Saturday, June 16, 2012

Acupuncture Stops Dermatitis Itch – New Research

Acupuncture CEUs OnlineAcupuncture for ItchNew research concludes that acupuncture “significantly reduced type I hypersensitivity itch in patients with AD (atopic dermatitis).” In this double-blinded, randomized, placebo-controlled study; researchers compared acupuncture and drug therapy with placebo and non-intervention control groups. Both acupuncture and drug therapy significantly reduced itching with acupuncture being the most effective of the two.
Researchers measured outcomes for two types of acupuncture protocols. Protocol I measured the effects of acupuncture using preventative (preceding) acupuncture treatment. Protocol II measured acupuncture’s effects when applied to active itching. Protocol II was the most effective of the two. Drug therapy testing employed citirzine, an antihistamine, as the pharmacological agent to control itching. Citirizine (Zyrtec, Reactine) was as effective as preventative acupuncture care but not as effective as active acupuncture.

Acupuncture for Osteoporosis - Calcium & Bone New Research

Acupuncture CEUs OnlineAcupuncture for BoneNew research demonstrates that acupuncture with Chinese healing massage improves bone metabolism for the prevention of osteoporosis. Researchers compared sixty-four subjects divided into two groups. Group 1 was administered vitamin D with calcium carbonate in oral tablets for a period of 12 weeks. Vitamin D is an essential component for the proper absorption of calcium. Group 2 received acupuncture at acupoints UB40 (Weizhong) and K3 (Taixi) combined with tuina massage on the lower back. Tuina, literally translated as push and grasp, is a type of Chinese medical massage. Acupuncture was administered a total of 30 times over a period of 12 weeks. Both the oral calcium with vitamin D and acupuncture with tuina groups showed similar improvements in the biochemical indices of bone metabolism related to osteoporosis.
Blood analysis measured increases in levels of BGP (bone gla protein) in both the supplement and acupuncture groups. BGP is an important biomarker of bone metabolism. Higher serum levels of BGP indicate greater bone mineral density. Blood analysis also revealed that both the supplement and acupuncture groups had decreases in levels of phoshphorus and urine deoxypyridinoline (DPD). Higher numbers of DPD in the urine indicates a risk for osteoporosis. DPD provides structural integrity to type 1 collagen in bones. High urine DPD is common in post-menopausal women due to lower levels of estrogen. Although phosphorus is an important bone mineral, excess quantities in relation to calcium intake contribute to bone loss.

Scalp Acupuncture Treats Stroke Hemorrhage – New Research

Acupuncture CEUs OnlineAcupuncture Affects CD4A new acupuncture study reviews the history and research associated with the beneficial effects of scalp acupuncture for the treatment of intracerebral hemorrhage (ICH). The researchers note, “The evidence from clinical studies suggested that SA (scalp acupuncture) therapy may produce significant benefits for patients with acute ICH.” ICH is a potentially life-threatening type of stroke with a higher death rate and higher disability rate than ischemic strokes. Strokes and cerebrovascular disease account for approximately 11 percent of all worldwide deaths annually and is second only to heart disease as a cause of death. The researchers note that studies confirm that scalp acupuncture “has rapid and powerful effects to remove limb paralysis caused either by cerebral infarct or by cerebral haemorrhage in rats.” In human studies, ICH patients showed rapid and beneficial responses to scalp acupuncture and scalp acupuncture increases electrical activity in the brain following ICH.
The researchers investigated the mechanisms by which scalp acupuncture prevents pathophysiological responses due to ICH. CT (computerized tomography) shows that acupuncture at GV20 (Baihui) and Taiyang (EX-HN5) improves the “abosorption rate of hematoma.” Research also shows that scalp points GV20 and GB7 (Qubin) reduce “brain edema.” ICH research shows that acupuncture at GV20, GV26 (Shuigou), LI4 (Hegu), and LR3 (Taichong) accelerates “the extenuation of brain edema and diminish(es) cerebral vessel permeability and brain tissue damage.” The research also demonstrates that electroacupuncture from GV20 to Taiyang promotes tissue repair of the blood-brain barrier.
Research shows that acupuncture at GV20 and Taiyang benefits immune system function with measurable increases in CD3 and CD4 levels. CD3 is required for T-cell activation, a type of white blood cell important in cell-mediated immunity responses. CD4 is a subtype of T-cell known as a Helper T-cell.
The researchers note the ability of scalp acupuncture to prevent deleterious chemical responses in the brain due to ICH. Modern research shows that acupuncture at GV20 and GB7 regulates the expression of brain chemicals including protease-activated receptors (PARs), MMP9 and AQP4. The cellular effects of thrombin are mediated by protease-activated receptors and PARs contribute to pro-inflammatory responses. MMP9 is an enzyme involved in ICH and tissue remodeling. AQP4 is a protein that conducts water through cell membranes and is upregulated by disturbances to the central nervous system.
Research also shows that acupuncture at GV20 and GB7 regulates the cascade of endogenous inflammatory chemicals released after a stroke. These acupuncture points prevent inflammation by inhibiting IL-1beta in the brain tissue region of a hematoma. IL-1beta is a pro-inflammatory cytokine, a cell-signaling protein molecule used in intercellular communication. Also, scalp acupuncture causes a rapid decrease of IL-6 (Interleukin-6), another cytokine involved in the inflammatory response. Left unchecked, IL-6’s pro-inflammatory effects are pathological. IL-6 mediates fevers, crosses the blood-brain barrier and is found in high levels in patients with metastatic cancer.
The researchers note that acupuncture at GV20 and Taiyang has an “inhibitory effect on the immune-inflammatory reaction mediated by TNF-(alpha) expression….” TNF (Tumor Necrosis Factor) is a cytokine that is involved in various biological functions including septic shock and wasting syndrome. Additionally, acupuncture at GV20 and GB7 “promoted heat shock protein 70 (HSP70) mRNA expression in brain tissue….” HSP70’s help cells fold proteins and have the ability to protect cells from stress. Other scalp acupuncture research shows “improved mitochondrial energy metabolism in (the) brain….”
Neuro-electrophysiology scalp acupuncture studies show that that acupuncture at GV20 and Taiyang improves “coordination and compensation functions among cortical functional areas” in ICH patients. Scalp acupuncture has also been shown to beneficially affect the electrical activity of pain-reaction neurons. Also noted, GV20 and GB7 promote the expression of glial cell neurotrophic factor (GDNF). GDNF is a protein that promotes the survival of neurons. Moreover, the researchers note even more biochemical, bioelectrical and biophysiological benefits of scalp acupuncture on brain tissue related to ICH.
History of Scalp Acupuncture
The researchers give an interesting historical account of scalp acupuncture. First recorded in 5 BCE, Bian Que successfully revived the crowned prince of Guo from a near lifeless state using scalp acupuncture. The Huangdi Neijing (Yellow Emperor’s Internal Classic) notes that the head is the: meeting of all Yang meridians, house of the original spirit, convergence between Qi and Blood. Head acupuncture points regulate: Yin and Yang, Qi and Blood, Zang-Fu Organs. The Huangdi Neijing also notes that the brain is the: sea of marrow, master of Zang-fu organs, master of channel function. Scalp acupuncture continued to develop over the years including extensive writings in the Jin Dynasty work, the Zhenjiujiayijing (A-B Classic of Acupuncture and Moxibustion).
Modern History
In the 1970s, scalp acupuncture combined with biomedicine using neuroanatomy, neurophysiology and bioholographic principles. Luminaries such as Jiao Shunfa, Fang Yunpeng, Zhu Longyu, Zhang Mingjiu, Tang Songyan, Dr. Toshikatsu Yamamoto and Lin Xuejian contributed to the early development of this integrated form of scalp acupuncture. Prof. Mingqing Zhu began developing what is now a highly regarded system of scalp acupuncture in the 1970s and published his successes in journals and books. Prof. Mingqing Zhu developed a zone system of scalp acupuncture and incorporated advanced needling techniques into this system. He brought the system to the United States and opened scalp acupuncture centers in Santa Cruz, San Jose and San Francisco, California. Today, many practitioners use at least one of eight different styles of scalp acupuncture in clinical practice.

