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Rescooped by Shaftesbury Clinic from Paediatric acupuncture - acupuncture and acupressure for children!

Pediatric Laser Acupuncture and Renal Biopsy | Clinical Trials Search | UCSF Medical Center

Pediatric Laser Acupuncture and Renal Biopsy | Clinical Trials Search | UCSF Medical Center | Acupuncturist |

Pediatric Laser Acupuncture and Renal Biopsy

STATUS: Recruiting

University of California, San Francisco


The purpose of this study is to test if treatment with laser therapy in pediatric patients undergoing renal biopsies will improve patient satisfaction of the overall procedure. In this study, the participant will receive a laser acupuncture treatment targeting either kidney acupoints or targeting "sham" points not associated with the kidney; the participant will not get both. Both treatment sessions are given by a certified medical acupuncturist. The patient will still receive standard pain control protocols with anesthetic medications like lidocaine plus ketamine or fentanyl and versed during the biopsy, along with pain management after the procedure. All medication will be administered without regard for which group the participant has been randomized, as the treatment team will also be blinded. Hypothesis: We will test the hypothesis that treatment with laser acupuncture in patients undergoing renal biopsies will improve patient satisfaction of the overall procedure. Specific Aims: Specific Aim 1: Determine whether the use of laser acupuncture improves patient's overall satisfaction of renal biopsy. Specific Aim 2: Determine whether the use of laser acupuncture decreases the amount of sedative medication given during renal biopsy.

Study Design

Allocation: Randomized, Endpoint Classification: Efficacy Study, Intervention Model: Parallel Assignment, Masking: Double Blind (Subject, Caregiver, Investigator), Primary Purpose: Supportive Care

Official Title

Efficacy of Laser Therapy as an Adjuvant Treatment During Kidney Biopsies to Decrease Anxiety and Pain.


Ages Eligible for Study: 7 Years - 25 Years

Genders Eligible for Study


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Rescooped by Shaftesbury Clinic from Acupuncture and the endocrine system; hormones!

Effects of Acupuncture on Leucopenia, Neutropenia, NK, and B Cells in Cancer Patients: A Randomized Pilot Study

Effects of Acupuncture on Leucopenia, Neutropenia, NK, and B Cells in Cancer Patients: A Randomized Pilot Study | Acupuncturist |

Evidence-Based Complementary and Alternative Medicine (eCAM) is an international, peer-reviewed journal that seeks to understand the sources and to encourage rigorous research in this new, yet ancient world of complementary and alternative medicine.


Chemotherapy is one of most significant therapeutic approaches to cancer. Immune system functional state is considered a major prognostic and predictive impact on the success of chemotherapy and it has an important role on patients’ psychoemotional state and quality of life. In Chinese medicine, chemotherapy is understood as “toxic cold” that may induce a progressive hypofunctional state of immune system, thus compromising the fast recovery of immunity during chemotherapy. In this study, we performed a standardized acupuncture and moxibustion protocol to enhance immunity in cancer patients undergoing chemotherapy and to assess if the improvement of immunity status correlates with a better psychoemotional state and quality of life.


Our pilot study suggests that acupuncture and moxibustion may (1) stimulate anticancer immunity, (2) promote a myeloprotective effect, (3) improve the psychoemotional status and quality of life, and (4) minimize chemotherapy side effects.

This study protocol proved to be feasible and safe for CRC patients.

A larger and long-term acupuncture trial is needed to clarify acupuncture’s immunomodulatory effects in CRC. If this effect is ultimately established, then this treatment may serve as a possible complementary therapy for CRC treatment and possibly contribute to improving patients’ prognosis and quality of life.

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Rescooped by Shaftesbury Clinic from Acupuncture and dermatology!

Acupuncture compared to oral antihistamine for type I hypersensitivity itch and skin response in adults with atopic dermatitis – a patient and examiner blinded, randomized, placebo-controlled, cros...

Acupuncture compared to oral antihistamine for type I hypersensitivity itch and skin response in adults with atopic dermatitis – a patient and examiner blinded, randomized, placebo-controlled, cros... | Acupuncturist |

Allergy. Author manuscript; available in PMC Apr 1, 2013. Published in final edited form as:Allergy. Apr 2012; 67(4): 566–573.Published online Feb 8, 2012. doi:  10.1111/j.1398-9995.2012.02789.xPMCID: PMC3303983NIHMSID: NIHMS347294Acupuncture compared to oral antihistamine for type I hypersensitivity itch and skin response in adults with atopic dermatitis – a patient and examiner blinded, randomized, placebo-controlled, crossover trialFlorian Pfab, MD,1,2,3 Marie-Therese Kirchner,3 Johannes Huss-Marp, MD,1,3 Tibor Schuster, PhD,4 Peter C. Schalock, MD,5 Jiang Fuqin, MD,1,3 Georgios I. Athanasiadis, MD,1 Heidrun Behrendt, MD,3 Johannes Ring, MD, PhD,1 Ulf Darsow, MD,1,3 and Vitaly Napadow, PhD2Author information ► Copyright and License information ► The publisher's final edited version of this article is available at AllergySee other articles in PMC that cite the published article. Go to:AbstractBackground

Itch is the major symptom of atopic dermatitis (AD). Acupuncture has been shown to exhibit a significant effect on experimental itch in AD. Our study evaluated acupuncture and anti-histamine itch therapy (cetirizine) on type-I-hypersensitivity itch and skin reaction in AD using a patient and examiner blinded, randomized, placebo-controlled, crossover trial.


Allergen–induced itch was evaluated in 20 AD patients after several interventions in separate sessions: preventive (preceding) and abortive (concurrent) verum acupuncture (VAp and VAa), cetirizine (10mg, VC), corresponding placebo interventions (preventive, PAp, and abortive, PAa, placebo acupuncture; placebo cetirizine pill, PC), and a no-intervention control (NI). Itch was induced on the forearm and temperature modulated over 20 minutes, using our validated model. Outcome parameters included itch intensity, wheal and flare size, and the D2 Attention test.


Mean itch intensity (SE: 0.31 each) was significantly lower following VAa (31.9) compared to all other groups (PAa: 36.5; VC: 36.8; VAp: 37.6; PC: 39.8; PAp: 39.9; NI: 45.7, p<0.05). There was no significant difference between VAp and VC (p>0.1), though both therapies were significantly superior to their respective placebo interventions (p<0.05). Flare size following VAp was significantly smaller (p=0.034) than PAp. D2 attention test score was significantly lower following VC compared to all other groups (p<0.001).


Both VA and cetirizine significantly reduced type-I-hypersensitivity itch in AD patients, compared to both placebo and NI. Timing of acupuncture application was important, as VAa had the most significant effect on itch, potentially due to counter-irritation and/or distraction. Itch reduction following cetirizine coincided with reduced attention.

Keywords: Itch, allergen, acupuncture, atopic eczema, cetirizine, attention

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Rescooped by Shaftesbury Clinic from Acupuncture for pain!

Acupuncture and massage therapy for neuropathic pain following spinal cord injury: an exploratory study -- Norrbrink and Lundeberg 29 (2): 108 -- Acupuncture in Medicine

Acupuncture and massage therapy for neuropathic pain following spinal cord injury: an exploratory study -- Norrbrink and Lundeberg 29 (2): 108 -- Acupuncture in Medicine | Acupuncturist |

Home > Volume 29, Issue 2 > ArticleAcupunct Med 2011;29:108-115 doi:10.1136/aim.2010.003269Original papersAcupuncture and massage therapy for neuropathic pain following spinal cord injury: an exploratory studyCecilia Norrbrink1,2, Thomas Lundeberg3

+Author Affiliations

1Department of Clinical Sciences, Karolinska Institutet, Danderyd Hospital, Stockholm, Sweden2Neuro-Spinal Division, Department of Physical Therapy, Karolinska University Hospital, Stockholm, Sweden3Foundation for Acupuncture and Alternative Biological Treatment Methods, Sabbatsbergs Hospital, Stockholm, SwedenCorrespondence toCecilia Norrbrink, Department of Clinical Sciences, Karolinska Institutet, Danderyd Hospital, Stockholm 18288, Sweden; cecilia.norrbrink@ki.seAccepted 11 February 2011Published Online First 6 April 2011Abstract

Objective The study sought to explore the possibility of using acupuncture and massage therapy for relieving neuropathic pain following spinal cord injury (SCI).

Design 30 individuals with SCI and neuropathic pain were assigned to treatment of either massage or acupuncture, with 15 individuals in each group. Both groups received treatment twice weekly for 6 weeks. Treatments were evaluated at the end of treatment and 2 months later (follow-up).

