Acupuncture Little Better Than “sham” For Migraine

Using acupuncture, woman no longer has migraines or takes OTC meds

The findings, reported in the Canadian Medical Association Journal, add to a pattern commonly seen in studies on acupuncture and migraines. Many have found that people with migraines can get relief from acupuncture. But often, “true” acupuncture has worked no better than “sham” acupuncture — where the needles are inserted only to a superficial depth in the skin, or into sites that are not considered acupuncture points in traditional medicine. That raises the question of whether acupuncture works by “non-specific” effects, according to the researchers on the new study, led by Dr. Ying Li of Chengdu University of Traditional Chinese Medicine in China. That is, some people might feel better because they expect to, or because of the personal attention from the acupuncturist. But other experts said that the findings do not mean that acupuncture offers nothing more than a “placebo effect” for migraine sufferers. For the study, Li’s team recruited 480 adults who had migraines at least twice a month. They randomly assigned people to one of four groups: In three, patients were given one of three different types of acupuncture that focused on traditional points, with electrical stimulation added to the needling; the fourth group received a sham version. In the sham group, needles were inserted in the skin at non-traditional sites, web link with electrical stimulation.
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Acupuncture Could Ease Joint Pain From Breast Cancer Treatment

Current practice guidelines recommend acupuncture for this use, the NIH reported, with the caution that there might be a placebo effect in some studies. Dr. Robert Gordon, a hematologist/oncologist with Andrews & Patel Associates in Hampden Township, said the placebo effect is generally present in one in four people who report a subjective illness. Acupuncture could be a placebo effect, but there is evidence that it might have an effect in blocking nerve impulses in the brain, Gordon said. I feel medically open enough that, since its not dangerous and has no adverse effects, if they want to pursue it and they can afford it, they have my blessing. Affording acupuncture can be a stumbling block since many insurances dont cover it and it can cost more than $150 per treatment. Derry Township resident Liz Reid paid about $500 out of pocket for acupuncture to help with severe side effects from the chemo she underwent for breast cancer in 2011. I was always a person who looked for alternatives to medicine, but I knew I had to embrace the chemotherapy treatment to get myself well, so I looked for alternative treatments to help, said Reid, 56, who had low white blood cell counts, nausea, brain fog, elevated liver enzymes and body aches. Acupuncture relieved her physical symptoms and her mental stress, she said. Because I had so many side effects, I had a certain amount of anxiety about going back for more chemo.
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(Samuels, 2008) Also, In a prospective, randomized, placebo-controlled trial of 30 patients scheduled to undergo colonoscopy, found that treatment with acupuncture decreased patients’ demand for sedative drugs, reducing both discomfort and anxiety during the procedure. In another randomized, blinded, controlled trial of 91 ambulatory surgery patients, found that patients treated with auricular acupuncture at relaxation points reported significantly lower levels of anxiety than did controls. (Samuels, 2008) One particular study followed the results of acupuncture in patients with neck and low back pain and divided them into three groups. One was given webblog intramuscular acupuncture, one periosteal acupuncture, and one was a control group with no treatment. Intramuscular acupuncture or IMA involves inserting needles in traditional acupuncture points. Periosteal acupuncture or PA involves inserting needles in areas that are tender and not necessarily points of traditional acupuncture. The needles then prick the area two to four times per second for about ten seconds, and are finally left in the area for approximately 30 minutes without any stimulation. (Hansson, 2007) No differences were found between the groups during the trial, but both the IMA and PA groups showed positive long term results. In the IMA group, anxiety decreased for up to three months, the level of depression for up to one week, sleep and mood upon awakening improved for up to six months. In the PA group, anxiety decreased for up to three months, sleep improved for one week, and mood upon awaking improved for up to six months after treatment. In the control group which received no acupuncture, there was no improvement in any of the variables. (Hansson, 2007) Science has not yet discovered the mechanism by which acupuncture can produce actual hormonal changes which improve emotional conditions such as depression and anxiety. However, the fact that it works very well for some people is undeniable.
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Cape Democrats push for acupuncture insurance coverage