First Ever Acupuncture COPD Trial

The very first placebo-controlled, randomized study on the effectiveness of acupuncture for the treatment of chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD) concludes “that acupuncture is a useful adjunctive therapy in reducing” breathlessness in patients with COPD. A decrease in shortness of breath in patients with COPD is directly proportional to increased survival rates indicating that acupuncture prevents mortality associated with COPD. The researchers note that acupuncture improved arterial blood gas, rib cage range of motion, respiratory function (including forced vital capacity) and respiratory muscle strength. The ability to increase exercise capabilities was also greatly increased by acupuncture treatment. Moreover, acupuncture improved the activities of daily living score. In addition, acupuncture significantly improved nutritional levels including BMI (body mass index) and pre-albumin levels, common major nutritional problems for patients with COPD.
Acupuncture CEUs OnlineAcupuncture for COPDA placebo acupuncture group was compared with a real acupuncture group. The placebo group received simulated needling using a Park sham device. The device uses a blunt tipped needle that looks as if it is penetrating the skin but, in reality, telescopes back into the upper part of the needle handle. Both the sham needle and the real needles were 0.35mm X 70mm stainless steel acupuncture needles. The real acupuncture needles were inserted between 5mm to 25mm. Electroacupuncture was not used and manual rotation stimulation was performed at each needle for 3-5 minutes until the de qi sensation was achieved. Total treatment time was 50 minutes for each treatment. Acupuncture treatments were administered once per week for a total of 12 weeks. The acupuncture points chosen for the study were: LU1 (Zhongfu), LU9 (Taiyuan), LI18 (Futu), CV4 (Guanyuan), CV12 (Zhongwan), ST36 (Zusanli), KI3 (Taixi), GB12 (Wangu), UB13 (Feishu), UB20 (Pishu), UB23 (Shenshu). The researchers note, “We demonstrated clinically relevant improvements in DOE  (dyspnea on exertion) (Borg scale), nutrition status (including BMI), airflow obstruction, exercise capacity, and health-related quality of life after 3 months of acupuncture treatment.”
Points of Interest
Interestingly, the researchers did not use Dingchuan (M-BW-1). This modern ‘extra’ acupuncture point is specific for the treatment of dyspnea, wheezing and coughing. Dingchuan is also used for the treatment of urticaria and upper back pain.
The researchers chose LU1 (Middle Palace). Located on the lateral aspect of the chest in the first intercostal space, LU1 is the Front Mu point of the Lung and is the Meeting Point of the Lung and Spleen channels. The other Lung channel point used in the study was LU9 (Supreme Abyss). Located at the wrist joint in the depression between the radial artery and the tendon of  the abductor pollicis longus, LU9 is the Yuan-Source  point of the Lung channel. It is also an Earth point, a Shu-Stream point, and a Hui-Meeting point. LU1 helps the Stomach Qi descend, clears heat, regulates water passages and relieves coughing and wheezing by helping the Lung Qi to descend. LU9 tonifies the Lungs, transforms phlegm, regulates the vessels and relieves pain.
LI18 (Support the Prominence) is located on the lateral aspect of the neck, level with the tip of the Adam’s Apple and is between the heads of the SCM (sternocleidomastoid) muscle. LI18 is a Window of Sky point and relieves coughing, wheezing, dysphagia, throat pain and hypotension.  CV4 (Gate of Origin) and CV12 (Middle Cavity) are the Front Mu points of the Small Intestines and Stomach respectively. These powerful points tonify Qi as does ST36 (Leg Three Miles). Additional points used in the study were used to benefit Lung function and to harmonize and strengthen the body.

iPhone & iPad App Measures Acupuncture Stress Reduction

The SweetBeat App for the iPhone and iPad has the ability to measure stress reduction as a result of acupuncture treatments. This App measures both the heart rate and HRV (heart rate variability). HRV measures the change in time interval between heart beats and is an index of the body’s ability to maintain control of the heart beat rate and rhythm through vagus nerve activity. Reduced HRV is linked to mortality after myocardial infarction, congestive heart failure and diabetic neuropathy.
HRV and Health
Acupuncture AppAcupuncture AppNew research on acupuncture points CV17 and Ear Shenmen shows that acupuncture benefits the heart by increasing heart rate variability (HRV). The SweetBeat App places a valuable measurement tool in the hands of the acupuncturist and the patient. Patients can measure HRV while walking, running, bicycling, at rest, before and after an acupuncture treatment, etc…. If the HRV dips unusually low, this is a serious indication of a potential cardiovascular disturbance. By contrast, the health benefits of a proper regime of dietary changes, exercise, relaxation techniques and acupuncture can be seen in an increase in HRV.

Feature Set

The SweetBeat App has many features including the ability to measure a person’s baseline level of stress. A visual readout is displayed and the user sees whether or not they are stressing their system. This can be invaluable for users who tend to overstress their bodies during workouts or through emotional stress. The App also has functions which allow the user to work on breathing evenly to reduce bodily stress. In addition, the user can save and track changes in HRV over time.
What we find incredibly valuable is the ability of this App to measure both HRV and heart rate. We like the stress indicator because it has an easy visual clue when to back-off from excessive exercise or emotional strain. To use this App, all one needs is a heart rate monitor strap and a dongle to transfer the information to an iPhone or iPad. For our review testing, we used a 60beat brand chest strap and receiver. The receiver plugs into the headphone jack and receives the 5.3KHz data from the chest strap.
How it Works
We simply put on the chest strap, plugged the receiver (dongle) into the iPhone (or iPad) and launched the SweetBeat App. For the initial use, SweetBeat asks the user to set a baseline level of heart performance to help in the analysis of mood and stress levels. The 60beat brand receiver works relatively well and is reliable up to about arms length. This worked well for our testing purposes because our users experimented with various workout speeds on a Stairmaster brand machine and arms length is ample.
We tested the device and find it very accurate. Both heart rate and HRV are highly responsive and SweetBeet is accurate to the tenths decimal place. As the user increases physical stress, the stress monitor tracked this performance issue with a colored bar graph. At first, we weren’t sure if the stress meter would be valuable. Once in a workout, however, the quick reference of the stress meter is nice addition. It gives valuable feedback without distracting the user from the workout.
This type of device helps the user learn about their heart. It can easily detect forms of heart disease and warns the user of excessive stress during exercise with its easy-to-read visual display. For athletes, sustained increases in HRV over time reflect higher performance levels and proper training. As a result, this is valuable for athletes in training as well as for those just beginning an exercise program. For users who are genuinely interested in tracking their cardiovascular health, we recommend this App. Heart disease is the number one killer worldwide and the SweetBeat App is an affordable tool to monitor one’s most important muscle- the heart.

