February 1, 2003 (San Diego, CA) A review of the last 7 years of acupuncture research published by The Pulse of Oriental Medicine includes the diseases acupuncture has effectively treated in research, acupuncture safety statistics, and a summary of how acupuncture works from a biomedical perspective.
“Acupuncture Research for Physicians” reviews the facts from 37 Medline journal citations. Only the highest quality studies were considered. Included were 12 double-blind placebo-controlled trials (each with more at least 33 participants per group), 3 large-scale multi-center safety retrospectives, an analysis of Insurance Malpractice Claims from the Journal of the American Medical Assocation, and 8 research papers on the biomedical mechanisms of acupuncture.
12 disease-related studies from 1998 to 2003 demonstrated that acupuncture is effective for acute stroke, acute spinal cord injury, alcoholism and cocaine dependence (in combination with other treatments), breech birth, labor pain, migraine without aura, nausea and vomiting after hysterectomy or after surgically in children, primary dysmenorrhea, and smoking-cessation. Acupuncture did not have significant effects on alcoholism or cocaine dependence when used alone, low back pain, or rheumatoid arthritis. Also named are the topics of 17 current acupuncture studies funded by the NIH’s National Center for Complementary and Alternative Medicine.
Acupuncture was found to be safe 99.84% of the time. This figure was derived from a total of 121,520 acupuncture treatments at 3 medical centers in 2 countries. Only minor adverse events (such as dizziness, or failure to remove a needle) were reported. The most serious adverse events possible from acupuncture are systemic blood infection (septicemia) and lung collapse (pneumothorax). No such events were reported. Researchers concluded that they are uncommon with “adequately trained acupuncturists.”
Acupuncture not only produces the familiar endorphins of the “runner’s high,” but also enkephalins (which relieve pain for up to 3 days). Acupuncture stimulates various areas of the brain, releases natural antibiotics, increases immune system activity throughout the body, reduces the need for pharmaceutical pain-relievers, and regulates the brainwaves in Parkinson’s Disease.
The Pulse of Oriental Medicine located in (San Diego, California) raises public awareness of Chinese Medicine via radio and the internet. Since 1999, its question-and-answer-style articles and formal disease and treatment resources have been read by more than 115,000 people. The Pulse‚s website (www.pulsemed.org), contains 102 free articles authored by 6 monthly columnists and as many one-time contributors.
MEDLINE is the National Library of Medicine’s database of indexed journal citations and abstracts now covering nearly 4,500 journals published in the United States and more than 70 other countries. Available for online searching since 1971, MEDLINE includes references to articles indexed from 1966 to the present.
Brian Carter, Editor
The Pulse of Oriental Medicine