I have written about menopausal hot flushes before. My observation was that the combination of acupuncture and herbal formula was the most effective way to treat menopausal symptoms including the hot flushes.
The latest issue of Menopause (peer reviewed American journal) has published a new study comparing effectiveness of acupuncture and Chinese herbal medicine treatment for the hot flushes.
The study concludes that acupuncture is effective, but fails fo find benefit of the herbal supplement. Perhaps it was due to the fact that they haven’t used differentiation of syndromes and used a single herb instead of a more common practice of prescribing a formula composed of a few herbs.
Differentiation of syndromes is very important in Chinese medicine. In a recent study researchers from Universty of Adelaide found that differentiation of syndromes was essential to the effectiveness of herbal medicines for fertility.
Interested to know more about acupuncture, herbs and hot flushes? Ask your question in comments.
Reference: journal of Menopause (2013 May 13) Effects of acupuncture and Chinese herbal medicine (Zhi Mu 14) on hot flushes and quality of life in postmenopausal women: results of a four-arm randomized controlled pilot trial
There are a number of new studies on transcranial direct current stimulation and on transcranial magnetic stimulation. The newly discovered benefits of these therapies include pain relief, treatment for major depression, cognitive enhancement (including speeding up learning, creativity enhancement, and improving mathematical abilities, etc.).
Are these new transcranial therapies really novel? The treatment seems to be strikingly similar to scalp electro acupuncture, which has been used safely and effectively for decades.
We have numerous studies supporting scalp acupuncture for treatment of conditions such as
Acupuncture is much cheaper compared to transcranial therapies
As brain mapping techniques are becoming more accessible and we’re getting a better understanding of the human brain. This opens opportunities to design new treatments for numerous other conditions with electro-acupuncture, transcranial current stimulation and transcranial magnetic stimulation.
The image: mapping of the White Matter fibers
Acupuncture is great at reducing stress. Even the patients who are seeing me for treatment of other health issues with acupuncture such as infertility report reduced stress. One of the first things they often notice is that sleep improves and they experience reduced irritability. They feel more relaxed at work and at home.
Even though we had viable theories how and why acupuncture helps stress, we know very little about what exactly happens on the cellular level. Researchers at the Georgetown University Medical Center made a major contribution to understanding how acupuncture helps stress. They discovered that acupuncture interferes with the mechanism of stress. It blocks the chronic, stress-induced elevations of the HPA axis hormones and the sympathetic NPY pathway. More »
Acupuncture for Bell’s palsy has been recommended for Bell’s Palsy by World Health Organisation since 2002. There were a number of controlled trials which looked into it’s effectiveness. The latest study published in the Canadian Medical Association Journal has shown no only that acupuncture is effective for Bell’s Palsy. It also showed, that stronger acupuncture stimulation was leading to significantly better results.
This finding will help us to treat Bell’s Palsy with acupuncture more effectivelly. It is also important, because it adds to the evidence that acupuncture effect is much more than just a placebo.
Xu SB, et al “Effectiveness of strengthened stimulation during acupuncture for the treatment of Bell palsy: A randomized controlled trial” CMAJ 2013; DOI: 10.1503/cmaj.121108
Painkillers often will make the headaches worse, a general practitioner from UK warns:
“Instead of taking these over-the-counter drugs to combat symptoms when they flare up, sufferers should try treatments that help prevent headaches in the first place – including acupuncture – according to official advice from the National Institute for Health and Clinical Excellence (Nice).” (Source: The Telegraph)
Lear more about how acupuncture helps headaches.
Fertility treatment and especially IVF can be seriously tough and complicated journey. Making the right and informed decisions right at the beginning may save you years of treatment. A minibook “Must-Ask Questions for IVF Newbies” was recommended by one of my patients. This little gem will answer many of your questions and give you ideas about the questions you need to ask your doctor.
Your reproductive endocrinologist will be able to do more for you if you take an active role in your treatment. This book is about your first step of taking a seat of a co-pilot rather than a passenger in your fertility journey.
The “Must-Ask Questions for IVF Newbies” for your PC or a multimedia tablet is available for $2.99 from Amazon.
Acupuncture improves IVF success rates. One of my Acupuncture and IVF patients has emailed me this video I’m happy to share here.
If you would like to learn more about acupuncture and IVF research, check out this website.
The researchers used evaluated cognitive function, life quality and measured 8-OHdG (markers of oxidative stress in the urine) before and after acupuncture. Their findings confirmed that acupuncture reduces the levels of 8-OHdG and improves cognitive function and quality of life in vascular dementia patients.
The findings were published in the current issue of the Journal of Traditional Chinese Medicine [2012, 32(2):199-202].