Acupuncture Education & Treatment Strategy for Prostatitis

Acupuncture CEUs OnlineAcupuncture for ProstateResearchers have published clinical strategies for acupuncture in the study and treatment of nonbacterial prostatitis. Professors from the Guangzhou University of Chinese Medicine (Department of Acupuncture and Moxibustion, Shenzhen Traditional Chinese Medicine Hospital) note that chronic nonbacterial prostatitis (CNP) responds to acupuncture treatment as demonstrated in modern research.1 The publication outlines the underlying theory, treatment principles and optimal acupuncture points for the treatment of CNP.
The professors note that chronic nonbacterial prostatitis involves Kidney deficiency, damp-heat and Blood stasis. Of note, the Kidney, Bladder, Triple Burner, Liver, Spleen and Lung Zang-Fu organs are important in the treatment of prostatitis. From a channel perspective, the researchers note that the Conception Vessel (Ren Mai), Thoroughfare Vessel (Chong Mai), Governing Vessel (Du Mai), Kidney channel, Bladder channel and Liver channel are closely related to prostatitis. They note several common treatment principles used in the treatment of CNP: eliminate blood stasis, clear heat, expel dampness, soothe Liver Qi, unblock collaterals and meridians. They cite several application methods that have significant clinical efficacy: electroacupuncture, laser acupoint irradiation, warm needling acupuncture, moxibustion, herbal injections. Acupuncture points Guanyuan (CV4), Zhongji (CV3), Qugu (CV2), Ciliao (UB32), Yinlingquan (SP9), Sanyinjiao (SP6), Taichong (LR3), Taixi (KI3), and Zhibian (BL54) are noted as both important and ubiquitous in the treatment of CNP. The professors emphasize the arrival of de qi at the acupuncture points with conduction of sensation to the lower abdomen and perineum as important components of the treatment procedure. Acupuncture points (HT7), Sishenchong (EX-HN1) and Neiguan (PC6) are recommended for the treatment of the psychological side effects associated with CNP.

Oxygen Higher at Acupuncture Points – New Research

New research has discovered that oxygen levels are higher at acupuncture points. Using a 25 micron amperometric oxygen microsensor, researchers measured the partial oxygen pressure of the distal left Acupuncture CEUs OnlineAcupuncture pO2forearm of humans. Oxygen levels were significantly higher at the acupuncture points in the measured region: LU9 (Taiyuan), LU8 (Jingqu), PC7 (Daling), PC6 (Neiguan), HT7 (Shenmen), HT6 (Yinxi), HT5 (Tongli), and HT4 (Lingdao). The researchers note that this correlation provides information on the physiology of acupuncture points.
The researchers conducted this human study after a clinical investigation of rabbits measured higher partial oxygen pressure at acupuncture points ST36, ST37, CV16 and CV17 compared with the surrounding regions of the acupoints. The researchers note that their human study uses tiny oxygen sensors and is therefore noninvasive. In addition, they conclude that this research provides “clearer evidence on the strong pO2 (partial oxygen pressure)-acupuncture point correlation….” The researchers note that their investigation may “verify the physical existence of acupuncture points….”

Acupuncture Ups Fertility & Pregnancy Rates – New Research

New research demonstrates higher ovulation and pregnancy rates for women receiving acupuncture combined with clomiphene (clomifert, clomid) compared with women receiving clomiphene only. Clomiphene is a selective estrogen receptor modulator. It inhibits hypothalamus feedback to stimulate production of gonadotropins, hormones that affect fertility Acupuncture CEUs OnlineAcupuncture Fertilityincluding FSH (follicle stimulating hormone) and LH (luteinizing hormone).
The study measured a control group of 19 women and an acupuncture group of 17 women. The control group received 50mg of oral clomiphene at a rate of once per day for a total of 50 menstrual cycles. The acupuncture group received the clomiphene at the same dosage and rate plus regular acupuncture treatments. The researchers measured changes in ovulation, endometrial thickness, cervical mucus, pelvic fluid, and follicular development. The acupuncture group showed a significantly higher rate of both ovulation and conception than the group receiving medication only.
More Recent Studies
In a recent study of 5,807 women, it was demonstrated that acupuncture improves clinical pregnancy rates and live birth rates for women receiving IVF (in vitro fertilization).
A study published in the American Journal of Reproductive Immunology shows that the application of acupuncture to acupoints ST36 and SP6 was shown to prevent egg implantation failure.
In a study of 309 women, it was found that electroacupuncture “significantly improved the clinical outcome of ET (embryo transfer).”
A recent study measured the biochemical mechanisms by which acupuncture increases IVF success rates. In a randomized controlled study, it was concluded that, “Acupuncture could improve the poor receptive state of (the) endometrium due to mifepristone by promoting Th2 cytokines secretion and inhibiting Th1 cytokines to improve blastocyst implantation.”

A Case for Acupuncture Treating Raynaud’s Pain

A case history published in Acupuncture in Medicine investigated acupuncture for the treatment of Raynaud’s phenomenon. The researchers concluded that acupuncture reduced the patient’s pain intensity levels, decreased stiffness of the joints and Acupuncture CEUs OnlineAcupuncture for Raynaud'snormalized the color of the patient’s fingers and toes. Raynaud’s phenomenon comprises both Raynaud’s disease (idiopathic) and Raynaud’s syndrome (secondary). Raynaud’s phenomenon (RP) is a vasospastic disorder that causes discoloration of the fingers, toes and other regions. RP is due to excess sympathetic nerve system stimulation leading to excess vasoconstriction. The consequent hypoxia causes discoloration and sometimes pain, swelling, ulceration or necrosis. Exposure to cold exacerbates the condition and warmth tends to relieve the symptoms.
Acupuncture was applied to a woman, thirty years of age, who suffered from pain and stiffness of the extremities from Raynaud’s disease. Acupuncture was applied to acupoint LI4 (Hegu) bilaterally. The acupuncture was applied for a total of five minutes at a rate of two times per week over a period of two months. The researchers note that a measurement of the patient’s serum proinflammatory cytokines suggests an anti-inflammatory effect from the acupuncture treatments. The researchers concluded that acupuncture “should be considered as an alternative treatment or non-pharmacological therapy for pain associated with RP (Raynaud’s phenonmenon).”

