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Home > Newsletters > February 2004 >

Recent Research


Acupuncture, Other Therapies Should be Presented as Treatment Options to Hypertensives

  Acupressure Helps Relieve Bed-Wetting
  Small Study Shows Reduced Stiff Neck Pain
  Acupoint Stimulation Can Help Induce Labor

Acupuncture, Other Therapies Should be Presented as Treatment Options to Hypertensives

Non-drug therapies are vital in preventing and treating hypertension. The successive reports of the Joint National Committee on Prevention, Detection, Evaluation and Treatment of Hypertension, WHO scientific report on primary prevention of essential hypertension and national High Blood Pressure Education Program's working groups report on primary prevention of hypertension have stressed on non-drug therapies. Today busy family physicians do not spend enough time explaining to the patient various dietary and lifestyle modifications but straightaway prescribes medication.

Every patient of hypertension from the stage of pre-hypertension to grade 2 hypertension should follow non-drug therapy. If non-drug therapy is strictly adhered, one can prevent cases of pre-hypertension from progressing to hypertension stage and one can reduce or stop the medications in Grade I (mild) hypertension. We have discussed the role of low salt, high potassium diet, role of caffeine intake, calcium and magnesium supplements, fish oil intake, cigarette smoking, alcohol consumption, role of physical exercise, stress reduction and bio-feedback, yoga, meditation and acupuncture. These recommendations regarding diet and lifestyle modifications should be targeted to population at large through public health authorities, non-government organizations and news media.

Sainani, G.S. Non-drug therapy in prevention and control of hypertension. The Journal of the Association of Physicians of India 51: 1001-6.

Acupressure Helps Relieve Bed-Wetting

The authors assessed the efficacy of acupressure for treating nocturnal enuresis compared with oxybutinin. Parents of twelve patients administered acupressure at acupuncture points Gv4, Gv15, Gv20, B23, B28, B32, H7, H9, St36, Sp4, Sp6, Sp12, Ren2, Ren3, Ren6, K3 and K5. Twelve control patients received 0.4 mg/kg oxybutinin. Parents were asked to record incidences of bed-wetting and patients and/or parents completed a questionnaire 15 days and one, three and six months after the start of treatment.

Complete and partial responses after six months of treatment were seen in 83.3% and 16.7%, respectively, of patients treated with acupressure, and in 58.3% and 33.3%, respectively, of children who received oxybutinin.

In conclusion, nocturnal enuresis can be partially treated by oxybutinin but acupressure could be an alternative non-drug therapy. Acupressure has the advantages of being non-invasive, painless and cost-effective.

Yuksek, M.S. et al. Acupressure versus oxybutinin in the treatment of enuresis. The Journal of International Medical Research 31(6): 552-6.

Small Study Shows Reduced Stiff Neck Pain

The use of subjective end-points such as VAS pain scales in studies of acupuncture for chronic neck pain have resulted in equivocal results. This study introduces an objective parameter as the primary end-point for the assessment of acupuncture in patients with acute torticollis (stiff neck).

Eighteen patients underwent a single 20-minute treatment session needling two acupuncture points -- Hou Xi (SI-3) and Zuo Zhen (M-UE-24) -- on the side ipsilateral to the predominantly involved side of the neck.

Measuring the angle of lateral head rotation using a simple compass and protractor revealed a mean improvement of 52.9%, more so among those presenting within less than 24 hours as opposed to more than 72 hours.

The author concludes that objective parameters, as seen in acupuncture research of the gastrointestinal and respiratory tracts, should be incorporated into studies of acute and chronic neck pain. The use of sham needle points and placebo needles is problematic since both may elicit physiological responses.

Samuels, N. Acupuncture for acute torticollis: a pilot study. The American Journal of Chinese Medicine 31(5): 803-7.

Acupoint Stimulation Can Help Induce Labor

Acupuncture is being increasingly used in Western medical practice. The authors review the various applications of acupuncture during labor in this paper. This ancient therapeutic technique can be employed with a significant percentage of positive results to induce labor in post-term pregnancies, to strengthen uterine contractility and to favor cervical maturation.

The electrostimulating acupoints LI 4 Hegu and SP 6 Sanyinjiao is the most frequently used treatment in labor induction and in increasing the frequency and duration of uterine contractions. Moreover, the authors’ experience indicates that the BL 67 Zhiyin can be helpful in accelerating the dilation of the cervix: the treatment is effective in about 75% of patients.

The studies on the use of acupuncture to achieve pain relief and analgesia during labor are more controversial, mainly due to the great heterogeneity of applied treatments and some methodological biases. Nevertheless, the general evidence seems to be positive also for this application.

Allais, G., et al. Acupuncture in labor management. Minerva ginecologica 55(6): 503-10.

Western, Oriental medicine may have cooperative benefit for allergic rhinitis

Although a number of methods for treating allergic rhinitis have been tried, many patients have not been satisfied with their treatment. The authors of this study evaluated the effect of a cooperative system of Oriental and Western medicine to develop a new diagnosis protocol for treating allergic rhinitis.

The authors measured improvement rate and acoustic rhinometry after the allergeninduction test and performed a filter paper test as a nonspecific hypersensitivity test with 60 patients who are allergic to dust mites. They divided the patients into two groups, one of which was treated with Western medicine only and the other, which received a combination of Western and Oriental herbal medicines.

According to one of their measurements, the authors observed more symptomatic improvements among the patients who received a combination of Western and Oriental medicines. In the filter paper test there was no significant difference between the two groups.

Jeong, Su-Hyeon, et al. The effect of a cooperative system of Oriental and Western medicine in the treatment of allergic rhinitis. Korean Journal of Oriental Medicine 24(4):64-70.

This Month's Articles

February 2004
Volume 2, Number 2

Happy Chinese New Year of the Monkey

A Qin Bowei Anthology and Analysis of Liver Qi: A Book Review

Help for Women with Fibroids

Recent Research

Ask The Doctor


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