Acupuncture treatment for heart failure

Acupuncture Heart

Heart Acupuncture BMJAcupuncture remarkably improves exercise tolerance in patients with heart failure says Dr Johannes Backs from University Hospital of Heidelberg in Germany.

His placebo controlled study included 17 patients with congestive heart failure. The patients were randomised to receive acupuncture or placebo – a needle that simulates the procedure without piercing the skin.

No improvement in cardiac ejection fraction or peak oxygen uptake was seen. But the six minute walk distance was ‘remarkably increased’ in the acupuncture group by 32m on average, compared to a drop of 1m in the placebo group.

Dr Johannes Backs said: ‘This is the first indication that acupuncture may improve exercise tolerance in CHF patients- when given in addition to optimised standard heart failure medication.’

Previous studies summarised by American researchers in Cardiology In Review have suggested that acupuncture could be sympatholytic in heart failure. They found that sympathetic activation during acute mental stress was virtually eliminated after acupuncture.

Another review published in Heart and Lung found that acupuncture was also holding a promise as a treatment for cardiac arrhythmias. According to the eight studies reviewed, 87% to 100% of participants converted to normal sinus rhythm after acupuncture.

(Ref: Cardiol Rev. 2004 May-Jun;12(3):171-3.; Heart doi:10.1136/hrt.2009.187930; Heart Lung. 2008 Nov-Dec;37(6):425-31. Epub 2008 Sep 11.)

The study can be found in Heart / British Medical Journal

Regulation and registration of Acupuncture under New Zealand law (HPCA Act)

NZ acupuncture regulation and registration Ministry of HealthThis Wednesday (Aug 8, 2007) New Zealand Minister of Health has approved HPCAA) 2003.

Once acupuncturists are regulated and required to be registered, the standard of acupuncture in New Zealand will significantly improve. Currently one does not need any formal qualification to practice acupuncture in NZ. If you have seen acupuncture on TV, you can probably open a clinic. It may take anywhere between a few months and a couple of years before acupuncture is regulated.

In New Zealand there is a number of acupuncturists who are not fluent in English. These practitioners violate the patients’ Right to Effective Communication. It may become illegal for these acupuncturists to practice acupuncture under the new law.

The new registration and regulation of acupuncture under the HPCA Act to ensure that:

  • acupuncturists have the right qualifications to provide their services
  • maintain and develop acupuncture skills and competence
  • acupuncturist are physically and mentally able to work

Currently acupuncture industry is self-regulated. There are a few organisations offering voluntary membership including New Zealand Register of Acupuncture Incorporated and New Zealand Acupuncture Standards Authority Incorporated. Membership in either of these organisations allows its members to become ACC acupuncture providers. Currently neither of the organisations has an authority to register an acupuncture practitioner as a health care provider under HPCA Act, even though their names may imply the opposite.

Update (10 June 2010):

From NZ Register of Acupuncture newsletter: “…we  have  been  asked  to  reapply  for  regulation  under  the Health  Practitioners  Competence Assurance Act. Although Acupuncture was approved in 2007, the subsequent review and the recommendations which came out of the review have meant that we need to resubmit our application to show that we meet the new criteria… “

Unfortunately acupuncture regulation is delayed again!

Update (4 November 2011)

From NZ Acupuncture Standards Authority newsletter: *no decision about regulation will be made this year*, and further information has been called for regarding blended authorities. The Minister has clearly stated that no new Boards/Councils will be established, and therefore Chinese Medicine must be blended into an existing HPCA registration Board or Council.

This means that a current HPCA Board/Council will have to agree to host Chinese Medicine. This agreement will form part of the advice given to the Minister of Health.

Once the Ministry has completed its processes, the final decision regarding regulation is in the hands of the Minister of Health, regardless of the advice and recommendation from the Ministry of Health team.

Acupuncture meridians ARE REAL! See?

acupuncture-meridians-714289What you see on the photo on the left IS acupuncture meridian. Korean scientists discovered a way to make pictures of acupuncture meridians to help visualise them.

What is Acupuncture meridian?
If you have read anything about acupuncture you would have heard about acupuncture meridians. Acupuncture meridians are the lines which connect the acupuncture points with each other as well as with internal organs. Physiologically these are the lines that the acupuncture sensation travels when acupuncture points are stimulated.

How did scientists make a photo of an acupuncture meridian?
Korean researchers found a way to reveal the anatomy of these meridians and to visualise them in this breakthrough study. They used fluorescent magnetic nanoparticles to detect a tissue which was not detectable using stereomicroscopes.

Reference: Evid Based Complement Alternat Med. 2007 March; 4(1): 77–82

Parkinson’s disease – acupuncture helps to regulate dopamine

Lead researcher Sabina Lim at Kyung Hee University in Seoul used a standard mouse model of inducing Parkinson’s disease, in which injections of a chemical known as MPTP kill off brain cells that manufacture dopamine.

Some of the injected mice were then administered acupuncture specific to treatment of Parkinson’s.

Another group of mice received acupuncture in two spots on the hips, not believed to be effective for Parkinson’s, while a third group had no acupuncture at all.

By the end of seven days, the MPTP injections had decreased dopamine levels both in the mice that had not had acupuncture, and in the mice that received ‘pretend’ acupuncture, to about half the normal amount. But in the acupuncture-treated group, dopamine levels declined much less steeply, and nearly 80% of the dopamine remained.

The study has been published in Brain Research1. (ANI)

New Zealand GPs embrace acupuncture

Survey of 300 GPs revealed that 95% of doctors referred patients to one or more forms of complementary and alternative medicines, while 20% practiced forms themselves.

The type most commonly performed by GPs is acupuncture.
The research was published in a medical journal on Friday.

I dug out this picture from my archives. This is me and my good friend Dr. John on the graduation day in the University of Chinese medicine in Beijing. Posted by Hello

Madonna, Gwyneth Paltrow and Cher are having weekly “acupuncture facelifts” to ward off their wrinkles.

Read the story on Telegraph | Health | A few pointers for a new face