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Acupuncture – Pentagon’s new weapon

acupuncture skeptic

US Air Force doctors will have a new medical weapon in their arsenal: acupuncture. Military physicians, pleased with the success of treating wounded troops at home, will begin teaching battlefield medics how to fight severe or chronic pain by inserting tiny acupuncture needles under soldiers’ skin, the Baltimore Sun reports.

“This is one of the fastest pain attenuators in existence,” a surgeon said, adding that relief lasts for days.

Update: Jul 21, 2009 |
Please listen to a report by Stephanie Marudas | NPR

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Acupuncture five times better than typical care for neck pain after surgery

acupuncture and neck pain after surgery

It is hard to quantify the effect of acupuncture. This is why this study reported by scientists from Cancer Center in New York is so interesting.

After four weeks, 39 percent of neck surgery patients who got acupuncture reported improvements in pain and mobility, compared with only 7 percent in people who got typical care. This means that a patient after neck surgery and radiotherapy is five and a half times more likely to feel significantly better, than a patient who is receiving regular treatment. Furthermore, the study also showed that other symptoms like xerostomia significantly improved (xerstomia is extreme dry mouth which often occurs in patients who have had radiation treatment for head and neck cancer).

The results of the study were presented at a meeting of the American Society of Clinical Oncology in Chicago.

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Acupuncture + surgery = less pain, less drugs, less side effects

Duke University Medical Centre in North Carolina analysed the results of 15 clinical trials on the effectiveness of acupuncture. The researchers concluded that patients getting acupuncture before or during various types of operations had significantly less pain afterwards than patients who did not get acupuncture.

Acupuncture also reduced other side effects associated with the pain drugs and surgery. Acupuncture patients experienced 1.5 times lower rates of nausea, 1.6 times fewer reports of dizziness and 3.5 times fewer cases of urinary retention compared to patients had surgery and no acupuncture.

“The use of acupuncture is still very under-appreciated…” Dr. Tong-Joo Gan, vice chairman of Duke’s anaesthesiology department said in an interview to Reuters

The research was presented at a conference of the American Society for Anaesthesiology in San Francisco.