treatment.

Acupuncture treatment of diarrhoea in children has been compared to drug therapy at the Qingchun Hospital, Zhejiang, China. Patients were randomly assigned to one of three groups: the first to receive acupuncture in the form of shallow needling to points on the forehead, the second to receive acupuncture in the form of shallow needling to points on the body, and the third group were to receive drugs (Liteling, Berberine, Gentamycin, Ampicillin, and SMZ Co).

The results of treatment in both of the acupuncture groups were significantly superior to the drugs group and the researchers concluded that shallow needling enhanced the humoral and cellular immunity and promoted the normal intestinal peristaltic function.

Read more about Acupuncture and Digestion

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Traditional Chinese Herbal Medicine (T.C.H.M.) has been shown to be extremely effective in the treatment of eczema. A report in the British Journal of Dermatology revealed the first clinical evidence of the value of T.C.H.M. through a controlled study carried out at the Department of Dermatology, Hospital for Sick Children, U.K.

The researchers acknowledged that severe and widespread atopic eczema often fails to respond adequately to conventional treatments and, after observing substantial benefit in patients receiving daily decoctions of traditional Chinese medicinal plants, they decided to undertake a placebo-controlled double-blind trial.

A specific prescription of Chinese herbs was specially formulated for widespread non-exudative atopic eczema; forty seven children were randomly selected to receive the Chinese herbal formula or a placebo for 8 weeks, with an intervening 4-week wash-out period.

Thirty-seven children tolerated the treatment (others found the decoctions too unpalatable to take) and completed the study. The response to the T.C.H.M. treatment was significantly greater than the response to placebo, and was judged by the researchers to be clinically valuable. There was no evidence of haematological, renal or hepatic toxicity in any of the children who participated in the study and the researchers predicted that there would be considerable therapeutic potential for traditional Chinese medicinal plants, not only in the treatment of eczema, but also other skin diseases.

The same researchers were so impressed with the results of the 8 week study that they went on to do a longer term investigation, analysing the results of 37 children who were suffering from severe atopic eczema. This study conducted over a one year period found that 49% of the children experienced at least 90% reduction in the severity of their eczema.

These studies demonstrated that T.C.H.M. is a valid therapeutic option available in the treatment of childhood eczema. But until earlier this year, researchers were still unsure how or why the treatment worked. Scientists at the Department of Immunology, UCL Medical School, London discovered that selected Chinese herbs have a significant effect on the production of white blood cells and thereby affect the immune system, reducing allergic responses and alleviating inflammation.

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Evidence suggests acupuncture reduces the symptoms of fibromyalgia, according to a Mayo Clinic study. Fibromyalgia is a disorder considered disabling by many, and is characterized by chronic, widespread musculoskeletal pain and symptoms such as fatigue, joint stiffness and sleep disturbance. No cure is known and available treatments are only partially effective.

Mayo's study involved 50 fibromyalgia patients enrolled in a randomized, controlled trial to determine if acupuncture improved their symptoms. Symptoms of patients who received acupuncture significantly improved compared with the control group, according to the study published in the June issue of Mayo Clinic Proceedings. "The results of the study convince me there is something more than the placebo effect to acupuncture," says David Martin, M.D., Ph.D., lead author of the acupuncture article and a Mayo Clinic anesthesiologist. "It affirms a lot of clinical impressions that this complementary medical technique is helpful for patients."

Increasingly, patients are interested in pursuing complementary medicine techniques in conjunction with their mainstream medical care, Dr. Martin says. But often, such techniques lack scientific evidence to justify a patient's expense and time. The study lends credence to patients' belief that nontraditional methods may improve their health. In Mayo's trial, patients who received acupuncture to counter their fibromyalgia symptoms reported improvement in fatigue and anxiety, among other symptoms. Acupuncture was well tolerated, with minimal side effects.

