Entries in Acupuncture (9)


Pet Acupuncture: Treating Animals with Human Therapies

ABC News(NEW YORK) -- There is a growing movement to treat animals with the best that human medicine has to offer, including physical therapy, hydro-therapy, and even alternative therapies -- like acupuncture, to be precise.

When dog owner Joe Bowerman's beloved Shitzu, Snoot, was suffering from chronic back problems, which is common among the breed, and became paralyzed, Bowerman started looking into acupuncture treatments.

"He couldn't use his back," said Snoot's vet Leilani Alvarez of Animal Medical Center in New York City.  "Acupuncture works primarily with the central nervous system, so there really isn't an equivalent conventional medicine."

Three million people in the United states use the ancient Chinese therapy for debilitating pain, to help them quit smoking, and more.  But at Animal General Hospital, also in New York City, veterinarians are using it extensively for cases like Snoot's.

There, three acupuncture treatments a week cost a $100 a visit.

"You make sacrifices for the things you care about, things that you love," Bowerman said. "We all do it in a different way.  This guy has given me great companionship, and I didn't want to lose him so I made those sacrifices for him."

Delilah's owner Mark Rindler swears that acupuncture made all the difference for the dachshund.

"She has a bad back, a back neck...and acupuncture saved her life," he said.  "We almost had to put her down last August she was in such bad shape.  Medicine didn't help."

While animals can't verbalize whether the treatment works or not, their owners said they could see a difference.

"I know it was acupuncture because the other stuff didn't work," Rindler said.  "After these treatments, she was like a little puppy again."

But there is a lot of skepticism too.  Some veterinarians say there is no science to prove that sticking dogs with tiny needles is good medicine. 

David Ramey helped shape the guidelines for alternative therapies for animal treatment plans for the American Veterinary Medical Association and said the root of the issue is "there is no consensus" on if acupuncture has any effect on the animal's health.

"You will find some studies that show there is an effect, and you will find that there are studies that show there is no effect whatsoever," Ramey said.  "Another half-truth is that there is no such thing as an acupuncture point.  Nobody has ever been able to demonstrate that there is such a thing anatomically."

But even critics can agree that the best medicine for pets is a lot of TLC, which doesn't cost anything and yet, is still priceless.

"I think they should spend time with their animals and take them on walks and massage them and pay attention to them," Ramey said.

Copyright 2013 ABC News Radio


Acupuncture Can Help Alleviate Fatigue Accompanied by Breast Cancer, Study Says

iStockphoto/Thinkstock(NEW YORK) -- A new study reveals that acupuncture can help alleviate some of the fatigue accompanied by breast cancer, Health Day reports.

The lead author of the study said that the results of the study provided good evidence of the effect acupuncture can have in helping to manage the debilitating symptom. The study involved over 300 women with breast cancer who were under outpatient care at one of nine health care facilities in the United Kingdom. Most of the participants were white, had an average age of 53 and had been diagnosed with either stage 1, 2 or 3 breast cancer and had all experienced at least moderate fatigue for an average of 18 months, Health Day says.

Over a six-week period, all patients continued receiving the same care they had been given before the study, and over 200 of the patients underwent weekly 20-minute acupuncture sessions. At the end of six weeks, patients who had received the acupuncture reported feeling better in terms of overall fatigue, physical and mental fatigue, anxiety and depression levels, functional well-being, emotional well-being, social functioning and overall quality of life, according to Health  Day.

The study appeared online in the Journal of Clinical Oncology.

Copyright 2012 ABC News Radio


Acupuncture May Actually Work for Pain After All

iStockphoto/Thinkstock(NEW YORK) -- Acupuncture may truly hold benefits for those suffering from certain forms of chronic pain, a new review of research suggests.

In a review of 29 previous well-designed studies, which together looked at almost 18,000 patients, researchers at Memorial Sloan-Kettering Cancer Center found that acupuncture does, indeed, work for treating four chronic pain conditions: back and neck pain, osteoarthritis, chronic headache and shoulder pain.

Even "placebo" acupuncture, where the practitioner only pretends to place the needle or places the needle in a random site, is effective at relieving pain, though true acupuncture works better.

The review was published Monday in the Archives of Internal Medicine.