Results Data were analysed on an intention-to-treat basis. Within the groups, ratings of present pain, general pain, pain unpleasantness and coping improved significantly at the end of treatment after acupuncture compared to baseline values, and following massage therapy ratings of pain interference on the Multidimensional Pain Inventory improved. At follow-up no significant improvements were seen.

Between-group differences were seen regarding ratings of worst pain intensity at the end of treatment, and regarding pain unpleasantness and coping with pain at follow-up, both in favour of acupuncture.

At the end of treatment, eight of the 15 individuals receiving acupuncture and nine receiving massage reported an improvement on the Patient Global Impression of Change Scale, and at follow-up six patients in the acupuncture group and one patient in the massage group still reported a favourable effect from the treatment.

Few side effects were reported and neither dropout from the study did this due to adverse events.

Conclusion Neuropathic pain following SCI is often only partially responsive to most interventions. Results from this study indicate, however, that both acupuncture and massage therapy may relieve SCI neuropathic pain. For this reason, larger randomised controlled trials are warranted for assessing the long-term effects of these treatments.


We lack knowledge of how to treat neuropathic pain due to spinal cord injury (SCI) satisfactorily. Treatment is therefore a great challenge for care givers.1 Current treatment recommendations are based on the few studies of this patient group and on algorithms for treating peripheral neuropathic pain. With these tools we can sometimes relieve such pain following SCI to some extent, but rarely enough for the individuals to be satisfied. The lack of satisfaction can also be related to the fact that many of the drugs used have severe unwanted side effects.

Regarding other treatments, sensory stimulation with transcutaneous electrical nerve stimulation has been studied mainly in peripheral neuropathic pain conditions and is considered to be an effective complement.2 In some individuals with central neuropathic pain, transcutaneous electrical nerve stimulation may induce pain alleviation3 but often less than in peripheral neuropathies.

In rodent studies, acupuncture has been studied after peripheral nerve injury and is effective for hyperalgesia4 and allodynia,5 6 signs considered as consequences of nerve damage and associated with neuropathic pain.

Treatment with acupuncture has, however, not been extensively studied in peripheral or central neuropathic pain conditions in humans. Only two randomised controlled studies have been carried out7 8 and both report no or very little difference between acupuncture and the control treatment. However, in one of these studies verum acupuncture was compared to sham acupuncture, defined as needle insertions in deep muscles but not in acupuncture points followed by needling stimulation. This type of control is controversial since it is most likely not an inert treatment.9 Two uncontrolled studies showed positive effects compared to baseline values when treating diabetic neuropathy10 and HIV-related neuropathic pain.11

In SCI, a within-subject-design study using acupuncture showed promising results for treating overall pain but less good for the cohort with central neuropathic pain.12 Still, in 42% of those individuals, pain intensities were alleviated by at least two units on a 0–10 numerical rating scale (NRS)—which is not a negligible effect in this patient group.

Massage therapy has not been studied for treating neuropathic pain following SCI but it decreased anxiety13 in individuals with SCI.

In a previous survey14 individuals with SCI reported massage to be one of the most effective non-pharmacological treatments for SCI chronic pain but spoke less of acupuncture. Similar results have been reported in other studies.15 16

Based on these results an exploratory study was designed to assess the possibility of using medical acupuncture and massage therapy for relieving neuropathic pain due to SCI. Both treatment modalities activate endogenous pain inhibitory systems, however they are believed to act through different mechanisms.17 18

Methods and individualsIndividuals

Individuals with SCI and pain were recruited from a spinal unit in Stockholm, Sweden through advertisements and through mailed enquiries. Inclusion criteria were an SCI more than 2 years previously and pain diagnosed as neuropathic at or below level19 due to the SCI of more than 6 months duration. All individuals were asked not to change current pain medication or any other treatments during the treatment period but were allowed to stay on concurrent medication.

Study design

The study was carried out using a sequential controlled design. The first 15 individuals giving informed consent for the study and fulfilling the inclusion criteria were assigned to western medical acupuncture and the following 15 to massage. The assignation procedure was unknown to the individuals who were all willing to receive both acupuncture and massage. The treatment period consisted of 6 weeks with treatment twice weekly. The treatments were evaluated at the end of treatment and at follow-up 2 months later using a mailed questionnaire.


Acupuncture points were chosen individually and needles were inserted in areas with preserved sensation. Points were chosen from a western medical perspective, that is, placed in areas with pain and in strong general acupuncture points. In addition, earpoint Shenmen and GV20 were selected as possible complements. Needle insertion was carried out using the recommended depth allowing for muscle stimulation.20 Stimulation was initially manual and from the third or fourth session four points were stimulated with high frequency (80 Hz) electroacupuncture (CEFAR Acus 4; Cefar AB, Lund, Sweden). Points stimulated in the upper extremity were either LI11–LI4, LI15–LI11 or LI15–LI4, and in the lower extremity ST32–GB34, ST32–ST36 or BL54–BL54. In total 13–15 points were used in each session. The intensity was high, giving non-painful paresthesia. During manual acupuncture de qi was elicited three times at each session of 30 min.

The acupuncture procedure is described according to the Standards for Reporting Interventions in Clinical Trials of Acupuncture.21


Classical massage therapy was carried out in areas with pain and preserved sensation with individuals lying on a massage table. The massage consisted of non-painful light pressure effleurage and petrissage. It was important that the massage did not cause discomfort for the individuals and therefore stimulation in areas with allodynia or unpleasant feelings from touch were avoided.

Outcome measuresPrimary outcome measures

The individuals rated their general and their worst pain intensities, and pain unpleasantness, during the last week using a visual analogue scale (VAS). They also rated present pain intensity at baseline, at the end of treatment (6 weeks) and at follow-up (2 months). In addition they rated the global pain-relieving effect on the Patient Global Impression of Change Scale (PGIC)22 at both end of treatment and follow-up.

A decrease of two units or more in pain intensity ratings on a 0–10 NRS23 has been considered clinically significant, and 1.8 units or more in individuals with SCI (defined as ‘my pain decreased to a meaningful extent’).24 Translated to a VAS with a range of 0–100, a decrease of 18 units or more was considered to identify a responder.

Secondary outcome measure

As secondary outcome measures the Hospital Anxiety and Depression Scale was used to rate anxiety and depression,25 the Multidimensional Pain Inventory—Swedish language version (MPI-S)26 part I, to assess the psychosocial consequences of pain, and a sleep questionnaire27 to assess quality of sleep. Further, Fugl-Meyer's Life Satisfaction instrument (LiSat – 9)28 29 was used. In the analysis only the global rating of life satisfaction was considered. In addition, individuals rated how well they were able to cope with their pain on an 11-point NRS anchored ‘not at all’ (0) and ‘very good’ (10).

Spasticity was assessed using the modified Penn Spasm Frequency Scale,30 for frequency and severity. Spasm frequency is reported from 0=no spasms to 4=spontaneous spasms occurring >10/h, and severity of spasms from 1=mild to 3=severe.

The study was approved by the Regional Ethics Approval Board in Stockholm, Sweden.


Data were analysed on an intention-to-treat basis with missing data in dropouts replaced using the last-observation–carried-forward method.

Patient and treatment characteristics are presented using descriptive statistics: number of observations, mean and SD. Outcome variables are further presented by group using median and IQR before and after treatment.

Determination of the between-treatment difference measured with the PGIC was tested with the Mann–Whitney U test and the difference in number of respondents using the two-tailed Fisher exact test.

Svensson's rank-invariant method31 was used to estimate systematic changes in outcome variables (pain intensity, pain unpleasantness, coping, sleep quality, mood, life satisfaction, psychosocial consequences and spasticity) directly after treatment compared to baseline, and also 2 months after treatment compared to baseline.

Systematic group changes are explained by relative change in position (RP), that is, the proportion of individuals with a higher level minus the proportion of those with a lower level in the outcome variable. RP values range from −1 (all individuals decreased) to +1 (all individuals increased). Values close to 0 indicate a negligible systematic group change in the outcome measure. When RP≠0, the values after treatment are systematically higher (+) or lower (−) for the group than the initial values. RP was estimated together with the corresponding 95% CI. SE was calculated using the jack knife method. Differences between acupuncture and massage was estimated as the difference between RPstogether with the corresponding 95% CI. Negative differences between interventions (acupuncture vs massage) indicate that a larger proportion of individuals in the massage group decreased (or increased less) from baseline to the end of treatment, compared to those in the acupuncture group in the outcome variable.

All the tests were two-sided, and a significance level of 0.05 was chosen. All descriptive statistics were produced in STATISTICA V.7.0 (StatSoft, Tulsa, Oklahoma, USA) and RP values were calculated in SYSRAN V.1.0 (JK Biostatistics, Stockholm, Sweden) for Matlab V.6.0 (The MathWorks, Natick, Massachusetts, USA).


