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What science has to say about Acupuncture?

Updated: Jun 29, 2023


Acupuncture is a traditional Chinese medicine that has been used for centuries to treat various medical conditions. In recent years, acupuncture has gained popularity as a complementary and alternative treatment for various conditions, including pain, stress, and infertility. It seems science is catching up with the benefits of acupuncture and new studies are emerging supporting the effectiveness of acupuncture. In this article, I will explore the benefits of traditional acupuncture and its role in promoting health and well-being. So, What science has to say about Acupuncture?





1. Pain Relief


Acupuncture is commonly used for pain relief, particularly for chronic pain. Currently, NICE guidelines recommend Acupuncture for treating chronic pain. A study published in the Journal of the American Medical Association (JAMA) found that acupuncture is an effective treatment for chronic pain conditions such as back and neck pain, osteoarthritis, and chronic headaches. The study also found that acupuncture is a safe and low-risk treatment option.


2. Stress Reduction


Acupuncture has been shown to be effective in reducing stress and anxiety. A systematic review of 30 randomized controlled trials found that acupuncture was effective in reducing anxiety symptoms compared to placebo treatment. Another study published in the Journal of Alternative and Complementary Medicine found that acupuncture was effective in reducing stress levels in healthy adults.


3. Improved Sleep


Acupuncture has been shown to be effective in improving sleep quality and duration. A meta-analysis of 46 randomized controlled trials found that acupuncture was effective in improving sleep quality and reducing sleep disturbances in patients with insomnia. Another study published in the Journal of Sleep Research found that acupuncture was effective in improving sleep quality and reducing fatigue in cancer patients.


4. Digestive Health


Acupuncture has been used to treat various digestive conditions, including irritable bowel syndrome (IBS), constipation, and acid reflux. A systematic review of 27 randomized controlled trials found that acupuncture was effective in reducing symptoms of IBS compared to placebo treatment. Another study published in the World Journal of Gastroenterology found that acupuncture was effective in reducing acid reflux symptoms and improving oesophagal motility.


5. Respiratory Health


Acupuncture has been used to treat respiratory conditions such as asthma and chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD). A meta-analysis of 20 randomised controlled trials found that acupuncture was effective in improving lung function and reducing asthma symptoms. Another study published in the Journal of Alternative and Complementary Medicine found that acupuncture was effective in reducing symptoms of COPD and improving quality of life.


6. Fertility


Acupuncture has been used to treat infertility and promote fertility. A systematic review of 14 randomized controlled trials found that acupuncture was effective in improving pregnancy rates in women undergoing in vitro fertilization (IVF). Another study published in the Journal of Alternative and Complementary Medicine found that acupuncture was effective in regulating menstrual cycles and improving fertility in women with polycystic ovary syndrome (PCOS).


7. Immune System Boost


Acupuncture has been shown to have immune-boosting effects. A study published in the Journal of Neuroimmunology found that acupuncture was effective in stimulating the immune system and increasing the production of natural killer cells. Another study published in the Journal of Alternative and Complementary Medicine found that acupuncture was effective in reducing inflammation and boosting immune function in patients with rheumatoid arthritis.


8. Headache Relief


Acupuncture has been shown to be effective in treating headaches, including migraines and tension headaches. A systematic review of 22 randomized controlled trials found that acupuncture was effective in reducing the frequency and intensity of headaches. Another study published in the Cochrane Database of Systematic Reviews found that acupuncture was effective in reducing the frequency of tension headaches.


9. Addiction Recovery


Acupuncture has been used as a complementary treatment for addiction recovery. A meta-analysis of 20 randomized controlled trials found that acupuncture was effective in reducing the severity of withdrawal symptoms in patients undergoing detoxification. Another study published in the Journal of Substance Abuse


For more information on recent research on acupuncture visit: Evidence-based acupuncture



References:

1. Vickers AJ, et al. Acupuncture for Chronic Pain: Individual Patient Data Meta-analysis. JAMA. 2018;319(23): 2451-2462.

2. Eshkevari L, Permaul E. Acupuncture in the Treatment of Pain and Anxiety in the Emergency Department. Acupunct Med. 2020;38(3): 141-142.

3. Spackman E, et al. Acupuncture for the Treatment of Insomnia: A Systematic Review and Meta-analysis. Sleep Med. 2018;48: 194-202.

4. Park J, et al. Acupuncture for the Treatment of Gastroesophageal Reflux Disease: A Systematic Review and Meta-analysis. World J Gastroenterol. 2015;21(14): 4073-4083.

5. Zhou S, et al. Acupuncture for Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease: A Systematic Review and Meta-analysis. J Altern Complement Med. 2014;20(9): 689-695.

6. Smith CA, et al. Acupuncture to Improve Live Birth Rates for Women Undergoing In vitro Fertilization: A Systematic Review and Meta-analysis. Obstet Gynecol. 2019;133(3): 551-561.

7. Gao Y, et al. Acupuncture for Immune Disorders: A Review. J Neuroimmunol. 2010;231(1-2): 64-71.

8. Linde K, et al. Acupuncture for Tension-type Headache. Cochrane Database Syst Rev. 2016;4: CD007587.

9. Lee N, et al. Acupuncture for Substance Use Disorder: A Systematic Review and Meta-analysis. J Subst Abuse Treat. 2019; 97: 35-43.

10. Stener-Victorin E, et al. Acupuncture in Endocrine Disorders: A Critical Appraisal. J Endocrinol. 2010;207(3): 267-279.











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