Acupuncture has significant impact on mystery illnesses

Acupuncture has a ‘significant’ effect on patients with mystery symptoms – and could be added to the list of available treatments for undiagnosed health problems, research shows.

One in five patients has symptoms which are undiagnosed by medicine, and the cost of treating them is twice that as of a diagnosed patient.

Acupuncture has a ‘significant’ effect on patients with mystery symptoms. A team from the University of Exeter examined 80 patients, and investigated the benefit of acupuncture being added to their usual care.

After the first trial of its type, researchers say those who underwent acupuncture showed ‘a significant and sustained benefit’ and add that the treatment could be safely added to the list of possible therapies.

Of the 80 patients, nearly 60 per cent reported musculoskeletal problems, and in the three months prior to the experiment had accounted for treatment including 44 hospital visits, 52 hospital clinic visits, 106 outpatient clinic visits and 75 visits to non NHS workers.

Half were treated with acupuncture for 26 weeks with the other acting as a control group, reports the British Journal of General Practice.

Those treated with acupuncture had a ‘significantly improved’ overall wellbeing, reporting further benefits such as new self-awareness about what caused stress in their lives and better diet and exercise.

At 26 weeks the control group also underwent acupuncture – and reported the same benefits. Comments from patients included “the energy is the main thing I have noticed. You know, yeah, it’s marvellous!” and “Where I was going out and cutting my grass, now I’m going out and cutting my neighbour’s after because he’s elderly”;

Dr Charlotte Paterson, who managed the trial, said: “Our research indicates that the addition of up to 12 five-element acupuncture consultations to the usual care experienced by the patients in the trial was feasible and acceptable and resulted in improved overall well-being that was sustained for up to a year.

“This is the first trial to investigate the effectiveness of acupuncture treatment to those with unexplained symptoms, and the next development will be to carry out a cost-effectiveness study with a longer follow-up period.

“While further studies are required, this particular study suggests that GPs may recommend a series of five-element acupuncture consultations to patients with unexplained symptoms as a safe and potentially effective intervention.”

Source: The Telegraph: Alternative Medicine; 13th July 2011




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Acupuncture and Lower Back Pain

In the UK back pain is the leading cause of disability and one of the main reasons for work-related sickness absence.  It affects over 1.1 million people in the UK, with 95% of patients suffering from problems affecting the lower back.

The National Institute for Health and Clinical Excellence guidelines on best practice now recommend acupuncture as a first line treatment for persistent, non-specific low back pain*.

* National Institute for Health and Clinical Excellence clinical guideline 88 – Low back pain.

More often than not lower back pain is caused not by serious damage or disease. It is more commonly the result of muscle strains or sprains, minor injuries, or an entrapped nerve.

Research has shown that acupuncture is very effectice at treating lower back pain (Witt 2006; Haake 2007; Cherkin 2009; Sherman 2009a), and is particularly when used conjunction conventional care (Sherman 2009a, 2009b; Lewis 2010).

Acupuncture can help back pain by:

• providing pain relief – by stimulating nerves located in muscles and other tissues, acupuncture leads to release of endorphins and other neurohumoral factors and changes the processing of pain in the brain and spinal cord (Pomeranz 1987; Zhao 2008).

• reducing inflammation – by promoting release of vascular and immunomodulatory factors (Kim 2008, Kavoussi 2007;Zijlstra 2003).

• improving muscle stiffness and joint mobility – by increasing local microcirculation (Komori 2009), which aids dispersal of swelling and bruising.

• reducing the use of medication for back complaints (Thomas 2006).

• improving the outcome when added to conventional treatments such as rehabilitation exercises (Ammendolia 2008; Yuan 2008).

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Acupuncture and Fertility treatment

Acupuncture on the day of Embryo Transfer

Since introducing the Paulus Protocol as a treatment tool into my clinic every client treated has become pregnant with nearly everyone of them giving birth to healthy babies.

Studies have now shown acupuncture given around the time of embryo transfer has a positive effect on clinical pregnancy rates. The most well known study produced a protocol for pre and post embryo transfer, which is used in many fertility clinics:

Influence of acupuncture on the pregnancy rate in patients who undergo assisted reproductive therapy
Paulus, W E, Zhang, M, Strehler, E, El-Danasouri, I, & Sterzik, K. Fertil Steril. 2002; 77(4)721-724.

A randomised study (n=80+80) To evaluate the effect of acupuncture on the pregnancy rate in assisted reproduction therapy (ART) by comparing a group of patients receiving acupuncture treatment 25 minutes before and after embryo transfer with a control group receiving no acupuncture.
RESULT(S): Clinical pregnancies were documented in 34 of 80 patients (42.5%) in the acupuncture group, whereas pregnancy rate was only 26.3% (21 out of 80 patients) in the control group.

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Ian Robert Hope

Ian is a fully-qualified acupuncturist with ten year’s experience of clinical practice. He has also lectured in Chinese Medicine and Conventional Medical Science and worked for many years as a nurse in Intensive Care Units. This unique combination gives him valuable insight into health problems from both an Oriental and Western perspective.

The cornerstone of Ian’s approach is a relationship based on mutual respect and trust, which puts his clients at ease and allows him to explore the underlying causes of their problem. This, together with his sensitivity and professional expertise, enables him to relieve their distress and help them regain their equilibrium and sense of wellbeing.

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