Mayo's acupuncture study is one of only three randomized and controlled studies involving fibromyalgia patients. Of the other studies, one found acupuncture to be helpful, while the other reported it was ineffective for pain relief. Dr. Martin says Mayo's study demonstrates that acupuncture is helpful, and also proves physicians can conduct a rigorous, controlled acupuncture study. Future research could help physicians understand which medical conditions respond best to acupuncture, how to apply it to best relieve symptoms, and how long patients can expect to their symptoms to decrease after each treatment. Dr. Martin performed the study at Mayo Clinic Rochester with co-authors Ines Berger, M.D.; Christopher Sletten, Ph.D.; and Brent Williams.

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Frozen shoulder (capsulttis) is generally considered to be a spontaneous, progressive pen-arthritis over the shoulder joint. The exact causes of this condition are still not fully under-stood, and conventional treatments include cortisone injections and physiotherapy, neither of which are particularly successful in the majority of cases. For this reason, researchers at the Department of Anaesthesiology, Taipei Municipal Chung-Hsing Hospital con-ducted a study to determine the relative pain relief effect of electroacupuncture (EAP), regional nerve block (RNB) and the combination of EAP + RNB for frozen shoulder.

One hundred and fifty patients with newly diagnosed frozen shoulder were randomly divided into 3 equal groups. Group I patients had RNB with stellate ganglion block and suprascapular nerve block by 1% xylocain 10 ml. Group II patients had EAP with local acupoint Chien-Yu, Chien-Ching, Chien-Nei-Ling, Ah-Shih Hsueh treatment and Group III patients had RNB+EAP performed with acupuncture first, then followed by the regional nerve block.

Range and mobility of the patients' shoulder movements were checked in all methods, and pain assessed using the four graded Bromage score for pain assessment- Grade I for completely pain-free; Grade 2 for slight pain (i.e. pain on motion); Grade 3 for moderate pain (i.e. pain on silence)and Grade 4 for severe pain (i.e. need analgesics).

The range of shoulder joint was also re-corded. Patients were requested for second treatment if pain recurred. The onset (time from injection to maximal pain relief), duration (time from injection to grade 3) Bromage score and side effects were also recorded.

The results showed that the combined electroacupuncture and RNB had significant high pain control quality, longer duration, and better range of movement of the shoulder joint than that of electroacupuncture or RNB performed alone. The results show how conventional and complementary medicines can work side by side to produce a superior therapeutic effect than either one can by itself.

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Acupuncture has traditionally been successfully employed in China to treat most illnesses. There is little doubt that acupuncture is an excellent therapy for people suffering with this condition as it works through the nervous system and energy channels in the body. Treatment has been shown to cause the brain to release endorphines and encephalins (natural pain killers), boost the immune system and calm the nervous system.

There are several studies suggesting that acupuncture can be very helpful in the treatment of arthritic conditions. For instance, in one study, 54 arthritic sufferers were given acupuncture (warm needling) with Zhuifengsu (Chinese herb) The success rate was found to be 100%. (1)

A study of auriculo-electropuncture (AEP) - treatment of points on the ear - by a double blind method was conducted in Russia with 16 arthritic patients. Not only did they all feel better as a result of the treatment but they all showed "statistically significant" improvement in blood samples. (2)

Traditional acupuncturists treat the whole person rather than a disease and therefore attempt to get to the root cause of the problem rather than treating the symptoms and, like other holistic practitioners, will consider all lifestyle and environmental factors before commencing treatment. Apart from the numerous clinical studies on acupuncture and gout patients, there are many emperical accounts of gout sufferers being helped with acupuncture and it would therefore appear to be an appropriate therapy to adopt in holistic treatment of gout.

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The effects of acupuncture on hayfever symptoms were investigated in a randomised, controlled, single blind study at three general practices in rural (Oxfordshire), semi-rural (Lincolnshire) and urban (Peterborough). 102 patients aged 16 or over, all with moderate to severe hay fever symptoms that had required continuous therapy for at least one month of the year for three years or more, participated in the study.

The patients were divided into two groups; the first group received standardised, Western acupuncture and the other group were used as controls and given "sham" acupuncture. All of the patients were asked to keep a diary recording the amount of medication they required, a daily symptom score and their assessment of the effect of the acupuncture treatment on their hay fever symptoms.