Depression and anxiety after stroke are common and affect about a third of stroke survivors. While acupuncture to help stroke recovery has been well researched and recognised, specific studies to show acupuncture to treat post stroke depression are not as abundant. Researchers from China have searched the studies to perform an analysis and review.
They discovered that almost all of the studies compared acupuncture to using of antidepressant medications, and that acupuncture was as effective as medications, but with fewer side effects and adverse reactions.
Obviously at the early stage of the disease most of the post stroke patients will have a difficulty to travel to an acupuncturist to have treatments. But those who are lucky enough to have an acupuncturist travel to their hospital to help their stroke recovery, should remind acupuncturist to take their mental state into account when designing a treatment plan.
The latest issue of World Journal of Acupuncture-Moxibustion reports another study on acupuncture for menstrual pain.
Dysmenorrhea is a medical term for menstrual pain. Dysmenorrhea is differentiated into primary and secondary. When the doctors can diagnose a condition which causes the period pain, they call it secondary dysmenorrhea. When there is no clear cause for pain, the period pain is called primary dysmenorrhea.
The researchers from Chengzhong People’s Hospital researched 66 women suffering from primary dysmenorrhea. They found that all of the patients improved after a few acupuncture sessions. They concluded that acupuncture was effective in alleviating pain in primary dysmenorrhea patients. The results appear in the latest issue of World Journal of Acupuncture-Moxibustion.
Liver fibrosis happens when the proteins including collagen surrounding liver cells start to accumulate excessively. Liver fibrosis is often a result of all types of liver diseases.
Science used to consider liver fibrosis to be irreversible condition, but recent evidence suggests the opposite.
Acupuncture has been increasingly used to treat chronic liver diseases. And we’re obviously interested to know how acupuncture can be helpful with liver fibrosis. A study published in the current issue of peer-reviewed international journal Acupuncture in Medicine tried to understand what exactly acupuncture does in combination with curcumin for liver fibrosis.
They found that acupuncture significantly enhances curcumin effects for liver fibrosis. They also found biochemical changes at the cellular level. The effects were attributed to acupuncture and curcumin disrupting platelet-derived growth factor ? receptor/extracellular signal-regulated kinase signalling and stimulates extracellular matrix degradation. Curcumin is the principal active ingredient of turmeric. This is yet another great example of how acupuncture and herbal medicines go hand in hand and enhance each others effect.
Ref: Acupuncture combined with curcumin disrupts platelet-derived growth factor ? receptor/extracellular signal-regulated kinase signalling and stimulates extracellular matrix degradation in carbon tetrachloride-induced hepatic fibrosis in rats. Acupuncture in Medicine doi:10.1136/acupmed-2012-010167
We already have some research to back up use of acupuncture use for weight loss. Some patients who try acupuncture for weight loss get great results.
Thanks, Stephen for the emailed video. It is funny that acupuncturist in the video actually would benefit from some weight loss himself
Acupuncture has made its way into mainstream in military medicine in USA as a battlefield pain relief.
The explanation why military embraces acupuncture may be simple: “As some top medical officers put it, though, there’s nothing like pain to make someone open-minded”
Listen to npr radio report covering this topic here:
Acupuncture is more effective in prevention of chronic migraine headaches and is 10 times safer compared to topiramate treatment. These are the findings of a study published in the current issue of Cephalalgia, a journal for International Headache Society. The researchers compared acupuncture with topiramate. They call for acupuncture to be considered a treatment option for chronic migraine patients, even for those patients with medication overuse.
Studies have shown that addressing tension in the neck, which often accompanies migraines and headaches can be very helpful reducing the severity and frequency of the headaches. I can see in my practice that combining acupuncture with gentle mobilisation of the neck muscles is the most effective way to manage acute migraine and to prevent migraines. It will be interesting to see more studies looking into the combination of these treatments in the future.
The use of acupuncture anesthesia for open heart surgery was introduced in China four decades ago. Although the use of it has declined in recent years, there is a renewed interest in it in China due to the escalating medical costs associated with open heart surgery.
This study designed by scientists from China and USA (Department of Cardiothoracic Surgery, Shu Guang Hospital and George Washington University, Washington, USA) has sheded some new light on a combined approach of acupuncture plus local anaesthesia in patients undergoing open heart operation under cardiopulmonary bypass.
Compared with the general anesthesia patients, the acupuncture and local anaesthesia patients used less of narcotic drugs and shorter stay in intensive care unit. Surprisingly they also had less postoperative pulmonary infection. Using acupuncture to aid with open heart surgery reduced cost of the treatment significantly.
The results of the study were published in the current issue of International Journal of Cardiology.