*Telemedicine appointments are only for people who are located in the state of North Carolina
- Acupuncture & Wellness Center, LLC
Study: Placebo or not, acupuncture helps with pain
By LINDSEY TANNER | Associated Press – 1 hr 58 mins ago
Associated Press/M. Spencer Green – FILE – In this Monday, Sept. 24, 2007 file photo, Anah McMahon, L. Ac. adjusts one inch seirin acupuncture needles in the muscles around the spine of a patient to relieve …more
CHICAGO (AP) — Acupuncture gets a thumbs-up for helping relieve pain from chronic headaches, backaches and arthritis in a review of more than two dozen studies — the latest analysis of an often-studied therapy that has as many fans as critics.
Some believe its only powers are a psychological, placebo effect. But some doctors believe even if that’s the explanation for acupuncture’s effectiveness, there’s no reason not to offer it if it makes people feel better.
The new analysis examined 29 studies involving almost 18,000 adults. The researchers concluded that the needle remedy worked better than usual pain treatment and slightly better than fake acupuncture. That kind of analysis is not the strongest type of research, but the authors took extra steps including examining raw data from the original studies.
The results “provide the most robust evidence to date that acupuncture is a reasonable referral option,” wrote the authors, who include researchers with Memorial Sloan-Kettering Cancer Center in New York and several universities in England and Germany.
Their study isn’t proof, but it adds to evidence that acupuncture may benefit a range of conditions.
The new analysis was published online Monday in Archives of Internal Medicine. The federal government’s National Center for Complementary and Alternative Medicine paid for most of the study, along with a small grant from the Samueli Institute, a nonprofit group that supports research on alternative healing.
Acupuncture’s use has become more mainstream. The military has used it to help treat pain from war wounds, and California recently passed legislation that would include acupuncture among treatments recommended for coverage under provisions of the nation’s new health care law. That law requires insurance plans to cover certain categories of benefits starting in 2014. Deciding specifics is being left up to the states.
Some private insurance plans already cover acupuncture; Medicare does not.
In traditional Chinese medicine, acupuncture involves inserting long, very thin needles just beneath the skin’s surface at specific points on the body to control pain or stress. Several weekly sessions are usually involved, typically costing about $60 to $100 per session. Fake acupuncture studied in research sometimes also uses needles, but on different areas of the body.
Scientists aren’t sure what biological mechanism could explain how acupuncture might relieve pain, but the authors of the new study say the results suggest there’s more involved than just a placebo effect.
Acupuncture skeptic Dr. Stephen Barrett said the study results are dubious. The retired psychiatrist runs Quackwatch, a Web site on medical scams, and says studies of acupuncture often involve strict research conditions that don’t mirror how the procedure is used in the real world.
The new analysis combined results from studies of patients with common types of chronic pain — recurring headaches, arthritis or back, neck and shoulder. The studies had randomly assigned patients to acupuncture and either fake acupuncture or standard pain treatment including medication or physical therapy.
The authors explained their statistical findings by using a pain scale of 0 to 100: The patients’ average baseline pain measured 60; it dropped to 30 on average in those who got acupuncture, 35 in those who got fake acupuncture, and 43 in the usual treatment group.
While the difference in results for real versus fake acupuncture was small, it suggests acupuncture could have more than a psychological effect, said lead author Andrew Vickers, a cancer researcher at Memorial Sloan-Kettering. The center offers acupuncture and other alternative therapies for cancer patients with hard-to-treat pain.
The analysis was more rigorous than most research based on pooling previous studies’ results, because the authors obtained original data from each study. That makes the conclusion more robust, said Dr. Andrew Avins, author of an Archives commentary and a physician and researcher with the University of California at San Francisco and Kaiser-Permanente.
Acupuncture is relatively safe and uncertainty over how it works shouldn’t stop doctors from offering it as an option for patients struggling with pain, Avins said.
“Perhaps a more productive strategy at this point would be to provide whatever benefits we can for our patients, while we continue to explore more carefully all mechanisms of healing,” he wrote.
Having difficulties focusing, remembering tasks or organizing your thoughts? Acupuncture
and Oriental medicine can help optimize your brain power through a treatment approach that incorporates different modalities, including nutritional support.
According to acupuncture and Oriental medicine the mind (Shen) embodies consciousness, emotions and thought. Shen influences long term memory, the ability to think clearly, contributes to wisdom and presides over activities that involve mental and creative functions. When the mind is healthy we are able to think clearly. When the mind is unhealthy or unbalanced we experience confusion, poor memory, and clouded thinking.