Four weeks after the commencement of the study, 39 percent of the treatment group and 45.2 percent of the "sham" acupuncture group reported remission of symptoms. 16 of the 43 patients in the treatment group, and 14 of the 43 patients in the control group felt that their treatment had had an "excellent" or "very good" effect on their hay fever.

The researchers acknowledged that the results of their study are not conclusive as the benefits could have been attributed to the placebo effect as well as the acupuncture treatment or simply to a natural or seasonal variation in what is obviously a fluctuating condition. More research will therefore be needed in this field to confirm any therapeutic benefits of acupuncture treatment for hay fever sufferers.

In another study to determine whether single point, Liver 3 (Taichong), acupuncture is effective for hayfever prophylaxis in a dedicated general practice clinic setting, 30 patients suffering from long-standing, moderate to severe hayfever were randomised to acupuncture or conventional therapy. Three, ten minute acupuncture treatments were given at weekly intervals during April 1993. Four of the fifteen acupuncture patients had complete remission of symptoms compared with none from the control group. The rest of the acupuncture group had a variable response, but a small, significant improvement in overall symptom score was demonstrated, as was a shortening of duration of hayfever symptoms. The start of the hayfever season for some patients was later than expected, which may have resulted in reduced effectiveness of the acupuncture, thus treatment may be better starting at the beginning of May to cover the peak of symptoms in early June. The results of this pilot study have shown that single point (Liver 3) acupuncture given for hayfever prophylaxis in a clinic setting was effective, safe, easily reproducible, acceptable and inexpensive (the material cost of the treatment was less than 5Op per patient). The study merits repeating on a larger scale.

Read more about Acupuncture and Allergy

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A new study published in the journal, Circulation, reports that scientists from the University of Nanjing, China, the Erlangen University Clinic, Germany and the Ottobeuren Clinic demonstrated a significant decrease in hypertension through the use of traditional Chinese medicine's healing form of acupuncture.

Robert W. Griffith, M.D. summarized the study for Health and Age and explained, "acupuncture given by experienced Chinese clinicians to patients with hypertension produces significant reductions in systolic and diastolic blood pressure."

The trial used seven physicians from the University of Nanjing with at least five years of traditional Chinese medical training, and 140 patients, 72 of whom received active acupuncture treatments and 68 who received "sham" treatments.

Griffith explained, "[t]he most pronounced difference was seen for the day-time systolic blood pressure, which was reduced in the active group by 7.3 mm Hg. In the sham treatment group all blood pressure measurements had increased by about 2 mm Hg."

The authors of the research trial proposed that "acupuncture may offer an alternative therapeutic option for hypertension," particularly for patients who are wary of the bothersome side effects of traditional drug therapy.

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Acupuncture has traditionally been successfully employed in China to treat most illnesses and there is little doubt that acupuncture is an excellent therapy for people suffering with this condition. There are several studies suggesting that acupuncture and Traditional Chinese Medicine can be very helpful in the treatment of Hypothyroidism. For instance, in a study at the Shanghai Medical University in China, 32 patients with hypothyroidism were treated over a period of one year with a Chinese herbal preparation to stimulate the kidney meridian (energy channel). The results were compared with a control group of 34 people. At the end of the study, the clinical symptoms of hypothyroidism were reported to be markedly improved confirming that "Hypothyroidism is closely related to deficiency of kidney energy".

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Of all the alternative therapies, acupuncture has been shown in controlled scientific studies to be effective in helping treat male and female infertility problems. Acupuncture has, of course, traditionally been successfully employed in China to treat most illnesses, but , in recent years, there have been several interesting controlled scientific studies demonstrating the clinical value of acupuncture for both male and female infertility problems.

For instance, in one study of female infertility, 53 patients with Luteal phase defect (LPD) were treated with different Chinese medicinal herbs at different phases of menstrual cycle. The patients were treated for three menstrual cycles and there was significant improvement in the luteal phase of endometrium, and a tendency for normalization of the wave forms and its amplitude after the treatment. The findings suggested that Chinese herbal medicines capable of replenishing the Kidney could regulate the hypothalamus-pituitary-ovarian axis and thus improve the luteal function. Among the 53 cases, 22 (41.5%) conceived but 68.18% of them required other measures to preserve the pregnancy.

