The scientific interest in Acupuncture is increasing. I used actual data from pubmed for this graph. The image shows number of studies on acupuncture from 1996 to 2012. I’ve excluded data from 2013, as it is still November.
No. Forrest Gump’s mother haven’t thought of him having acupuncture for his legs. But the movie advertised my services in another way. In one of the scenes, a poster in the window says: Use Vitalis!
Ok, a more serious post next time. I promise!
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
- pain, complex regional pain syndrome,
- insomnia, depression, stress, post-traumatic stress disorder
- cognitive and memory enhancement, autism
- acute ischemic stroke rehabilitation and prevention, low limb dysfunction of patients with stroke, apoplectic aphasia
- Parkinson’s disease
Acupuncture is much cheaper compared to transcranial therapies
- US$300 is a cost of a typical transcranial magnetic stimulation session
- NZ$70 (US$57) cost of a typical acupuncture session in New Zealand
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.
The HPA Axis (Hypothalamic–pituitary–adrenal axis) plays an important role in neurohormonal regulation. It’s involved in the neurobiology of anxiety disorder, bipolar disorder, insomnia, post traumatic stress disorder, borderline personality disorder, ADHD, major depressive disorder, burnout, chronic fatigue syndrome, fibromyalgia, irritable bowel syndrome, and alcoholism.
Other recent studies on mechanism of acupuncture have shown that acupuncture triggers an increase in neurotransmitter adenosine an incredible 24-fold, it normalises the sympathetic nervous system to help PCOS patients and restores ovulation.
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 effectively. 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 in the official advise from the National Institute for Health and Clinical Excellence (Nice).
“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”
(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.