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Home > Newsletters > January 2004 >

Recent Research

Chinese Herbal Formula Does Not Improve Allergy Suffering When Combined With Acupuncture

  Limited Acupuncture Available in Boston Area Teaching
  Hospitals

Acupuncture Shows Promise for Menopausal Relief


Chinese Herbal Formula Does Not Improve Allergy Suffering When Combined With Acupuncture

The authors assessed whether adding a Chinese herbal medicine formula to acupuncture would affect the severity of symptoms and quality-of-life scores among patients with seasonal allergic rhinitis. Between July and December 1999, 65 patients received acupuncture twice a week for eight weeks plus either a Chinese herbal drug formula (n=33) or placebo (n=32) at a dosage of four capsules, three times daily.

Sixty-one patients completed the study (31 in the intervention group and 30 in the control group). After eight weeks, no significant difference was found between the two groups in the severity of nasal and non-nasal symptoms and in the Rhino conjunctivitis and Rhinitis Quality of Life Questionnaire scores. Intention-to-treat analysis of categorical variables showed moderate-to-marked improvement rates of 72.7% and 81.2% for intervention and control groups, respectively. Six patients reported mild adverse events-three from each of the study groups.

The Chinese herbal formulation under investigation did not provide additional symptomatic relief or improvement in quality-of-life scores among patients with seasonal allergic rhinitis who were receiving acupuncture.

Xue, C.C., et al. Effect of adding a Chinese herbal preparation to acupuncture for seasonal allergic rhinitis: randomized double-blind controlled trial. Hong Kong Medical Journal 9(6):427-434.

Note: To understand the full implication of this study, readers should obtain the full text of the journal article to determine the herbal formula the researchers used. -- Editor


 Limited Acupuncture Available in Boston Area Teaching Hospitals

Acupuncture is widely used by the American public, but little is known about its availability and use in academic medical settings. The authors performed a pilot study to compare acupuncture services provided by hospitals affiliated with a major academic teaching institution and a parallel survey of services provided through an acupuncture school in one city in New England. Between December 2000 and July 2001, a telephone survey was conducted of the 13 hospitals affiliated with Harvard Medical School and the clinics affiliated with the New England School of Acupuncture.

Acupuncture was available in eight of the 13 hospitals. Acupuncture was provided in ambulatory clinics in all eight hospitals but was available to inpatients in only one hospital. Six hospitals delivered acupuncture through an outpatient pain treatment service, one through a women's health center, one through an HIV clinic, and one hospital delivered acupuncture through two services -- a program in the anesthesia department and a multi-disciplinary holistic program in a primary care department. In contrast, the acupuncture school clinics provided services through an on-site clinic at the school, through acupuncture departments at two community-based hospitals, and through a network of 12 satellite acupuncture-dedicated clinics operating throughout the state.

Acupuncture is available on a limited basis in a majority of the teaching hospitals in this city. At the acupuncture school clinics, there are few barriers to care. Future health care studies will need to examine the role of acupuncture in diverse geographic settings and to examine its impact on quality of care, teaching and its role in research in academic centers.

Highfield, E.S., et al. Availability of acupuncture in the hospitals of a major academic medical center: a pilot study. Complementary Therapies in Medicine 11(3):177-83.


Acupuncture Shows Promise for Menopausal Relief

In a randomized, two-group clinical study, researchers used acupuncture for relieving menopausal hot flushes, sleep disturbances and mood changes. The experimental acupuncture treatment consisted of specific acupuncture body points related to menopausal symptoms. The comparison acupuncture treatment consisted of a treatment designated as a general tonic specifically designed to benefit the flow of Qi.

Results from the experimental acupuncture treatment group showed a decrease in mean monthly hot flush severity for site-specific acupuncture. The comparison acupuncture treatment group had no significant change in severity from baseline over the treatment phase. Sleep disturbances in the experimental acupuncture treatment group declined over the study. Mood changes in both the experimental acupuncture treatment group and the comparison acupuncture treatment group showed a significant difference between the baseline and the third month of the study. The researchers conclude that acupuncture using menopausal-specific sites holds promise for nonhormonal relief of hot flushes and sleep disturbances.

Cohen, S.M. et al. Can acupuncture ease the symptoms of menopause? Holistic Nursing Practice 17(6):295-9.

This Month's Articles

January 2004
Volume 2, Number 1

Chinese Medicine as an Adjunctive Therapy for Cancer Treatment

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Western, Eastern Doctors Keep Troops Fit

Recent Research

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