Another study involved 45 infertile women suffering from oligoamenorrhea ( 27 cases ) or luteal insufficiency (18 cases ). Following a complete gynaecologic--endocrinologic examination, the women were treated with auricular acupuncture (treatment of points on the ear). Results were compared to those of 45 women who received hormone treatment. Both groups were matched for age, duration of infertility, body mass index, previous pregnancies, menstrual cycle and tubal patency. Women treated with acupuncture had 22 pregnancies whereas women treated with hormones had 20 pregnancies. It was also noted that side-effects were observed only during hormone treatment and various disorders of the autonomic nervous system normalized during acupuncture.

The study concluded that " auricular acupuncture seems to offer a valuable alternative therapy for female infertility due to hormone disorders" being more effective than hormone therapy and with no side effects.

Traditional acupuncturists treat the whole person rather than a disease and therefore attempt to get to the root cause of the problem rather than treating the symptoms and, like other holistic practitioners, will consider all lifestyle and environmental factors before commencing treatment.

Hachimijiogan, a Chinese herb, was shown in one study to benefit female infertility. Two infertile women (one with and one without a pituitary adenoma) who were resistant to medical treatment, were given Hachimijiogan which subsequently reduced the serum prolactin level, and resulted in a normal ovulatory cycle and pregnancy, without side effects.

In another study, 76 cases were treated by Traditional Chinese Medicine with a prescription named endometriotic pill No 1 made up of rhubarb as the main ingredient. The chief functions of the rhubarb were removing blood stasis, disintegrating mass and purgation. The total effective rate was 80.26%. Pelvic pain was reduced by 66.72%, and intercourse pain was reduced by 72.12%.The results revealed that the endometriotic pill No 1 yielded distinct improvement in the treatment of endometriosis, including clinical symptoms and signs. As far as men are concerned, the Chinese herb , Hochuekki-To, has also been shown in clinical studies to have a "favorable, direct effect on human sperm functions, suggesting an effect on the physiological integrity of sperm membrane."

Acupuncture treatment has also been demonstrated to improve quantity and quality of sperm. Another study in treating subfertility by acupuncture was carried out on 28 men. Each patient received a total of 10 treatments for a period of three weeks. Several spermiograms were made and the spermiograms and hormone levels were checked before and after acupuncture. Total count, concentration and motility were evaluated and in all cases the researchers observed a statistically significant improvement of sperm quality. There is therefore little doubt that acupuncture and Traditional Chinese Medicine would be an appropriate alternative treatment to consider for both male and female infertility.

CHINESE HERBS FOR SPERM MOTILITY...

A study at Taipei Medical College, Taiwan revealed that the Chinese herb, Cornus officinalis, can enhance the motility of human sperm and may, as a result, help infertile couples.

An aqueous extract was prepared from the dried fruits of the herb and used in this particular study. The crude extract at a final concentration of 0.5 microgram per microlitre in phosphate buffered saline (pH 7.4) solution increased sperm motility from 25.8 (+/- 7.7%) to 42.8 (+/- 10.3%). These results represent a 68 per cent improvement.

The crude extract was broken down by high-performance liquid chromatography (HPLC) into four fractions: C1, C2, C3 and C4. The effects of each of these four fractions on sperm motility were then studied. Only the C4 fraction showed substantial stimulatory effects on sperm motility. At a higher concentration of 5 mg per microlitre, C4 increased the sperm motility from 15.7 (+/- 3.8%) to 34.5 (+/- 6.4%) which represent a 120% increase.

This result suggests that C4 is the active component in Cornus officinalis which enhances sperm motility.

Editor's comment: No doubt a pharmaceutical company will start manufacturing C4 as a medicine for men who have poor sperm motility. However, perhaps the wisdom of Chinese medicine should be considered - greater power is contained in the natural state of being.

Read more about Acupuncture and Infertility

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Acupuncture treatment can aid sleep in healthy individuals, according to French researchers.

