Acupuncture News and Research

Apr 122018
 
Acup_2010_2Update

Research into the importance of and benefits from an integrated model of health care has been recognized at the federal level for at least 20 years now with the formation the National Institute of Health’s (NIH) National Center of Complementary and Alternative Medicine (NCCAM). (NCCAM was renamed to National Center of Complementary and Integrative Health (NCCIH) in 2014). One important indication of integrative medicine’s increased acceptance is NCCIH’s recent educational campaign geared towards veterans and military personnel discussing such topics such as managing chronic pain, PTSD, stress/anxiety and insomnia using ‘complementary practices’. A recent new analysis (3/17) of a National Health Interview Study, which was conducted by the CDC from 2010 to 2014, shows that veterans are in much more pain on average than non-veterans, and the ‘NCCIH is partnering with the Department of Veterans Affairs and Department of Defense on 13 grants to research military and veteran health with a focus on non-pharmacological approaches to pain and related conditions’. The Veterans Health Administration has used acupuncture and chiropractic treatments for many years now, amongst other complementary practices, such as massage, hypnosis, meditation and yoga. The Veterans Choice program, which began in 2015, also allows veterans to go to local acupuncturists and chiropractors for pain management treatments, with prior authorization, so that a veteran does not have to wait more than 30 days for an appointment or drive more than 40 miles to the closest VA facility. For Butte County residents, that includes every veteran needing such services for pain management, given VA authorization or approval.

Originally published April 2017 in the ‘PARADISE RIDGE Lifestyle & Resource Guide’, a Paradise Ridge Chamber of Commerce & Visitors Bureau publication.

Feb 232017
 

New Guidelines Say Exercise, Yoga, and Acupuncture Beat Medications for Back Pain.

Other article links on this blog about acupuncture and back pain.

Aug 112016
 
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Menopausal Symptoms Helped by Acupuncture

From the conclusion of this study: “We found that a course of acupuncture treatments was associated with significant reduction in VMS, and several quality-of-life measures, compared with no acupuncture, and that clinical benefit persisted for at least 6 months beyond the end of treatment.”

Note: VMS is vasomotor symptoms, or hot flashes.

Aug 102016
 
CuppingInChengdu_2000

Cupping Therapy is a tool I use almost daily in my office along with acupuncture treatments. I primarily use it on certain types of pain, or for post-stroke syndrome (i.e., paralysis), but it can be used to ‘release the exterior’ (as we say in TCM) for an upper respiratory infection, for COPD (especially phlegm in the lungs), and many other health conditions. Research on Cupping Therapy:
Effectiveness of Cupping Therapy on Chronic Neck and Shoulder Pain

Photo Credit: Sheryl Sanchez, L.Ac., in Chengdu, China, 2000.
P.S. Don’t let the photo frighten you, it is a completely painless technique – it just looks a bit odd at first glance! Most patients love the procedure and especially the results – pain reduction!!

Jul 192016
 
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People’s Pharmacy, a National Public Radio (NPR) program, had their latest weekly show (on 7/14/16) about Acupuncture entitled How Acupuncture Can Help You Overcome Health Challenges. In this particular program, they highlight newly published research on acupuncture benefiting menopausal symptoms such as hot flashes (aka vasomotor symptoms) and answer basic questions about acupuncture.

The mission of People’s Pharmacy is “Empowering you to make wise decisions about your own health, by providing you with essential health information about both medical and alternative treatment options.”1, which is completely in line with my philosophy of healthcare! People’s Pharmacy is one of my favorite NPR programs, and I listen to it on my local NPR station, KCHO, or North State Public Radio.

Reference:
1 http://www.peoplespharmacy.com/about

Jun 092016
 

Brief article written in June 2016 about how acupuncture is beginning to play a role in reducing opioid use for chronic pain and also how acupuncture can help with opiate addiction.

One quote from this article regarding one study the US Department of Veterans Affairs conducted:
“By 2011, after employing acupuncture, chiropractic care, massage therapy, biofeedback and hypnosis among other things, the prescription narcotics consumed by the soldiers fell by 88% to 10.2%.”

Read more: Opioid Crisis Tamed Through Ancient Secret?

Mar 142016
 
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I have understood for years that patients can use their Health Savings Accounts (HSA) for purchasing dietary supplements or herbal remedies that I recommend for treatment. This is the case also for Flexible Savings Accounts (FSA). As a licensed Acupuncturist in the state of California, I am called a “primary care provider” and it is within my scope of practice to “prescribe” herbs and supplements.

However, I have been told by many patients that they have been told that my supplement or herbal prescriptions would not be covered by their HSA or FSA. What I did in the past was give patients a “superbill”, which is a insurance bill or form. It shows my licensing information, my NPI# (National Provider Identifier), and has CPT codes for procedures performed (in my case, acupuncture), and diagnosis codes (for example, cervicalgia, lumbago, sciatica, knee pain, etc). However, now I have a formal form that I can give patients along with a superbill, which will be signed by me to give to the insurance company, or service company of your HSA or FSA.

