Category: Research


This report by the world health organization looks at a number of different studies on acupuncture’s effectiveness, and comes to a positive conclusion. Worth noting is that the report recognizes that acupuncture is used for many different conditions; in the US, most people think acupuncture is only good for pain, which isn’t true. It has traditionally been used for a wide variety of conditions, not just pain but also things like digestive issues, menstrual problems, infertility, emotional problems, and so on.

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This paper, Efficacy of Traditional Chinese Herbal Medicine in the management of female infertility: a systematic review, argues in favor of the benefits of Chinese herbs for female infertility. From the article, “β€ŽOur review suggests that management of female infertility with Chinese Herbal Medicine can improve pregnancy rates 2-fold within a 4 month period compared with Western Medical fertility drug therapy or IVF. Assessment of the quality of the menstrual cycle, integral to TCM diagnosis, appears to be fundamental to successful treatment of female infertility.”

Put this paper together with the previous study I mentioned below, and it looks like for this condition a course of herbs and acupuncture may be just what the doctor ordered πŸ™‚

This study shows yet more evidence that Chinese medicine can help improve fertility.

So this very interesting article describes how some MRI studies provide confirming evidence for some of the central ideas of acupuncture. In particular, that the side a point is treated matters, and that a point located on a particular meridian tends to influence the related organ. It looks like there’s a lot of potential for MRI studies on acupuncture to give us interesting and valuable information.

Acupuncture Helps COPD

This study shows some promising evidence that acupuncture can help people with COPD, a debilitating illness of the lungs. If acupuncture does that, imagine what else it can do.

Black Tea Also Cool

Well, black tea ain’t so bad either πŸ™‚ See black tea news.

Seems that regularly drinking green tea reduces LDL (“bad”) cholesterol by a significant amount while leaving your hDL (“good”) cholesterol intact! See tea study. So drink up, my friends!

On Sham Needling

I was really encouraged to read this report today. One of my main complaints about acupuncture research is that, when “sham” or placebo needling is done, too little thought is given to it. There are a large variety of acupuncture techniques, and there are different opinions on when it’s most effective to use any particular one. Given this situation in the field, to simply pick one technique and say “this is a placebo” without any research to confirm that it has no physiological effect is simply unscientific. It seems that now the NIH agrees! From the report: ‘Dr. R. E. Harris, an NIH researcher at the Chronic Pain and Fatigue Research Center in Ann Arbor, Michigan notes, β€œIt’s hard to design placebo-controlled studies of acupuncture when we don’t understand what the active component of the intervention is.”’ Yes, exactly! And “The researchers recommend acupuncture as a treatment modality but suggest that future research needs to reconsider attempts to use placebo and sham control groups.” Right on! I’m so pleased to see these folks talking sense, it gives me a lot of hope for the future of acupuncture research.

This study shows that electroacupuncture is likely to be an antidepressant, given its effects on the brain. I think regular acupuncture can probably do the job too, with the right technique.

This interesting study shows that needling of a particular point increases blood flow to the brain, without affecting blood pressure or pulse rate. Now that’s just cool πŸ™‚

This study shows acupuncture has some benefit in treating hot flashes, and improves quality of life generally, in women undergoing chemotherapy.

Interestingly, men with prostate cancer also sometimes have hot flashes, and this study suggests acupuncture can benefit them, too!