Acupuncture Research Archives

Acupuncture Improves Strength Training

This from the European Journal of Applied Physiology:
Immediate effects of acupuncture on strength performance: a randomized, controlled crossover trial.
Hübscher M, Vogt L, Ziebart T, Banzer W.

Department of Sports Medicine, Goethe-University Frankfurt, Ginnheimer Landstrasse 39, 60487, Frankfurt, Germany,

The present study investigated the immediate efficacy of acupuncture compared to sham acupuncture and placebo laser acupuncture on strength performance. A total of 33 recreational athletes (25.2 +/- 2.8 years; 13 women) were randomized to receive acupuncture, sham acupuncture (needling at non-acupuncture points) and placebo laser acupuncture (deactivated laser device) in a double-blind crossover fashion with 1 week between trials. Assessment included bipedal drop jumps for maximum rebound height and quadriceps maximum isometric voluntary force (MIVF). Furthermore, surface electromyography (EMG) was used to measure the EMG activity of the rectus femoris muscle during a 30-s sustained MIVF of the knee extensors. Mean power frequency (MPF) analysis was applied to characterize muscular endurance. Measurements were performed at baseline and immediately after treatment by a blinded investigator. Repeated measures ANOVA and post hoc paired-sample t test with Bonferroni-Holm correction were used for statistical analysis. The difference in the mean change in MIVF from baseline between acupuncture (46.6 N) and sham laser acupuncture (19.6 N) was statistically significant (p < 0.05), but no significant difference was found between acupuncture (46.6 N) and sham acupuncture (28.8 N). ANOVA did not show statistically significant treatment effects for drop jump height or MPF. The present study shows that a single acupuncture treatment was efficacious for improving isometric quadriceps strength in recreational athletes. These results might have implications not only for athletic performance enhancement, but also for rehabilitation programs aimed at restoring neuromuscular function.

Acupuncture has been clinically proven for two thousand years to be an effective solution for many pain conditions.   It is also very effective for treating conditions and symptoms that modern medical treatment offers few desirable treatments.

A study out of Sloan-Kettering compared acupuncture to standard care for pain and dry mouth in cervical neck cancer surgery patients.    The authors concluded “Significant reductions in pain, dysfunction, and xerostomia were observed in patients receiving acupuncture versus usual care”.    Acupuncture certainly has a place aside modern medicine to provide better care for many surgical patients.

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Research published last week out of Stanford University concluded that acupuncture is an effective treatment for depression during pregnancy. This was reported in Science Daily.

In our clinical practice we certainly find that women who get regular treatments during pregnancy report a much greater well being.   Certainly we’ve helped women stay off anti-depressant medication, which now unfortunately is given as a preventative. Read the rest of this entry

Acupuncture’s Effect on the Brain

Acupuncture works because of a multitude of physiological effects on the body from the nervous system to cellular signaling in the connective tissue.   A recent study  published this week lays out some of the effects acupuncture has on the brain.

You can also read the Science Daily report on this study here.

Acupuncture Proven to Reduce Hot Flashes

Acupuncture has been used for thousands of years to help with gynecological issues because it is a powerful treatment modality with often beneficial ‘side-effects’.    A recent randomized control trial compared the effectiveness of acupuncture combined with customary care compared to only customary care for menopausal hot flashes.   They found a significant improvement in hot flashes in the acupuncture group as compared to the control group.   However not only did the acupuncture group have fewer hot flashes, but they also reported fewer urogenital problems, somatic problems, and psychological problems.   These are clear reasons why acupuncture has stood the test of time as an effective treatment for menopausal issues.

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In a 3 month study of 50 female breast cancer patients comparing acupuncture to the drug Venlafaxine (Effexor) acupuncture proved to be as good if not better in all categories of measured outcomes.   Both groups had significant improvements in “hot flashes, depressive symptoms, and other quality-of-life symptoms, including significant improvements in mental health”.     Two weeks post treatment the acupuncture group still had minimal hot flashes whereas the Effexor group had an increase in hot flashes.   Also there were no adverse effects (“side effects”) in the acupuncture group, whereas the Effexor group had 18 adverse reactions.    The acupuncture group also increased the sex drive of women whereas the Effexor group had no effect. Read the rest of this entry

“Clinical and endocrinological changes after electro-acupuncture treatment in patients with osteoarthritis of the knee” Sadia Ahsinab et al, Pain, Sept 2009
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In a study with 80 subjects diagnosed with major depression the use of acupuncture reduced the amount of fluoxetine required as well as reducing the duration of administration.   The authors concluded: “…acupuncture to low-dose fluoxetine for depression is as effective as a recommended dose of fluoxetine treatment. Depressive patients with severe anxious symptoms and/or intolerable side-effects of antidepressants can benefit from it.”

Read the study here. (journal subscription required)

From Science Daily

Acupuncture has been used for over two millennia in East-Asian medicine to treat pain. Using brain imaging, researchers have provided novel evidence that traditional Chinese acupuncture affects the brain’s long-term ability to regulate pain. Their findings show acupuncture acts as more than a placebo, and can activate receptors in the brain that process and dampen pain signals.

Read the entire article here

Acupuncture Beneficial for Insomnia

In a sham-controlled study involving 60 adult subjects reporting insomnia for 3 or more nights per week for a period of at least 3 months, treatment with acupuncture (electroacupuncture), 3 times per week for a period of 3 weeks, was found to improve sleep. Subjects were divided into 2 groups. One group received real acupuncture (electroacupuncture at points: Yin Tang, DU-20, bilateral ear Shen Men, Sishencong, Anmian), while the other group received a sham treatment (“placebo acupuncture” at the same acupuncture points with Streitberger needles that do not pierce through the skin). As compared to pre-treatment, subjects in both groups reported significant improvements in sleep. Improvements were measured according to sleep diaries, 3-day actigraphy, self-reported questionnaires, and scores on the Insomnia Severity Index. Subjects who received real acupuncture were found to have significantly greater improvement, assessed via sleep diary and actigraphy. Moreover, a significantly greater percentage of subjects in the real acupuncture group were found to have sleep efficiency of 85% or greater, and a significantly greater percentage were found to have less than 30 minutes of wake after onset of sleep. These results suggest that acupuncture may be a safe and effective treatment for patients with primary insomnia – a debilitating disorder that has wide-ranging adverse implications. The authors conclude, “Because of some limitations of the current study, further studies are necessary to verify the effectiveness of acupuncture for insomnia
Source: VitaSearch

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