acupuncture, acupuncture for weight loss, acupuncture treatment, acupuncture
benefits
what is acupuncture used for?           August 13, 2011
References

[1] Williams T et al, Effect of acupuncture-point stimulation on diastolic blood pressure in hypertensive subjects: a preliminary
study, Phys Ther.
1991 Jul;71(7):523-9.
[2] Hoffmann P et al, Long-lasting cardiovascular depression induced by acupuncture-like stimulation of the sciatic nerve in
unanaesthetized rats. Effects of arousal and type of hypertension. Acta Physiol Scand.
1986 May;127(1):119-26.
[3] Wu HC et al, The effects of acupuncture on cardiac muscle cells and blood pressure in spontaneous hypertensive rats,
Acupunct Electrother Res.
2004;29(1-2):83-95.
[4] Guo W and Ni G. The effects of acupuncture on blood pressure in different patients., J Tradit Chin Med.
2003
Mar;23(1):49-50.
[5] Acupuncture 'cuts blood pressure' BBC NEWS,
2005/03/30
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What is acupuncture used for? Acupuncture side effects and benefits
Acupuncture is among the oldest healing practices in the world. As part of traditional Chinese medicine
(TCM), acupuncture aims to restore and maintain health through the stimulation of specific points on the body.

The term "acupuncture" describes a family of procedures involving the stimulation of anatomical points on the
body using a variety of techniques. The acupuncture technique that has been most often studied scientifically
involves penetrating the skin with thin, solid, metallic needles that are manipulated by the hands or by
electrical stimulation.

Acupuncture became better known in the United States in 1971, when New York Times reporter James Reston
wrote about how doctors in China used needles to ease his pain after surgery. The FDA requires that needles
be sterile, nontoxic, and labeled for single use by qualified practitioners only. Relatively few complications
from the use of acupuncture have been reported to the FDA, in light of the millions of people treated each
year and the number of acupuncture needles used. Still, complications have resulted from inadequate
sterilization of needles and from improper delivery of treatments.  (NIH website, August 13, 2011]

Acupuncture for back pain
A 2009 systematic review of research on the pain-relieving effects of acupuncture compared with placebo
(simulated) or no acupuncture was inconclusive. The reviewers found a small difference between acupuncture
and placebo and a moderate difference between placebo and no acupuncture acupuncture for arthritis. [NIH
website, August 13, 2011]

According to clinical practice guidelines issued by the American Pain Society and the American College of
Physicians in 2007, acupuncture is one of several CAM therapies physicians should consider when patients
with chronic low-back pain do not respond to conventional treatment. In early, small studies, combining actual
acupuncture with conventional treatment was more effective than conventional treatment alone for relieving
chronic low-back pain; but actual acupuncture was not more effective than simulated acupuncture or
conventional treatment. However, a large, rigorously designed clinical trial reported in May 2009 found that
actual acupuncture and simulated acupuncture were equally effective—and both were more effective than
conventional treatment—for relieving chronic low-back pain. There is insufficient evidence to draw definite
conclusions about the effectiveness of acupuncture for acute low-back pain.[NIH website, August 13, 2011]

Acupuncture for weight loss
It has been believed that the acupuncture "weight loss treatment" is related to the alternation of the output of
the pituitary gland. In research, laser acupuncture is a useful healing method for the treatment of visceral
postmenopausal obesity in combination with a low-calorie diet. In a study of 95 human subjects with BMI 27,
The gallium aluminum arsenide Handylaser Trion was used to apply 0.25 J of energy to each of the following
acupuncture points three times per week for four consecutive weeks: Stomach, Hunger, ST25, ST28, ST40,
SP15, and CV9. Statistically significant reductions in body weight and body mass index were detected after
four weeks of treatment. Subjects showed no serious
acupuncture side effects with this comfortable and
non-restrictive diet protocol. [Am J Chin Med. 2010;38(5):861-7.]

Auricular acupressure is widely used to reduce body weight. An eight-week, randomized controlled trial of
three groups of 84 adolescents aged 18-20 with a body mass index (BMI) of 23 or higher. The control group
received tape treatment only and the other two experimental groups were administered acupressure using
either Japanese Magnetic Pearls or vaccaria seeds. the current study shows that auricular acupressure
employing Japanese Magnetic Pearls or vaccaria seeds can decrease BMI, with the vaccaria seed method
showing the greatest reduction. Auricular acupressure did not result in decreased total cholesterol, total
triglycerides, high density lipids and low density lipids (LDL) in the study. [Am J Chin Med. 2010;38(4):675-82.]

Ear acupuncture stimulation has been used for body weight reduction as early as the 1970s.
Sympathomimetic effects may account for the weight loss by temporarily increasing basal metabolic rate and
decreasing appetite, but the body may regain weight after the termination of treatment. [Am J Chin Med. 2009;
37(6):1023-30]

Electroacupuncture treatment was performed on 20 human subjects with BMI = 35.65 using the ear points,
Hungry, Shen Men and Stomach the body points, Hegu (LI 4), Quchi (LI 11), Tianshu (St 25), Zusanli (St 36),
Neiting (St 44) and Taichong (Liv 3) for 20 days. There was a 4.7% weight loss in patients with
electroacupuncture application, whereas patients in diet restriction had a 2.9% weight reduction.
Electroacupuncture therapy may be a useful approach for the treatment of obesity for both losing weight and
lowing the risk factors for cardiovascular disease. [Am J Chin Med. 2008;36(6):1029-39]

Acupuncture for menopause
Randomized, placebo-controlled trials are scarce and the evidence is unconvincing. [Maturitas. 2010 Aug;66
(4):333-43.]

Acupuncture for polycystic ovarian syndrome (PCOS)
Acupuncture therapy may have a role in PCOS by: increasing of blood flow to the ovaries, reducing of ovarian
volume and the number of ovarian cysts, controlling hyperglycaemia through increasing insulin sensitivity and
decreasing blood glucose and insulin levels, reducing cortisol levels and assisting in weight loss and
anorexia.
[Gynecol Endocrinol. 2010 Jun;26(6):473-8.] Note: well-designed clinical studies are needed to support this
acupuncture benefit.


Acupuncture for blood pressure?
Reduction of diastolic blood pressure was observed right after electrical stimulation of four specific
acupuncture points (Liver 3, Stomach 36, Large Intestine 11, and the Groove for Lowering Blood Pressure)
[1].

Stimulation of the sciatic nerve at night provoked a short-lasting, non-significant decrease in blood pressure
and heart rate in spontaneously hypertensive rats [2].

Acupuncture on Yanglingquan (GB. 34) points was found to be effective to reduce cardiac muscle cells in size
and lower blood pressure on spontaneous hypertensive rats.  Therefore, acupuncture may prevent
hypertrophy of the heart [3].

Acupuncture can decrease the systolic pressure to a certain extent in patients suffered from hypertension.
However, it does not exert significant influence on both systolic and diastolic pressure in
patients with normal
blood pressure [4].