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Acupuncture and Physical Exercise for Affective Symptoms and Health-related Quality of Life in Women with Polycystic Ovarian Syndrome

In a randomized study involving 72 women with PCOS, treatment with acupuncture was found to reduce symptoms of anxiety and depression. Subjects were randomized into groups for a period of 16 weeks.

1) acupuncture (n=28);
2) exercise (n=29);
3) no intervention (n=15);

Results found a modest improvement in symptoms of depression and anxiety in subjects who received acupuncture, and improvements in health-related quality of life were found in the acupuncture and physical exercise groups. The authors state, "...these data suggest continued investigation of mental health outcomes in women treated for PCOS."

“Acupuncture and physical exercise for affective symptoms and health-related quality of life in polycystic ovary syndrome: Secondary analysis from a randomized controlled trial," Stener-Victorin E, Holm G, et al, BMC Complement Altern Med, 2013 June 13; 13(1): 131. (Address: Institute of Neuroscience and Physiology, Department of Physiology, Sahlgrenska Academy, University of Gothenburg, Gothenburg, Sweden. E-mail: Elisabet Stener-Victorin, ).

Acupuncture Point "Supreme Rushing" improves blood flow

A new study finds that acupuncture affects sympathetic nervous system tone and increases peripheral blood flow. Researchers measured the physiologic effects of applying acupuncture to acupoint LV3 (Taichong). LV3 is located on the dorsum of the foot in the depression distal to the junction to the first and second metatarsal bones.

The scientists created a study to measure the exact effects of needling a single acupuncture point on radial artery hemodynamics. Using high-resolution ultrasound with automated echo-tracking, the researchers discovered that applying acupuncture to LV3 causes an initial decrease in radial artery blood flow volume during the acupuncture treatment. Next, the radial artery blood flow volume significantly increases after completion of the acupuncture needling.

The researchers also noted that acupuncture decreases systolic blood pressure following acupuncture treatments. Heart rate significantly decreased during acupuncture and returned to baseline approximately three minutes following the treatments.

Hemodynamic Measurements
During the study, acupuncture was applied by a licensed acupuncturist using disposable stainless steel needles (Seirin Co Ltd, 40mm length, 0.16mm diameter). Manual stimulation was applied for 18 seconds using bidirectional 90 degree rotation. Acupuncture was applied to LV3 bilaterally.

Clinical Highlights
Liver 3 (LV3, Taichong, Great Rushing) is a Shu-Stream, Earth and Source point. LV3 pacifies the Liver, regulates the Blood and opens the channels. Clinically this point is commonly used for the treatment of headaches, vertigo, insomnia, irregular menstruation and uterine bleeding, pain of the extremities and joints, eye disorders, rib pain, retention of urine and enuresis.

Other Hemodynamic Research
Researchers from the University of California, Irvine, concluded, “Recent evidence shows that stimulation of different points on the body causes distinct responses in hemodynamic, fMRI and central neural electrophysiological responses.” In another study, researchers demonstrated that acupuncture benefits patients with glaucoma. Acupuncture was shown to improve intraocular pressure (IOP) and retrobulbar circulation. The researchers note that this study measured the ability of acupuncture to cause improvements in eye hemodynamics.

Arai, Hiroyuki, Yoshifumi Saijo, Tomoyuki Yambe, and Nobuo Yaegashi. "RADIAL ARTERY HEMODYNAMIC CHANGES RELATED TO ACUPUNCTURE."

Shin Takayama, Takashi Seki, Toru Nakazawa, Naoko Aizawa, Seri Takahashi, Masashi Watanabe, Masayuki Izumi, Soichiro Kaneko, Tetsuharu Kamiya, Ayane Matsuda, Akiko Kikuchi, Tomoyuki Yambe, Makoto Yoshizawa, Shin-ichi Nitta, and Nobuo Yaegashi. Short-Term Effects of Acupuncture on Open-Angle Glaucoma in Retrobulbar Circulation: Additional Therapy to Standard Medication. Evidence-Based Complementary and Alternative Medicine. Volume 2011 (2011), Article ID 157090, 6 pages.

Point specificity in acupuncture. Chinese Medicine 2012, 7:4 doi:10.1186/1749-8546-7-4. Emma M Choi, Fang Jiang, John C Longhurst. University of California, Irvine.

Acupuncture Reduces Knee Pain & Increases Flexibility Acupuncture Reduces Knee Pain & Increases Flexibility?

A new study concludes that acupuncture reduces knee pain and increases mobility for patients with osteoarthritis. This new randomized, controlled, double-blinded study also revealed some differences in acupuncture treatments. The researchers compared non-specific (sham) needling, modern acupuncture and classical acupuncture treatments.

The results showed that sham acupuncture only achieved a patient pain reduction rate in 48% of patients while modern acupuncture achieved a 64% rate and classical acupuncture achieved a 73% rate. Sham acupuncture did not improve knee mobility but modern and classical acupuncture made significant, measurable improvements in knee mobility. The researchers concluded that there is “a specific effect of acupuncture in knee mobility.” The researchers also note, “With respect to knee motility, individualised classical acupuncture achieved twice the effect of semistandardised modern acupuncture.”