Auto massage of "point 7 heart" of acupuncture was studied in six healthy volunteers (average age 28 years) a randomised, double blind, and crossover protocol. Polygraph measurements of the subjects' night's sleep between 11pm and 7am were monitored whilst the subjects received two "PEBA" cones (Polyet her Block Amides; Isocones) fixed bilaterally at both of the "7 heart" points (the active treatment) or on the back of the hand (the placebo application). Two weeks later, the two groups switched treatment.

Cyclic alternating patterns (CAP) were also analysed on the electroencephalogram during non-REM sleep. Sleep efficiency increased in the active treatment group, due to a decrease in wakefulness, and an increase in total sleep time due to an increase in non-REM sleep. The number of CAP decreased in active treatment, as did the number of CAP sequences and the ratio of CAP du-ration to total sleep time (CAP rate) and to the duration of slow-wave sleep. These changes were not observed in the placebo group.

The researchers concluded that the application of Isocones at point 7 heart during the night could improve sleep patterns of healthy individuals.

Read more about Acupuncture and Psychology

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Acupuncture has traditionally been successfully employed in China to treat most illnesses. There is little doubt that acupuncture is an excellent therapy for people suffering with irritable bowel syndrome; in 1979 the World Health organisation listed 40 major diseases that could find relief by acupuncture treatment and diseases of the intestinal tract including irritable bowel syndrome were included in that number.

This is not surprising since acupuncture works through the nervous system and energy channels in the body and has also been shown to cause the brain to release endorphines and encephalins (natural pain killers), boost the immune system and calm the nervous system. It has also been established that all psycho-physiological health problems (which may be relevant in some cases of irritable bowel syndrome) are particularly suitable for acupuncture treatment.

Read more about Acupuncture and Digestion

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As Acupuncture has been shown to help neuralgic and arthritic pain, researchers decided to investigate the potential of acupuncture as a treatment for Metatarsalgia.

Fourteen patients aged between 12 and 82 years, all having been diagnosed with Metatarsalgia, took part in a small pilot study. No patients presented symptoms suggestive of gout (e.g. red or painful joints.), four patients had osteoparthritis of the proximal metatarsal joint, two had had previous surgery for hammer toes, but the remaining eight had no pathology which could be identified from examination or X-ray.

A one inch, 32 gauge needle was inserted fully across the forefoot at the base of the proximal 1st metatarsal-phalangeal joint, parallel to the plantar surface of the foot, left in place for 30-60 seconds before being removed without any further stimulation. A second point was sometimes used on the extensor surface of the big toe, but only if pain was elicited around the joint. Treatment was repeated at one or two weekly intervals, but stopped if no improvement was observed within three treatments.

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Acupuncture is becoming an increasingly popular form of treatment for migraine sufferers. In 1994 Danish researchers demonstrated that acupuncture was as effective in the treatment of migraine as the drug metoprolol and concluded that the treatment offers a valuable supplement to the list of migraine prophylactic tools. However, more recently, German researchers continued in this line of study by investigating the effects of acupuncture in preventing migraine attacks.

In the German study, patients with a history of migraine attacks were randomly selected to one of two groups ; one group received treatment involving a traditional deep needle insertion on acupuncture points, the other group were used as controls and given a placebo treatment using superficial needle insertion on non-acupuncture points. All of the patients kept a diary of headaches and migraine attacks before, during and after treatment for a period of one year.

The results revealed that there was a statistically significant therapeutic effect and marked decrease in migraine attacks observed in the patients in the acupuncture treatment group which was not observed in the placebo group. The researchers concluded that their results indicated that acupuncture is a useful interval therapeutical agent for migraine sufferers and called for further studies to be carried out to try and identify and understand the exact mechanism or trigger that is responsible for the treatment.

Read more about Acupuncture and Migraine Pain

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There have been numerous controlled studies confirming that acupuncture is effective in treating cardiovascular disease patients. Acupuncture has been shown to exert significant effects on the cardiovascular system and provide effective treatment for a wide variety of cardiovascular diseases including peripheral arterial disease.

