Cosmetic acupuncture improved facial elasticity

This research paper is from Kyung Hee University, Seoul. Beauty and skin health are important part of modern life. Acupuncture has a long history originated from China. It still contributes to modern life and is loved by peoples globally. Cosmetic acupuncture or facial rejuvenation acupuncture became popular in this century as one of the approaches for skin rejuvenation and anti-aging treatments including facial wrinkles, facial muscle tone and elasticity. This study explored the effects of cosmetic acupuncture on facial elasticity in Korea. They hypothesized that facial cosmetic acupuncture affects facial elasticity by restoring resting mimetic muscle tone through the insertion of needles into the muscles of the head, face, and neck. Participants who were aged 40-59 years old received five treatment sessions over three weeks. Participants were measured before and after treatment. 27 participants completed five treatments. The result has shown a significant improvement of facia elasticity after cosmetic acupuncture treatment.

References

Younghee Yun, et al. Based Complement Alternat Med. 2013; 2013: 424313.

Published online 2013 Jul 28. doi: 10.1155/

Effect of Facial Cosmetic Acupuncture on Facial Elasticity: An Open-Label, Single-Arm Pilot Study

Research has shown that acupuncture reduces facial wrinkles

The forehead and the corner of eyes are the common place to get wrinkles. How to get rid of these wrinkles? Do you have to be under the knife or botox injection to look good? Facial acupuncture is a good alternative. It is absolutely natural and no severe side effects. All people who had facial acupuncture with me liked it. Do you have to see research evidence to show that it is effective to convince you? Here is the publications for it. This is a case report. 8 people (5 female and 3 male and age from 26 to 61) participated the study. Four for the wrinkles on the forehead, two for wrinkles between eye brows and two for crow feet wrinkles. They received 2 acupuncture treatments and the photos were taken three times, before the first treatment, before the second treatment, two to four weeks after the second treatment. The result has shown that the winkle reduction was found in all cases on all types of wrinkles; all participants were very satisfied with the results. The only side effect was mild bruise which went soon after the treatment.

References

The Acupuncture 2014; 31(2): 165-171.

Research suggests that facial acupuncture improves nasolabial folds and eye wrinkles

People live longer and the standard of living has been increasing, the demand for beauty and healthy skin is increasing. Facial acupuncture is getting more and more popular. It becomes liking for many celebrities. Acupuncture needles are inserted into the skin to improve blood circulation and stimulate collagen and elastin secretion. Recently a research paper using DermaVision images to study the effects of Acupuncture on nasolabial folds and eye wrinkles before and after the treatment. 107 patients ranging in age from their 20s to their 70s participated this study. They were grouped into 20s, early 30s, mid-30s, late 30s 40s early 50s, mid 50s 60s and 70s according to their age. The result showed that Acupuncture treatment improved both nasolabial folds and eye wrinkles in all of the classified age groups

References

Cho JH et al Evid Based Complement Alternat Med. 2015;2015:273909. doi: 10.1155/2015/273909. Epub 2015 May 4.

Acupuncture is effective for vulvodynia

This study was reported from the University of Illinois at Chicago, Chicago, IL, USA. Vulvodynia awareness makes this condition understood more. Up to 15% women have vulvodynia and many women seek treatments, but unfortunately there is no consistently effective standardized treatment for vulvodynia. Acupuncture can effectively reduce vulval pain and the women who had special acupuncture treatment for vulvodynia saw the benefit, though there is still no much research to prove it. The first randomized controlled pilot study examined the use of acupuncture for the treatment of vulvodynia was a small sample research about acupuncture on vulvodynia. In this study, thirty-six women with vulvodynia participated the study. The women were randomly assigned either to the acupuncture group or to the wait-list control group. The 18 subjects assigned to the acupuncture group received acupuncture twice a week for 5 weeks for a total of 10 sessions. The result has shown that vulval pain and dyspareunia were significantly reduced.

References

Schlaeger JM et al J Sex Med. 2015 Apr;12(4):1019-27. doi: 10.1111/jsm.12830. Epub 2015 Jan 30.

Acupuncture releases trapezius muscle fatigue, increases muscle activity and reduces pain in nonspecific neck pain

Trapezius muscle is a broad triangular muscle at neck and upper back, one of the largest superficial muscles at the back. It attaches to the base of the skull and extends down to the neck, the upper back until mid back; laterally it inserts to the shoulder blades. There are three functional regions to the muscle: the Upper, middle, and lower trapezius, and each region has its own function: upper region moves the shoulder blades and support the arms; the middle region retracts the shoulder blades and the lower region rotates and depresses the shoulder blades.

Pain caused from the upper trapezius includes headaches on the temples, facial, temple or jaw pain, pain behind the eye, dizziness, neck pain, stiff neck, limited movement, intolerance to weight on the shoulders.  Pain caused by middle trapezius includes headache at the base of the skull, mid back burning pain or aching along the spine or to the top of the shoulder. Pain caused from the lower trapezius includes headache at the base of the skull, aching on the top of the shoulder,  neck, mid back and/or upper shoulder pain; pain at the back of the shoulder blade which could go down the inside of the arm to the ring and little fingers.

A recent research investigated immediate effect of acupuncture on electromyographic activity of the upper trapezius muscle and pain in patients with nonspecific neck pain. Fifteen patients with nonspecific neck pain and 15 healthy participants participated the study. They received one session either acupuncture or sham acupuncture as a control. The electromyography (EMG) signal of the upper trapezius muscle was recorded before and after acupuncture treatment. After acupuncture treatment, pain was significantly reduced and significant decreases in the EMG amplitude were identified for the nonspecific neck pain group. This research suggested that muscle fatigue and decrease of activity of the upper trapezius muscle was found in nonspecific neck pain patients. Acupuncture contributes to pain relief among patients with nonspecific neck pain.

References

Calamita SAP et al J Manipulative Physiol Ther. 2018 Mar - Apr;41(3):208-217. doi: 10.1016/j.jmpt.2017.09.006.

Feeling extremely tired? Acupuncture can help.

Chronic fatigue syndrome (CFS), also referred to as myalgic encephalomyelitis (ME), is a medical condition characterized by long-term fatigue and other persistent symptoms that limit a person's ability to carry out ordinary daily activities. The most prominent symptom is extreme fatigue. Study has shown that acupuncture can help CFS patients by reducing fatigue and improving other associated symptoms. For example, a recent study investigated the effect of acupuncture on CFS. 68 patients participated this study. In this study 34 patients were in acupuncture group and they received acupuncture with the consecutive treatment for 4 weeks. 34 pateints in control group received oryzanol and vitamin B1. Before and after treatment, the score of the fatigue scale-14 (FS-14), the score of the somatic and psychological health report (SPHERE) and the score of the Pittsburgh sleep quality index (PSQI) were observed in the patients of the two groups separately. The enzyme-linked immunosorbent assay (ELISA) was adopted to determine the levels of serum interleukin-6 (IL-6) and interferon-γ (INF-γ) before and after treatment. After treatment, FS-14 scores, SPHERE scores and PSQI scores were all reduced compared to before the treatments. After treatment, the levels of IL-6 and INF-γ in the serum in the observation group were reduced. They concluded that acupuncture can improve fatigue and sleep quality. The effect mechanism is probably related to the decrease of the levels of IL-6 and INF-γ in serum.

References

Xue YX et al Zhongguo Zhen Jiu. 2019 Feb 12;39(2):123-7. doi: 10.13703/j.0255-2930.2019.02.003.

Depression and anxiety are most commonly treated with acupuncture after lower back pain in the US.

Acupuncture has been a popular alternative medicine in the United States for several decades. It becomes common knowledge that acupuncture can release pain. People with chronic pain often seek acupuncture treatments and it is currently emerging as a unique non-pharmaceutical choice for pain against opioid crisis in the US. For what other conditions do people seek acupuncture treatment in the US? There was a survey studied the conditions that the most commonly treated acupuncture conditions. 419 acupuncturists across the US participated the study. Top 10 conditions that people go for acupuncture are lower back pain, depression, anxiety, headache, arthritis, allergies, general pain, female infertility, insomnia, neck pain and frozen shoulder. Top 99 conditions were grouped into a few categories: pain represents the largest category; and mental health management, especially for mood disorders, is in greatest demand.  Immune system dysfunctions, gastrointestinal diseases, gynecology and neurology have also had high ranks.

As you can see that depression and anxiety are most commonly treated with acupuncture after lower back pain. Depression and Anxiety are two different medical conditions, their symptoms, causes, and treatments can often overlap.

References

Wang H et al Am J Chin Med. 2018 Oct 9:1-33. doi: 10.1142/S0192415X18500738.