Altogether 30 individuals were included in the study; 15 received acupuncture and 15 massage. The acupuncture group consisted of 12 males and 3 females with a mean age of 47.1 years (SD 11.1) and the massage group of 13 males and 3 females, mean age 49.8 (SD 9.2). Mean time since injury was 11.9 years (SD 12.3) in the acupuncture group and 12.9 years (SD 9.0) in the massage group. In the acupuncture group, 11 had a traumatic injury compared to 10 in the massage group.

Five of those receiving acupuncture and six of those receiving massage had tetraplegia. Ten of those in the acupuncture group and eight of those in the massage group were on concomitant pain medication including adjuvant analgesics.


The acupuncture group received a mean of 10.5 treatments (SD 2.9) and the massage group 11.1 treatments (SD 2.1). One acupuncture patient's treatment was concluded after only eight sessions due to complete pain relief. Lacking compliance, one individual received only three sessions of electroacupuncture and thereafter manual stimulation.

Two individuals dropped out of the study, one in each treatment group, for reasons not related to the treatment itself. The acupuncture-group member moved abroad after one treatment and the massage-group member was hospitalised for pneumonia after eight treatments. One massage-group member did not return the follow-up questionnaire.

Adverse events

Compliance was high for both types of treatment. Almost half of those in the acupuncture group (n=7) reported being tired after the treatment initially and one reported a pain increase lasting 4–5 h after the treatment. Of those receiving massage, two reported soreness, one increased pain and one feeling extremely cold 4–5 h after the treatment resulting in poor sleep the first night after treatment.

Positive events

The acupuncture group reported the following positive side effects at the end of the treatment period: improved sleep (n=2), improved bladder (n=1) and bowel (n=1) function, decreased spasticity, less allodynia, more energy, less pain medication, feeling calm and relaxed (n=1 each). The massage group reported: improved function/less stiffness (n=6), improved sleep (n=5), improved relaxation (n=2), less spasticity (n=3), improved circulation (warm legs; n=2), less allodynia (n=2), fewer painful attacks (n=2), less medication (n=1).

At the follow-up individuals could report late-onset improvements. One patient reported improved sleep after acupuncture. In the massage group one reported using less muscle relaxants, and another increased wellbeing and mobility.

Primary outcome measures—pain and PGICBetween-group differences

At the end of treatment (6 weeks), there was a significant difference between the two groups in ratings of worst pain intensity (figure 1). There was also a significant change at follow-up (2 months) regarding ratings of pain unpleasantness; both in favour of acupuncture. No other differences between the two groups were detected.

View larger version: In a new window Download as PowerPoint SlideFigure 1

Between group differences at the end of treatment and at 2 months follow-up.


At the end of treatment, 8/15 individuals on acupuncture and 9/15 on massage reported an improvement on the PGIC (minimally improved–very much improved, figure 2). At follow-up 6/15 on acupuncture and 1/15 on massage still reported a positive outcome. The difference between the two groups was not statistically significant.

View larger version: In a new window Download as PowerPoint SlideFigure 2

Ratings of global pain relieving effect on the Patient Global Impression of change Scale.


Numbers of responders calculated as all those reporting a decrease in pain ratings of ≥18 mm measured with VAS are shown in figure 3. The differences seen were not statistically significant.

View larger version: In a new window Download as PowerPoint SlideFigure 3

Number of patients reporting a decrease of 18 units or more on a visual analogue scale at the end of treatment and at the 2 months follow-up. There were no statistically significant changes between those treated with massage and those treated with acupuncture calculated with Fisher's exact two-tailed test.


Ratings of general pain intensity and pain unpleasantness at end of treatment and follow-up are shown in figure 4 plotted against the baseline values.

View larger version: In a new window Download as PowerPoint SlideFigure 4

Ratings of pain intensity and pain unpleasantness plotted at end of treatment and follow-up

 Within-group differences

Ratings of general and present pain, and of pain unpleasantness, all decreased significantly at end of treatment with acupuncture but not after massage. In terms of median decrease in pain intensity ratings measured with VAS, this was similar in the two groups (table 1).

View this table: In this window In a new windowTable 1

Median values presented with IQR for primary and secondary outcome measures at baseline, end of treatment and follow-up


At follow-up no within-group differences were seen between pain variables.

Secondary outcome measures

At the end of treatment there were no between-group differences regarding the secondary outcome measures for pain or spasticity; but at follow-up, ratings of coping with pain as shown with a 0–10 NRS were in favour of acupuncture (figure 1). Within the groups, individuals on acupuncture reported improvement in coping with pain, and those on massage reported less pain interference. At follow-up no improvements were seen, but massage-group members reported worsened coping.

To see whether any of the assessed variables were important for ratings of coping with pain, a Spearman regression analysis was carried out. Pain intensity (r=−0.57), pain unpleasantness (r=−0.61), mood (r=−0.58), sleep (r=−0.55), MPI-pain severity (r=−0.67), MPI-pain interference (r=−0.59), MPI-perceived life control, (r=0.61) and MPI-affective distress (r=−0.65) all correlated moderately (r=0.50 to 0.69)32 with ratings of coping. Ratings of global life satisfaction had low (r=0.26–0.49) correlation with coping (r=0.46), and MPI- social support little if any (r<0.25; r=−0.06).


In this exploratory study the average pain alleviation following a treatment course of acupuncture or massage was small but significant. It was larger for the affective component of pain than for the sensory component (intensity). At follow-up no significant effects on pain intensity or unpleasantness were maintained, but six of 15 acupuncture-group members versus one of 15 on massage still reported an improvement on the PGIC. Between-group differences, in favour of acupuncture, were seen only regarding ratings of worst pain intensity. Both methods presented few unwanted side effects and compliance was high. None dropped out due to adverse events.

The most pronounced effects were those of acupuncture on ratings of pain unpleasantness where a median decrease of 23/100 VAS units was seen immediately after the course. Acupuncture treatment reportedly modulates activity in limbic structures,33 which could partly explain these findings.

Effects of treatment on pain unpleasantness are not always assessed in clinical trials but they are recommended as an outcome measure.22

Ratings of pain intensity also decreased significantly after treatment with acupuncture. The median decrease in ratings of present pain intensity was 19/100 VAS units following acupuncture (general pain—15 units) and eight units following massage (general pain—14 units). In a large study of SCI neuropathic pain concluding that pregabalin has a positive effect on this type of pain,34 the mean reduction in pain scores on a 0–10 NRS was 1.92 before controlling for placebo. In a comparative study on gabapentin and amitryptiline35 in SCI and neuropathic pain, a mean decrease of VAS 2.14 was seen after treatment with amitryptiline and of VAS 0.75 after gabapentin.

Hanley et al24 reported that in SCI a reduction of 1.8 units or more on a 0–10 NRS was a clinically significant alleviation of pain, which we translated to 18 units on a 0–100 point VAS, and those reporting these values are defined here as responders. Even though no significant differences were seen between the two groups, immediately after the treatment course more individuals on acupuncture reported this amount of pain alleviation. Forty per cent (six of 15) versus 13% (two of 15) were responders regarding ratings of present and general pain intensity, figures similar to those found by Nayak et al12 in SCI and central neuropathic pain. Those authors found that 42% (five of 12 individuals) reported a decrease of at least two units on an NRS following 15 treatment sessions with acupuncture. Even though both studies used very small samples, these results are considered promising.

None of the present respondents reported worsening of pain using the PGIC, but one patient on acupuncture reported being minimally worse at the 2-month follow-up. Whether this was associated with the treatment course is not clear. In the study by Nayak and colleagues,12four of the total sample of 22 individuals reported an increase in pain intensity at end of treatment and that this persisted at follow-up. The reported average increase was 1.08 on a 0–10 NRS.

Nowadays it is recommended22 36 that the PGIC be added when evaluating the results of a clinical trial, since this instrument covers more aspects than only pain reduction. Our evaluation showed that the effects of both treatments rated on the PGIC were similar, with nine of 15 individuals (60%) on massage and eight of 15 (53%) on acupuncture reporting a favorable effect. At follow-up, six of 15 (40%) on acupuncture still reported an improvement but only one of 15 (7%) on massage. In a study on pregabalin for SCI neuropathic pain,3457% of those on active drug reported an improvement, using the PGIC immediately after the treatment period. This result is similar to those of both acupuncture and massage seen in the present study.

Both methods of sensory stimulation assessed in this study seemed to be able to decrease pain short-term in individuals with SCI and neuropathic pain. However, a difference between the two stimulation methods was seen: many individuals reported a small reduction following massage, but few reported a major alleviation following acupuncture. Three on acupuncture experienced a dramatic effect and long-term improvement. These long-term pain-alleviating effects have been attributed to activation of pain-inhibiting systems in cortical and subcortical pathways. While individuals with SCI and neuropathic pain may have symptoms in common, the origins and the mechanisms of their pain may vary. Different mechanisms can lead to different responses to therapy, and for this reason larger studies are warranted where possible effects can be studied in subgroups.