In one study at the Human College of Traditional Chinese Medicine , Chansha, 40 patients with arteriosclerosis induced angina pectoris were assessed during and after acupuncture treatments. After only one treatment, 15 patients' angina pectoris were significantly alleviated both in degree and area, and after 7 treatments 63% of the patients' angina pectoris were not only significantly alleviated both in extent and area, but also in frequency and duration of attack. Furthermore, the time from the beginning of exercise to the anginal attack in the patients receiving acupuncture was longer than that in non-acupuncture group. The time from the end of exercise to the disappearance of angina pectoris in acupuncture group was also shorter than that in the other group.

Other studies have also concluded that acupuncture provides "significant improvement" in patients with peripheral arterial disease. Research at the Shanghai Medical University in China revealed that early treatment (ie. in the first three weeks) of acupuncture produces over 90% improvement whereas treatment commenced after three weeks gives 71% improvement rate. It is therefore important to seek early treatment whenever possible.

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A study was done with 42 postmenopausal women between the ages of 50-70. The study was conducted between March 1999-January 2000, and Zhong Yi Za Zhi, a journal of Chinese Medicine, administered it. All of the women who were diagnosed with osteoporosis were broken into two groups - the treatment and comparison group. The treatment group received acupuncture for six months. After six months, all the women in the treatment groups had in increase in bone density. As this study shows, acupuncture accompanied by supplementation of calcium and vitamin D is more effective for treating osteoporosis than without acupuncture treatment.

The goal of acupuncture is to prevent osteoporosis before it attacks. Specific points can stimulate the growth of bone tissues and replace the tissue loss to prevent the decrease in bone density. Acupuncture can also help strengthen muscles to help support body weight, causing less pressure on the bones. Acupuncture also helps patients who have been diagnosed with osteoporosis by easing pain.

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Of all the alternative therapies, acupuncture has been shown in controlled scientific studies to be one of the most effective in helping to treat hormonal disturbances. Acupuncture has, of course, traditionally been successfully employed in China to treat most illnesses, but , in recent years, there have been several interesting controlled scientific studies demonstrating the clinical value of acupuncture for PCO sufferers.

For instance, one study at the Department for Gynaecological Endocrinology and Reproduction, Women's Hospital, University of Heidelberg, Germany concluded that auricular acupuncture (treatment through the ear) offered a valuable alternative therapy for hormone disorders and was more effective than hormone therapy with no side effects.

In another study, it was demonstrated that Electro-Acupuncture Therapy (EAT) successfully helped regulate the hypothalamic-pituitary function and led to normal secretion of hormones in women with PCO. And further evidence was provided in yet another study in which 80 women with PCO were investigated and given acupuncture treatment coupled with diet therapy. Over 33% of the women were successfully treated and the report concluded that "acupuncture may be recommended as the first stage of treatment in PCO patients.

Read more about Acupuncture and PCOS

Traditional Chinese Medicine & Polycystic Ovaries

Traditional Chinese herbal medicines have also been shown to be useful in the treatment of PCO. Researchers at the Department of Obstetrics and Gynaecology, Shimane Medical University investigated the effects of a Chinese herb known as Shakuyaku-Kanzo-To in twenty infertile Japanese women who had been diagnosed as having Polycystic ovary syndrome(4). Shakuyaku-Kanzo-To was used as a means to lower plasma testosterone levels and hence to induce pregnancy. The Polycystic ovary was classified into two types; general cystic and peripheral cystic patterns. Plasma testosterone was decreased in 90 per cent of the women (18/20) and 25 per cent (5/20) went on to become pregnant. The plasma testosterone concentration in the case of the general cystic pattern was significantly higher than that of peripheral cystic pattern, and consequently the pregnancy rate in those with the general cystic pattern was found to be lower.

The researchers concluded that the efficacy of Shakuyaku-Kanzo-To seems to vary according to the type of Polycystic ovary syndrome treated, but is more effective in those women who had peripheral cystic patterns.