Acupuncture can help, if you don’t sleep well. 
Primary insomnia means that a person is having sleep problems that are not directly associated with any other health condition or problem such as another medical or psychiatric disorder. The main symptoms include that difficulty falling sleep, waking up often during the night and having trouble going back to sleep again, waking up early in the morning, feeling tired once waking. 
Acupuncture can help people with primary insomnia. This is proved by research papers. A very recent review has analysed the effect of acupuncture on primary insomnia to provide updated evidence from randomized controlled trials (RCTs) on the effectiveness and safety of acupuncture for primary insomnia. In this paper, 10 years data from 2008-2017) was analysed. A total of 73 RCTs involving 5533 participants were studied. The result has shown that there is significant effect of acupuncture compared with no treatment; acupuncture plus drugs showed better improvement than drugs alone; there is fewer side effects of acupuncture compared to the drugs. This review concluded that acupuncture is effective and safe method for insomnia. 
References
Cao HJ et al J Altern Complement Med. 2019 Apr 23. doi: 10.1089/acm.2018.0046. [Epub ahead of print]

 

How does acupuncture release anxiety?

Amygdala and hippocampus are the key parts of the brain that are responsible for the anxiety, stress and other mood changes. Hypersensitivity of these regions of the brain causes anxiety. Functional magnetic resonance imaging (fMRI) is a new and effective tool to study brain activity. A study investigated the effect of acupuncture on the Amygdala and hippocampus. They compared the activity of these regions before and during acupuncture treatment. They found that acupuncture reduces Amygdala and hippocampus activities. There are also other studies showing that after acupuncture treatment these regions activities reduced. Acupuncture improves stress induce memory impairment and increases AchE activity  in the hippocampus. Acupuncture reduces stress hormone level such as serotonin, noradrenaline, dopamine, GABA, neuropeptide Y and ACTH; Acupuncture increases production of endogenous opioids that affect the autonomic nervous system decreasing the sympathetic nerve activities. Acupuncture reduces inflammation and stress induced changes. These researches provide evidence that acupuncture is effective to release stress, anxiety and mood changes.

References

Hu KK et al Auton Neurosci. 2010 Oct 28;157(1-2):81-90. doi: 10.1016/j.autneu.2010.03.022. Epub 2010 May 21.

Acupuncture is effective to reduce stress

Stress is a part of every person's life. Research by the American College Health Association's National College Health Assessment indicates that in 2015, 42.8% students reported more than average stress in the past 12 months, with 10.7% reported being under tremendous stress. Furthermore, 30% of college students reported that stress had negatively impacted academic performance, and 76% of students reported feeling overwhelmed with all they had to do. A research studied effectiveness of acupuncture in the perception of stress specifically in patients who study or work on a large urban college campus. All participants were allocated into two groups: acupuncture group ad control group. Each participant completed the Cohen's global measure of perceived stress questionnaire at five timepoints: prior to treatment, at 6 week treatment, at 12 weeks which is the completion of treatment, 6 weeks post completion, 3 months post completion of the treatment. Significant improvement of the stress score was observed in acupuncture group started from 6 week treatment and last for 3 months when the study completed.

References

Stefanie Schroeder et al (2017) J Acupunct Meridian Stud 2017 Jun;10(3):165-170. doi: 10.1016/j.jams.2017.01.002. Epub 2017 Jan 16.

Acupuncture is effective to reduce fatigue

Fatigue is a common symptom for patients with inflammatory bowel disease (IBD)and this fatigue persists even if it is in remission. A recent study investigated the effect of acupuncture on fatigue with IBD in remission. Fifty-two patients with IBD in clinical remission and fatigue participated the study. Patients in acupuncture group received 9 treatments over four weeks. After 8 weeks fatigue score in acupuncture group is improved significantly compared with waiting list group and before acupuncture treatments. This paper suggested that acupuncture may be a treatment option for patients with IBD and fatigue.

References

Horta D et al Inflamm Bowel Dis. 2019 May 15. pii: izz091. doi: 10.1093/ibd/izz091. [Epub ahead of print]

Feeling anxious all the time? Acupuncture can help

Anxiety is a feeling of unease, worry or fear. If it is persistent, it can affect daily life. The symptoms of anxiety include restlessness, a feeling of dread and being on edge, difficulty concentrating, difficulty sleeping and being easily irritated. Acupuncture is used by many people to reduce their anxiety. Recent research has supported the application. A study investigated the effect of acupuncture and massage on anxiety. In this study anxiety levels were measured by a self-perception 5 points scale and at the end of the 5th and the 10th treatment. After a maximum of ten treatments, the levels of anxiety were reduced (98.39% after five sessions). Women at their tenth treatment reached lower anxiety levels than those of men.This study suggested that acupuncture is efficient to treat anxiety. A review analysed 13 publications for acupuncture on anxiety. They encourage using acupuncture for anxiety treatment with effective outcomes and fewer side effects than conventional treatment. The most common used acupuncture points for anxiety is Yintang(EX-HN 3), an acupoint located between the eyebrows.

References

Amorim D et al Complement Ther Clin Pract. 2018 May;31:215-219. doi: 10.1016/j.ctcp.2018.02.016. Epub 2018 Mar 1.

Amorim D et al Complement Ther Clin Pract. 2018 May;31:31-37. doi: 10.1016/j.ctcp.2018.01.008. Epub 2018 Jan 31.

Kwon CY and Lee B Med Acupunct. 2018 Apr 1;30(2):73-79. doi: 10.1089/acu.2017.1268.

Prefrontal cortex plays a role in pain management including acupuncture

The prefrontal cortex (PFC) is the cerebral cortexcovering the front part of the frontal lobe. This brain region has been implicated in planning complex cognitive behavior, personality expression, decision making, and moderating social behaviour. It is also important in pain processing. Changes in neurotransmitters, gene expression, glial cells, and neuroinflammation occur in the PFC during acute and chronic pain, that result in alterations to its structure, activity, and connectivity. This function replies on its connections to other areas of the cerebral neocortex, hippocampus, periaqueductal gray (PAG), thalamus, amygdala, and basal nuclei.

“The medial PFC (mPFC) could serve dual, opposing roles in pain: (1) it mediates antinociceptive effects, due to its connections with other cortical areas, and as the main source of cortical afferents to the PAG for modulation of pain. This is a 'loop' where, on one side, a sensory stimulus is transformed into a perceptual signal through high brain processing activity, and perceptual activity is then utilized to control the flow of afferent sensory stimuli at their entrance (dorsal horn) to the CNS. (2) It could induce pain chronification via its corticostriatal projection, possibly depending on the level of dopamine receptor activation (or lack of) in the ventral tegmental area-nucleus accumbens reward pathway.”

“The PFC is involved in biopsychosocial pain management. This includes repetitive transcranial magnetic stimulation, transcranial direct current stimulation, antidepressants, acupuncture, cognitive behavioral therapy, mindfulness, music, exercise, partner support, empathy, meditation, and prayer. Studies demonstrate the role of the PFC during placebo analgesia, and in establishing links between pain and depression, anxiety, and loss of cognition. In particular, losses in PFC grey matter are often reversible after successful treatment of chronic pain.”

References

Role of the Prefrontal Cortex in Pain Processing.

Ong WY et al Mol Neurobiol. 2018 Jun 6. doi: 10.1007/s12035-018-1130-9. [Epub ahead of print]

Suffer from chronic pelvic pain? Acupuncture can help

Pelvis (or pelvic region) is the region between the abdomen and thighs. It includes sacrum and the coccyx at the back, pelvic bone, pelvic cavity, pelvic floor and perineum. Within pelvic cavity there are bladder, reproductive organs, and the rectum. Around the pelvic bone there are skeletal muscles that attach the bone. Pelvic pain is the pain in the pelvic region (lower abdomen). Pelvic pain can be a sign of the problem with one of the organs in the pelvic cavity, such as bladder, lower intestine, rectum and reproductive system (i.e. uterus, ovaries, fallopian tubes etc in women and prostate in men).

The common causes of pelvic pain are appendicitis, bladder disorders, sexually transmitted diseases, kidney infection, kidney stones, intestinal disorders, nerve condition, hernia, pelvic inflammatory diseases, IBS, (ovulation, periods pain, endometriosis, ovary cysts in women), (prostatitis in men) and many more. Diagnosis is needed by doctors.

Chronic pelvic pain which is continuous or episodic pain in the lower abdomen or pelvis lasting at least six months is one of the most common pain conditions experienced by women. It has great negative impact on women’s quality of life including constant physical and psychological aspects. It depends on what causes the pain and various treatments are available including surgical and non surgical approaches such as hormonal therapy. Improving day-to-day pain management, functioning, and quality of life through multidisciplinary and holistic approaches are also recommended care to women with chronic pelvic pain. The use of complementary health approaches is common for pain conditions. An estimated 35-52% of patients with chronic pain use therapies such as vitamins and mineral supplements, massage therapy or acupuncture for their symptoms. This is applied to chronic pelvic pain. A survey showed that 60% of perimenopausal women with self-reported pelvic pain, and 84% of women with interstitial cystitis used some form of complementary medicine. Recently a study from the US has shown that most women who used acupuncture (91%) had at least some improvement in symptoms based on self-report.