New Acupuncture Magnetoencephalography Results

Researchers measured brain responses to acupuncture with magnetoencephalography (MEG) and concluded that acupuncture induces specific responses to brain Regions of Interest (ROIs). Researchers took MEG measurements of the frontal, central, temporal, parietal and occipital regions of the brain while study participants were needled at acupuncture point ST36 (Zusanli). The Acupuncture CEUs OnlineAcupuncture MEGcontrol group received acupuncture needle stimulation at a nearby non-acupuncture point. The researchers discovered that, “Significantly increased delta power and decreased alpha as well as beta power in bilateral frontal ROIs were observed following stimulation at ST36.”
MEG and Brain Waves
MEG maps brain activity by measuring naturally occurring magnetic fields in the brain, which are produced by electric currents produced by the brain. Alpha waves are neural oscillations in the 8-12 Hz range. These brain waves occur during wakeful relaxation with the eyes closed.
Alpha Waves
Alpha waves diminish with the eyes open, during drowsiness and sleep. Alpha waves are thought to be related to visual cortex activity and to play a role in network coordination and communication. Alpha wave intrusion is the appearance of alpha waves during non-REM sleep, a time when delta wave activity is normally dominant. Alpha wave intrusion is commonly found in patients with chronic fatigue and may be associated with fibromyalgia.
Beta Waves
Beta waves are between 12 – 30 Hz. Beta waves occur during waking consciousness. Beta waves occur in conjunction with muscle contractions during isotonic movements.
Delta Waves
Delta waves are between 0 – 4 Hz. Delta waves have the highest amplitude of the brain waves. Delta waves appear in stage three sleep and are predominant in stage four of sleep. Delta waves stimulate the release of growth hormone releasing hormone (GHRH) and prolactin (PRL). Delta waves inhibit thyroid stimulating hormone (TSH). Disruption of delta wave sleep contributes to type II diabetes. Delta wave disruption by alpha waves is connected with fibromyalgia and poor quality of sleep.

Acupuncture Protects from Liver Fibrosis – New Research

recent study concludes that acupuncture significantly relieves hepatic fibrosis. A study of carbon tetrachloride induced hepatic fibrosis in laboratory rats measured responses to acupuncture treatment. The acupuncture group received acupuncture at LR3 (Taichong), LR14 (Qimen), UB18 (Ganshu), and ST36 (Zusanli). The Acupuncture CEUs OnlineAcupuncture for Livercontrol group received sham acupuncture, the use of non-acupuncture points. The sham acupuncture points were located 0.5cm to the left of each real point that was used in the acupuncture group. No significant changes were measured for the sham group while the true acupuncture group showed significant hepatoprotective findings.
The acupuncture and control groups received acupuncture treatment three times per week for three weeks followed by two times per week for an additional three weeks. The acupuncture group showed significant amelioration from liver injury upon examination of hepatocyte arrangement, necrosis and hepatic pseudo-lobular formation. MMP-9 protein expression levels of hematopoietic stem cells (HSC) were “upregulated remarkably in the acupuncture group” compared with the sham group. MMP-9 (matrix metallopeptidase) is an enzyme that breaks down extracellular matrix and is involved in tissue remodeling. Also, the acupuncture group showed additional significant changes related to the alleviation of liver fibrosis including changes in collagen, fibronectin proteins, TIMP-1 (a tissue inhibitor of metalloproteinases), serum hyaluronic acid and laminin, and several other endogenous secretions.

Acupuncture Points to Different Sides – New Research

New research investigated the effects of needling the same acupuncture point on the left-side versus the effects of needling the acupoint on the right-side to determine if there were any physiological differences. Researchers measured the mean blood flux (MBF) in the acupuncture point LI4 (Hegu) using a Moor full-field laser perfusion imager. The study measured the results of needling LI4 on 120 human volunteers.
The acupuncture group received acupuncture at LI4 with a 0.25 X 25mm needle to a depth of 15mm. Manual stimulation to the needle was applied with the rotation method every five minutes for a total of 30 minutes. In the control group, subjects did not receive acupuncture.
Acupuncture Affects Opposite Side
Acupuncture stimulation of right-sided LI4 caused strong amplification of the mean blood flux on the left-sided LI4. However, needling of left-sided LI4 only caused moderate amplification on both sides. The researchers concluded that the acupuncture point LI4 has lateralized specificity.
More Specificity Research
Acupuncture CEUs OnlineAcupuncture at LI4Researchers from the University of California, School of Medicine in Irvine, California concluded, “Recent evidence shows that stimulation of different points on the body causes distinct responses in hemodynamic, fMRI and central neural electrophysiological responses.” MRI results showed that “stimulation of different sets of acupoints leads to disease-specific neuronal responses, even when acupoints are located within the same spinal segment.”
 New MRI research demonstrates that acupuncture “induce(s) different cerebral glucose metabolism changes in pain-related brain regions and reduce(s) intensity of pain” for patients with migraines. The choice of acupuncture points determined specific changes in brain glycometabolism, indicating point specificity.
 New research published in the American Journal of Chinese Medicine concludes that acupuncture at acupoint SP9 (Yinlingquan) increases blood flow/perfusion to the spleen and acupuncture at acupoint LV8 (Ququan) increases blood flow/perfusion to the liver. The researchers concluded, “These results provide scientific evidence of the specificity of meridians.”
A recent MRI study compared brain activity from needling acupoint SP6 with a sham point. SP6 increased activity in the inferior parietal lobe, fusiform temporal gyrus and medial frontal gyrus. The sham point did not activate the areas but instead enhanced activity in the precuneus, a part of the superior parietal lobe. The researchers concluded that true acupuncture affects brain activity differently than needle stimulation at non-acupuncture points.
 A recent study concludes, “Acupuncture is effective in the treatment of functional dyspepsia, and is superior to non-acupoint puncture. The benefit of acupuncture relies on acupoint specificity.” The control group sham points were ineffective in the treatment of dyspepsia whereas the use of Stomach channel acupoints had over a 70 percent success rate.
New research published in the Journal of Magnetic Resonance Imaging demonstrates the point specific neurophysiological effects of acupuncture using MRI technology. Stimulation of acupuncture point GB40 (Qixu) enhanced “connectivity between the superior temporal gyrus (STG) and anterior insula.” Acupuncture point K3 (Taixi) increased the connection strength between the STG and the postcentral gyrus. The researchers concluded that, “The current study demonstrates that acupuncture at different acupoints could exert different modulatory effects on RSNs (brain Resting State Networks). Our findings may help to understand the neurophysiological mechanisms underlying acupuncture specificity.”