Both treatment modalities were safe and compliance was high. No individuals dropped out due to adverse events and no severe adverse events were reported. This is rare in pharmacological trials in the same patient group where the dropout rates are reportedly high with commonly used drugs: 16% on gabapentin, 18% on amitryptiline,35 30% on pregabalin,34 48% on tramadol37 and 50% on gabapentin.38

The treatments assessed had effects mainly on the primary outcome variable—pain. However, individuals also reported that their coping ability had improved after treatment with acupuncture. This might be associated with the decrease seen in pain ratings. Ratings of pain interference also decreased after massage. No other effects on mood, sleep quality, life satisfaction or spasticity were seen after either treatment modality.

This explorative study investigated few enrolled individuals, and with no placebo control. In addition the individuals were not randomised to the interventions. The results are therefore difficult to generalise.

However, within-group effects were significant following acupuncture treatment, and while few individuals responded very well, the effects seen in these individuals were long lasting, highlighting the need for larger randomised controlled studies. Also, the fact that both treatments were safe and had high compliance is important when considering their use in pain alleviation. Note, though, that knowledge about type and intensity stimulation, stimulation sites and number of treatments for optimal effect is lacking, so there might be more effective ways of treating neuropathic pain following SCI with acupuncture. The severity of the pain condition in this patient group indicates that the acupuncture course should maybe be longer than 12 sessions, with additional follow-up treatments.


Neuropathic pain following SCI is a condition unresponsive to many interventions. Results from this study indicate that both acupuncture and massage therapy may relieve SCI neuropathic pain and for this reason larger randomised controlled trials are warranted for assessing the long-term effects of these treatments.


This study was made possible by grants from The Swedish Association of Persons with Neurological Disabilities. Excellent support from Jan Kowalski, statistician, is gratefully acknowledged.


Competing interests None declared.

Ethics approval This study was conducted with the approval of the Regional Ethics Approval Board in Stockholm, Sweden.

Provenance and peer review Not commissioned; externally peer reviewed.

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Could acupuncture be the solution to our 'couch potato' inflicted back pain?

Could acupuncture be the solution to our 'couch potato' inflicted back pain? | Acupuncturist |

Could acupuncture be the solution to our 'couch potato' inflicted back pain?

SLOUCHING, eating on your lap and peering at a computer screen - sound familiar? Sedentary lifestyles contribute to millions of adults suffering with back pain, but could the ancient Chinese method of acupuncture be a simple solution to the problem?Published: 11:07, Wed, February 26, 2014By SOPHIE ALEXANDER


  Acupuncture could provide relief to millions of back pain sufferers [GETTY: Pic posed by model]


A culture of watching TV in bed, slouching at a desk and eating on our laps contributes to more than half of all adults suffering with back pain.

Laziness and sedentary office lifestyles mean that, while 80 per cent of people are in constant pain, many also admit to the "coach potato" behaviour some experts believe is at the root of the problem.

A new study carried out on 5,000 adults found that almost half eat on their laps, 40 per cent sit at a desk all day and almost a third admit to slouching.

Most suffers admit they try to self-medicate with painkillers rather than visiting a doctor to find the actual cause of the pain.

Simple lifestyle changes alongside acupuncture could save millions of people taking medication every day

Rhiannon Griffiths, the British Acupuncture Council

One relatively unrecognised method to dealing with back pain is acupuncture, which some believe could save millions of us from relying on painkillers.

Rhiannon Griffiths, a qualified member of the British Acupuncture Council, commented: “Painkillers often numb the end symptom and mask the problem but do not  address many of the combined underlying causes of back pain.


  Slouching over a computer screen is a contributing factor to back pain [GETTY: Pic posed by model]


"By stimulating different points of the body, traditional acupuncture can be extremely beneficial for back pain, providing long-term pain relief and reducing inflammation.”

The treatment involves placing extremely fine, sterile needles painlessly at specific points on the body to trigger a healing response. It has been used by the Chinese for almost 2,000 years and is one of the most popular complementary therapies practised in the UK.

Many sufferers remain unaware that the National Institute of Clinical Excellence (NICE) recommends acupuncture for persistent, non-specific back pain.

Rhiannon added: "Simple lifestyle changes alongside acupuncture could save millions of people taking medication every day.

"It's important to recognise the impact our behaviour has on our bodies and to make sure we are fully informed about all treatment options to promote long-term health and wellbeing."

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Acupuncture and Cellulitis Treatment | eCellulitis

Acupuncture and Cellulitis Treatment | eCellulitis | Acupuncturist |

Acupuncture involves the use of needles, which are inserted into the patient’s skin at key points around the body. These points are believed to be part of an intricate pathway of energy flowing through the body.

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Owl acupuncture is actually a thing - Deccan Chronicle

Owl acupuncture is actually a thing - Deccan Chronicle | Acupuncturist |
What do you do when a sick owl isn't ready to be returned to the wild?
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Acupuncture for skincare - TV3 Xposé Entertainment

Acupuncture for skincare - TV3 Xposé Entertainment | Acupuncturist |

Wednesday, 18 June 2014

Acupuncture for skincare

Could the alternative therapy save your complexion?

It's being hailed as the most innovate weapon in the anti-ageing war. But is cosmetic acupuncture really capable of turning back the clock?

If you ask Madonna and Gwyneth Paltrow, the answer is a resounding yes. They're just some of the celebrities who have reportedly shunned invasive wrinkle-fighting procedures in favour of facial needles.

So how exactly does acupuncture work? Acupuncture is a form of ancient Chinese medicine in which pin-like needles are inserted into the skin at certain points on the body. It originated more than 2,000 years ago, and is used to treat everything from backache to migraines and fertility problems.

Facial acupuncture sees these needles being inserted into various acupuncture points on the face, such as wrinkles or frown lines. The stimulation brought on by the needles is meant to make blood rush to the face, causing it to become flushed. When needles are inserted at pressure points, energy and endorphins are released. This minor trauma improves blood flow and stimulates cell re-growth.

Plus, facial acupuncture actually promotes the development of new collagen fibers under already-present wrinkles, in effect filing them in - making them appear less visible. The idea is that after several sessions the eyes will begin to brighten, skill will become firmer, and lips will become plumper.

It is also supposed to remedy blemished skin. Practitioners claim acupuncture can reduce wrinkles, eliminate fine lines, lift sagging skin and improve skin colour and texture. Its effects last for about three months, and it only takes about 45 minutes.

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Alternative medical treatments prove successful in animals, including acupuncture

Alternative medical treatments prove successful in animals, including acupuncture | Acupuncturist |
Herbs, acupuncture, aromatherapy -- they’re alternative medical treatments that have been around for centuries. Now they’re gaining popularity in the animal world.


Alternative medical treatments prove successful in animalsAuthor: Eileen Gonzales, Reporter, egonzales@ksat.comPublished On: Nov 30 2014 10:45:00 PM CST   Updated On: Nov 30 2014 11:25:57 PM CST 

Owners turning to alternative medical treatment for pets


Herbs, acupuncture, aromatherapy -- they’re alternative medical treatments that have been around for centuries. Now they’re gaining popularity in the animal world.

When Guy Monson's 10-year-old German shepherd, Klaus, seriously injured his hind knee. Monson faced one of the toughest decisions a pet owner can make.

"What we weren't going to do was let him suffer. We were not going to do that," Monson said.

"Klaus couldn't get up and Klaus couldn't walk and his owners thought it was time to put him down because they didn't feel like surgery was a good option for him at his age, so they came to us to see if there anything we could do," said Dr. Michelle Bammel, with Westridge Pet Hospital and Wellness Center.

Bammel uses non-traditional treatments like aromatherapy, acupuncture and herbs, along with laser treatments and rehab therapy on an underwater treadmill.

After two months of treatment, Klaus could stand up again. Six months later he showed even more improvements.

"He's definitely back to his normal, kind of sassy self," Monson said.

"It's not only a drug or acupuncture, or Chinese herbs, we use them all and we use the best of all the worlds," Bammel said.

It's a combination that helped restore quality of life when it looked like there was no nope for Klaus.

"It'll be a tough day when he finally leaves us, but we were glad we got the extra time here," Monson said.

Alternative therapies are being used in combination with traditional ones for all types of ailments and injuries.

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Should acupuncture be regulated?

Should acupuncture be regulated? | Acupuncturist |


Being stuck with needles is more popular than ever as the injured turn to alternative medicines for a cure for what ails them.