Recent review has shown that acupuncture can reduces chronic prostatitis/chronic pelvic pain syndrome for men.  In this review, (three studies, 204 participants) based on short-term follow-up, acupuncture reduces prostatitis symptoms in an appreciable number of participants compared with sham procedure Acupuncture likely results in little to no difference in adverse events. It probably also decreases prostatitis symptoms compared with standard medical therapy in an appreciable number of participants

References

Chao et al Pain Med (2015) 16:328-40

Franco JV et al Cochrane Database Syst Rev (2018) Jan 26

Acupuncture is for miscarriage

Threatened miscarriage is a common complication of early pregnancy increasing the risk of miscarriage or premature labour. Currently there is limited evidence to recommend any biomedical pharmacological or self-care management.

A study was to examine the feasibility of offering acupuncture as a therapeutic treatment for women presenting with threatened miscarriage. The result has shown that for women receiving acupuncture there was a statically significant reduction with threatened miscarriage symptoms including bleeding, cramping and back pain compared with the control. They conclude that acupuncture was a feasible intervention and reduced threatened miscarriage symptoms when compared to a touch intervention. Further research is required to further explore acupuncture use for this common complication and whether it can reduce the incidence of miscarriage.

References

Betts D et al BMC Pregnancy Childbirth. 2016 Oct 7;16(1):298.

Acupuncture can help with dental pain

Acute dental pain is the main reason for seeking dental services. Have you tried acupuncture for reduce your dental pain? There is a study aimed to evaluate the use of acupuncture in reducing the intensity of acute dental pain in pre-dental care in patients waiting for emergency dental care, and was conducted at the After-Hours Emergency Dental Clinic of Piracicaba Dental School, and at the Emergency Center Dental Specialties I in Piracicaba, São Paulo, Brazil. 120 patients participated the study. The Visual Analog Scale (VAS) was used to measure pain intensity. All patients underwent one session of acupuncture. Reduction in pain was observed in all120 patients. The results of this study indicate that acupuncture analgesia could be a technical adjunct to pain control in patients with acute dental pain, contributing to the restoration of health with social benefit. It is worth trying acupuncture for your dental pain.

References

Grillo CM J Acupunct Meridian Stud. 2014 Apr;7(2):65-70. doi: 10.1016/j.jams.2013.03.005. Epub 2013 Apr 11.

Maternity acupuncture in the UK, what do you know about it?

Women are seeking acupuncture treatments for a variety of women's health–related conditions.  A European Union (EU)/China survey from acupuncturists indicated that 41% of EU respondents commonly treated obstetric/gynecologic issues, of which half of them from the UK. Another U.K. survey of acupuncturists reported that fertility acupuncture is 15% of their treatments. Maternity acupuncture is also popular. In pregnancy, the most-common conditions were nausea and vomiting, lower-back or pelvic-girdle pain (LBPGP), and labor preparation and induction. Acupuncture during pregnancy and labor has been evaluated as safe when used by a suitably qualified practitioner, and a growing willingness to refer for pregnancy-related acupuncture has been reported from Western health practitioners.

The majority of acupuncturists in countries, such as the United States, the United Kingdom, Australia, and New Zealand, offer maternity treatment through private clinics. In contrast, the majority of maternity acupuncture care in European countries—such as Denmark, Finland, Germany, Norway, Sweden, and Switzerland—is administered by hospital midwives who take short training courses.

A recent survey from the UK shows that the most-common maternity situations encountered were: birth preparation [96.5%]; nausea & vomiting [94.2%]; and inducing labor [90.8%]. More than 50% of the practitioners were also treating lower-back and pelvic pain [88.5%], breech presentations [85.0%], threatened miscarriages [63.2%], and headaches/migraines [52.8%]. Only a minority (8 [9.1%]) attended births. A greater number of referrals were received from medical health professionals for pregnancy [65.8%] than for fertility [19.5%] or menstrual conditions [9.7%].

References

Debra Betts, Med Acupunct. 2019 Oct 1; 31(5): 274–280.

Natural facia skin care with facial acupuncture

What stress does to your skin?

Stress can affect your whole body including your face. It has a powerful effect on your facial skin. It accelerates aging process though the exact relationship of stress on aging is complex and isn't fully understood. Stress causes a chemical response that makes skin more sensitive and reactive. It also causes skin dryness and dehydration which leads to fine lines and wrinkles. It causes tension of facial muscles which leads to deep wrinkles and facial pain. Stress causes an inflammatory response in the body and leads the pores to become clogged and break causing acne. Skin losses its radiance which is a result of skin blood flow slowing down. Skin also losses its elasticity and forms sagging skin. Take care of your skin to prevent from damaging and rapid skin aging. This will help keep your skin healthy and glowing and delay the natural aging process.

Natural skin care with facial acupuncture

Natural skin care using nature products is that you care the skin with naturally derived products however according to the US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) all ingredients are chemicals by definition. And also natural does not have medical meaning to dermatologists.

Facial acupuncture is putting acupuncture needles on the particular points on the face. Facial acupuncture is absolutely natural in facial skin care. It stimulates skin endogenous metabolisms and improves skin blood circulation and reduces stress.

Acupuncture improves skin blood supply

The skin contains a network of small blood vessels which provides nutrition to the skin. The blood vessel wall can contract and relax to regulate blood supply to the skin. If the blood vessels contract more than normal, less blood passes through them and the skin becomes pale and white. When the blood vessels are completely relaxed, this allows more blood to pass through the skin and the skin appear red. Improving skin blood flow will improve skin nutrition status.

Recently many studies have shown that acupuncture increases blood flow and microcirculation in the skin.

These are examples of the studies

Kuo TC et al Am J Chin Med (2004) 32:117-29

Mori H et al Acupunct Med (2014) 32:167-71
Hsiu H et al Microvasc Res (2013) 89:34-9
Kimura et al Acupunct Med (2013) 31:74-80

Huang T et al J Tradit Chin Med 92012) 32:40-4

Hsiu H etal Evid Based Complement Alternat Med (2011) 2011:435928

Hsiu H et al ConfProc IEEE Eng Med Biol Soc (2008) 2008:2916-9

Hsiu H et al Lasers Med Sci (2009) 24:353-8

Hsiao SH and Tsai LJ J Acupunct Meridian Stud (2008) 1:42-50

Kimura K et al Am J Chin Med (2006) 34:189-96

Sandberg M et al Eur J Appl Physiol (2003) 90:114-9

Zhang D et al Sheng Wu Yi Xue Gong Cheng Xue Za Zhi

Baloqun JA Disabil Rehabil (1996) 18:523-8

In these studies, different acupuncture points are tested and all are found increased skin blood flow. One of the studies measured facial skin blood flow and skin temperature and showed the skin blood flow was increased after acupuncture treatments.

These studies provided scientific evidences for the application of facial acupuncture to improve facial skin blood flow and nutrition. Acupuncture is potentially a new approach to contribute to anti aging.

Why can acupuncture be used to treat chronic prostatitis/CPPS?

Acupuncture has been proved in effectively treating chronic prostatitis/CPPS. The mechanisms are also studied in current research to provide scientific evidence for the treatment and it is suggested that acupuncture reduces local inflammation and improves local microcirculation. Acupuncture was seen to increase immunoglobulin A in the prostatic fluids and improve local immune function of the prostate. It was also seen that interleukin-2 and testosterone, tumor necrosis factor-α (TNF-α) and the expression of intercellular adhesion molecule 1 (ICAM-1) were altered which were involved in inflammatory reaction. For example a recent study participated by 47 patients with CP/CPPS. After received acupuncture treatments pain or discomfort score decreased remarkably as compared with that before treatment. The levels of IL-8, IL-10 and TNF-alpha which were inflammatory markers were lower than those before treatment. The positive correlation was obtained between IL-10 level and pain score. They suggested that acupuncture has significant efficacy on CP/CPPS through reducing IL-10 level to ease pain, and reducing the levels of IL-8 and TNF-alpha to relieve inflammatory reaction.

Recently, a small sample clinic trial was conducted to investigate the mechanism of acupuncture underlying the treatment of chronic prostatitis/CPPS. 12 patients participated the study. Immune function tests were performed before and after 10 weeks acupuncture treatment. At the end of study 67% responded the treatments. The acupuncture group averaged a 5% increase in natural killer cell levels compared to control group. Similarly, patients randomized to acupuncture reported a reduction in other white blood cell parameters examined. This study supported the possibility that immunity might be important in the pathophysiology of CP/CPPS and suggested potential mechanism of acupuncture treatment.

