Tag Archive: acupuncture


Starting Saturday, April 21st, we are going to offer a free Veteran’s clinic at OHCA, first and third Saturdays of the month from 1 to 5 pm. Acupuncture can help relieve pain, reduce symptoms of stress and trauma such as PTSD, boost energy, and reawaken the inherent healing processes of the body to restore health and well-being. The acupuncture will be free of charge to veterans. You can make an appointment online (Click here), or by calling (206) 659-9598; walk-ins are also welcome.

OHCA is not officially affiliated with AWB (Acupuncturists Without Borders) or SAVe (Seattle Acupuncture for Veterans), mainly because I don’t want us to be limited to the 5 needle protocol. AWB and SAVe have been doing excellent work with the 5 NP, and veterans going to those clinics “are experiencing benefits such as a full night’s sleep for the first time in years and fewer bad dreams. They are reporting improved mental clarity, less anxiety and a reduction in stress. Acupuncture is currently being investigated by the Walter Reed Medical Center in Washington D.C. as a viable treatment modality for PTSD in returning veterans and the military has started using acupuncture in the battlefield to help with pain” (from http://blog.seattlepi.com/sassycitygirl/2011/11/06/11-11-11-what-are-you-going-to-do-sing-the-blues-for-veterans/). But I’ve long felt the need to provide a space where veterans can be treated with attention to their individual complaints, so at OHCA we’re going to treat individually, just like regular community acupuncture.

If you know any veteran who could use our services – or practitioner willing to donate their time here – please pass this info on. Thank you!

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Dan Shen (not to be confused with Dang Shen) treats many heart and circulatory conditions, according to Chinese medicine. Now this study shows one of its mechanisms of action.

Interesting, I didn’t know acupuncture could work for this, and better than the conventional treatment: http://www.catholic.org/health/story.php?id=39586

This study http://7thspace.com/headlines/387320/patient_education_integrated_with_acupuncture_for_relief_of_cancer_related_fatigue_randomized_controlled_feasibility_study.html shows that acupuncture can help cancer patients experience more energy and thus have a better quality of life. Pretty cool, but certainly not unexpected 🙂

MRI Study

In this <A HREF="study, an MRI was done on patients in pain, some who were receiving acupuncture and some who weren’t. The results are interesting!

Acupuncture for Stress Study

This study http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/20946936 shows acupuncture helpful for memory loss and other problems associated with stress. It’s interesting partly because they compared the effects of two different points (PC 6 and SJ 5). It would also be nice if they said what kind of technique they used.

This article: http://www.dailytelegraph.com.au/lifestyle/body-soul/acupuncture-the-new-painkiller/story-e6frf01r-1225904782211?from=public_rss is very positive, and informed me of something I didn’t know before, namely that in Australia acupuncture is used as an emergency treatment for pain. What a smart thing, to have an alternative to drugs in such situations! Maybe we in the U. S. can learn from this… 🙂

German Shoulder Pain Study

Well sometimes simple needling protocols wind up being effective, as this study shows 🙂 However I’d like to point out that it succeeded in spite of the research protocol, which used a sham needling procedure. In many (if not most!) studies that use sham needling, the research designers are unaware of the variety of acupuncture techniques in current use, so that for a good percentage of patients the sham needling is often as good or better than the “real” acupuncture protocol they use.

Furthermore, any needling into the body (at a real point or not) has certain non-specific effects that are usually beneficial. So a correct estimate of the effects of the real acupuncture should not be compared to the sham results but to the results of no treatment (not always practical or ethical to do).

This article: http://www.newsroundtheworld.com/acupuncture-helpful-inducing-labor/ describes a study that the authors say shows that acupuncture is of no help in inducing labor. In the study for the “real” acupuncture group they treated the pregnant woman with needling what they called standard points “that were traditionally related to inducing labor”, and did a total of two treatments.

I suppose in some sense of the word this is acupuncture, but it is not Chinese medicine and not how most practitioners would try to induce labor. If I tried to induce labor in the way these researchers did, had no or limited success, and told my colleagues about it, they would look at me strangely and ask, “what did you expect?” They would also wonder if I learned anything at all in acupuncture school.

In Chinese medicine, treatment is individualized to treat the patient’s specific condition. Does the person have a kidney chi deficiency, or a stronger component of liver chi stagnation? The points used will differ according to which of these traditional diagnoses apply. Similarly, some patients may need only one treatment to induce labor, while others may need many more. If I had to pick an average, it would be 4 to 6 treatments – not 2, as the researchers in the study used!

In a narrow sense, the study provides some evidence that the protocol the researchers used is not helpful for inducing labor. However this is not news, as we knew this from centuries of clinical experience. Most reprehensible in my opinion is the reporting, with most reporters leaping to the hasty generalization that “acupuncture” is not helpful for inducing labor. It’s at best very sloppy to equate acupuncture with a simplistic non-traditional needling protocol that ignores Chinese medical theory and centuries of accumulated clinical experience.

So this WSJ article: http://jackoswald.posterous.com/wsj-decoding-an-ancient-therapy-acupuncture is overall a good piece. But the critics mentioned were in the grip of poor reasoning, it seems to me. First, what was their evidence that the placebo effect of acupuncture was “very strong”? A study I cited in a post below shows the reverse. Second, because any needle insertion has certain beneficial non-specific effects, studies that include a sham protocol that involves insertion will underestimate the benefits of the real acupuncture. So (in addition to the methodological problems I described in previous posts) the evidence for acupuncture is stronger than what is commonly asserted. I’m thinking the critics either just aren’t aware of all the available research, or selectively focus on only a few.

But the article overall was quite interesting, I thought.