Acupuncture for KneesThe sham acupuncture bodily points were those not specifically noted for the treatment of knee pain in Chinese medicine texts. The modern acupuncture points were those suggested based on the biomedical condition of knee osteoarthritis. The acupuncture points were: ST36, ST34, EX32, SP9, SP10, SP6, GB34, LI4. The classical acupuncture points chosen were based on a customized differential diagnosis based on tissue tenderness, tongue diagnosis, pulse diagnosis, syndrome differentiation and symptoms. Needles chose for the study in all cases were 0.22 X 40mm copper needles. Ear and hand points were excluded from the study. Needle stimulation was applied and needle retention was a total of 30 minutes per treatment.

The researchers note, “This suggests a considerable specific effect of acupuncture in objective knee flexibility, an effect that appears to be method-specific as well… we observed a rapid improvement of knee flexibility immediately after classical acupuncture, which was twice the effect observed after modern acupuncture and absent after non-specific needling.”

This is not the first study showing the effectiveness of acupuncture for the treatment of knee disorders. One recent study discovered that acupuncture is more effective than both sham acupuncture and biomedicine for the treatment of knee pain. A meta-analysis of 14 random controlled clinical trials involving 3,835 patients states, “Acupuncture provided significantly better relief from knee osteoarthritis pain and a larger improvement in function than sham acupuncture, standard care treatment, or waiting for further treatment.” The study notes that acupuncture for the treatment of knee osteoarthritis is “better at relieving pain and restoring function” than both standard biomedical care and sham acupuncture.

Max Karner, Frank Brazkiewicz, Andrew Remppis, et al., “Objectifying Specific and Nonspecific Effects of Acupuncture: A Double-Blinded Randomised Trial in Osteoarthritis of the Knee,” Evidence-Based Complementary and Alternative Medicine, vol. 2013, Article ID 427265, 7 pages, 2013. doi:10.1155/2013/427265

Sau. Med J. 2012 May;33(5):526-32. Needle acupuncture for osteoarthritis of the knee. A systematic review and updated meta-analysis. Cao L, Zhang XL, Gao YS, Jiang Y. Department of Orthopedic Surgery, Shanghai Sixth People's Hospital, Shanghai Jiaotong University, Shanghai, China.

Scientific Discovery - Better Sleep With Acupuncture

Electrical engineers in a medical research team discovered how acupuncture benefits sleep. They did it by measuring brain activity with EEG (electroencephalography) before, during and after an acupuncture treatment. Results were conclusive, acupuncture significantly increases slow wave activity of the brain relative to fast wave activity in both the frontal and central lobes. This phenomena is known to benefit the quality and duration of sleep.

EEGThe acupuncture point used in this study increases the delta band power density, a known sleep related brain wave band. In addition, acupuncture at this point downregulates alpha and beta band activity relative to delta band activity. The decreases in these bands also enhances sleep quality.

The researchers applied manual acupuncture to humans at acupoint ST36. It was found that this acupoint significantly increases the power ratio index of slow waves to fast waves following an acupuncture treatment. Stainless steel 0.2 mm diameter acupuncture needles were applied to the subjects. The needles were applied and retained for an initial two minutes followed by manual rotation of the needles applied for another two minutes. Measurements were taken throughout the brain of the delta (0 - 4 Hz), theta (4 - 8 Hz), alpha (8 - 13 Hz) and beta (13 - 30 Hz) bands. Notably, there were increases in the delta band power in five major brain areas during and after acupuncture.

The researchers note that “acupuncture at ST36 can induce obvious changes in different EEG rhythms in healthy subjects.” They also note that acupuncture modulations of brain activity resulting from acupuncture point stimulation show “that the brain plays a key role in acupuncture research.” They also suggest that “cortical electrical activities may be an important mechanism by which acupuncture exerts its complex multisystem effects.”

Chin. Phys. B Vol. 22, No. 2 (2013) 028703. Modulation of electroencephalograph activities by manual acupuncture stimulation in healthy subjects: An
autoregressive spectral analysis. Yi Guo-Sheng, Wang Jiang, Deng Bin, Wei Xi-Le, and Han Chun-Xiao.
a)School of Electrical and Automation Engineering, Tianjin University, Tianjin, China
b)Tianjin Key Laboratory of Information Sensing & Intelligent Control

Acupuncture May Have Helped to Revive Coma Patient

Keywords: TRAUMATIC BRAIN INJURY - Acupuncture, GV26, Coma

Reference: "Acupuncture Helps Regain Postoperative Consciousness in Patients with Traumatic Brain Injury: A Case Study," Tseng YJ, Hung YC, et al, J Altern Complement Med, 2012 Dec 4. (Address: Wen-Long Hu, Department of Chinese Medicine, Kaohsiung Chang Gung Memorial Hospital and Chang Gung University College of Medicine, Kaohsiung, Taiwan. E-mail: ).

Summary: A clinical report on a single case featuring a 65-year-old man experiencing traumatic brain injury (TBI) after being involved in a motor vehicle accident found that acupuncture may have helped the patient to regain consciousness. Subject had a right-sided subdural hemorrhage, subsequent complications, and initial Glasgow Coma Scale (GCS) score of E1V1M2. 12 days post- surgery, the patient remained in poor condition due to serious complications with a GCS of E2VeM4. After 12 days, the patient was treated with acupuncture 3x per week, consisting of strong stimulation at GV26 (Shuigou) and the 12 Well points using the half-needling technique. After 3 weeks of consecutive treatment, the patient regained consciousness and could tolerate rehabilitation programs, with GCS score of E4VtM6. This case shows potential usage of acupuncture as a complementary therapy in patients with TBI who fail to regain consciousness postoperatively.