The Accident Compensation Corporation (ACC) paid out almost $2 million for acupuncture treatment in Canterbury last financial year and more than $23 million nationwide.

The Ministry of Health does not, however, recognise acupuncture as a registered medical profession.

New Zealand Chinese Medicine and Acupuncture Society president Stephen Xu says patients are at risk without proper ministry regulation. He says practitioners should have a level seven national diploma or a bachelor of acupuncture degree.

While ACC regulates the treatment providers it approves, Xu says ministry regulation is essential for patient security and industry standards.

Xu estimates acupuncturists have been operating in New Zealand for more than 100 years and ACC recognised acupuncture treatment in 1990.

Last year it paid out on 4816 claims in Canterbury with an average cost per claim of $395. More than 150 practitioners were visited by claimants.

Football goalkeeper Andrew Reid, 18, has torn ligaments in his knee twice in the last four years.

He first received acupuncture treatment in 2010, aged 14. The first appointment was stressful, as the treatment involves inserting fine needles into the body at various trigger points.

"I was really nervous at the start because I thought it would hurt," he said. "But in the end, it just felt a bit weird.

"Once you get over the fact that it's needles, it's not so bad. Basically you just have to be very relaxed when you go in there. It helped a lot."

He has had the treatment three times over the last few years.

A ministry spokesman said while acupuncture was not yet a registered medical profession, investigations were underway to see if it could be included. However, results would not be out until next year some time.

"There is a real public risk for people using acupuncture if there is no regulation in place."

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Acupuncture Reduces Hypertension Over Drugs

Acupuncture Reduces Hypertension Over Drugs | Acupuncturist |

Acupuncture reduces high blood pressure for patients with hypertension. In a surprising result, acupuncture was found more effective than a pharmaceutical medication commonly used for the treatment of high blood pressure and heart failure. Additionally, acupuncture was clinically successful in controlling symptoms associated with high blood pressure including dizziness, aching of the waist and knees, and palpitations. 

Researchers conducted a randomized controlled study and divided 60 patients with hypertension into two groups. Group 1 received acupuncture. Group 2 received the drug catopril, an antihypertensive and renal protective agent given the trade name Capoten. The drug is an ACE (angiotensin-converting enzyme) inhibitor. Common uses for catopril include the treatment of hypertension, congestive heart failure and protection of kidney function for diabetics.

All acupuncture patients in group 1 received a standardized, protocolized acupuncture point prescription. The acupuncture point selection was Hegu (LI4), Taichong (LR3), Quchi (LI11) and Xingjian (LR2). LI4 and LR3 are commonly paired in treatment protocols and this pairing is given the name Siguan, translated as four gates.

Both groups showed significant reductions in blood pressure. However, the acupuncture group showed greater improvement. Measurements of diastolic blood pressure at 14 days and 21 days into the treatment regime revealed that the acupuncture group showed greater diastolic reductions. The same was true for improvement of symptoms associated with hypertension. The acupuncture group demonstrated clinical superior patient outcomes for reductions in dizziness, aching of the waist and knees, and palpitations. Moreover, the acupuncture group demonstrated less adverse reactions than the drug group. This last result is not surprising since adverse events associated with catopril intake include light-headedness, fainting, dizziness, abnormal frequency of urination, bodily pain, fever, chills, abnormal bleeding (vagina, mouth, nose, rectum), difficulty concentrating and shortness of breath. Based on the findings, the researchers concluded that acupuncture is safer and more effective than catopril for the treatment of hypertension. 

The Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM) differential diagnosis for all patients admitted to this study was hypertension due yin deficiency with excess yang uprising. This type of hypertension is characterized by a small, wiry, rapid pulse often accompanied by a red tongue with a yellow coating. There may be headaches, light-headedness, irritability, burring of vision and dizziness in addition to high blood pressure. The acupuncture point prescription was chosen based on this differential diagnosis. As a result of the study’s findings, acupuncture was determined to be both safe and effective for lowering high blood pressure and reducing symptoms associated with hypertension due to yin deficiency with yang uprising type hypertension.

Xie, B., and Y. P. Lin. "[Efficacy observation on acupuncture for essential hypertension of yin deficiency due to yang hyperactivity pattern]." Zhongguo zhen jiu= Chinese acupuncture & moxibustion 34, no. 6 (2014): 547-550.

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Acupuncture Proven To Heal Tennis Elbow

Acupuncture Proven To Heal Tennis Elbow | Acupuncturist |

Acupuncture Proven To Heal Tennis Elbow

ON 17 JUNE 2014.


Acupuncture combined with massage is effective for the treatment of tennis elbow, lateral epicondylitis. Recent research was conducted on ninety athletes at the Science and Experiment Center of Guangzhou Physical Education Institute. The athletes were randomly divided into three groups. Group 1 received acupuncture only. Group 2 received massage only and group 3 received acupuncture combined with Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM) massage. All three groups showed significant positive clinical outcomes. The acupuncture combined with massage group showed greater improvement than the other groups suggesting a synergistic effect. No adverse events occurred. The data was compiled after 20 days of treatment. The researchers concluded that acupuncture and TCM massage are safe and effective for the treatment of lateral epicondylitis.

Tennis elbow (lateral epicondylitis) is a form of tendinitis. Symptoms are usually elbow and arm pain. Repetitive motions often lead to lateral epicondylitis such as movement during tennis, weight lifting, painting, typing, knitting and woodwork. The pain typically worsens when lifting, gripping, twisting and straightening the wrist. Conventional medical approaches for treating lateral epicondylitis include physical therapy, non-steroidal antiinflammatory medications (NSAIDs), icing, bracing, local steroid injections and surgery. Acupuncture and TCM tuina massage have a historical record for the successful treatment of lateral epicondylitis that is over 1,000 years. This new scientific experiment using a carefully controlled investigation for examining the efficacy of these ancient modalities confirms the historical record.

The acupuncture group received acupuncture in either the sitting or supine posture. The acupuncturist used 40mm disposable acupuncture needles. Needle retention time was 30 minutes after the arrival of the deqi sensation at each acupuncture point. The acupoints used in the study were primarily local points based on the clinical presentation of each patient. Acupuncture points included LI12, LI11, LI10, LI4, SJ5 and ashi points. 

The massage group received TCM massage in a sitting posture with the elbows bent and relaxed. Techniques included kneading, grasping, one finger meditation manipulation and plucking ashi points. Massage was applied to acupuncture points including: Quchi (LI11), Chize (LU5), Hegu (LI4), Neiguan (PC6), Waiguan (SJ5), Yangxi (LI5), Shousanli (LI10). Each massage lasted for 15 to 20 minutes. Following the massage, the patient was told to relax with the forearms at rest.

The combination group received acupuncture treatment after being massaged on the same day. Each treatment modality was applied once daily for all groups. One course of either massage and/or acupuncture consisted of 10 days. There was a two-day pause following the first course. The entire treatment was 2 courses for a total of 20 treatments. 

The group that received both acupuncture and TCM massage showed the greatest clinical improvements. A total of 20 patients in the combination group were completely cured after the 20 treatments. Another 5 patients made excellent improvement and an additional 5 patients made moderate improvement. One patient in the combination group made no improvement. Occasionally, patients felt uncomfortable after the acupuncture needling for approximately one day, however, the soreness disappeared after one day’s rest. Based on the results, the researchers conclude that acupuncture and massage are effective in treating lateral epicondylitis for athletes and that combining the therapies increases positive patient outcomes.

Qiu, Yanchun. “Comparative Study on the Treatment of Acupuncture and Massage of External Humeral Epicondylitis for Athletes.” Journal of Guangzhou Physical Education Institute 34.1 (2014): 100-102.

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Why Acupuncture Point Stomach 36 Is a Favorite

Why Acupuncture Point Stomach 36 Is a Favorite | Acupuncturist |
by Lynn Palmgren, LAc.      


Why Acupuncture Point Stomach 36 Is a Favorite



 by Lynn Palmgren, LAc.
      In Chinese medicine  we each have about 400 acupuncture points on our bodies.  Each of these points deals with different ailments from arthritis to nightmares to fatigue.  Each point has its own personality and can do different actions.  Out of the 400 points on our bodies, my personal favorite is a point called Stomach 36.  In Chinese, the name of the point is Zu San Li in Pinyin. Translation: Leg Three Mile.  Named so, because according to legend, you can press on this point and you'll be able to walk or run three more miles.  Pretty neat, right?   Stomach 36 is one of the most powerful points on your body.  It helps strengthen qi and blood, gets rid of damp, strengthen your digestion (spleen and stomach), strengthens the body, relax you spiritually, and relieves pain.
   It is located on the lower leg, about one-hand breadth below the patella and one-finger breadth lateral of the anterior crest of tibia.  You can stimulate this point yourself using acupressure.  It is a fantastic point if you feel fatigued, have any gastrointestinal concerns, or pain anywhere in your body.     A perfect addition to your pre- and post-workout stretch.  I recommend to patients to press lightly (5 lbs. pressure) on this point for about 5 seconds the first thing in the morning.  Try it and see for yourself!