Acupuncture Halts Cocaine Addiction – New Research

New research investigated the ability of acupuncture to prevent the relapse of cocaine addiction. A study of cocaine addicted lab rats discovered that those receiving acupuncture at acupoint HT7 (Shenmen) had a “markedly reduced reinstatement of cocaine-seeking” with an 86.5 percent successful inhibition rate.
The researchers note that, “acupuncture reduces drug self-administration and dopamine release in the nucleus accumbens (NAc), a brain structure implicated in stress-induced reinstatement of drug-seeking behavior.” The NAc is an area of the brain important to motor function, rewards and emotions. Dopamine, glucocorticoids, GABA and serotonin play important roles in the NAc.
Using footshock stress to re-stimulate cocaine addiction behavior, researchers applied acupuncture to acupoint HT7 (Shenmen) for one minute following footshock stress to a control group and an acupuncture group. For the control group, footshock stress reinstated cocaine addiction behaviors. In the acupuncture group, there was an 86.5 percent inhibition rate of cocaine addiction. As a result of biochemical measurements taken during the study, the researchers note that the mechanism by which acupuncture prevents cocaine addiction relapse may be due to the ability of acupuncture to regulate “neuronal activation in the NAc shell.”
Acupuncture CEUs OnlineEar AcupunctureA mounting body of evidence supports this new research. A great deal of interest was stimulated twelve years ago when Yale University researchers concluded that auricular acupuncture was effective in the treatment of cocaine addiction. The results of the study, published in the Archives of Internal Medicine, showed that the acupuncture group tested 54.8 percent free of cocaine while the two control groups were 23.5 percent and 9.1 percent free of cocaine at the end of the study. In addition, a lower recidivism rate was measured in the acupuncture group.

Acupuncture Relieves Lower Back Pain – New Research

A new study of 236 patients published in the Journal of Musculoskeletal Pain concludes that acupuncture is an effective treatment modality for the relief of lower Acupuncture CEUs OnlineAcupuncture at LI4back pain. A total of 14 acupuncture treatments were applied over a period of four weeks in this randomized investigation. The researchers concluded that acupuncture has “beneficial and persistent effectiveness against CLBP (chronic lower back pain).”
In related research, acupuncture at acupoint LI4 (Hegu) was found to help in the relief of lower back pain. A group of 187 patients with CLBP received 18 treatments over a period of 7 weeks in this controlled clinical trial. Two separate acupuncture groups, one using LI4 and one not using this acupoint in the prescription, showed statistically significant relief from lower back pain.
The LI4 acupuncture point findings are consistent with acupuncture theory. LI4 is known for its pain relieving effects (including the neck, head, face and upper limbs) along with other points located on the hand. Yaotongxue, located on the dorsum of the hand, is a common acupuncture point used in the treatment of acute lumbar strain. Its lower back pain relieving effects are often immediate with lasting results.

University of Maryland Acupuncture Research – It Works!

A collaborative investigation between researchers from the University of Maryland School of Medicine (Baltimore) and the Shanghai University of Traditional Chinese Medicine concludes that, “Recent clinical trial and systematic review results clearly show acupuncture to be more beneficial Acupuncture CEUs OnlineAcupuncture Researchthan conventional standard care for many pain conditions….” Published in Medical Acupuncture, the review notes that basic science research has identified several mechanisms by which acupuncture exerts its effectiveness in the treatment of pathological conditions. The authors note that “an extensive body of acupuncture research has been published, much of it with important clinical implications.” In addition, the authors note that there is a trend towards acupuncture becoming accepted by the mainstream in the United States, citing a national survey showing a growth in acupuncture utilization.
Recent Research Topics
The modern research continues to pour in. Below is a short list of some of the research that has sparked recent interest. The list is by no means exhaustive and new research continues to map the neurophysiological mechanisms of acupuncture.
Liver Fibrosis
A recent sham-controlled study measured the mechanisms by which acupuncture prevents liver fibrosis. Acupuncture demonstrated changes to hepatocyte arrangement and relief from necrosis and hepatic pseudo-lobular formation. Also, MMP-9 protein expression levels of hematopoietic stem cells (HSC) were “upregulated remarkably” by the use of acupuncture.
Brain Waves
Magnetoencephalography (MEG) demonstrated that acupuncture induces specific responses to brain waves. Researchers discovered that, “Significantly increased delta power and decreased alpha as well as beta power in bilateral frontal ROIs (brain Regions of Interest) were observed following stimulation at ST36.”
A recent study measured the biochemical mechanisms by which acupuncture increases IVF success rates. In a randomized controlled study, it was concluded that, “Acupuncture could improve the poor receptive state of (the) endometrium due to mifepristone by promoting Th2 cytokines secretion and inhibiting Th1 cytokines to improve blastocyst implantation.”
Oxygen at Points
New research has discovered that oxygen levels are higher at acupuncture points. The researchers note that their investigation may “verify the physical existence of acupuncture points….”
New research demonstrates that acupuncture improves bone metabolism for the prevention of osteoporosis. Blood analysis measured increases in levels of BGP (bone gla protein) from acupuncture treatment.
MRI Investigation
Researchers from MIT (Massachusetts Institute of Technology, Cambridge) and the University of Michigan (Ann Arbor) utilized MRI research to demonstrate that autonomic nervous system (ANS) responses to acupuncture emanate from “distinct subregions” of “brain circuitry.” True acupuncture activated the secondary somatosensory cortex (S2), insula and the mid-cingulate cortex. The heart rate (HR) deceleration and skin conductance response (SCR) “magnitude of response was greater following real acupuncture” than with sham acupuncture.
Laser Acupuncture
Researchers concluded that laser acupuncture “can modulate physiological and neurovegetative parameters after stimulating the Baihui (DU20) acupuncture point” and that there was a “clear on/off-effect when the laser was activated/deactivated.”
Muscle Building
Acupuncture builds and preserves muscle mass. The research measured that acupuncture “recovered the skeletal muscle mass” and “ameliorated skeletal muscle atrophy by reducing mRNA expressions of the E3 ubiquitin ligases atrogin-1 and MuRF1.” Acupuncture also “increased the mRNA expressions of Akt1 and TRPV4.”
Pain Relief
Researchers from the University of Rochester Medical Center in New York stated, “acupuncture releases a natural pain-relieving molecule into the body…. Adenosine is a key to reducing pain during acupuncture treatment.”