Suffer from acne? Acupuncture can help

What is acne? What causes acne? Acne is a disorder that occurs in the hair follicles in the face, chest and back. This is known as black heads, white heads, pimples, pustules and cysts on the skin. It is a common condition in teenagers and younger adults. Acnes can be on and off for a few years and disappear by mid 20s. Acne can have a big impact on psychological well-being.

 Acne is thought triggered by hormone imbalance. Too much androgen secretion is the major trigger. Changing of hormone levels makes glands in the skin produce excessive amounts of an oily substance- sebum. Increased male hormone stimulates the oil gland attached to the hair follicles-small holes in the skin. Increased male hormone alters the oil production which causes the follicular pores clogged and hair follicles enlarged. Bacteria can access to the deeper layers of the skin through these follicles causing inflammation. Inflammation closed to the skin surface causing a pustule; inflammation in deeper layer leads to pimple and a cyst. And sometimes scar can form from abnormal wound healing following inflammatory damage. White head is caused by oil clogging to the skin surface while black head is caused by oxidized oil or accumulated melanin pigment. The factors that don’t cause acne include heredity, food, dirt, or stress.

From Traditional Chinese Medicine point of view, there are several factors causing acne: heat and damp is accumulated in lung and stomach meridians causing skin blockage. Spleen dysfunction makes food transportation, digestion and transformation abnormal and produces more heat. This also makes obstruction in the skin.

Acne has great impact on quality of life

Acne is a very common disease in adolescents. Acne has great impact on quality of life. A study involved in 600 high school students investigated this aspect. There were 303 girls and 260 boys aged between 13 and 19. 83% of them was self reported acne. 40% was mild, 36% was moderate and 6.5% severe. There was a direct link between subjective, severety of acne and symptoms of anxiety, depression and lower self-esteem.

Stress makes acne worse

Acne is a very common disease in adolescents.  Psychological stress has also been identified amongst factors that worsen acne. Recently a study involved in 160 students was carried out to investigate the association between acne severity and stress levels as well as the mechanism for this. They demonstrated a statistically significant positive correlation between increased self-reported stress and increased severity of acne; there was no correlation between increased stress and sebum levels. They explained that increased acne severity may result not from increased sebum secretion and excretion but from changes in neuropeptide secretion and sebum lipid composition. Other studies have shown that stress may affect the production of inflammatory mediators and specific lipids involved in inflammation by the sebaceous glands rather than the quantity of sebum. Acupuncture reduces inflammation and is used to treat acne effectively.

 

Do you know acupuncture helps reduce acne? Acupuncture may help with treat acne by reducing inflammation from promoting release of anti-inflammatory factors, modulating immune cell activities including natural killer cell activities and improving local blood circulation.

There were many case reports that acupuncture can treat acne. For example, Son BK et al studied the effect of acupuncture on acne. They found that 12 sessions of acupuncture over 6 weeks reduced inflammatory lesion counts and quality of life in patients with acne. Recently Li B et al studied the current situation in research to evaluate the therapeutic effect and safety for clinical randomized and controlled trials of treatment of acne with acupuncture and moxibustion in China. They analysed 17 papers involving 1613 cases with acne and they found that acupuncture and moxibustion is safe and effective for treatment of acne and it is possibly better than routine western medicine.

Here is an example of a case. Lily is 30 year old. She had acne on her face on and off for 6 months. There are many newly formed pimples, cysts and some of them are infected by bacteria forming pustules. Scars can be seen on her face. She also had mouth odour and constipation. She heard from a friend that acupuncture may help her and wanted to try acupuncture. After a course of acupuncture, the acne symptoms were improved significantly. Also mouth odour was improved and there was no constipation at all. After 3 courses of treatment, acne was cured.  

Acne treatments can take months to have some effects. Acupuncture is used to treat acne efficiently. There was a study using acupuncture to treat acne. In this study the criteria of participant selection is that they (older than 13 year old) had more than 10 papules and less than 10 nodules on the face and had acne for more than 3 months (chronic stage). They did not use retinoids, antibodies or herbal medicine for acne before. They did not have chemical peeling, intense pulsed light or laser treatment within the past month. After 6 week treatments, there was a significant reduction in the inflammatory acne lesion counts.

They suggested that acupuncture treatment of moderate acne vulgaris was associated with reduction of inflammatory lesions and improvement of the quality of life. The significant effects can be obtained in 6 weeks.

Acupuncture has better effect for treating acne than oxycycline

A study has compared the efficacy differences between acupuncture and oxycycline tablets for the treatment of moderate to severe acne vulgaris. Sixty cases of moderate to severe acne vulgaris were involved in this study and they were divided into acupuncture group and medication group with oxycycline treatment). The treatment duration was 20 days. The fading time of skin damage, including papule, pustule, nodule and cyst in the two groups was recorded and clinical efficacy was compared. After the treatment, two-month follow-up was performed to observe the recurrence rate in the two groups. The results have shown that the curative rate was 69.0% (20/29) in the acupuncture group, which was significantly higher than 40.0% (12/30) in the medication group. The fading time of each type of skin damage in the acupuncture group was shorter than that in the medication group. Recurrence rate was similar between two groups.

Study has shown that acne patients used antibiotics too long

Acne is not a life threatening condition, however it affects patients quality of life so much. The spots take their happiness away. Women cannot go out without covering the spots up first. They often use over-the-counter creams, prescription gels, and finally: oral antibiotics. Antibiotics was used too long and increased the antibiotic resistance makes antibiotics loss their effects. A research study at a dermatology practice in an academic medical center has shown that the average duration of antibiotic use was 331.3 days. In all, 21 patients (15.3%) were prescribed antibiotics for 3 months or less, 88 patients (64.2%) for 6 months or more, and 46 patients (33.6%) for 1 year or longer. Patients treated only at the study site had a mean duration of antibiotic treatment of 283.1 days whereas patients who also received antibiotics from another institution had a mean duration of 380.2 days.

References

Li B et al Zhongguo Zhen Jiu (2009) 29:247-51

Son BK et al Acupunct Med (2010) 28:126-9

Gong and Qian J Tradit Chin Med )2007) 27:255-7

Gil Yosipovitch et al Acta Derm Venereol 2007; 87: 135–139.

Jiang M et al Zhongguo Zhen Jiu (2014) 34:663-6

Bodo C Melnik, Clinical, Cosmetic and Investigational Dermatology 2015:8 371–388

Caperton et al J Clin Aesthet Dermatol (2014) 7:19-23

Naqler AR et al J Am Acad Dermatol (2015) Oct 29. pii: S0190-9622(15)02254-9. doi: 10.1016/j.jaad.2015.09.046

Son et al Acupunct Med (2010) 28:126-9

Dermal fillers VS cosmetic acupuncture

Dermal fillers or injectable fillers are soft tissue fillers which can be injected into the skin to help fill in facial wrinkles and restore a smoother appearance. Most of the fillers are temporary because they are eventually absorbed by the body. The effect lasts for about six months or longer. There are many different types of fillers; some are natural and some are synthetic, but they all work in similar way to improve the appearance of skin aging.  They fill in wrinkles including fine lines and deep creases on the face or lips. plump up the cheeks and contour the face such as jaw line. Common side effects of dermal filler procedure include bruising, redness, pain or itching. Less common side effects include infections or allergic reactions, which may cause scarring and lumps that may require surgical correction. Serious side effects include such as blindness due to retrograde embolization into the ophthalmic and retinal arteries; delayed skin necrosis as a complication of embolization.

What is cosmetic acupuncture, how does it work?

Cosmetic acupuncture can eliminate some wrinkles, improve facial muscle tone, improve skin texture with tighter pores, and decrease sagging around the eyes, cheecks, chin, lift droopy eyelids, face and mouth and clear age spots.

Acupuncture helps regeneration of healthy skin cells, increase nutrition to the skin's surface, improves the quality of the skin and enhances a healthy glow, stimulates normal breathing of the skin and makes skin healthy and stronger to prevent infections and clogged pores. Good skin circulation takes waste and reduces grease accumulation resulting in deep cleaning of the skin. Acupuncture stimulates the production of collagen and elastin in the skin. Recently a research suggested that wrinkles were improved significantly after facial acupuncture treatment and facial elasticity was also improved in women aged 40 and 59 years.

The side effect was mild bruising (20/140 treatment sessions; 14.28%) at the needle site. No adverse events of scarring, nerve damage, or lengthy recovery periods were observed.

References

Yun et al Evid Based Complement Alternat Med (2013) 2013:424313

Barrett Aesthet Surg J (2005) 25:419-24

Imokawa G and Ishida K Int Mol Sci (2015) 16:7753-75

Acupuncture is effective to facial pain 

Temporomandibular disorder (TMD) is a condition affecting the movement of the jaw. Signs of TMD include: pain around the jaw, ear and temple; clicking  noises when moving the jaw; a headache around the temples; difficulty opening the mouth fully; jaw locking when opening the mouth. The pain may be worse when chewing and stressed. TMD can affect sleep.