Source: Deadman, Peter et al. Acupuncture: 2nd Edition.
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Italian Journal of Pediatrics - Acupuncture in the treatment of infantile colic

Italian Journal of Pediatrics - Acupuncture in the treatment of infantile colic | Acupuncturist |

Regarding the recently published review ”Looking for new treatments of Infantile Colic“ by Savino et al. we want to add that positive effects of acupuncture have been demonstrated to release pain and agitation and that acupuncture seems to be a safe treatment when performed by trained acupuncturists. Inconclusive results in the few published articles on the subject can be due to different acupuncture points, different insertion time, different needling methods, differences in the outcome variables, in how the crying was measured and insufficient sample sizes. Further research is needed on understanding the utility, safety, and effectiveness of acupuncture in infants with colic.

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HEALTH - Acupuncture and consuming antioxidants can increase the quality of a woman’s eggs

HEALTH - Acupuncture and consuming antioxidants can increase the quality of a woman’s eggs | Acupuncturist |
Ovarian reserve is something that cannot be reversed. As females we are born with all the eggs we will ever have and gradually lose them through each menstrual cycle. However, the quality of the eggs we do have can be improved. The two big factors that I recommend to my clients are consuming high amounts of antioxidants and acupuncture.

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Which Celebrities love Acupuncture?

Which Celebrities love Acupuncture? | Acupuncturist |



Everywhere you turn; there are stories about celebrities getting acupuncture.  

Supermodel, Elle Macpherson, recently said in an interview with UK tabloid, News of the World, "I have acupuncture regularly and I see a Chinese doctor who treats most common ailments with herbs." 

When asked how she maintained her health and well being, Elle answered, "I do choose to look after my body from a Chinese medicine perspective, which promotes and maintains wellness rather than treats illness."

Elle is not the only celebrity that seems to have become "star-struck" with this traditional form of health care that is touted as being able to treat everything from anxiety to a torn rotator cuff.  Gwyneth Paltrow, a longtime advocate of the benefits of acupuncture and Oriental medicine, once said that having acupuncture had guided her to a "new level" in life, helping her to find love with her husband and giving her the strength to cope with the death of her father. In an interview with Oprah Winfrey, Gwyneth Paltrow said, "I have been a big fan of Chinese medicine for a long time because it works."

So what other celebrities are up for being a voluntary pin-cushion?  Dr. Maoshing Ni, an acupuncturist in Santa Monica lists Jim Carrey and Helen Hunt as two of his many famous clients.  In a testimonial, Jim Carrey said "Undergoing [acupuncture] treatments with Dr. Mao at [his acupuncture clinic] and following his nutritional advice has led to a marked change in my physical vitality and my general state of well-being."

Celebrities have embraced acupuncture so whole-heartedly that they even schedule regular acupuncture treatments for their pets.  Sarah Michelle Gellar of Buffy the Vampire Slayer fame, has been spotted in Los Angeles taking her pampered pooch, Tyson, in for his acupuncture treatment.

Acupuncture is becoming more and more respected by conventional medicine, so much so that there were acupuncturists on-site for the athletes at both the Summer and Winter Olympics.

How it works
Is there any evidence to back up this rapid growth in the popularity of acupuncture?  Besides the 2000 years of clinical evidence, there are a multitude of studies to substantiate that acupuncture has a measurable affect on the body.  One study on how acupuncture works to relieve pain, published in theJournal of NeuroImage, used brain imaging technology to prove that acupuncture affects the brain's long-term ability to regulate pain.  In the study, researchers were able to show that acupuncture increased the binding availability to opioid receptors in the brain in much the same way that opioid painkillers, such as morphine, codeine and other medications, are thought to work 

The U.S. National Institutes of Health (NIH) and the World Health Organization (WHO) have declared acupuncture effective for more than 200 other conditions including, respiratory, eye and mouth, gastro-intestinal, neurological and muscular disorders. Because of acupuncture's ability to speed the healing process, bring down swelling and inflammation, relieve pain, and help to restore normal range of motion, it is especially effective at treating musculo-skeletal disorders.  

"The purpose of acupuncture is to trigger your body's innate ability to self heal. " Says licensed acupuncturist, Diane Joswick, L.Ac.

"When someone comes in for treatment, we take all of their symptoms into account and aim at balancing the energy within the body to optimize health.  Treatments are tailored for the individual.  That is why it is important to talk with an acupuncturist to see how acupuncture will be able to help your specific and unique case."

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Call for applications: Complementary Medicine Field Bursary Scheme 2014 | The Cochrane Collaboration

Call for applications: Complementary Medicine Field Bursary Scheme 2014 | The Cochrane Collaboration | Acupuncturist |
Call for applications: Complementary Medicine Field Bursary Scheme 2014

The Cochrane Collaboration Complementary Medicine Field is pleased to announce our 2014 bursary scheme made possible through funds from the US National Institutes of Health, National Center for Complementary and Alternative Medicine. The purpose of this bursary scheme is to ensure that reviews relevant to complementary and alternative medicine (CAM) are completed and published in the Cochrane Library.

Funding offered
The bursary scheme will fund two review proposals in the amount of $5,000 USD. The funding must be paid directly to the individual bursary recipient; it cannot be paid to the recipient's institution.

Eligibility requirements

The review must be registered with a Cochrane Review Group, and the relevant protocol/review must already be published in the Cochrane Library;the topic of the review must relate to CAM (see scope in Call for Applications); andbursaries will be targeted to reviews for which substantial progress has already been made and whose completion has been stalled due to a lack of funding.

Completed application forms should be e-mailed to Susan Wieland by 26 January 2015. Forms sent by postal delivery or fax will not be accepted. Successful candidates will be notified by 6 February 2015. Funds will be distributed to successful applicants in a single installment, after the award notification. Funds must be paid to the individual recipients of the bursary, and not to their institutions.

For more information (e.g., the assessment criteria, additional details about eligibility and application procedures), please see the full Call for Applications and Application Form.

2013 recipients
Congratulations to the recipients of the 2013 CAM Field bursary scheme awards:
- Yuri Jadotte, for the Cochrane Skin Group review ‘Complementary and alternative medicine treatments for atopic eczema’

- Nicole Skoetz, for the Cochrane Haematological Malignancies Group review ‘Yoga for haematological malignancies'

External link for more information:
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GoLocalPDX | Health | Five Natural Ways to Calm the Symptoms of Menopause

GoLocalPDX | Health | Five Natural Ways to Calm the Symptoms of Menopause | Acupuncturist |

Five Natural Ways to Calm the Symptoms of Menopause

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Thursday, December 25, 2014

Erin Brockmeyer, GoLocalPDX Natural Health Expert




Night sweats, insomnia, brain fog, loss of libido, fatigue, mood swings, weight gain...the list goes on and on when you ask a typical woman for the lovely little symptoms that have cropped up since peri- menopause/menopause began. And according to the American Congress of Obstetricians and Gynecologists,6,000 women reach menopause each day in the U.S. In the Western medicine model, options for treating menopausal symptoms are limited primarily to hormone replacement therapy (HRT).


For a while, it seemed as though HRT was the long-awaited answer for women suffering from moderate to severe menopausal symptoms. In 2002, however, findings from the largest study of HRT (to-date) were released, and the outcome was not good. The study showed that women who received HRT were at an increased risk for heart disease, stroke, blood clots, and breast cancer. Currently thoughts on HRT are a bit more mixed, with there being certain groups of people for whom the benefits of specific types of HRT may outweigh the risk. With that being said, there are an ever-increasing number of people (including doctors) who are looking for more natural and safe ways to calm menopausal symptoms. Read ahead for some ideas on how to treat 5 common perimenopausal symptoms.

Hot flashes / Night sweats

According to the ACOG, 75% of women experience hot flashes or night sweats during perimenopause, and approximately 25% of those who do experience them for more than 5 years. No one wants that. One of the most effective ways of treating this issue is with acupuncture. An article published on Medscape asserts that “Acupuncture is an effective treatment for women who are experiencing natural menopause.” Numerous studiesare coming out that are showing reduction in hot flashes, night sweats and increases in estrogen as a result of receiving acupuncture from a practitioner trained in Chinese Medicine.