IVF Relaxation Induced By Acupuncture – New Research

New research concludes that acupuncture reduces anxiety in women undergoing IVF (in vitro fertilization). A randomized-controlled study of 43 women undergoing IVF measured changes in anxiety levels. A total of four acupuncture treatments over a period of four weeks at a rate of once per week were administered. The acupuncture group received acupuncture at acupoints Yintang, HT7 (Shenmen), PC6 (Neiguan), CV17 (Shanzhong) and DU20 (Baihui). The control group received needle stimulation at non-acupuncture points near the areas of the true acupuncture points (sham acupuncture). The true acupuncture group showed a significant reduction in anxiety while the sham acupuncture group did not. The researchers concluded that acupuncture reduces anxiety and psychological strain for women undergoing IVF.
Acupuncture CEUs OnlineAcupuncture for IVFThis research focuses on the integration of acupuncture with modern medical practices and represents a trend in modern investigations. In another related recent study, research demonstrates higher ovulation and pregnancy rates for women receiving acupuncture combined with clomiphene (Clomid) compared with women receiving only clomiphene. An additional four recent studies focused on the ability of acupuncture to improve fertility treatment outcomes. An investigation of 5,807 women concludes that acupuncture improves clinical pregnancy rates and live birth rates for women receiving IVF. A study published in the American Journal of Reproductive Immunology shows that use of acupoints ST36 and SP6 prevents egg implantation failure. In a study of 309 women, electroacupuncture “significantly improved the clinical outcome of ET (embryo transfer).” Looking at basic science, researchers concluded that, “Acupuncture could improve the poor receptive state of (the) endometrium due to mifepristone by promoting Th2 cytokines secretion and inhibiting Th1 cytokines to improve blastocyst implantation.”
Point Functions
A classical acupuncture point selection, the acupoints chosen for the study have been used for anxiety reduction for over a thousand years. Yintang is renown for its stress relieving effects. HT7 (Spirit Gate) is a Shu-Stream, Yuan-Source and Earth point of the Heart channel. It is classically indicated for calming the spirit and regulating the Heart. PC6 is a Luo-Connecting point of the Pericardium channel and the Confluent point of the Yin Linking vessel. PC6 regulates the Heart, calms the spirit, harmonizes the Stomach and regulates the chest Qi. PC6 regulates the Stomach Qi and is often used to relieve nausea and vomiting. CV17 is the Front-Mu point of the Pericardium, a Meeting point of Qi, a Sea of Qi point and a meeting point with the Spleen, Kidney, Triple Burner and Small Intestine channels. CV17 regulates the Qi, opens and benefits the chest, promotes lactation and is used to benefit both breathing and relaxation. DU20 is a Sea of Marrow point and is also the meeting point of the DU channel with the UB, GB, Triple Burner and Liver channels. DU20 calms the spirit, benefits the head and brain, and subdues wind disorders such as headaches, dizziness and hypertension.
Together, these points have a synergistic ability to induce relaxation with effects that are often immediate and lasting. Variations of this point combination are common for the treatment of hypertension, insomnia, panic attacks, PTSD (post-traumatic stress syndrome) and depression. As a result, use of this point selection in this study represents a common standard for the treatment of anxiety as recommended by many Chinese medicine textbooks and classical literature.

Acupuncture Lowers Cholesterol & Triglycerides – New Research

New research concludes that acupuncture lowers both cholesterol and triglycerides. Researchers applied electroacupuncture to acupoint ST40 (Fenglong, Abundant Bulge). ST40 is located on the lower leg, halfway between the tibio-femoral joint line and the lateral Acupuncture CEUs OnlineAcupuncture at ST40malleolus at a distance of two finger breadths lateral to the anterior crest of the tibia. According to traditional Chinese medicine principles, this is a Luo-Connecting point of the Stomach channel that transforms phlegm and dampness, alleviates coughing, invigorates the channel to reduce pain, and clears phlegm from the Heart and Lungs.
The research, conducted on laboratory mice, measured biochemical responses to electroacupuncture at acupoint ST40 to map the mechanisms by which acupuncture reduces hyperlipidemia. The study discovered that electroacupuncture induces expression of nNOS and Mt1. NNOS is an enzyme that mediates nitric oxide signaling, which plays an important role in cellular signaling, vascular tone and blood pressure, insulin secretion, airway tone, angiogenesis and peristalsis. Mt1 plays an important role in the protection against oxidative stress. Based on these findings, the researchers conclude that electroacupuncture and its affect on nitric oxide signaling transduction is physiologically related to its cholesterol and triglyceride lowering effects.

Acupuncture for Spinal Cord Recovery– New Paralysis Research

Breakthrough research has discovered that implanted electro-acupuncture combined with bone marrow cell transplantation increases success rates in the healing of spinal cord injuries. Transplantation of bone marrow derived stromal cells into injured spinal cords helps in the restoration of motor functionality. However, survival Acupuncture CEUs OnlineIntegrated Acupuncturerates for transplanted cells is low thereby limiting the therapeutic value of the procedure. Researchers combined implanted electro-acupuncture with the cell transplantation procedure and concluded that electro-acupuncture “induced a significantly higher functional improvement in locomotor functions” than cell transplantation only. Electro-acupuncture also “significantly increased the number of surviving BMSCs (bone marrow derived mesenchymal stromal cells) compared to the BMSCs alone group.” The researchers concluded that “our experiment showed that the approach of coupling iEA (implanted electro-acupuncture) electric stimulation and BMSCs transplantation remarkably promotes functional improvements in animals with spinal cord injury and holds promising potential to treat spinal cord injury in humans.”
New successes with electrochemical approaches to spinal cord recovery procedures is not isolated. Recently, researchers combined electrical stimulation to the motor area of the brain and the spinal cord below the area of the injury. In addition, drugs were infused into the region of the wounded area to promote healing. The results were dramatic. Paralyzed rats were able to walk and run after severe spinal cord injuries. This research followed last year’s revelation, reported in the Lancet, that a 23 year old paraplegic man regained the ability to stand and walk using a functional electrical stimulation (FES) device.

Acupuncture Ups Blood Iron - New Research

New scientific evidence shows that acupuncture has the ability to benefit iron levels in the blood. A new study concludes that acupuncture upregulates serum ferritin and decreases TIBC (total iron Acupuncture CEUs OnlineAcupuncturebinding capacity). Ferritin is an intracellular protein that stores, releases and transports blood iron. TIBC is a lab test that measures the body’s ability to bind iron with transferrin, iron-binding blood plasma glycoproteins. TIBC is high in patients with iron deficiency anemia because the liver produces increased levels of transferrin to maximize use of remaining iron stores.
In a randomized-controlled trial, researches applied acupuncture to sixty white rabbits at acupuncture point ST36 (Zusanli, Leg Three Measures). The rabbits underwent food restriction and blood draws to simulate a blood deficiency condition that lowered serum ferritin and raised TIBC. Acupuncture was administered every other day for a total of 10 times. Serum ferritin and TIBC were measured using radioimmunoassay. Both on day 17 of the study and during a follow-up exam 32 days after completion of the study, the rabbits receiving acupuncture showed significantly higher levels of serum ferritin and lower TIBC than the control group.

Acupuncture Relieves Foot Drop From Stroke – New Research

New research concludes that acupuncture improves motor function for patients with foot drop caused by a stroke. Foot drop is movement impairment of the Acupuncture CEUs OnlineAcupuncture after Strokeankle, foot and toes that causes dropping of the forefoot. Researchers measured two approaches to acupuncture therapy for the treatment of drop foot. One of the techniques yielded superior clinical results yet both approaches showed significant clinical improvements.
Group A received acupuncture at acupuncture points SP6 (Sanyinjiao) and KI3 (Taixi) with application of the reducing needling technique at each acupoint. Tonification technique was applied to acupuncture points ST41 (Jiexi), UB62 (Shenmai) and GB34 (Yanglingquan). Group B received acupuncture at ST36 (Zusanli), SP6 (Sanyinjiao), GB39 (Xuanzhong) and several other acupuncture points used in rehabilitation treatments. Acupuncture was administered in a series of three sessions for both groups. Each session was comprised of 10 acupuncture treatments at a rate of once per day for a grand total of 30 acupuncture treatments. Group A demonstrated greater clinical improvements in the symptomatic relief of foot drop although patients in group B also showed significant improvement.