Read more about Acupuncture and PCOS

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There are several studies suggesting that acupuncture can be very helpful in the treatment of arthritis. For instance, a recent study in Russia found that 73% of patients suffering from Ankylosing Spondylitis benefitted from acupuncture treatment. When acupuncture was combined with UV light treatment the response rate increased to 93%.

In another study, 54 Rheumatoid Arthritis sufferers were given acupuncture (warm needling) with Zhuifengsu (chinese herb) The effective rate was found to be 100%.

A study of auriculo-electropuncture (AEP) - treatment of points on the ear - by a double blind method was conducted in Russia with 16 arthrits patients. Not only did they all feel better as a result of the treatment but they all showed "statistically significant" improvement in blood samples.

Traditional acupuncturists treat the whole person rather than a disease and therefore attempt to get to the root cause of the problem rather than treating the symptoms and, like other holistic practitioners, will consider all lifestyle and environmental factors before commencing treatment. Controlled medical tudies indicate that acupuncture is an appropriate therapy to adopt in holistic treatment of Arthritis.

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Researchers at the North Shore University Hospital, USA investigated the use of auricular acupuncture to help treat substance abuse. Patients with comorbid substance abuse problems who were admitted to a psychiatric unit of a general hospital over an 11-month period were offered treatment with auricular acupuncture.

Subsequently and retrospectively, the medical records of the patients were examined to assess compliance, side effects, impact on course, and acceptance of discharge recommendations. The patient's continuation of treatment in destination pro-grams was also followed.

All-in-all, seventy-seven patients were offered acupuncture: 30 patients refused or had four or fewer treatments (and were therefore used as a control group), and 47 patients had five or more acupuncture treatments.

The results showed that those patients in the treatment group did significantly better than the control group as indicated by the following findings:

--compliance with psychiatric/sub-stance abuse treatment on the unit was 75% in the treatment group vs. 20% in the control group

--noncompliance or AMA discharge rate was 2% in the treatment group vs. 40% in the control group

--acceptance of staffs discharge recommendations was 77% in the treatment group vs. 37% in the control group and

--58% of the treatment group patients remained in follow-up treatment for at least 4 months, vs. only 26% of the control group patients.

Side effects in the treated patients were negligible, and the researchers concluded that "auricular acupuncture appears to be a safe and inexpensive treatment modality that is easily administered and produces significant results" and went on to recommend its wider application in substance abuse treatment.

Read more about Acupuncture and Addictions

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Many non-conventional therapies are being increasingly integrated into orthodox medicine. One interesting development is the use of acupuncture which, when combined with steroid anti-inflammatory treatment by injection enables the patient to receive a much lower amount of cortisone than would otherwise be the case if acupuncture was not used.

In a controlled study, a group of 16 patients from a North of England general practice received acupuncture treatment for tennis elbow, followed by a small dose of corticosteroid with lignocaine to a residual tender spot at the elbow. These patients were compared with a similar group of 19 who received a larger dose to a tender spot at the lateral epicondyle, without any initial acupuncture treatment.

In the acupuncture with steroid group, 13 patients had benefited following two treatment sessions, two after three sessions and one was no better at the end of the permitted three treatments. In the steroid only group, 13 had had benefit after two sessions, three after three and three were unsuccessful.

The results suggest a trend towards increased and more rapid success in the acupuncture with steroid group, but once again the small number of patients precluded meaningful statistical analysis. The physical advantage in using acupuncture before administering local corticosteroid injection is that it allows a much lower dose of steroid to be used, with consequent reduction in the risk of tissue necrosis and inflammatory reaction.

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Acupuncture has traditionally been successfully employed in China to treat most illnesses. There is little doubt that acupuncture is an excellent therapy for people suffering with this condition; in 1979 the World Health organisation listed 40 major diseases that could find relief by acupuncture treatment and tinnitus was included in that number.

This is not surprising since acupuncture works through the nervous system and energy channels in the body and has also been shown to cause the brain to release endorphines and encephalins (natural pain killers), boost the immune system and calm the nervous system. There are also controlled research studies which have concluded that acupuncture is a "valuable therapeutic alternative in tinnitus".

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Acupuncture treats many conditions. Read the research and see for yourself. We are located in Broward County South Florida.