Disharmony of the mind often manifests as anxiety, insomnia, muddled thinking, forgetfulness and chronic restlessness. Meditation and acupuncture, as well as physical exercises such as Tai Chi or Qi Gong and the right foods, can balance and strengthen the mind.
Good nutrition can help boost your brain power. Not only is it essential to overall physical health, it can also enhance the function and harmony of the mind. The right foods enhance brain function by providing essential nutrients such as flavonoids, Omega 3s, vitamins, folate and iron that are great for improving the quality and quantity of learning capacity, cognitive abilities, memory and overall brain function. You can enhance your brain’s health and function by including blueberries, fish, leafy green vegetables, seeds, nuts, and whole grains in your diet.
Acupuncture Improves Memory and Learning Capacity
Acupuncture can significantly improve learning and memory capacity that has been impaired by hyperglycemia and cerebral ischemia, according to a 2003 study published in the October 2008 issue of Neuroscience Letters. Researchers reported on whether electro-acupuncture (acupuncture needles stimulated with a mild electrical current) could improve learning and memory in rats whose memory and cognitive functions were impaired by the decreased circulatory effects of diabetes resulting in cerebral ischemia.
In the study, the effects of the acupuncture treatments were measured with a passive avoidance test, an active avoidance test, the Morris water maze and electrophysiology. With all tests, significant improvements were seen in restored memory and learning capacity. Researchers believe that the positive results of this study indicate similar benefits for humans and warrant further investigation.
People with ADD or ADHD generally have trouble concentrating and paying attention. Symptoms include difficulty following directions and boredom or frustration with tasks. Those with ADD or ADHD also tend to move constantly and can be impulsive, not stopping to think before they act.
Behaviors typically associated with ADD and ADHD can interfere with the ability to function at school, at work and at home. If you struggle with attention deficit disorder (ADD) or attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD), you can include acupuncture as one of the treatment methods that are beneficial in managing ADD and ADHD. Research indicates that when treating ADD or ADHD, a multidisciplinary approach is most effective; including behavioral therapy, exercise, dietary changes and medication.
These behaviors are generally common in children, but they occur more frequently and are more severe in those with ADD or ADHD. ADD or ADHD is not exclusive to children. It continues as people age and, in some cases, obvious symptoms do not manifest until later. As time passes, people struggling with ADD or ADHD may have difficulty with time management, organizational skills, goal setting, employment and may have problems with relationships, self-esteem, and addiction.
Treatment for ADD and ADHD
Treatment for ADD or ADHD is best managed when families and academic and health professionals work together to meet the unique needs of the person with ADD or ADHD. Coordinated efforts can help them learn to focus their attention, develop their personal strengths, minimize disruptive behavior, and become more productive and successful.
Acupuncture is an excellent addition to any ADD or ADHD treatment plan, as it is used to help the body restore balance, treating the root of the disorder, while also diminishing the symptoms of ADD or ADHD. Acupuncture can help improve focus and attention, reduce fidgeting, lower hyperactivity, augment mood management techniques and enhance concentration.
The word “meditation” comes from a Greek word that means “to be mindful.” The practice of meditation can help you tame your mind and overcome anxieties, agitation, and habitual thought patterns. The regular practice of meditation creates a continuing sense of well-being, leaving us feeling confident and calm.
How to Meditate
Create a quiet, relaxing environment, with comforting items (candles, incense, art that has a spiritual importance to you, etc.) around you.
Sit upright on a cushion with your legs folded, or in a chair with your feet firmly planted on the ground, allowing for easy breathing. Relax your shoulders and gently place your hands on your knees or in your lap.
Tuck your chin in slightly and keep your eyes half open, your gaze softly focusing downward about four to six feet in front, and your mouth slightly open.
Observe your breath. Try belly-breathing, not breathing with the chest, but from the navel. Don’t accentuate or alter the way you are breathing, just let your attention rest on the flow of your breath.
The goal is to allow the “chattering” in your mind to gradually fade away. If you are distracted by a thought, gently bring your mind back to your breathing.
Continue to focus on your breathing for 10 or 15 minutes. Stay relaxed, yet awake and attentive. Finding a balance there is not easy!
Eventually, as your body understands what you are doing, meditation will become easier. Remember to be gentle and patient with yourself. Meditating for even 5 or 10 minutes can have a powerful effect on your day.
Acupuncture is a form of medicine practiced for over 4,000 years. The basic principle of Acupuncture, which is one modality of treatment of Oriental Medicine, is to realign and rebalance the energy in the body.
Serving Cary, Raleigh, Durham and Chapel Hill, and the surrounding communities, Acupuncture & Wellness Center is a full-service Acupuncture, Wellness & Oriental Medical center optimizing health and wellness through oriental medicine.