One review analysed the data to study the effectiveness of acupuncture in treating pain from TMD. The data is for 25 years from 1990 t2015. The result has shown that acupuncture treatment appears to relieve the signs and symptoms of pain in myofascial TMD. Another study was from 8 publications involved in 231 patients with TMD. The result indicates that conventional acupuncture therapy is effective in reducing the degree of pain in patients with TMD, especially those with myofascial pain symptoms.

References

Fermandes AC et al J Oral Facial pain Headache (2017) Summer;31(3):225-232. doi: 10.11607/ofph.1719.

Wu JY et al Medicine (Baltimore) (2017) Mar;96(9):e6064. doi: 10.1097/MD.0000000000006064.

Study has shown that acupuncture improves diminished ovarian reserve

Diminished ovarian reserve is a sign of ovarian ageing. Women with low ovarian reserve have less chance of achieving pregnancy. Acupuncture was suggested modulates female hormone levels, improves menstrual disorders, alleviates depression and improves pregnancy rates. Recently there was a study about acupuncture on diminished ovarian reserve. In this study, twenty-one patients with diminished ovarian reserve were received 12 weeks acupuncture treatment. Mean FSH levels fell from 19.33±9.47 mIU/mL at baseline to 10.58±6.34 mIU/mL at week 12 and 11.25±6.68 mIU/mL at week 24. Change in mean FSH from baseline was -8.75±11.13 mIU/mL at week 12 (p=0.002) and -8.08±9.56 mIU/mL at week 24 (p=0.001). Mean E2 and LH levels, FSH/LH ratios and irritability scores were improved at weeks 12 and/or 24. Approximately 30% patients reported subjective increases in menstrual volume after treatment.

References

Wang Y et al Acupunct Med (2016) May 13. pii: acupmed-2015-011014. doi: 10.1136/acupmed-2015-011014.

Acupuncture reduces migraines effectively

A WHO survey showed that migraine was ranked as the seventh highest cause of disability in the world, accounting for 2.9% of all years of life lost to disability. But the pain management is still challenging due to ineffectiveness of medication and side effects of drugs. People turn to complementary and alternative methods to help. Vitamins, diet, massage, acupuncture, relaxation/meditation, biofeedback, light avoidance and hot/cold therapy belonged to the most popular therapies.

 

A recent research studied the effectiveness of acupuncture for migraine. In this study 91 patients aged from 18-70 with a history of migraine for at least 12 months and a mimimum 4 days migraine per 4 weeks attending the neurology outpatient clinic at the University Hospital Hradec Kralove.

 

The treatment period is 12 weeks with 14 acupuncture treatments: twice a week in the first 4 weeks, once a week during weeks 5–8 and once every 14 days during the last month.

 

The result has shown that after 12 weeks of acupuncture treatments and 6 months follow-up the number of migraine days was reduced significantly more compared with control group. The number of responders to the treatment was also greater in acupuncture group. The intake of medication was reduced significantly in acupuncture group at the end of the treatment and 6 month follow-up.

 

References

Musil F et al, Neuropsychiatr Dis Treat (2018) May 10;14:1221-1228. doi: 10.2147/NDT.S155119. eCollection 2018.

Postpartum pelvic pain, acupuncture can help

Hip bone, pubic bone and sacrum form pelvic bone which surrounded by ligaments and tendons. Pregnancy and childbirth can damage the soft tissues including muscles and connective tissue of the pelvis, causing pelvic pain for women after they give birth. The clinically persistent pelvic pain from the postpartum stage to 2 years after childbirth has a reported incidence of 5% to 8.5%. A research involved in 114 participants, half of them reported a current (18%) or resolved (26%) episode of genital or pelvic pain lasting 3 or more months. 9% mothers continued to experience pain that had begun after they last gave birth. Clinical examination showed tenderness in the muscles and ligaments in the low back and the pelvis. Tenderness to deep palpation of the suprapubic and sacroiliac area along the course of the long posterior sacroiliac and sacrotuberous ligaments, as well as a palpable step of the pubic symphysis joint were found indicating signs of local inflammation (erythema, oedema, warmth). Laboratory blood tests are usually normal, with a nonspecific mild elevation of the acute phase reactants (C-reactive protein, erythrocyte sedimentation rate) in a number of cases.

 

Acupuncture can help reduce postpartum pelvic pain by reducing inflammation.

References

Paterson LQ et al (2009) J Sex Med 6:215-21

Hansen A et al (2005) Acta Obstet Gynecol Scand 84:170-6

Suffer from migraines, tried acupuncture?

Migraine is a very painful headache. It is recurrent and it affects sufferer’s quality of life. It occurs in more than 10% of the world's population, afflicting more women than men by a ratio 3:1, and inflicts significant personal and socioeconomic costs. It was ranked eighth worldwide by the World Health Organization among the leading causes of disability in 2010. The exact causes are unknown, but it has genetic factor and change in the brain.

 

Migraine is featured as moderate or severe pulsating pain only on one side of the head which is deliberated by physical activity. It is recurring headache with duration 4-72 hours. It could accompany other symptoms including nausea, vomiting and increased sensitivity to light or noise. The diagnosis is based on clinical history and exclusion of other kind of headache, because there is no specific test for migraine. The cause of migraine is not fully understood. The current accepted theory of migraine is that the brain chemical called serotonin level is changing; this leads to blood vessels in brain contracting and then dilating, as a result, it causes symptoms of migraine. Migraine attach could be triggered by many factors, such as stress, tension, depression, not sleep well, tiredness, poor posture, neck or shoulder tension, hunger, caffeine products (coffee, tea), bright light , loud noise etc. Apart from headache, there could be other symptoms present, such as nausea, vomiting, fatigue, dizziness, blurred vision etc. Pain killers and anti-inflammatory drugs are mainly used to treat migraine attacks. Beta-blockers (e.g., propranolol, originally developed to treat high blood pressure), anti-seizure drugs (e.g., topiramate), or tricyclic antidepressants (e.g., amitriptyline), in combination with behavioral therapy or lifestyle adjustments are used to prevent migraine attack. Mauskop A from New York Headache Center USA summarised therapies proven (to various degrees) to be effective for migraine. These include aerobic exercise; other forms of relaxation training; dognitive therapies; acupuncture; and supplementation with magnesium, CoQ10, riboflavin, butterbur, feverfew and cyanocobalamin with folate and pyridoxine.

 

Recent research showed that acupuncture has effect to treat migraine. For example, Wang et al studied the effect of acupuncture in patients with migraine. This was a randomized controlled trial involving in 150 patients with migraine. They found that acupuncture has significantly better effect in relieving pain and reducing acute migraine attack than sham acupuncture. They also conducted another trial in 140 patients in 5 hospitals in China. They compared the effect of acupuncture with that of flunarizine, a drug used for migraine treatment. They found that acupuncture is more efficient in decreasing days of migraine attacks than flunarizine; acupuncture has similar effect as flunarizine in reducing pain and improving patient’s quality of life.

 

There are a few types of acupuncture and many acupuncture points applied for the treatments. Which points are more commonly used and which type of acupuncture is more effective? Wang JJ et al studied the optimized schemes for acupuncture treatment of migraine attack. They studied five types of acupuncture: manual acupuncture, electroacupuncture, auricular acupuncture and bloodletting therapies for migraine patients. There were 76 patients with migraine participated the study. Three groups of acupuncture points include group 1: local points including Sizhukong (TE23), Shuaigu (GB8), Taiyang (EX-HN 5), group2: local points plus distal points including Hegu L4 and Taichong LR3, and group3: local points plus distal points plus symptom points including Ganshu (BL18), Yanglingquan (GB34), Qiuxu (GB40) and Taixi (KI3). Different acupuncture types were type 1 no acupuncture stimulation, type 2 manual acupuncture stimulation, type 3 manual plus electroacupuncture, type 4auricular acupuncture, type 5 otopoint manual acupuncture, type 6 otopoint electroacupuncdture, type 7bloodletting. Within 24 hours after the treatment, the headache relief effects from greater to smaller were body-acupoints combination> manual acupuncture or electroacupuncture> bloodletting >auricular acupuncture. The pain relief effects were most stable in the manual acupuncture group with local acupoints plus distal acupoints. Manual acupuncture stimulation of the local plus distal body acupoints combined otopoint-EA and bloodletting at Taiyang (EX-HN 5) plus Ashi points is potentially the best option for relieving migraine during attack.

 

Why acupuncture is effective to migraine?

Acupuncture is recognised as effective treatment for migraine. It is as effective as drug treatments. Why can acupuncture treat migraine? It became commonly knowledge that acupuncture stimulates body releasing endogenous pain relief substances such as beta-endorphin. Recent research has shown that acupuncture can change response of the blood vessels in the brain. In migraine patients, their artery blood flow in the brain is increased excessively during migraine attack. After acupuncture treatments, the artery blood flow in the brain became normal. The reduction of blood flow reflexes the intensity of the headache.