In the analysis, the researchers determined that 50 percent of true acupuncture patients experienced pain relief -- in other words, pain levels that were cut in half.  Only 42 percent of sham acupuncture patients and 30 percent of patients who had no acupuncture at all experienced similar pain relief.

The researchers said it is better and more precise than previous reviews because of the high quality standard that was required by the study authors.

"In general, we were interested in acupuncture because clearly it's very controversial," said Dr. Andrew Vickers, the primary author of the study.  "It comes from and involves ideas that aren't found in conventional books of anatomy and physiology."

Complementary and alternative medicine, including acupuncture, has long been a controversial topic in medicine.  About three million Americans undergo acupuncture, mostly for chronic pain.  Even so, given the lack of good evidence, many patients are not referred for acupuncture.

"There is now a solid evidence base for referring patients for acupuncture," Vickers added.

Critics maintain, however, that the clinical relevance of this study is unclear and that most of acupuncture may very well be just a "placebo" effect.

They also note that acupuncture can be very painful and can have serious risks, such as infection or puncturing a lung -- though these occur rarely.

"The problem with acupuncture is that it doesn't last very long; it's like taking a pill," said Dr. Joshua Prager, a board-certified pain specialist at UCLA.  "I do see it as something worth trying, but it only works in a small percentage of my patients."

Copyright 2012 ABC News Radio


Alternative Medicine May Offer Relief to Chronic Sinusitis Sufferers: Study

iStockphoto/Thinkstock(BERKELEY, Calif.) -- A recent study conducted at the University of California suggests that alternative medicine, used in conjunction with Western treatment may provide relief for patients who suffer from chronic sinusitis, Health Day reports.

The study was relatively small and focused on 11 individuals -- eight men and three women -- aged 32 to 70 who suffer from chronic rhinosinusitis, a condition that causes swollen and inflamed sinuses, facial pain, headaches and impaired breathing.

Dr. Jeffrey Suh, an author of the study, said that incorporating a holistic approach, such as exercise, better sleep, an improved diet, acupuncture and self-administered acupressure along with other traditional treatments can be very beneficial.

Almost 30 million American adults were diagnosed with chronic rhinosinusitis in 2010, according to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

The study was published in the March edition of the Archives of Otolaryngology.

Copyright 2012 ABC News Radio


Acupuncture May Increase Odds of Conceiving

iStockphoto/Thinkstock(NEW YORK) -- Acupuncture may increase the odds of conceiving, according to medical experts.

HealthDay reports that the practice of inserting numerous needless at certain pressure points in the body could increase fertility in men and women. 

"Acupuncture has been around for almost 3,000 years. It's safe and there are no bad side effects from it," explained Dr. Lisa Lilienfield, a family practice and pain management specialist at the Kaplan Center for Integrative Medicine in McLean, Va. "It may not be the only thing that is done in isolation to treat infertility, but it helps get the body primed and maximizes the potential effects of fertility treatments."

Acupuncture not only relieves stress, but is proven to increase blood flow to a woman’s ovaries and uterus, and may stimulate a man’s sperm production, medical experts report.

Copyright 2012 ABC News Radio


Acupuncture Generally Safe for Children, Study Says

iStockphoto/Thinkstock(EDMONTON, Canada) -- Acupuncture in children is a safe treatment option with a low risk of bad side effects if done by properly trained practitioners, according to a new study published this week in the journal Pediatrics.

Canadian researchers from the University of Alberta in Edmonton reviewed decades’ worth of data that evaluated problems associated with needle acupuncture in children and found that of 279 adverse effects they identified, 25 were serious, one was moderate and 253 were mild.  Serious adverse effects included infections, intestinal blockages and one case of a fatal rupture of the heart.  Mild outcomes included pain, bruising, bleeding and a worsening of symptoms.

“Our results support those from adult studies, which have found that acupuncture is safe when performed by appropriately trained practitioners,” wrote the authors, led by Denise Adams, a research associate at the University of Alberta.  A number of the serious outcomes, they noted, may have been the result of “substandard practice.”

Acupuncture is a very common treatment option around the world, the authors explained, and based on data from a 2007 study, nearly three million adults and 150,000 children use it.

