Acupuncture News

Acupuncture found effective for Rheumatoid Arthritis Relief

Researchers conclude that acupuncture increases the total effective rate of drug therapy for the treatment of rheumatoid arthritis. Researchers from the Second Affiliated Hospital of Anhui University of Traditional Chinese Medicine combined acupuncture with standard drug therapy. Patients receiving both drug therapy and acupuncture in a combined treatment protocol had superior patient outcomes compared with patients receiving only drug therapy. The researchers conclude that the addition of acupuncture to standard drug therapy is effective for the alleviation of relevant symptoms and the regulation of rheumatoid arthritis (RA) related laboratory indices.


The researchers used the following study design. A total of 56 patients from the Anhui Provincial Acupuncture Hospital participated in the study. They were diagnosed with RA between January 2016 and March 2017. The following selection criteria were applied:

  • Ages between 18 to 80 years
  • Informed consent was signed
  • A disease activity score (DAS-28) of >2.6 according to the RA disease activity standard formulated by the EULAR [7]

The following exclusion criteria were applied:

  • RA combined with connective tissue diseases
  • RA with severe joint deformity
  • RA with a DAS-28 score of ≤2.6
  • Received biologic treatment (anti-TNF/IL-1 drugs) for the treatment of RA within 3 months
  • Pregnant or lactating
  • Severe and comorbid cardiovascular, cerebrovascular, hematopoietic, liver, kidney diseases
  • Nervous and mental disorders

Participants were randomly divided into a treatment group and a control group, with 28 patients in each group. Both groups were equivalent in gender, age, and course of disease, setting the basis for a fair comparison of results. The treatment group had 7 males and 21 females, mean age 51, mean course of disease 11.3 years. The control group had 7 males and 21 females, mean age 53, mean course of disease 12.8 years.


For both groups, patients received identical drug therapy. Ten milligrams of methotrexate and 5 mg of folate were given once a week. Methotrexate is an immune system suppressant used for the treatment of rheumatoid arthritis and other autoimmune diseases. One downside is that the medication leads to folate deficiency. Folate supplementation is used to eliminate the adverse effects related to folate deficiency. In addition, 0.3g of ibuprofen was administered twice per day. Ibuprofen is a non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drug (NSAID) with anti-inflammatory and analgesic effects. All three drugs were consumed after meals. Every 30 days of tablet consumption consisted of one treatment course. A total of 3 courses were administered.

Only the treatment group received acupuncture. The treatment was conducted once per day. The patients received six days of treatment plus a one day break every week. Every 30 days of acupuncture treatment consisted of one treatment course. A total of three courses were administered.



Acupuncture Provides Parkinsons Disease Relief

Acupuncture is an effective treatment modality for the alleviation of Parkinson’s disease. Zhejiang University of Traditional Chinese Medicine (Hangzhou, China) researchers conducted a study comparing the effects of drug therapy as a standalone procedure with acupuncture plus drug therapy in an integrated treatment protocol. Based on the data, the researchers conclude that acupuncture plus antiparkinsonian drug therapy is significantly more effective than using only antiparkinsonian drug therapy. [1]

Two groups were compared. In one group, Parkinson’s disease patients received only levodopa-benserazide as a means to alleviate symptoms. In the second group, levodopa-benserazide was combined with acupuncture therapy. The acupuncture plus drug therapy group had a total effective rate of 89.4% after four courses of treatment, whereas the drug therapy only group had a 52.6% total effective rate for the management of Parkinson’s disease.



The results indicate that acupuncture combined with levodopa-benserazide into an integrated treatment protocol is more effective than levodopa-benserazide as a standalone therapy. Based on the data, Yang et al. conclude that acupuncture is safe and effective for the treatment of Parkinson’s disease.


The Zhejiang University of Traditional Chinese Medicine clinical trial confirms additional research. University of Arizona surgery and neurology department doctors find acupuncture effective for the treatment of balance and gait disorders in Parkinson’s disease patients. Acupuncture produced significant clinical improvements in balance, gait speed, and stride length for Parkinson’s disease patients.


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Acupuncture and Drugs found equally effective for mild depression

Guangdong Province Traditional Chinese Medicine Hospital researchers find acupuncture with moxibustion produces similar positive patient outcomes rates as the drug paroxetine for treatment of mild to moderate depression. In the study, true acupuncture produced similar results as paroxetine (a selective serotonin reuptake inhibitor, SSRI) and significantly outperformed a sham acupuncture control group. A total of 105 patients met the eligibility criteria and were randomly assigned to three study groups (acupuncture, paroxetine, control).