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However, her debilitating headaches persisted. That’s when she turned to acupuncture, which she says has “been a lifesaver.” As a result, she’s stopped taking OTC medications completely and doesn’t even get so much as a dull headache. Tricia used to get severe migraines an average of two times per month. After about 10 acupuncture treatments, she says she no longer noticed them. She also answers what’s often on the minds of those considering acupuncture: does it hurt? No, she says. While some areas are sensitive, she says it feels “really good” and is a relief. Acupuncture stems from an ancient Chinese healing practice that involves penetrating certain points of an individual’s skin in an effort to stimulate and therefore relieve a range of symptoms. Studies prove the benefits of acupuncture for migraine relief Studies in medical journals have shown the benefits of acupuncture for migraine sufferers, saying that relief is indeed possible through this treatment. In one study, two groups were studied – one that received acupuncture treatments in conjunction with some standard care and one that received only standard medical care.
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Acupuncture for anxiety and depression

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“This study is not the final answer, but it does provide strong evidence that acupuncture can play a role in controlling pain for breast cancer patients with AI related arthralgia,” study researcher Dr. Jun Mao, M.D., MSCE, who is an associate professor of Family Medicine and Community Health at the university, said in a statement. “We saw a significant reduction in pain levels in the acupuncture groups with only very mild, short-term adverse effects.” Past research has suggested that 50 percent of people taking aromatase inhibitors experience joint pain, and as many as 20 percent of people taking the drugs will stop treatment due to the pain. Sixty-seven early breast cancer patients, who were all taking an aromatase inhibitor medication, participated in the study. All of them had reported joint pain as a result of the treatment, and the pain was experienced for at least three months at a pain level of at least 4 out of 11. (Researchers chose this specific pain level because past research suggested discontinuation of this medication is more common among people with pain levels of 4 or higher.) The study participants were broken up into three groups. The first group got electro-acupuncture, which involved receiving 10 acupuncture treatments over a 10-week period; the second group got sham acupuncture, where they received the same number of “treatments,” but the needles weren’t real (they retracted back when put into the skin, similar to a stage dagger); the third group was the control group who didn’t get acupuncture (but, for purposes of the study, were told they’d get the acupuncture treatments at a later date). All of the study participants continued their treatment with the aromatase inhibitors during the study. After the eight weeks, people who received the electro-acupuncture had a 43 percent decrease in their pain from before they started the study. And people who received acupuncture, versus those who were in the control group, were more likely to report “much improved” or “very much improved” pain.
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Acupuncture helps cancer patients cope

McClatchy-Tribune Information Services — BOSTON — Democrats in the Cape and Islands delegation are prodding fellow legislators to require insurers to provide benefits for certain kinds of acupuncture treatments. Filed by state Sen. , D- Harwich , the bill mandates acupuncture coverage for pain management, post-traumatic stress disorder, substance abuse treatment and nausea. If passed, the bill would also create a commission within the state Department of Public Health to find ways to further incorporate acupuncture into health care. The legislation — co-sponsored by state Reps. Timothy Madden , D- Provincetown , among others — has drawn support from acupuncturists and other medical professionals, who hail the treatment as a proven, cost-effective alternative to addictive medications. Madden and Peake also co-sponsored an identical bill filed by state Rep. William Pignatelli Lenox , in the House. “Acupuncture is an important alternative to conventional medicine. It has been shown that it can be helpful in preventative care and is less invasive than other procedures, which means it could end up being more cost-effective for all parties,” Wolf said in a prepared statement. “I support this legislation because of the benefits acupuncture can provide to patients, physicians, and insurers alike.” But the bill has proven prickly with physical therapists, fueling their ongoing feud with acupuncturists over a technique known as “dry needling.” And the health insurance industry has argued that the law would introduce a new, costly mandate and burden small businesses. “Most health plans offer discounts on acupuncture services for individuals who may want these services, making it unnecessary to require coverage of a service that not everyone may want or need,” said Eric Linzer , senior vice president of public affairs and operations at the Massachusetts Association of Health Plans .
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Acupuncture helping couples to conceive

“Some women are not ready to take the step in using medications so they want to take the step in doing something they perceive as more natural,” said Dr. Sandy Goodman a reproductive endocrinologist. “Other women want to use it in combination with fertility treatments.” Dr. Goodman says she often discusses acupuncture with her patients as a way to enhance the outcome of fertility treatments. “That’s the nice thing about Eastern and Western medicine, they don’t have to be separated,” she said. Huffman encourages patients to adhere to a regimen of acupuncture sessions once to twice a week for three months. She says that’s when patients usually start seeing changes. “They have more normal menstrual cycles, their periods are less painful…. All those things are key signs of improvements and then I know baby will be next,” she explained. “My husband was actually overseas doing some work for the military over in Iraq and I came for three months,” said Kari Powell. When her husband came home, the couple became pregnant right away. Along came little Hanna! “I think that acupuncture helped a lot.
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