This seems to be an exceedingly common complaint from perimenopausal and menopausal women, and it can be one of the most frustrating of the symptoms you experience. There are a number of options for sleep that are commonly held as safe ways to help yourself sleep. If hot flashes are waking you up, seek treatment for those first. If you are having trouble falling asleep, adding a magnesium and calcium supplement about 30 minutes before bedtime can increase drowsiness and help you sleep. Dr. Andrew Weil’s website suggests the use of valerian or melatonin to aid with sleep. It is also a good idea to get in 45 minutes of exercise/day and to establish a regular bedtime routine.

Loss of Libido

This symptom of menopause, more than all the others, can have a heartbreaking effect on women and their partners. There are several components to why libido decreases in women, the most common thoughts being an increase in vaginal dryness leading to discomfort during sex, and an increase in their partners’ sexual performance problems leading women to feel less desired or less affectionate towards their partners. Harvard Medical Schoolpublished a paper that suggested that one of the most effective treatments for midlife loss of libido comes in the form of talking with your partner openly about your needs and expectations, or meeting with a sex therapist.

Mood Swings

It is not uncommon for a woman to equate the mood swings she experiences during perimenopause with those she had when she first went through puberty. This is most likely due to the greater fluctuations in hormones that are happening during this time. Just as in other cases of treating mood swings and depression, exercise and diet can be one of your greatest allies. This is a good time to renew a commitment to a cardio routine and to cut out excess sugars, caffeine, and alcohol. It is also a great time to focus on yourself by picking up a new hobby or spending more time with friends.

Memory Problems (aka Brain Fog)

The common causes thought to be behind this perimenopausal symptom include hormonal imbalances, insomnia, and increased stress. Attend to your sleep issues first if you suspect those could be the cause. You can combat memory issues by continuing to challenge your brain by doing things like crossword puzzles and sudoku. It may also be worth it to visit someone who is well trained in herbal medicine. If there are hormonal imbalances behind your brain fog, a trained herbalist should be able to offer suggestions that are natural, safe and effective. A UCLA review also suggested that eating plenty of Omega-3 fatty acids and foods high in folic acid, such as spinach, can help to improve brain function.

As with all health issues, it is beneficial to speak with a qualified health care provider about your particular concerns before self-treating. The suggestions in this article will hopefully help you see that there are options for you, and that you do not need to suffer through to menopause.



Erin Brockmeyer, LAc, is owner and acupuncturist at Solstice Natural Health in downtown Portland.  She creates custom health plans for patients to help them tackle their most complicated health concerns, including infertility, prenatal care, fibromyalgia, thyroid conditions and chronic and acute pain conditions.  Visit herwebsite for more information and to download her free e-book 5 Simple Ways to Improve Your Health Today.

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Acupuncture effective for pain management post tonsillectomy surgery

Acupuncture effective for pain management post tonsillectomy surgery | Acupuncturist |

A researchers has revealed that medical acupuncture is effective in reducing pain after tonsillectomy surgery and can be used as an alternative to codeine.

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Can Acupuncture Treat Depression?

Can Acupuncture Treat Depression? | Acupuncturist |
The alternative practice may be able to replace medication or alleviate its side effects


A growing number of people are seeking alternatives to antidepressant medications, and new research suggests that acupuncture could be a promising option. One new study found the traditional Chinese practice to be as effective as antidepressants, and a different study found that acupuncture may help treat the medications' side effects.

In acupuncture, a practitioner inserts needles into the skin at points of the body thought to correspond with specific organs (right). Western research suggests the needles may activate natural painkillers in the brain; in traditional Chinese medicine, the process is believed to improve functioning by correcting energy blocks or imbalances in the organs.

A study published last fall in the Journal of Alternative and Complementary Medicinefound that electroacupuncture—in which a mild electric current is transmitted through the needles—was just as effective as fluoxetine (the generic name of Prozac) in reducing symptoms of depression. For six weeks, patients underwent either electroacupuncture five times weekly or a standard daily dose of fluoxetine. The researchers, the majority of whom specialize in traditional Chinese medicine, assessed participants' symptoms every two weeks and tracked their levels of glial cell line–derived neurotrophic factor (GDNF), a neuroprotective protein. Previous studies have found lower amounts of GDNF among patients with major depressive disorder, and in other research levels of the protein rose after treatment with antidepressant medication.

After six weeks, both groups showed a similar improvement in symptoms, and both treatments restored GDNF to a normal concentration. But the acupuncture began to work faster, reducing symptoms more dramatically at weeks two and four than the drug did. Among the patients who got better, a higher percentage of the acupuncture recipients showed “great improvement.”

Another study suggests that acupuncture may help with one particularly difficult aspect of depression treatment: the sexual side effects of some medications. Twelve weeks of acupuncture helped both men and women with several aspects of sexual functioning, according to the work, also in the Journal of Alternative and Complementary Medicine. These findings add to a growing body of research suggesting acupuncture may be useful for a variety of ailments, including chronic pain, anxiety and nausea. — Tori Rodriguez

... But Will the Results Hold Up?
Strong studies should include a convincing control group, account for the placebo effect and be properly blinded so that neither the clinicians nor the participants know whether they are taking part in real or sham treatment. The results should also be successfully replicated in labs at numerous locations. Acupuncture researchers have struggled to comply for several reasons.

Placebo effect: One major hurdle is crafting a good fake acupuncture technique to act as a control condition. The first study described above did not attempt to use a true control, so it is impossible to know whether the needle placement, the electric current or some other aspect of the treatment accounted for the results. Further, acupuncture is associated with a robust placebo effect—simply being seen and touched by a practitioner makes most people feel significantly better, which could make acupuncture seem more effective than it really is. On the flip side, this large placebo component can overshadow a small but real difference between the treatment and placebo groups, potentially masking acupuncture's true usefulness.

Blinding: Another concern is the difficulty in creating a double-blinded experiment. Observers and participants alike can skew the results when they know whether they are participating in a real treatment rather than a sham procedure. The acupuncturist involved would almost certainly know whether he or she is engaged in the real thing, and that knowledge could subtly alter the acupuncturist's behavior. The first study above was partially blinded, in that the doctors who evaluated the patients' symptoms did not know what treatment they had received.

Reporting bias: Several studies have shown a systematic bias in the medical literature. When researchers reviewed randomized controlled trials performed in China, Japan, Russia and Taiwan, they found that these studies almost always showed positive results for acupuncture. Studies in the rest of the world were much more likely to find no benefit. The bias is further compounded by the “file drawer problem,” or the tendency to publish positive results but confine negative or inconclusive findings to the so-called file drawer. Overall the evidence for acupuncture's effectiveness has been ambiguous or outright contradictory, and most results have been difficult to reproduce. — Victoria Stern

This article was originally published with the title "Acupuncture for Depression."

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Children with Cancer UK | Complementary therapy, including Acupuncture

Children with Cancer UK | Complementary therapy, including Acupuncture | Acupuncturist |

National children's charity funding research, welfare and campaigning projects to help children with all types of cancer. Find information about childrens cancers and fundraising, or make a donation.



Complementary therapy



Complementary therapies are thought to be used by up to a third of cancer sufferers. These therapies may be used alongside the conventional treatments such as chemotherapy, radiotherapy and surgery, not as an alternative. 

Complementary therapies are generally used to help with the symptoms of disease and the side effects of treatment. Side effects such as nausea, vomiting, fatigue and pain are well known but depression and anxiety are also very common and complementary therapies can help reduce anxiety and promote relaxation. 

Some cancer centres offer complementary therapies directly. Some patients will need to seek independent practitioners; in all cases it is advisable to seek advice from your child’s doctor. Some complementary therapies may actually interfere with conventional treatments. 

Types of complementary therapies
There is a wide range of complementary therapies, but they can be broadly categorised as follows. Some of these categories overlap.

Alternative medical systems, such as acupuncture, homeopathy and Chinese medicine.Complex natural products, such as botanicals, and green tea.Energy therapies, such as Qi Gong, Reiki, therapeutic touch and magnet therapy.Exercise therapies, such as Tai Chi, yoga, and dance therapy.Manipulative therapies, such as chiropractic, massage, osteopathy and reflexology.Mind therapies, such as aromatherapy, art therapy, cognitive behavioural therapy, imagery, mindfulness and meditation.Nutritional therapies, such as anti-oxidants, macrobiotics and vitamins.Spiritual therapies, such as prayer and healing.

Examples of complementary therapies and their use
This involves using needles that stimulate anatomic points in the skin, causing energy to pass along paths in the body called meridians. This can help a person’s mental and physical health. 

The therapist needs formal training, regulated by the British Acupuncture Council. Acupuncture is NOT an effective treatment for cancer on its own, however it can relieve pain, nausea and vomiting caused by chemotherapy. It is generally considered safe but should be avoided in certain conditions, such as skin that has been radiated, infected skin, those with low platelets or on anti-coagulants.

Visit the British Acupuncture Council for further information 

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Patients for Acupuncture insurance coverage -now!!