The acupuncture group received an integrated acupuncture program of standard acupuncture, moxibustion, and intradermal needling. Treatment was administered twice per week, at intervals of 48 hours or more. Four weeks made up one course of treatment and two courses were administered, for a total of 16 treatments.

For patients in the drug group, paroxetine hydrochloride was orally administered with a starting dose of 20mg per day. After 2–3 weeks, the dosage was increased according to the each patient’s individual reactions. Dosage was increased by 10mg weekly to a maximum of 50mg per day over the course of eight weeks. The patients were treated for a total of eight weeks.


The results were evaluated using the Hamilton Rating Scale for Depression (HAMD-17) to assess depressive symptoms, and Short Form 36 (SF-36) to assess overall quality of life. SF-36 rates eight different parameters: physical function (PF), physical limitations (RP), physical pain (BP), general health (GH), vitality (VT), social function (RE), mental health (MH). Assessments were carried out at four, eight, and twelve weeks following treatment.


The total effective rate of the three groups was compared. The integrated acupuncture and moxibustion group had an 84.3% total effective rate, the paroxetine group had an 86% total effective rate, and the sham acupuncture and moxibustion group had a 42% total effective rate. The difference between the integrated group and paroxetine group was not statistically significant (P>0.05) and both were better than the sham acupuncture placebo control (P<0.001).

There were fewer adverse effects in the true acupuncture integrated group, with one case of a hematoma and four of blistering due to moxibustion. In the paroxetine group there were four cases of palpitations, seven of dry mouth, two cases of loss of appetite, four of dizziness, two of constipation, and one patient cut his finger (possibly due to dizziness caused by the drug). Paroxetine and acupuncture produced similar positive patient outcome rates and acupuncture had a significantly lower adverse effect rate.


The results indicate that acupuncture is a reasonable treatment option for patients with mild to moderate depression. To learn more, please contact local therapists or licensed acupuncturists to learn more about treatment options.

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Acupuncture found effective for obesity reduction

Researchers find acupuncture effective for the treatment of obesity. Results were obtained by implementing a protocolized body acupuncture point prescription without a diet or exercise program. In a five week clinical trial, patients receiving acupuncture achieved a 2.9 kg mean weight loss and the decrease in mean BMI (body mass index) was 1.43. The laboratory findings, including serum levels of insulin, leptin, ghrelin, and cholecystokinin are consistent with the results. The controlled study documents that sham acupuncture does not produce significant positive patient outcomes, only true acupuncture achieves clinical results. Based on the evidence, the hospital researchers conclude that acupuncture treatment regulates weight for patients with obesity.


Obesity is an increasingly prevalent chronic condition that is associated with serious morbidity and mortality. The risk of hypertension, heart disease, hypercholesterolemia, diabetes mellitus, cerebrovascular disease, gallbladder disease, and some types of cancer are higher for overweight (BMI>25) and obese (BMI>30) individuals. Weight control treatments include diet therapy, behavioral treatment, pharmacotherapy, surgical procedures, and acupuncture. The downside to anti-obesity medications and surgery is the potential for iatrogenic illness. In addition, a World Health Organization Report on acupuncture states that acupuncture demonstrates a therapeutic effect for the treatment of obesity. 

 The acupuncture group received traditional Chinese type general body acupuncture.

Patients in the other group were treated with sham acupuncture. The needles were not inserted but were applied under a tape. Both groups received two sessions per week for a total of 10 sessions. Duration of each session was 20 minutes. Both treatments were performed by a certified acupuncturist. All patients were asked not to follow dietary treatments, not to undergo heavy physical exercise, and not to take supplementary medications.


Acupuncture demonstrated clinical efficacy for the treatment of obesity in two controlled investigations. Based on the data, additional research is warranted. Larger sample sizes will help to confirm these preliminary findings.

Common to both studies reviewed in this article are acupoints SP6 (Sanyinjiao) and ST36 (Zusanli). According to Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM) principles, both acupoints are indicated for the treatment of digestion related disorders and stimulate the body’s transforming and transporting functions of the digestive system. In this respect, these acupoints are choices consistent with the goals of the research.


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