Scientist Questions Acupuncture’s
Acupuncture is based on the theory of channels, which serve as
pathways for qi energy. On the course of the channels, acupuncture points are
described, and by stimulating these points practitioners may achieve therapeutic
effects. This system is very complex as both channels and acupuncture points are
Unlike in Western medicine, scientists cannot trace both the
origin and the progress of acupuncture theory. Having developed in its full form
not later than the 2nd century BC, it never underwent fundamental change. On the
other hand, it has become a part of modern Western medicine as an effective
therapy and the existence of acupuncture points, specified thousands of years
ago, has been demonstrated by modern science.
It is hardly probable that acupuncture theory, though dating
back to ancient times, could have originated in primitive civilization. The
origin of the energy channel theory does not fit into the traditional
developmental scheme. The existence of the theory cannot be explained other than
by its being a product of a highly developed civilization.
Wolfson V. The puzzle of acupuncture. The American Journal
of Chinese Medicine 31(6):983-90.
Acupuncture May Help Anxious
The authors assessed the response
to acupuncture of 18 anxious adult subjects who complained of insomnia in an
open prepost clinical trial study. After five weeks acupuncture treatment they
found a significant nocturnal increase in endogenous melatonin secretion and
significant improvements in polysomnographic measures of sleep onset latency,
arousal index, total sleep time and sleep efficiency. They also found
significant reductions in state and trait
Anxiety scores. These objective
findings are consistent with clinical reports of acupuncture's relaxant effects.
Acupuncture treatment may be of value for some categories of anxious patients
Spence DW, et al. Acupuncture increases nocturnal melatonin
secretion and reduces insomnia and
Anxiety: a preliminary report. The Journal of
Neuropsychiatry and Clinical Neurosciences 16(1):19-28.
Needling Increases Blood Flow in
Acupuncture has become a widely used treatment modality in
various musculoskeletal pain conditions. Acupuncture is also shown to enhance
blood flow and recovery in surgical flaps due to certain substances released by
needle stimulation. In a previous study on healthy subjects, researchers found
that stimulation into the anterior tibial muscle increased both skin and muscle
blood flow. The aim of this study was to examine the effect of needle
stimulation on local blood flow in the anterior tibial muscle and overlying skin
in patients suffering from a widespread chronic pain condition.
Fifteen patients with fibromyalgia participated in the study.
The authors performed two modes of needling -- deep muscle stimulation and
subcutaneous needle insertion -- at the upper anterior aspect of the tibia, and
assessed the resulting blood flow.
The results of the present study were partly similar to those
earlier found at a corresponding site in healthy female subjects. However, in
fibromyalgia patients subcutaneous needle insertion was followed by a
significant increase in both skin and muscle blood flow, in contrast to findings
in healthy subjects where no significant blood flow increase was found following
the subcutaneous needling. The different results of subcutaneous needling
between the groups may be related to a greater sensitivity to pain and other
somatosensory input in fibromyalgia.
Sandberg M, et al. Peripheral effects of needle stimulation
(acupuncture) on skin and muscle blood flow in fibromyalgia. European Journal of
Norwegian Oncologists Have More
Positive View of Complementary Medicine Than Alternative Medicine
This study reports on oncology professionals' knowledge and
attitude toward complementary and alternative medicines (CAM), classified
according to their primary application as complementary or alternative methods.
In June 2002, the authors conducted a national, multicentre survey of 828
Norwegian oncologists, nurses, clerks and therapeutic radiographers. A response
rate of 61% was achieved.
Only a few physicians (4%) described their reactions to
alternative medicine as positive compared with nurses (33%), therapeutic
radiographers (32%) and clerks (55%). Females showed a more positive view than
males (33% versus 14%). More participants expressed a positive attitude to
complementary versus alternative medicines.
Most respondents regarded healing by hand or prayer,
homeopathy, and Iscador (mistletoe) as alternative therapies. In contrast, most
respondents classified acupuncture, meditation, reflexology, music/art-therapy,
aromatherapy and massage as complementary therapies. This survey demonstrates
major differences, by gender as well as oncology health profession in views
about and the classification of various CAM methods.
Risberg T, et al. Knowledge of and attitudes toward
complementary and alternative therapies; a national multicentre study of
oncology professionals in Norway. European Journal of Cancer 40(4):529-35.