 

Here are more examples of acupuncture for headache and migraine

There was a case report that acupuncture together with spinal manipulation was used to treat a patient with a chronic tension-type headache and episodic migraines. That was a 32 year old woman with headaches for 5 months. She also had a history of episodic migraine that started in her teens. She was diagnosed with mixed headaches: migraine and tension type. Her migraine had been controlled with medication. But she had severe gastrointestinal symptoms including vomiting, nausea and stomach cramping after a period of medication and she had to stop taking the medication. After stopping taking the medicines her headaches got worse and happened on a daily basis. To reduce the headache she started acupuncture treatment first. The points that were used for acupuncture were GB1, Tai Yang (M-HN-9), ST36, K3, K7, BL18 and BL19. After first acupuncture treatment, she had headache free for 2 hours and headache intensity was reduced; after the second treatment, her headache intensity was reduced about 90%. She received 5 treatments over 2 weeks: the first two treatments were acupuncture only and the following 3 treatments were acupuncture combined with chiropractic spinal manipulation treatments. After the 5 treatments, her headache had disappeared. Further four treatments were continued for 11 weeks. After 1 year follow-up, there was no recurrence of the headaches. This case report suggested that patient with headache could choose combined treatment methods in order to achieve best results.

 

Acupuncture is for migraine prevention

 

Acupuncture is used for migraine prevention. The effectiveness has been reviewed recently. Twenty-two trials including 4985 participants were analysed. Migraine frequency (migraine days, attacks or headache days if migraine days not measured/reported) was measured before and after treatment and at follow-up. The response (at least 50% frequency reduction) was also measured. Comparison with no acupuncture, acupuncture was associated with a moderate reduction of headache frequency over no acupuncture after treatment. After treatment headache frequency at least halved was found in 41% of participants receiving acupuncture comparing to 17% with no acupuncture. There is one trial with post-treatment follow-up found a small but significant benefit 12 months after treatment. Comparison with prophylactic drug treatment, acupuncture reduced migraine frequency significantly more than drug prophylaxis after treatment. Trial participants receiving acupuncture were less likely to drop out due to adverse effects than participants receiving prophylactic drugs. The conclusion from this study is that the available evidence suggests that adding acupuncture to symptomatic treatment of attacks reduces the frequency of headaches. The available trials also suggest that acupuncture may be at least similarly effective as treatment with prophylactic drugs. Acupuncture can be considered a treatment option for patients willing to undergo this treatment.

 

Acupuncture is effective for the treatment or prevention of migraine, tension-type headache

 

Recently a study summarizes the current evidence that evaluates the effectiveness of acupuncture for the treatment or prevention of migraine, tension-type headache, and chronic headache disorders. It demonstrate that acupuncture is associated with improved clinical outcomes compared to routine care only, medical management, and sham acupuncture 2 months after randomization. Cost effectiveness analyses conducted in the United Kingdom and Germany suggested that acupuncture is a cost-effective treatment option in those countries.

 

References

Wang LP et al (2012) Pain Med 13:623-630

Wang LP et al (2011) Pain 152:1864-71

Mauskop A Continuum (Minneap Minn) (2012) 18: 796-806

Wang JJ, et al Zhen Ci Yan Jiu (2013) 38:234-40.

Lo MY et al J Tradit Complement Med (2013) 3:213-220

Ohlsen BA J Chiropr Med (2012) 11:192-201

Linde K et al Cochrane Database Syst Rev 2016 Apr 19;4:CD007587. [Epub ahead of print]

Linde K et al Cochrane Database Syst Rev (2016) Jun 28;6:CD001218. doi: 10.1002/14651858.CD001218.pub3

Coeytaux RR & Befus D (2016) 56:1238-40

How does acupuncture release neck pain?

Trapezius muscle is a broad triangular muscle at neck and upper back, one of the largest superficial muscles at the back. It attaches to the base of the skull and extends down to the neck, the upper back until mid back; laterally it inserts to the shoulder blades. There are three functional regions to the muscle: the Upper, middle, and lower trapezius, and each region has its own function: upper region moves the shoulder blades and support the arms; the middle region retracts the shoulder blades and the lower region rotates and depresses the shoulder blades.

 

Pain caused from the upper trapezius includes headaches on the temples, facial, temple or jaw pain, pain behind the eye, dizziness, neck pain, stiff neck, limited movement, intolerance to weight on the shoulders. Pain caused by middle trapezius includes headache at the base of the skull, mid back burning pain or aching along the spine or to the top of the shoulder. Pain caused from the lower trapezius includes headache at the base of the skull, aching on the top of the shoulder, neck, mid back and/or upper shoulder pain; pain at the back of the shoulder blade which could go down the inside of the arm to the ring and little fingers.

 

A recent research investigated immediate effect of acupuncture on electromyographic activity of the upper trapezius muscle and pain in patients with nonspecific neck pain. Fifteen patients with nonspecific neck pain and 15 healthy participants participated the study. They received one session either acupuncture or sham acupuncture as a control. The electromyography (EMG) signal of the upper trapezius muscle was recorded before and after acupuncture treatment. After acupuncture treatment, pain was significantly reduced and significant decreases in the EMG amplitude were identified for the nonspecific neck pain group. This research suggested that muscle fatigue and decrease of activity of the upper trapezius muscle was found in nonspecific neck pain patients. Acupuncture contributes to pain relief among patients with nonspecific neck pain.

 

References

Calamita SAP et al J Manipulative Physiol Ther. 2018 Mar - Apr;41(3):208-217. doi: 10.1016/j.jmpt.2017.09.006.

NHS service shows: acupuncture help your birth preparation to normalise birth.

Research has shown that acupuncture may help with labour and delivery. An NHS maternity acupuncture service providing birth preparation acupuncture has assessed its routine hospital maternity annual data from 2014 to 2016 to see what effect it had on labour and delivery outcomes. The data from this service was analysed and women who had birth preparation acupuncture were compared with those who did not receive it.

Results shown that women who received birth preparation acupuncture had more normal births (less surgical births), required less intrapartum analgesia, fewer components of an induction of labour and a reduced length of a hospital stay. The patients highly valued the availability of acupuncture within the maternity service as it enhanced their patient journey. Acupuncture for birth preparation effects include musculoskeletal preparation of the pelvis, cervical ripening, enhancing endogenous oxytocin release, and analgesic properties. This study supports the use of maternity acupuncture in normalising birth outcomes.

 

References

Lokugamage AU  et al J Obstet Gynaecol. 2020 Jan 23:1-6. doi: 10.1080/01443615.2019.1694878. [Epub ahead of print]

Acupuncture is effective for migraines.

A migraine is usually a moderate or severe headache felt as a throbbing pain on 1 side of the head. Propranolol is recommended for preventing migraine attacks and acupuncture can be used to treat migraines effectively. A new study compared acupuncture or propranolol with sham acupuncture, placebo, waiting-list control or usual care. The analysis showed that acupuncture had a significant advantage over propranolol in reducing migraine episodes over a 4-week period. Acupuncture also had a significant advantage over waiting-list control in decreasing migraine frequency. Acupuncture caused fewer adverse events than propranolol.

References

Chen et al J Neurol. 2020 Jan;267(1):14-25. doi: 10.1007/s00415-019-09510-x. Epub 2019 Aug 21.

Pregnancy acupuncture in the UK.

Recently a survey in the UK was to explore how acupuncturists used acupuncture for maternity care within their women's health practices. 114 survey forms were sent and 99 replies were received, a response rate of 86.8%. The result has shown that in addition to fertility and menstrual conditions, the majority of the practitioners (87 [87.8%]) had treated at least 1 pregnant woman each. The most-common maternity situations encountered were: birth preparation (84 [96.5%]); nausea & vomiting (82 [94.2%]); and inducing labor (79 [90.8%]). More than 50% of the practitioners were also treating lower-back and pelvic pain (77 [88.5%]), breech presentations (74 [85.0%]), threatened miscarriages (55 [63.2%]), and headaches/migraines (46 [52.8%]). Greater number of referrals were received from medical health professionals for pregnancy (54 [65.8%]) than for fertility (16 [19.5%]) or menstrual conditions (8 [9.7%]). They concluded that The most frequently treated menstrual conditions were for irregular periods, menopause, and premenstrual syndrome, while women seeking treatment due to a medical diagnosis, general fertility health, and stress and relaxation were the most-frequent fertility issues. Although the most frequently treated pregnancy conditions concerned nausea, birth preparation, and labor induction, more than half of the practitioners were also treating pregnancy-related lower-back and pelvic pain, breech presentations, threatened miscarriages, and headaches and migraines. Referrals from Western medical practitioners were more common for maternity acupuncture than for fertility or menstrual health.