For reference, this form can be found here:
Reimbursement Form

Sep 292015
 

Acupuncture Cools Hot Flashes

I see Gabapentin, aka Neurontin, typically prescribed for diabetic peripheral neuropathy, or post-herpetic neuralgia (nerve pain), or more so nowadays, any type of pain. Anyhow, it has also been prescribed by some doctors to relieve the hot flashes associated with menopause (although this use was advised against by the FDA in 2013 ). Anyhow, this is another study showing how acupuncture will benefit hot flashes. In this research, acupuncture was used specifically on patients who had “treatment-related hot flashes”. This means that patients were taking pharmaceutical medications such as Tamoxifen and Arimidex (because they were diagnosed with Estrogen-Receptor Positive (ER-Positive) breast cancer), which results in hot flashes.

NOTE: See that the direct link to the MedScape article above does not work unless you log into MedScape unfortunately. But you can search for the title above on MedScape and find the article easily (or logging in anyway will take you directly to the article).

Jul 292015
 

The latest issue (July 2015) of Dr. Julian Whitaker’s Health and Healing Newsletter (article not available online) has an article about back pain. It discusses the pros and cons of painkillers, and points out that getting an MRI or CT scan often times becomes a “Gateway to Surgery”. He suggests “waiting until you’ve given conservative treatment a chance to work”. He then has a nice summary of modalities to try for “Safe, Lasting Pain Relief”. This list includes Acupuncture, “one of the best-studied alternative therapies for pain relief”, amongst Stem Cell Therapy, Prolotherapy, High-Intensity Laser, Chiropractic, and Supplements (“such as curcumin, boswellia, omega-3 fatty acids, UC-II (type II collagen), bromelain, astaxanthin and ginger”).

I must note that three of these supplements or herbal remedies are from Traditional Chinese Medicine herbal medicine: curcumin, boswellia and ginger! I also just happen to carry a great arthritis herbal formula (patients love the results they have!) and amongst other ingredients, it has curcumin, boswellia and collagen. (I cannot advertise the product or its price, since the product is sold only by qualified health care professionals).

Dr. Whitaker also has on his website a nice article highlighting the many conditions Acupuncture Benefits, last updated in August 2014.

Jun 092015
 
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Seeing that Integrative Medicine is making great crossroads into the American healthcare system, I decided to write an article discussing this. It was published in Lotus Guide, April/May/June 2015 issue.

I also cover this warning: “Americans: Do NOT Assume OTC Drugs Are Safe!”

2015: Current State of Integrative Medicine in the U.S.

Thanks to John Weeks, of the Integrator Blog whose great posts gave me the inspiration for this for article too (see references in article)!

Jan 142014
 

From the summary of this research:
“Both acupuncture therapy and artificial tear therapy have an immediate positive effect on the symptoms of xerophthalmia, but acupuncture therapy has a longer continuous effect than that of artificial tears.”

Clinical curative effect of acupuncture therapy on xerophthalmia

Jan 132014
 

From the summary of this research:
“there was a self-reported improvement immediately post-treatment in anxiety,fatigue, pain, and depression and significant improvement over time for patients with anxiety … and depression … .”

Acupuncture as palliative therapy for physical symptoms and quality of life for advanced cancer patients

Jan 132014
 

From the summary of this research paper: “This study is the first to demonstrate that acupuncture may be an effective approach for improving symptoms — in particular, pain and well-being – in a lung cancer population. Acupuncture is a safe and minimally invasive modality, and it may have a particularly useful role in patients undergoing anticancer treatment…” and “Statistically significant improvements in pain, appetite, nausea, nervousness, and well-being were observed. A clinically important improvement … was reported by 61% of patients for pain and by 33% for well-being.”

The potential role for acupuncture in treating symptoms in patients with lung cancer

Jan 092014
 

This is an article about why acupuncture should be used for the side effects of chemotherapy. It refers to several studies on this topic, one of which highlights that ‘electroacupuncture worked better than anti-nausea medications’:
Time for Acupuncture to Become Part of Standard Care

Luckily, in our local area, we do have a progressive program at a local hospital doing such work (if only more MDs would refer their patients to it)! See my blog post:

Acupuncture at Local Hospital Cancer Center

Mar 132013
 

Look at all the research showing Traditional Asian Medicine is an important medicine that works – the 8 branches of this medicine are Acupuncture, Chinese Herbal Medicine, Tai Chi and Qi Gong, Tui Na Massage and other manual therapies (cupping, gua sha), Dietary Therapy, Astrology and Caligraphy!!!! (And I think I am somehow missing Feng Shui but it may fit into the Astrology branch.) The last two are very important, unique arts, and therefore, medicinal themselves!) All are represented here: Qi Journal and Traditonal Chinese Medicine Research

Dec 082012
 

Research that shows electrical acupuncture stimulation on an acupuncture point traditionally used to aid digestion and strengthen immune system does in fact influence digestive tract function. What may be very impressive to the lay person is to note that it is on the leg and not on the abdomen!! More proof that an ancient health system works!

These results suggest acupuncture on this point has the “potential to influence gastric mucous substances and enteroendocrine cells (gastrin, serotonin, CGRP, insulin, and PP) that subsequently modulate digestive functions”.

Notes:
‘CGRP’ refers to Calcitonin Gene-Related Peptide, ‘PP’ refers to Pancreatic Peptides, and enteroendocrine cells refers to different types of hormone-secreting cells present throughout the epithelium of the digestive tract