Acupuncture Reduces GERD – Univ. of Arizona Reports

A recent publication in the prestigious Journal of Gastroenterology and Hepatology cites the effectiveness of acupuncture for the treatment of gastroesophageal reflux disease (GERD). Acupuncture was shown to be more effective in reducing regurgitation and heartburn than doubling medication Acupuncture CEUs OnlineAcupuncture & GERDlevels for patients suffering from cases of refractory GERD. Dr. Ronnie Fass, MD of the University of Arizona in Tuscon reported that refractory GERD affects up to approximately one-third of patients who take PPIs (proton pump inhibitors). PPIs are pharmaceuticals that inhibit gastric acid production and include brand names such as Prilosec, Lomac, Prevacid, Nexium, and Protonix. Regarding the acupuncture research cited in the publication, Dr. Fass notes that, “This is the first study to suggest that alternative approaches for treating visceral pain may have a role in GERD patients with persistent heartburn despite PPI therapy.” Dr. Fass reported that for the approximately one-third of patients taking PPIs who continue to suffer from GERD, “When compared to doubling the PPI dose (standard of care), adding acupuncture was significantly better in controlling regurgitation and daytime as well as night-time heartburn.”

Acupuncture Trumps Ibuprofen for Shingles Pain – New Research

New research concludes that acupuncture combined with moxibustion successfully alleviates herpes zoster neuralgia, nerve pain due to shingles. A total Acupuncture CEUs OnlineAcupuncture for Shinglesof 37 cases were divided into two groups. Group 1, the medication group of 19 cases, received ibuprofen, vitamin B1 and vitamin E. Group 2, the treatment group of 18 cases, received acupuncture and herbal moxa roll heat stimulation. The herbal moxa roll consisted of corydalis tuber (Yan Hu Suo), astragali radix (Huang Qi), myrrh (Mo Yao) and other related herbal ingredients. Moxibustion was applied once a day for 7 days to Jiaji (EX-B-2) and Ahshi acupuncture points until local skin flushing was obtained. Acupuncture was applied to the same acupoints, Ahshi and Jiaji points, at a rate of once per day for 7 days. Acupuncture technique was applied using electroacupuncture at 100 Hz for 10 minutes followed by 2 Hz stimulation for an additional 30 minutes.
Following the 7 day session, one patient in the medication group was diagnosed as cured while 5 patients in the acupuncture combined with moxibustion group were diagnosed as cured. Significant improvement was diagnosed in 13 patients in the medication group and 12 patients in the acupuncture combined with moxibustion group. No progress was reported in 5 patients in the medication group while only one patient in the acupuncture-moxibustion group did not respond to therapy. The researchers discovered that the therapeutic effect achieved in the acupuncture with moxibustion group “was significantly superior to that of the medication group.” The researchers concluded that electroacupuncture with moxibustion “is effective in relieving neuralgia in HZ (herpes zoster) patients.”

Acupuncture Protects the Heart - New UCLA Research

Researchers from the University of California, Los Angeles (UCLA) conclude that acupuncture protects the heart. Electroacupuncture applied to acupuncture points P6 and P5 in anesthetized rabbits with coronary artery occlusion resulted in less ventricular arrhythmias. Electroacupuncture also decreased heart infarct size, meaning, electroacupuncture protected the heart from tissue death due to obstruction of blood and oxygen supply. The researchers also showed that electroacupuncture stimulation caused a decrease in left ventricle dysfunction. Furthermore, a decrease in harmful ST segment elevation was observed as a result of electroacupuncture at P5 and P6. A raised ST segment is measured by an EKG, electrocardiogram, and may indicate a myocardial infarction.
The Study
Acupuncture CEUs OnlineAcupuncture for the HeartIn a detailed scientific investigation published in the American Journal of Physiology Heart and Circulatory Physiology, researchers compared a non-treatment group, an electroacupuncture group, a sham acupuncture group (acupuncture at non-acupuncture points), and two additional experimental electroacupuncture groups. The two experimental electroacupuncture groups combined acupuncture with chemical blocking agents specifically designed to block the regulation of the cardiac nervous system, opioid receptors and PKC pathways. PKC is a kinase enzyme that modifies other proteins and functions in signal transduction of extracellular stimuli including hormones and growth factors. Electroacupuncture did not induce cardioprotective effects when these blocking agents were used. As a result, the researchers conclude that electroacupuncture protects the heart through regulation of the cardiac nervous system, opioid receptors and PKC pathways. The group using only electroacupuncture, without interference from chemical blocking agents, showed the cardiac improvements whereas all of the other study groups did not.
About The AcuPoints
Acupuncture points P5 (Jianshi) and P6 (Neiguan) are located on the forearm approximately 2 to 3 inches proximal to the anterior portion of the wrist. P5 regulates the Stomach and menstruation and calms the Heart. It is traditionally used for heart pain, palpitations and emotional upset. It is also beneficial in the treatment of irregular menstruation, leukorrhea, and excessive clotting of the menstrual flow. P6 benefits the Stomach, relieves nausea, regulates the Heart and calms the spirit. It is used for the treatment of heart pain, palpitations, heart rate dysfunction, emotional disturbances, vomiting and insomnia. Traditionally, P5 is referred to as a Jing-River and Metal point of the Pericardium channel. P6 is classified as a Luo-Connecting point of the Pericardium channel and is the Confluent point of the Yin linking vessel.

Acupuncture Pain Relief Related To Metal Level - New Research

New research concludes that the pain relieving effects created by electricity applied to acupuncture needles (electroacupuncture) is dependent Acupuncture CEUs OnlineAcupuncture Needleson the subdermal depths at which electricity is emitted from the acupuncture needle. Researchers measured the analgesic effects of five different types of acupuncture needles that were inserted to identical depths. However, each of the five needles had the metal exposed to the skin at different levels along the shaft.
The group 1 needle was completely uncoated and the electricity passed through the entire length of the needle. All of the other needles were coated with an insulated coating and the metal was exposed 0.2mm in length, circumferentially, at varying depths per each type of needle. The group 2 acupuncture needle had the insulated coating peeled off at the tip only. The group 3 acupuncture needle had the insulated coating peeled off at 3mm from the tip. The group 4 acupuncture needle had the insulating material removed at 5mm from the tip, and the group 5 needle had the insulated material removed from the tip and at the 5mm mark. The illustration shows the needle configurations.
The needles were inserted into acuppoints ST36 (Zusanli) and SP9 (Sanyinjiao) on 96 laboratory rats that were divided into the five needle groups. All needles were inserted at a 45 degree angle.  The rat tail-flick test was used to determine if analgesia was achieved. Once tabulated, the results showed that the group 1 and group 5 needle groups experienced significantly greater analgesia. Group 1 had the uncoated needle and group 5 had the needle type that was exposed at both the tip and at the 5mm mark. The other three groups had metal exposure at only one area and did not achieve the same level of analgesia. As a result, the researchers conclude that “the efficacy of the EA (electroacupuncture) stimulation depends on the spatial distribution of the current density under the needling surface rather than only the acupoint or the depth of needling.”