References

Betts D et al Med Acupunct. 2019 Oct 1;31(5):274-280. doi: 10.1089/acu.2019.1386. Epub 2019 Oct 17.

Acupuncture improves blood circulation

Color Doppler imaging (CDI) can be used to noninvasively create images of human blood vessels and quantitatively evaluate blood flow in real-time. The purpose of this study was to assess the effects of acupuncture on the blood flow of the peripheral, mesenteric, and retrobulbar arteries by CDI. Statistical significance was defined as P values less than 0.05. Blood flow in the radial and brachial arteries was significantly lower during needle stimulation on LR3 than before in healthy volunteers, but was significantly higher after needle stimulation than before. LR3 stimulation also resulted in a significant decrease in the vascular resistance of the short posterior ciliary artery and no significant change of blood flow through the superior mesenteric artery (SMA) during acupuncture. In contrast, ST36 stimulation resulted in a significant increase in blood flow through the SMA and no significant change in the vascular resistance of the retrobulbar arteries. Additionally, acupuncture at previously determined acupoints in patients with open-angle glaucoma led to a significant reduction in the vascular resistance of the central retinal artery and short posterior ciliary artery. Our results suggest that acupuncture can affect blood flow of the peripheral, mesenteric, and retrobulbar arteries, and CDI can be useful to evaluate hemodynamic changes by acupuncture.

References

Shin Takayama, et al Evid Based Complement Alternat Med. 2012; 2012: 513638.

Acupuncture combined clomiphene citrate for anovulatory infertility

Acupuncture is a popular therapy for women fertility treatment which is supported by many researches. A recent review evaluated the comparative effectiveness of acupuncture or acupuncture combined with clomiphene citrate (CC) versus CC alone on the outcomes of anovulatory infertility. In this study 1441 women were included. They found that patients who received acupuncture as a separate treatment modality had higher pregnancy rate and larger the maximum follicular diameter when compared with CC alone. There was a reduction in the rate of pregnancy loss when acupuncture was used as a separate treatment compared with CC alone. They concluded that the use of acupuncture as a monotherapy significantly improved the rate of pregnancy among the study participants compared with the use of CC alone.

References

Gao et al  Acupunct Med. 2020 Feb;38(1):25-36. doi: 10.1136/acupmed-2017-011629. Epub 2019 Oct 3.

Acupuncture improves fertility for infertile women without undergoing assisted reproductive techniques (ART)

Acupuncture has been popular for decades to help women’s fertility, but the effectiveness is still in debate. What is the latest development of research on this aspect? A paper analysed data up to June 2018 to study the effectiveness of acupuncture for infertile women with natural conception.

22 trials with a total of 2591 participants were included. The participants included were women aged 20–40 years, a husband with semen of normal quality and shape, women who failed to conceive with unprotected sexual life for 1 year, women with a gynecological diagnosis of infertility, women not receiving treatment by assisted reproductive technology. The experimental group received acupuncture or its combined therapy, and the control group received other standard therapies, such as injected Western drugs and oral Western medication. They measured pregnancy rate, which was confirmed with a pregnancy test and ultrasound,  ovulation rate, endometrial thickness, endocrine indexes, such as luteinizing hormone (LH) and follicle stimulating hormone (FSH), and adverse events.

The results show that

1, the pregnancy rate is significantly increased with acupuncture treatment with or without other intervention such as Chinese medicine or Western medicine; pregnancy rate is increased with all types of infertility such as ovulation disorders or other types of infertility.

2, ovulation rate is increased with acupuncture treatments.

3, the level of LH is significantly improved with acupuncture treatments.

4, the level of endometrial thickness is significantly improved with acupuncture treatments.

5, fewer side effects occurs with acupuncture treatments.

References

Yun L et al Medicine (Baltimore). 2019 Jul;98(29):e16463. doi: 10.1097/MD.0000000000016463.

Research shows that acupuncture combined with medication improves endocrine hormone levels and ovarian reserve function in poor ovarian response patients undergoing in vitro fertilization-embryo transplantation

This research has studied the clinical effect of acupuncture plus medication in the treatment of poor ovarian response (POR) patients.

A total of 100 volunteer POR women undergoing in vitro fertilization-embryo transplantation (IVF-ET) were recruited and were randomly divided into control, medication (Climen, composed of estradiol valerate and cyproterone acetate), acupuncture and acupuncture+medication (combined treatment) groups. Patients of the medication group were asked to orally take Climen (1 tablet/d for 21 days) beginning from the 3rd day of the menstruation, which was repeated for 3 menstrual cycles. Patients of the acupuncture group received manual acupuncture stimulation of Guanyuan (CV4), and bilateral Taixi (KI3), Sanyinjiao (SP6) of and Tai-chong (LR3) from day 8 to 15 of menstruation (follicular phase), once daily for 3 menstrual cycles. On the 2nd day of menstruation of the cycle, the ovarian reserve function was detected, including measurement of serum follicle-stimulating hormone (FSH), luteinizing hormone (LH), and estradiol (E2) contents. At the end of ovulation induction, the assisted pregnancy indexes and outcomes were studied, including administration of dosage and days of gonadotropin (Gn), the diameter of dominant oocyte, level of E2 on the trigger day, the numbers of ultrasound-guided-retrieved oocyte and the cultivated high-quality embryo (grade 1 and 2).

Their result has shown that

After the treatment, the contents of serum FSH, LH and E2 in the medication, acupuncture and combined treatment groups were significantly reduced and the content of serum AMH and ovary AFC in the medication, acupuncture and combined treatment groups were obviously increased in comparison with their own pre-treatment or with the control group. The group with medication plus acupuncture has the lowest levels of FSH, LH and E2. The dosage of Gn in the combined treatment group and the number of Gn administration days in the acupuncture and combined treatment groups were significantly fewer; serum E2 levels on the trigger day in the medication, acupuncture and combined treatment groups, and the high-quality embryo number in the combined treatment group were considerably higher. The high-quality embryo number in the combined treatment group was significantly larger.

References

Dong XLet al Zhen Ci Yan Jiu. 2019 Aug 25;44(8):599-604. doi: 10.13702/j.1000-0607.180779.

Research added evidence that acupuncture increased pregnancy success rates for women with unexplained infertility undergoing in vitro fertilization.

A recent research studied the effect of acupuncture on pregnancy success rates applied before and after embryo transfer (ET) among women undergoing in vitro fertilization (IVF). Three sessions of acupuncture were offered to the 36 women with unexplained infertility undergoing IVF ; another 36 women with unexplained infertility without acupuncture were in the control group. Acupuncture were applied a week before embryo transfer and 30 min before and after embryo transfer. Pregnancy rate and anxiety level were measured in the result. The result has shown that clinical pregnancy, ongoing pregnancy, and live birth rates were significantly higher in the acupuncture group compared to the control group. The anxiety level was significantly lower in the acupuncture group.

References

Guven PG et al Taiwan J Obstet Gynecol. 2020 Mar;59(2):282-286. doi: 10.1016/j.tjog.2020.01.018.

Acupuncture is safe to release discomfort during pregnancy.

There is a study about the safety of acupuncture for pregnant women. Cases of 20799 women with confirmed pregnancy between 2003 and 2012 were analysed. Result has shown that there was no significant difference between acupuncture and control groups in preterm deliveries. No stillbirths occurred in the acupuncture group and 0.035% of pregnancies resulted in stillbirths in the control group. They conclude that in pregnancy, acupuncture may be safe for relieving discomfort without an adverse outcome.

References

Moon HY et al BJOG. 2020 Jan;127(1):79-86. doi: 10.1111/1471-0528.15925. Epub 2019 Sep 19

Acupuncture is effective to treat chronic pain.

Chronic pain (CP) is a common pain condition that lasts for more than 3 months. one-third of the world’s adult population experiences some types of physical pain conditions. Acupuncture is a technique to release the pain. Clinical studies have shown that acupuncture can improve chronic pain conditions, such as neck and shoulder pain and low back pain. A recent review of randomized controlled trials (RCTs) analysed data between 2000 and 2018 about the effect of acupuncture on chronic pain release. 61 studies with total participants 20389 were included for the study. The chronic pain conditions include low back pain, headaches, neck pain, knee pain shoulder pain, jaw pain, hip and knee pain, myofascial pain and fibromyalgia.

Acupuncture improved the pain compared with the waiting list group. Acupuncture has better effects than conventional medication. Acupuncture has similar effects to physiotherapy. Acupuncture plus physiotherapy has better effects than physiotherapy alone.

References

Chen YJ et al Evid Based Complement Alternat Med. 2019 Dec 4;2019:6283912. doi: 10.1155/2019/6283912. eCollection 2019.

Research has shown that acupuncture is effective for back pain.