Patients for Acupuncture insurance coverage -now!! | Acupuncturist |
We are paying an excellent lobby firm to present a bill mandating insurance coverage for Acupuncture


Patients for Acupuncture insurance coverage -now!!StoryUpdates 0Comments 3Funders 1    Email Embed Link FollowWe are paying an excellent lobby firm to present a bill mandating insurance coverage for Acupuncture Hartford, New Haven, Stamford, Connecticut, United States  Health

The lobbyist firm needs $50,000

For a commited two year campaign to succeed in winning mandated coverage in Connecticut for acupuncture. Other states will follow our lead. We want patient support to fund the lobby campaign. Help!! Insurance companies will save money if they cover acupuncture. ( prevents more expensive procedures)

Shaftesbury Clinic's insight:

This is a very interesting idea, we'll have to watch this space to see what happens...

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The effect of acupuncture on endocrine regulation in hypertensive patients [Vopr Kurortol Fizioter Lech Fiz Kult. 1991 Jan-Feb] - PubMed - NCBI

The effect of acupuncture on endocrine regulation in hypertensive patients [Vopr Kurortol Fizioter Lech Fiz Kult. 1991 Jan-Feb] - PubMed - NCBI | Acupuncturist |

Vopr Kurortol Fizioter Lech Fiz Kult. 1991 Jan-Feb;(1):29-32.[The effect of acupuncture on endocrine regulation in hypertensive patients].[Article in Russian]Bobkova AS, Gaponiuk PIa, Korovkina EG, Sherkovina TIu, Leonova MV.




Thirty-five stage I-II essential hypertension subjects aged 25-63 were examined after the 1st and 10th acupuncture to clarify the effect of a single procedure and a course of acupuncture treatment on blood ACTH, STH, TTH, beta-endorphine, neurotensin, thyroxine, aldosterone, hydrocortisone and plasma renin activity. The hormonal spectrum was determined by radioimmunoassay using special kits. The blood was obtained before acupuncture, 5 min after introduction of the needles, immediately and 30 min after their removal. It is shown that acupuncture-related decline of arterial pressure occurs in participation of pituitary and adrenal hormones as well as polypeptides beta-endorphine and neurotensin.

PMID: 1646516 [PubMed - indexed for MEDLINE]  



PubMed comprises more than 23 million citations for biomedical literature from MEDLINE, life science journals, and online books. Citations may include links to full-text content from PubMed Central and publisher web sites.

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Surviving Sepsis: Detection and Treatment Advances - including acupuncture

Surviving Sepsis: Detection and Treatment Advances - including acupuncture | Acupuncturist |

A leading cause of death in U.S. intensive care units is sepsis, an overwhelming immune response to infection that triggers body-wide inflammation and can cause organ failure.  

Sepsis is challenging to diagnose and treat. Many of its early signs, such as fever and difficulty breathing, are similar to those of other conditions. When doctors do not detect sepsis until a more advanced stage, they are often unable to stop its progression or prevent its complications. 

“Sepsis is a complex problem,” says Sarah Dunsmore of the National Institutes of Health (NIH). “We need more research at all levels — from the molecular to the patient — to improve sepsis diagnosis and treatment and to enhance the quality of life for sepsis survivors.” 

Here’s a sampling of NIH-funded research efforts to detect sepsis early,treat it quickly  and reduce its later effects.

Detecting Sepsis Early

By the time a person develops the inflammation characteristic of sepsis, the condition may have already progressed to a life-threatening stage. But according to James Mapes of diagnostic test developer Myriad RBM, “If you can identify sepsis earlier, then you can treat it before it gets out of control.”   

Mapes and his research team are developing a tool for detecting sepsis early in infants with very low birthweights (VLBW). More than 20 percent of infants who weigh less than 3 pounds, 4 ounces are affected by sepsis. 

As sepsis progresses, the amounts of certain proteins in an infant’s bloodstream increase while others decrease. Mapes’ team tested the levels of hundreds of proteins in the blood of VLBW infants with and without sepsis. The scientists are now using statistical techniques to determine which combinations of these proteins are most associated with sepsis.

Their goal is to use this protein profile to develop a rapid blood test to detect sepsis in VLBW infants before the physical signs of the condition appear. 

Treating Sepsis Quickly

The antibiotics that treat infections do not prevent the dangerous inflammation that is a hallmark of sepsis. But a study led by Luis Ulloa of Rutgers New Jersey Medical School suggests that a form of acupuncture — or a drug that mimics its effect — might one day lead to an anti-inflammatory therapy for people with sepsis. 

The research team applied needles with weak electric voltages to an acupuncture point on mice with a sepsis-like condition. The “electro-acupuncture” treatment stimulated the sciatic nerve, which runs from the lower back to the foot. This then set off a nerve network that triggered the adrenal gland to produce the chemical dopamine, and the mice experienced reduced inflammation and greatly improved survival.  

But unlike the mice in this study, humans with sepsis often have underperforming adrenal glands. The effectiveness of the electro-acupuncture therapy, however, depended on a working adrenal gland. To overcome this obstacle to developing a potential therapy, the researchers tested whether dopamine-like drugs could have the same effect as electro-acupuncture, even in mice lacking adrenal glands. One of these drugs, fenoldopam, reduced deaths by 40 percent.    

The team hopes this research may one day lead to a new way of treating sepsis.

Preventing Secondary Infections

Some people who survive sepsis can develop secondary infections days or even months later. A research team that included Richard Hotchkiss, Jonathan Green and Gregory Storch of Washington University School of Medicine in St. Louis suspected that this is because sepsis might cause lasting damage to the immune system. To test this hypothesis, the scientists compared viral activation in people with sepsis, other critically ill people and healthy individuals. The researchers looked for viruses like Epstein-Barr and herpes simplex that are often dormant in healthy people but can reactivate in those with suppressed immune systems. [Sepsis Has Long-Term Impact for Older Adults, Study Finds]

Of the three study groups, people with sepsis had much higher levels of these viruses, suggesting reactivation due to compromised immune responses. Immune suppression could make it difficult to defend against the reactivated viruses as well as new infections like pneumonia. The team now plans to test whether immune-boosting drugs can prevent deaths in sepsis survivors.

This Inside Life Science article was provided to Live Science in cooperation with the National Institute of General Medical Sciences, part of the National Institutes of Health.

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The might of mites

The might of mites | Acupuncturist |

An estimated 20% of the UK’s population suffers from allergic rhinitis (an allergic inflammation of the nasal airways). One of the common causes of these allergic reactions is dust mites – tiny creatures that tend to like sharing close quarters with humans. The allergic reactions do not occur because of the mites themselves, but are triggered by certain proteins that are found in their microscopic droppings.

For people who find they are wheezing, getting eczema, or having other strong allergic reactions as a result of dust mites, there are a series of recommendations that can go some way to helping reduce the symptoms. These include: using allergen-proof materials on beds and pillows; washing all bedding at a high temperature (60 degrees of above); removing carpeting in the bedroom; increasing ventilation in the room; and vacuuming and cleaning all surfaces regularly.

In terms of medical treatment, the most common medications are antihistamines which help to block the allergic reaction and the sensation of itching. Of the commonly prescribed medications is loratadine, a ‘non-drowsy antihistamine’.

In a recent paper on acupuncture for allergic rhinitis, researchers compared the effects of acupuncture versus loratadine.(1) Although the sample size was small (24 patients) the methods were interesting because they combined the subjective views of the patients receiving treatment, and objective ‘rhinoconjunctivitis symptom scores’ based on specific biological and immune reactions within the patients’ bodies.

Although there were no changes in immunoglobulin levels –  an indicator of a person’s level of allergic reaction – other immune system changes showed that both the acupuncture and the loratadine were having an impact. Overall, both treatments had an effect on the allergic reaction of patients.
The paper concludes that: Acupuncture is a clinically effective form of therapy in the treatment of patients suffering from persistent allergic rhinitis. The results indicate the probability of an immunomodulatory effect.

In other words, acupuncture is able to produce a change, or modulation, in the body’s immune system. A number of other studies have shown this before.(2) What acupuncture research needs now are larger sample sizes: more patients and larger trials.

Click here to see an acupuncture practitioner in the York area.

*With apologies for the pun in the title of this blog post


(1).     Hauswald B, Dill C, Boxberger J, Kuhlisch E, Zahnert T, Yarin YM. The effectiveness of acupuncture compared to loratadine in patients allergic to house dust mites. Journal of Allergy. 2014;2014:654632.

(2).     Joos S, Schott C, Zou H, Daniel V, Martin E. Immunomodulatory effects of acupuncture in the treatment of allergic asthma: a randomized controlled study. Journal Alternative Complementary Medicine N Y N. 2000 Dec;6(6):519–25.

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