Acupuncture IVF Fertility Discovery - New Research

Researchers conclude that acupuncture improves both the pregnancy and live birth rates of women receiving in vitro fertilization and embryo transplantation (IVF-ET). During the investigation, researchers uncovered a biochemical mechanism by which acupuncture Acupuncture CEUs OnlineAcupuncture for IVFenhances fertility. In addition, the researchers compared successful IVF-ET rates with Chinese medicine differential diagnoses and made an interesting discovery.
Biochemical Discovery
The researchers found that electroacupuncture increases blood levels of HLA-G (human leukocyte antigen) “and the level of HLA-G secreted in embryos for the patients in the process of IVF-ET.” Presence of the HLA-G protein is predictive of higher pregnancy and live birth rates according to modern research conducted at the Department of Obstetrics and Gynecology, Sunnybrook and Women's College Health Sciences Centre, Toronto, Ontario, Canada.
Chinese Medicine Diagnostics
The researchers compared the Chinese medicine differential diagnostics for the women in the study. There were 82 kidney deficiency, 74 liver qi stagnation and 54 phlegm-dampness cases. The HLA-G levels were significantly higher during embryo transplantation as a result of electroacupuncture for the kidney deficiency and liver qi stagnation groups. This corresponded to differences in the “high-quality embryo rate” with the kidney deficiency group having a 73 percent yield, the liver qi stagnation group having a 70 percent yield and the phlegm dampness group having a 54 percent high-quality yield. Of interest, all three groups had similar improvements in fertilization and pregnancy rates following the application of electroacupuncture. The researchers concluded that, due to electroacupuncture, “the pregnancy outcome and the pregnancy rate are improved.”

Acupuncture For Depression Enhances Prozac - New Research

New research demonstrates that acupuncture is effective in relieving depression and increases the therapeutic effect of fluoxetine (Prozac, Sarafem, Fontex). Researchers employed a single-blind, randomized, sham-acupuncture controlled study to determine if a type of electroacupuncture called DCEAS (dense cranial electroacupuncture stimulation) “could enhance the antidepressant efficacy in the early phase of selective serotonin reuptake inhibitor (SSRI) treatment of major depressive disorder (MDD).”
Acupuncture CEUs & DepressionAcupuncture for DepressionSubjects suffering from depression received 9 electroacupuncture treatments combined with the oral administration of the SSRI fluoxetine. The results were compared with subjects receiving a non-invasive simulation of electroacupuncture stimulation (sham-acupuncture) plus fluoxetine.  The results were tabulated and the researchers concluded that electroacupuncture stimulation increased the clinical effectiveness of fluoxetine. They noted that electroacupuncture “is a safe and effective intervention that augments the antidepressant efficacy. It can be considered as an additional therapy in the early phase of SSRI treatment of depressed patients.”
The authors initiated this investigation citing numerous studies and recent meta-analyses demonstrating that acupuncture “is efficacious for various types of depressive disorders.” Citing the research, the investigators note that electroacupuncture’s rapid effects in the treatment of major depressive disorder (MDD) are due to the “direct modulation of multiple central neurochemical systems, especially the brainstem adrenalinergic (NA), serotonergic (5-HT) neuronal and hypothalamic neuroendocrine systems….” Consequently, the investigators chose dense cranial electroacupuncture (DCEAS) because it efficiently modulates these systems through stimulation of the trigeminal nerve. In addition, the investigators note that this style of acupuncture has been proven effective in the treatment of “refractory obsessive-compulsive disorder (OCD), major depressive disorder (MDD), post-stroke depression, and MDD-associated residual insomnia.” Fluoxetine was chosen as the study’s medication of choice because it is a widely prescribed SSRI used for the treatment of major depression.
The acupuncture group received 9 electroacupuncture treatments at a rate of 3 per week concurrent with fluoxetine treatment. The acupuncture points used in the study were: Baihui (DU20). Yintang (EX-HN3), Sishencong (EX-HN1), Toulinqi (GB15), Shuaigu (GB8), Taiyang (EX-HN5), Touwei (ST8). Needles were inserted obliquely or horizontally to the surface at a depth of 10-30mm. Electroacupuncture was set to a continuous wave at 9V and 2Hz for 30 minutes. Amplitude was adjusted so that the electrical stimulation was perceptible and comfortable. The patients and the raters did not know if the needles were actually inserted or if they were sham-insertions that merely simulated the acupuncture experience. A total of 70 patients were included in the data analysis.
The researchers note that electroacupuncture produces a “rapid effect in alleviating depressive symptoms in both clinician-rated (HAMD-17) and self-rated (SDS) measures of depression.” The investigators conclude that the study demonstrates that electroacupuncture is effective in augmenting the antidepressant effect of fluoxetine for the treatment of moderate and severe major depressive disorder.

Acupuncture Halts Cancer Related Hiccups - New Research

New research concludes that acupuncture effectively relieves hiccups for patients with late-stage cancer. Diaphramatic muscle spasms, intractable hiccups, occur in late-stage cancer patients. This is of great Acupuncture CEUs OnlineAcupuncture Descends Qiconcern because it is often difficult to control hiccups with medications and the hiccups interfere with the diet and sleep. A total of 30 patients were included in the investigation. 10 patients improved markedly, 18 patients demonstrated improvement and 2 patients did not respond to acupuncture therapy. Combined, the total effective rate is over 93 percent.
Chinese Medicine
According to Chinese medicine principles, a healthy stomach descends the Qi energy. Anatomically, the stomach has an important role in moving food downwards. When the body is exhausted and the stomach is weakened, the normal physiological function of the stomach to descend Qi is impaired and consequently there is rebellious Qi. This is the uprising (energetically) of stomach Qi and is manifest in hiccups, nausea, acid reflux and vomiting. The researchers chose P6, an acupuncture point that is widely used to descend stomach Qi for cases of hiccups, nausea and vomiting. The other two points have similar roles. ST36 helps to strengthen the stomach Qi and ST44 is widely used to quell an inflammatory process known as “stomach heat.”
Acupuncture Points
The researchers combined electroacupuncture, cupping and auricular acupuncture point stimulation. Electroacupuncture was applied to acupoints P6 (Neiguan), ST36 (Zusanli), and ST44 (Neiting). The acupuncture needles (0.23mm X 40mm) were stimulated manually until the arrival of the de qi sensation and then electroacupuncture was applied for 1 hour. Cupping was applied to CV17 (Danzhong) and CV12 (Zhongwan). Both electroacupuncture and cupping were applied once per day. Following the needling procedure, ear seeds made of Wang Bu Liu Xing (vaccaria seeds) were applied with adhesive to the auricular points Liver, Stomach, Heart and Subcortex. Patients were given instructions to apply stimulation to the points by pressing on the ear seeds a minimum of 3 times per day for a minimum period of 5 minutes. The ear seeds were replaced every two days. On the weekends, no ear seeds were maintained. The researchers conclude that the acupuncture protocol “is an effective method to relieve hiccups in late-stage cancer.”