This study analysed a few reviews on acupuncture for back pain. One review involved in 6656 participants compared acupuncture with sham acupuncture, no treatment, transcutaneous electrical nerve stimulation, medications, usual care. Acupuncture effectively relieved chronic back pain up to three months after treatment and it provided more relief compared with sham acupuncture, no treatment, and usual care including physical therapy, massage, and medication. Another review involved 11682 participants compared with sham acupuncture, no treatment, or acupuncture plus conventional treatment such as physical therapy, exercise, and medication. Acupuncture was consistently found to provide superior pain relief for CLBP lasting greater than 3 months. The third review involved 7958 participants found that acupuncture significantly reduced pain intensity immediately and 12 weeks after treatment. Acupuncture provided greater pain relief and improved function compared with no acupuncture or with medications (nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs, muscle relaxants, or analgesics).

References

Fuentes RC et al Can Fam Physician. 2020 Mar;66(3):186-187.

Acupuncture increases pregnancy success rates of IVF

A recent research studied the effectiveness of acupuncture on pregnancy success rates for women undergoing in vitro fertilization. In this study, women with unexplained infertility were recruited. 36 women were in acupuncture group and they received 3 sessions of acupuncture treatment during IVF procedure. Pregnancy rates and anxiety levels were measured. The result has shown that clinical pregnancy, ongoing pregnancy, and live birth rates were higher in acupuncture group (23) compared to control group (12) which was nearly doubled; anxiety levels were lower in acupuncture group compared to control group. The conclusion is that three sessions of acupuncture before and after embryo transfer significantly increased the pregnancy rates in women with unexplained infertility and significantly reduced anxiety levels that occurred before embryo transfer.

References

Guven PG et al Taiwan J Obstet Gynecol. 2020 Mar;59(2):282-286. doi: 10.1016/j.tjog.2020.01.018.

How does acupuncture assist IVF success?

Infertility is defined as failure to achieve pregnancy after 12 months of regular and unprotected sexual intercourse. One in six couples have difficulty to conceive. In vitro fertilization (IVF) is one of the therapeutic options for couples with infertility, however IVF success rate is not 100%. Acupuncture can activate nerve fibers and peripheral afferent receptors, produce sensory interactions at various levels of the central nervous system, and release various transmitters and modulators, thus producing anti-inflammatory signals as well as neuroendocrine and neuroimmune signals. Acupuncture is one of the candidates that applied during IVF procedure to increase its success rates.

The mechanisms of acupuncture related to application of IVF is

1, modulating neuroendocrine factors. Acupuncture improves female infertility through modulation of the hypothalamic–pituitary– ovarian (HPO) axis, estrogen regulation, and increased ß-endorphins to correct the imbalance of the endocrine system. Acupuncture can stimulate ovulation through modulation of the HPO axis in women with anovulatory infertility.

 2, increasing blood flow to the uterus and ovaries. As a result, acupuncture increases endometrial and follicular receptivity, and also helps repair the endometrial lining; it improves the quality of oocytes produced by the follicles. Acupuncture can reduce uterine contractility to prevent embryo expulsion after ET. Therefore, Acupuncture increases pregnancy rates in patients undergoing IVF.

3, modulating immune factors. Acupuncture moudlates immune system. I-helper cells are a type of immune cells which is related to pregnancy and is affected strongly by pregnancy hormones. If there is a dysregulation of T-helper cells systemically and locally, pregnancy failure will occur. Acupuncture has been reported to increase T-helper cells both locally and systemically, thus, increasing pregnancy rates.

4, reducing stress, anxiety. During IVF procedure, a woman’s psychological status affects the IVF success rate greatly. Acupuncture is very effective for reducing stress and anxiety caused by changes in the cortisol hormone and the psychologic effects of IVF itself. This is because acupuncture modulates neuropeptide in the amygdala, increasing ß-endorphin production, suppressing the system’s sympathetic nerves, increasing vagus-nerve activity, and increasing levels of neurotropic factors in the hippocampus. In addition, acupuncture affects the hypothalamic–pituitary– adrenal axis so to change the physiologic response to stress.

References

Djaali W  Med Acupunct. 2019 Dec 1;31(6):361-365. doi: 10.1089/acu.2019.1394. Epub 2019 Dec 13.

Acupuncture reduce migraines and associated depression and anxiety

Migraine is a common condition affecting about 1/10 of the human population, with an especially dominant prevalence in females, students, and urban residents. Depression and anxiety are the most frequent psychiatric disorders associated with migraine.

Acupuncture was shown to be an effective therapy for reducing pain severity in acute migraine attack or prevention of frequent and chronic migraine. A study assessed the effectiveness of acupuncture on reducing migraine medical cost and risk of depression and anxiety development in Taiwan using the NHIRD information.

In this study all patients diagnosed with migraine were from January 1, 2000 to December 31, 2012. The 1:1 propensity score method by sex, age, income, urbanization, occupation, baseline comorbidities, conventional medicine used, and diagnosis year of migraine and index year was used to match an equal number of patients in both cohorts. 1,948 patients were selected in the acupuncture group and non-acupuncture group separately.

Result has shown that acupuncture may reduce the frequency and severity of a migraine attack and bring rapid, safe, effective pain relief, and patients with migraine could reduce medication usage. Acupuncture users had significantly lower total medical expenditures compared with non-users within a year.

The mean follow-up periods for depression were 5.50 and 4.03 years for the acupuncture group and non-acupuncture group, respectively. The mean follow-up periods for anxiety were 4.78 and 2.60 years for the acupuncture group and non-acupuncture group, respectively. The conclusion is that migraine patients receiving acupuncture treatment were less likely to develop both depression and anxiety compared to those not receiving acupuncture treatment during the 13-year follow-up period 

References

Liao CC et al Front Neurol. 2020 Apr 24;11:321. doi: 10.3389/fneur.2020.00321. eCollection 2020.

Acupuncture improves endometrial receptivity.

Endometrial receptivity (ER) refers to the ability of endometrium to accept embryos, ER changes with the menstrual cycle. The normal endometrium only contains ET to the maximum extent within a short and critical period, the “implantation window”, generally 6~10 days after ovulation, which is the 20th to 24th day of the normal menstrual cycle. Studies have shown that low pregnancy rate is closely related to the thin endometrium. If the average size of the follicles reaches 18 mm and the endometrial thickness is < 7.0 mm, embryo implantation will be greatly affected. Studies have shown that up to 75 % of pregnancy losses are due to implantation failure. Studies have confirmed that 2/3 of IVF-ET implantation failures are due to low endometrial receptivity (ER).

Can acupuncture improve endometrial receptivity?

A recent study reviewed the evidence of randomized controlled trials (RCTs) using acupuncture to improve endometrial receptivity (ER). They found some evidence that acupuncture may improve pregnancy rate, and embryo transfer rate increase trilinear endometrium, thicken endometrium.

References

Yajing Zhong et al BMC Complement Altern Med. 2019; 19: 61.

Acupuncture is effective for eczema

Atopic eczema (AE) is the most common form of eczema which is a common inflammatory skin condition with characteristic of itchiness and recurrence. Acupuncture has been widely used for the treatment of many chronic diseases.

A recent study analysed a total of 434 participants in the eight RCTs. All participants were diagnosed with atopic eczema. The age of the participants ranged from 18 to 70 years and the course of AE ranged from 6 months to 35 years.

The results of one included RCT showed that acupuncture was better than no treatment at reducing itch intensity measured using a visual analogue scale in patients with AE. The combined results of six RCTs showed that acupuncture was better than conventional medicine at reducing the eczema area and severity index (EASI) and the combined results of seven RCTs showed that acupuncture was better than conventional medicine in terms of global symptom improvement in AE.

The conclusion was that acupuncture might be effective at reducing itch intensity and may be more effective than conventional medicine at reducing EASI and improving the global symptoms of AE.

References

Ruimin Jiao,et al Acupunct Med. 2020 Feb; 38(1): 3–14. 

Acupuncture helps reliving chemotherapy-induced peripheral neuropathy

Neuropathic pain related to chemotherapy (chemotherapy-induced peripheral neuropathy [CIPN]) is a common problem in cancer treatment. The symptoms of CIPN include tingling, burning or pricking sensation that is usually felt in the hands, arms, legs, or feet, but can also occur in other parts of the body. ), sensitive to noxious stimulation, pain and decreased physical activity.  Some patients also experience motor symptoms, such as dropping items, splaying fingers, and inability to complete normal daily activities.

Acupuncture, which has drawn researchers’ attention in recent years, is widely accepted for its noninvasiveness and safety has been widely used in diabetes-related neuropathy and carpal tunnel syndrome as well as CIPN.

A recent study analysed the effects of acupuncture from 6 high quality randomized control trials with 386 cancer patients. They found that acupuncture led to significant improvements in pain score, acupuncture can effectively relieve CIPN pain and functional limitation. 

References

Tsai-Ju Chien,  et al Integr Cancer Ther. 2019; 18: 1534735419886662.

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