From The New York Times, 12/15/2008
"Regimens: Acupuncture Provides Headache Relief"
For chronic headaches the best treatment may be one of the oldest: acupuncture. In 1998, the National Institutes of Health accepted acupuncture as a useful alternative treatment for headaches, but warned that there were not enough clinical trials to draw firm conclusions about its efficacy. Now a systemic review of studies through 2007 concludes that acupuncture provides greater relief than either medication or a placebo.
“People who get acupuncture prefer it to medication, because of the potential side effects of drugs,” said Dr. Tong J. Gan, a co-author of the review and a professor anesthesiology at Duke. “This is an alternative treatment that is starting to move into the mainstream.”
From The Philadelphia Inquirer, Personal Health Section
"Acupuncture cools down menopause, study suggests"
Acupuncture can help menopausal women sweat less and sleep more. Researchers at Stanford and Harvard randomly assigned 29 menopausal women to 10 treatments with real acupuncture or sham acupuncture using non-penetrating needles. Participants reported their hot flash symptoms daily for seven weeks.
Although both groups experienced nighttime hot flashes, the real acupuncture group also reported significantly less severe flashes and improvement in sleep. This small study, published in this month’s issue of the journal Fertility and Sterility, suggests women with hot flashes who are not good candidates for hormone therapy might benefit from acupuncture.
Associated Press, 1/30/2009. Full Article
"Military Doctors Embrace Acupuncture"
Chief Warrant Officer James Brad Smith broke five ribs, punctured a lung and shattered bones in his hand and thigh after falling more than 20 feet from a Black Hawk helicopter in Baghdad last month. While he was recovering at Walter Reed Army Medical Center in Washington, his doctor suggested he add acupuncture to his treatment to help with the pain. “My ribs feel numb now and I feel it a little less in my hand,” Smith said, raising his injured arm. “The pain isn’t as sharp. It’s maybe 50 percent better.”
The ancient Chinese practice has been gradually catching on as a pain treatment for troops who come home wounded. Now the Air Force, which runs the military’s only acupuncture clinic, is training doctors to take acupuncture to the war zones of Iraq and Afghanistan. The Navy has begun a similar pilot program to train its doctors at Camp Pendleton in California. Col Arnyce Pock, medical director for the Air Force Medical Corps, said acupuncture comes without the side effects that are common after taking traditional painkillers. Acupuncture also quickly treats pain. “It allows troops to reduce the number of narcotics they take for pain, and have a better assessment of any underlying brain injury they may have,” Pock said. “When they’re on narcotics, you can’t do that because they’re feeling the effects of the drugs.
From USA Today, 5/9/2005.
"Fringe Science No More"
Judy Baggett-Stone believed she had a high tolerance for pain from years of pushing her body while playing competitive volleyball and other sports. But several years ago, the pain in her shoulders had her on her knees, crying at times. “It was excruciating,” she says, and over -the -counter and prescription drugs couldn’t control it. Bagget-Stone, 40, a physical education teacher at Damascus (Maryland) High School, received acupuncture once a week for eight weeks and gets booster treatments every month or so.
“I am pain-free now,” she says. Baggett-Stone is one of a small but growing number of Americans who have tried acupuncture. A USA TODAY/ABC News/Stanford University Medical Center poll released Monday found that 5% of American adults have turned to acupuncture for pain relief. According to the National Center for Complementary and Alternative Medicine, acupuncture has become increasingly popular in the USA over the past two decades.