“Based on the literature, its most often used in pediatric patients with chronic pain, asthma, eczema and allergies,” said Dr. Lawrence Taw, assistant clinical professor at the UCLA Center for East-West Medicine in Los Angeles.  Taw was not involved with the Canadian study.

“It’s very safe, but must be done by a practitioner who is well-trained and experienced.  The most important thing is to know the anatomy very well -- certain areas of the body are more dangerous,” he said.

Children may also have trouble following directions or may be uncomfortable with needles, which can be dangerous since they must remain still while the needles are in their body, Taw explained.

Copyright 2011 ABC News Radio


Health Workers Found More Likely to Use Alternative Remedies

Comstock/Thinkstock(MINNEAPOLIS) – A new report suggests that three-quarters of all U.S. health-care workers use alternative medicine in their regimen, according to HealthDay.

Doctors and hospital employees were found to be overall more inclined to use remedies like yoga, acupuncture, and herbal therapy in their own lives than the general public.

Lori Knutson of the Penny George Institute for Health and Healing in Minneapolis conducted the study with information from the National Health Interview Survey.

Copyright 2011 ABC News Radio


Study: Meditation Prescribed More Often as Alternative to Medicine

Medioimages/Photodisc(BOSTON) -- More than 6 million Americans are advised meditation and other mind-body therapies by conventional health care providers, according to a report released Monday by Harvard Medical School. And for sicker patients, these alternative therapies seem to provide both emotional and physical relief for many types of medical ailments, according to the findings, which were published in the Archives of Internal Medicine.

Nearly 40 percent of Americans use some form of complementary and alternative medicine, according to the 2007 National Health Interview Survey. These practices include meditation, yoga, acupuncture and other types of mind-body-practices. And now, many are receiving the support of conventional doctors who have seen apparent benefits in some of their patients.

Meditation has more recently been tried to treat eating disorders, alcoholism, eating disorders, psoriasis, and even impotence. More than two dozen medical centers across the country, including specialized cancer centers, have attached complementary medicine centers, or provide meditation or other mind-body classes.

However, many of these uses of meditation are experimental, and the results vary by each patient. Many experts say meditation is more likely to treat medical conditions successfully when it is used in conjunction with conventional therapies.

Copyright 2011 ABC News Radio


New Study Finds Acupuncture May Curb Severity of Hot Flashes

Jupiterimages/Thinkstock(ANKARA, Turkey) -- Many women are willing to try anything to get rid of the dreaded hot flashes and mood swings associated with menopause.

A new study out Monday offers an alternative to the herbal remedies and hormone replacement therapy so many turn to: traditional Chinese acupuncture.

The study, conducted by the Ankara Training and Research Hospital in Ankara, Turkey, concluded that acupuncture, which treats patients by inserting and manipulating needles in the body, curbs the severity of hot flashes and other menopausal symptoms, largely related to mood.

The authors based their findings on the experience of 53 post-menopausal women. The participants measured their symptoms using a five-point scale before and after treatment.

Twenty-seven of the women received traditional Chinese acupuncture for 20 minutes, twice a week for 10 weeks. The rest thought they were given acupuncture treatment, but the needles didn't actually penetrate the skin.

The women who received real acupuncture showed significant drops in the severity of their hot flashes -- and that's not just true of the women in this study.

Jacqui Danilow said she turned to acupuncture to ease her hot flashes that would come on with no warning.

"Suddenly, you are very warm and you think the thermostat has gone up inside your body and you never know why it happens or what causes it," she said.

Weekly acupuncture treatments "were like a miracle," Danilow said. She rated the severity of her hot flashes at a "10" before her treatment -- after four months, they were a "3."

Dr. Arya Nielsen from the Beth Israel Medical Center Department of Integrative Medicine said acupuncture, which she has been performing for 35 years, is effective for women who are having menopausal symptoms -- and can help provide relief.

Researchers suggest the reason why acupuncture may work for women suffering from hot flashes is that the treatment is able to boost the production of endorphins and that could help stabilize body temperature.

Authors of this study caution that their sample size was very small, and they did not follow up with patients after treatment, so they do not know if the positive effects of acupuncture continue.

Copyright 2011 ABC News Radio

ABC News Radio